4 November 2010. ESPI hosted a workshop entitled “Opening Airspace for UAS. A Regulatory Framework to  introduce  Unmanned  Aircraft Systems in the Civilian Airspace.” The workshop explored the key questions of creating a regulatory framework for the integration of UAS in the civilian airspace and also presenting the relevance of space for UAS.

The workshop “Opening Airspace for UAS. A  Regulatory Framework to  introduce Unmanned  Aircraft Systems in the Civilian Airspace,” initiated by Alfredo Roma, Member of ESPI’s Advisory Council, took place at a crucial moment  when the European Commission has initiated steps towards shaping a regulatory framework to allow the integration of UAS in the civil airspace. Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) have been developed in the military context and are restricted to fly in segregated areas. However, UAS present a great potential in civil use for emergency cases, disaster management or border control permitting long flights in difficult situations. UAS have a strong interrelation with space services (communications, navigation) and can be complements to satellite services. The extension of UAS to civil uses also presents vast market opportunities which cannot be realised for the lack of a proper regulatory framework. The workshop aimed at highlighting such opportunities while pointing out and discussing the issues of highest concern in creating a regulatory framework.


The workshop was sponsored by INDRA and gathered some of the most significant names on the topic (programme download here). Representatives of the relevant European institutions and agencies (EC, EASA, EDA, Eurocontrol and ESA) together with industry and independent legal experts provided the entire array of approaches to this important topic during a morning of vivid presentations. The view from space was provided by Amnon Ginati, Head of the Integrated and Telecommunications Related Applications Department of ESA who presented the technological possibilities that integrated applications with UAS provide for civil use and societal benefits. A roundtable discussion summarised the main issues and developed ideas for the way forward. The outcome of the workshop will lead to an ESPI report which aims at contributing to the future discussions at institutional level.

Speakers and moderators at the workshop (from left): Stefan A. Kaiser (Legal Officer of NATO's AWACS Operations), Matxalen Sánchez Aranzamendi (Resident Fellow at ESPI), Gen. Carlo Magrassi (EDA), Roderick D. van Dam (Legal Services Eurocontrol), Filippo Tomasello (EASA), Alfredo Roma (Chairman of the ESPI Advisory Council), Pablo Mendes de Leon (University of Leiden), Anna Masutti (University of Bologna), Pablo Gonzáles (INDRA), Kai-Uwe Schrogl (Director of ESPI) and Amnon Ginati (ESA)

The workshop was organised by Resident Fellow Matxalen Sánchez Aranzamendi, who also guided through the programme and presented the discussion basis for the roundtable, which was co-moderated by Alfredo Roma and ESPI’s Director Kai-Uwe Schrogl. Main findings were that in order to realise the full potential of a market of UAS it is essential to raise awareness of the benefits of UAS for society among not only decision makers but also the wider public. During the discussions, the participants highlighted the need for the major stakeholders to come together to find a joint assessment of issues like market regulation, certification, standardisation or matters of responsibility and liability, in order to create a roadmap for enacting regulations to support this emerging market. Matter of discussion was also the latest ICAO Circular on UAS, published a month ago. A continuous liaison with ICAO was also recommended for actions to be taken at European level. Proceedings of the workshop will be published early next year as an ESPI Report in order to be presented to the High Level Group on the topic, which is planned to be established by the European Commission. 


Concluding roundtable with the representatives of the main European stakeholder organisations EASA (Fillippo Tomasello; also participating on behalf of EC), EDA (Gen. Carlo Magrassi), Eurocontrol (Roderick D. van Dam) and ESA (Amnon Ginati), co-moderated by Alfredo Roma and Kai-Uwe Schrogl and introduced by Matxalen Sánchez Aranzamendi 

First thematic panel (from left): Pablo Gozáles, Stefan A. Kaiser, Filippo Tomasello and Gen. Carlo Magrassi moderated by Alfredo Roma  

Second thematic panel (from left): Anna Masutti, Filippo Tomasello, Pablo Mendes de Leon and Roderick D. van Dam moderated by Alfredo Roma


- Programme
- Presentations






photo credit: ESPI

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