Flying Forward 2020 at the EU Drone Days: A look back
Lisa van der Heijden, Nathy Ercol

8 December 2022

FF2020 News

The EU Drone Days on 29 and 30 November 2022 was a momentous event for the progression of U-space implementation, and Flying Forward 2020 (FF2020) was present in Brussels for this conference which also marked the launch of the European Commission's Drone Strategy 2.0. Attending on behalf of FF2020 to hear the most recent developments first-hand were Frank Aernout and Geert Devos (Nalantis), Philippe Sayegh (VERSES), Filippo Tomasello (EuroUSC Italia) and Lisa van der Heijden (Digie and INSPIR8ION). 

Organised by the European Commission (EC) and SESAR 3 Joint Undertaking (SESAR 3 JU), the two-day conference set out the EC's vision and strategy for a safe, smart and sustainable drone services ecosystem and operations and showcased the SESAR projects' drone use cases. Even though FF2020 does not fall under the SESAR 3 JU umbrella, several use cases presented at the EU Drone Days are also being tested in our project's living labs, such as infrastructure inspections, surveillance operations, medical emergency equipment deliveries and parcel deliveries. The European Commission expects these drone services to be part of our everyday lives by 2030.

Presenting the SESAR 3 JU use cases were fellow members of the EU UAM Projects & Initiatives Community: TindAIR (Sophie Althabegoity), AMU-LED (Marta Tojal Castro), Metropolis 2 (Andrei Badea) SAFIR-Med, USEPE, CORUS-XUAM, GOF 2.0 and other UAM projects. Through this community, we seek to consolidate all our knowledge and expertise to further strengthen our impact on the UAM ecosystem.

Additionally, several discussions took place around the execution of the strategy the EC has put forward. Some of the most critical questions that arose from the event sessions were: 

  1. How to build not only safe aircraft but also a safe system? This involves creating a safe and secure holistic system which includes air traffic management for manned (ATM) and unmanned (UTM) aviation.
  2. How to propel Europe as the global leader in the drone industry by integrating UTM and ATM with the right products and services in an effort to reduce dependency on other continents?
  3. How to create a blueprint for integrating aviation technologies with urban airspace?
  4. How to create a standard EU drone strategy implementation approach? At this point, each Member State has different implementation specifications and requirements for drone operators. A unified implementation approach is the only way forward for Europe to become a global leader. 

The Drone Strategy 2.0 also set forth the broader concept of Innovative Air Mobility (IAM), which encompasses international, regional and Urban Air Mobility (UAM). The European Commission envisions IAM as complementary to current transport modes while reducing costs and lowering environmental impact to benefit European societies.

Flying Forward 2020 is proud to contribute to these European developments. With our project's results, we aim to help answer some of the questions that emerged during the EU Drone Days.

Subscribe to our newsletter and learn more about our project and demonstrators or contact us to discuss how we can contribute together to the advancement of U-space services implementation through the development of Urban Air Mobility.

View the event gallery.

© FF2020