Specifically, the SAFIR consortium - Safe and Flexible Integration of Initial U-space Services in a Real Environment - is funded by the EU and includes Amazon Prime Air, Aveillant, C-Astral, DronePort, Elia, Explicit, Helicus, Port of Antwerp, Proximus, SABCA, Skeyes, Tekever and Unifly.
The Single European Sky ATM Research Joint Undertaking (SESAR JU) chose SAFIR to demonstrate integrated drone traffic management for a broad range of drone operations in Belgium.
The project aims to play a role to the EU regulatory process for drones and boost the deployment of interoperable, harmonized and standardized drone services across Europe.
Moreover, the U-space is a promotional framework which in the future will enable the access to all levels of EU airspace, such as crewed air transport and air traffic control. For the time being, some drone operations are limited in the absence of a clear regulatory framework.
If everything goes well, the first U-space basic services will be available by the end of 2019
... according to Port of Antwerp's statement. .
After the trial round at the DronePort in Sint-Truiden, the SAFIR partners will test simultaneous drone flights over Antwerp city centre and port, in a world's first.
In 2018, the EU launched a network to provide an insight into transforming drone operations into safer, greener and smarter, while focusing on the U-space.