EU Commission Sets Out Approach to Future Civil RPAS Airspace Integration

The European Commission has this week released a communication to the EU Parliament and Council on the proposed integration of Civil RPAS into European airspace by 2016.

The communication signals strong support for the development of civil RPAS in order to foster innovation and support high tech manufacturing across the continent – but outlines that safety, security and public concerns over privacy issues must be addressed.

Summary of Actions/ Recommendations:

  • Commission to examine regulation conditions required for 2016 airspace entry – including scope of EASA competence, opinions by EASA on frameworks, international standards and involvement of manufacturers.
  • R&D needs for the integration of RPAS in ATM Plans are to be taken into account within the SESAR2020 programme – however, only within limits of available resources.
  • Security aspects to be covered to avoid unlawful interference and ensure manufacturers can take appropriate security mitigating measures.
  • Commission to assess how RPAS will be compliant with data protection rules.
  • Define actions under H2020 and COSME (SME support programme) to support RPAS development – however, this will include co-operation mechanisms to avoid resource duplication with SESAR programme.

Next Steps

The Commission plans to carry out an Impact Assessment in 2014, looking at the above issues and standards setting in greater detail. This may be followed by legislative proposals by the end of the year.

EASA will also seek to continue its RPAS work and start to develop necessary safety standards.

Other measures may include support actions under existing EU programmes such as SESAR, Horizon 2020 or COSME.