Here is my report from the third U-space network workshop at the EASA HQ in Cologne 11th October 2019. And I’ll start with a quote: “A year ago there was nothing – just empty space and a lot of ideas circulating! And now we have a very unique and complex draft of the future legislation regulating drone traffic.”, says European Commission’s Policy Officer on Aviation Safety Koen DE VOS, talking to the U-space network at EASA headquarters in Cologne. He describes something completely new that has happened within EU.

The responsible authority EASA has, together with the European Commission, brought in the UAM community (including the cities community of the UAM initiative of the EIP-SCC UAM where Stockholm is a Fellow), to start drafting the legislative regulations of the usage of UAVs. Now we are assembled for a third time to comment on the second draft and will be able to support the legislators to present a final version that – at least in theory – could be implemented immediately because of high relevancy.

There is also a very strong request from EASA today, and that is to prevent the different Member States to interpret the amendments to develop a national version. The idea is that all EU Member States share these amendments to enable seamless usage over and in between the Member States to enable the same safety and security levels, common platform solutions and fast business development so that society and citizens a soon as possible can benefit from new drone services.

This has never happened before. But it may well be the beginning of new ways to create relevant and empowering rules and regulations based on input from the stakeholders that regulate, administrate, use and benefit from them. I really hope that this is the case.

UAM is a very young infrastructure and the regulation we are working out needs to stay flexible over time, in harmony with the maturity of the infrastructure. Therefore I have suggested that the regulation should include a clear ambition to implement best practices when verified – step by step – through a defined process. In this way the regulation can stay relevant over time and we can keep the spirit of how the regulation has evolved.