CANSO drones exhibition wins over European Parliament


In February, CANSO Europe, with the support of MEP Jan-Christoph Oetjen, organised an exhibition in the European Parliament entitled “Drones – Innovation to Shape our Future Skies”. This brought together ANSPs, European Agencies and SESAR3 JU projects to show how they are contributing to enabling drone operations in European skies.

Our special thanks go to ENAIRE, ENAV and PANSA (Air Navigation Service Providers from Spain, Italy and Poland respectively) who showcased their investments in developing innovative, digitalised solutions to enable safe drone operations and automated information exchange between ANSPs and drone operators. All three CANSO Europe ANSPs presented their initiatives, starting from research and innovation in SESAR JU up to ongoing deployment projects with the daily advantages that drones and Vertical take-off and landing Capable Aircraft (VCA) are already bringing in Europe.

The exhibition was well attended by Parliament audiences, industry stakeholders and partner organisations.  Visitors showed great curiosity in particular towards the drone on display, which is usually used for essential activities at Rome Airport, such as Instrumental Landing System (ILS) ground check and Digital Tower camera siting. Exhibitors explained the immense commercial potential which drones offer, such as to transport people, food, parcels, medicines, and other essential supplies, as well as to inspect and monitoring infrastructure and the environment.

We would like to make particular mention of the SESAR initiatives which were display, all of which involve CANSO members. Examples include U-ELCOME and the BURDI project for the first deployment of U-space in Europe; ENSURE, for the development of an innovative and collaborative ATM U-space interoperability; EUREKA, for research and development in support of Innovative Air Mobility (IAM) and vertiport management; and SPATIO, with a focus on the necessary evolution of U-space towards tactical conflict management.

This exhibition was an opportunity to convey the message that U-space should be a cooperative eco-system. However UAS can be also be non-cooperative, and this means there must be mature and affordable solutions to mitigate risks of potential safety and security threats. Deployment is expensive without a mature market, and funding mechanisms will need to be explored. Similarly, the technologies for the safe integration of UAS/VCA are as well not sufficiently mature and harmonised requiring resources for research and deployments.

Lastly, the exhibition underlined the need for political and legislative support for the growth of the UAS market, given the complexity of the subject, the innovative aspect of the technology and also for the size regulations as well as the initial supply and service costs.  The regulatory framework must be enabling, playing a facilitating and supporting role in the development and implementation of solutions to guarantee safety, efficiency and European harmonisation, and allowing a transition toward a full compliance. It was for this reason that we chose the European Parliament as the venue for our exhibition – and we think that MEPs got the message!

drones Europe