The European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB) have announced the launch of a “European Drone Investment – Advisory Platform” to support innovation and investment in drones. Drones – or unmanned aircraft – are widely regarded as having a major role to play in the future of aviation. The initiative aims to improve access to EU support in this field, and to develop a better understanding of the market to improve investment beyond 2021.
Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc said: “Drones offer huge potential for many economic sectors. Based on the Commission’s initiative, the EU has recently established rules on requirements for drones and drone operations providing a stable legal framework. Now, together with EIB, we want to go one step further by supporting additional investment and ensuring European leadership in innovative technology and smart applications at the service of people and business.”
“We are excited to support the European Commission in this initiative. New clean, digital and automated technologies, such as drones, are profoundly changing transport as we know it,” said Mr Vazil Hudák, Vice-President at the EIB. “The technology is developing at an incredibly fast pace. Nowadays, unmanned aircrafts can monitor traffic, carry out infrastructure inspections, manage crowds and offer smart mobility solutions, thus adding a new dimension to the way we currently live and travel.
The scope of future investment may range from drones’ infrastructure, including commercial drone activities, multimodal platforms for parcel delivery, to drones’ take-off/landing zones and other Urban Air Mobility related projects. Existing EU financing options are already available in the current financial framework, notably via the Investment Plan for Europe, Horizon 2020 and Connecting Europe Facility. The launch of the platform is followed by a study to be managed by the European Investment Advisory Hub (EIAH) that assesses the market potential and investment needs across the EU Member States. The results will highlight the possible future mechanisms of support that may be integrated in the future EU Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) programmes.
The new EU rules on technical requirements for drones and drone operation constitute the foundation of one of the largest drone market in the world. Further legislative works are underway, including so-called “European standard scenarios” for drone operations that will facilitate commercial drone operations, without prior authorisations. The European Commission is also developing a framework for the provision of U-space services, which aims to enable complex drone operations with a high degree of automation. Finally, a systematic review of all existing EU aviation rules is progressing to identify the necessary changes to improve applicability to drone operations in the ‘certified’ category, similar to what exists in manned aviation.
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Source: European Commission