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Enable RPAS Insertion in Controlled Airspace

Project description

A solution for RPAS operation in controlled airspace

Remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPASs) offer significant services to civil and military aviation. RPAS access to non-segregated airspace would result in major economic benefits and market opportunities, but this is not yet possible due to safety and operational reasons. The EU-funded PJ13 - W2 ERICA project will estimate technical and operational opportunities that permit RPASs safe operation in nominal conditions and emergencies in controlled airspace. It will also create and test solutions without negative impacts on air traffic. The project aims to develop recognised European RPAS operations in non-segregated airspace that will enable civil and military RPASs to operate with air traffic management systems within and outside Europe.


Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) have positively impacted civil and military applications. RPAS access to non-segregated airspace is essential to exploit their full capabilities, offering new services to the community and enabling market opportunities with huge economy benefits. To make insertion of RPAS into the ATM system a success, key challenges have to be addressed: to design a harmonised way to operate in nominal and emergency conditions; that RPAS do not adversely impact operations of existing airspace users; to ensure interoperability with current safety nets; to develop common standards and procedures.
ERICA will assess operational and technical capabilities to allow RPAS to safely operate (in nominal and emergency conditions) in controlled airspace (class A to C) and will develop and validate solutions without negative impacts on air traffic. A Detect and Avoid system for the “collision avoidance” and “remain well clear” functions will be developed. A framework for inserting RPAS into the non-segregated airspace will be developed in two streams: “Accommodation”, with platforms, missions and applications to meet the initial demand, exploiting existing capabilities, and “Integration”, to reach the final objective.
The benefits expected from the project are: developing recognised European RPAS operations in non-segregated airspace; enabling civil and military RPAS, fixed and rotary wing aircraft, to operate mixed with the manned traffic under a single European sky; increasing RPAS access to the airspace and equity with conventional traffic; contributions to regulatory and standardisation bodies; assuring interoperability with ATM system within and outside Europe; Safety, Human Performance and Cyber Security KPAs will also be investigated.
The ERICA partnership, which consists of expert ANSPs, Industry and R&D stakeholders, brings the essential assets to deliver the RPAS integration with a common European view, the key for the success of the Project.


Net EU contribution
€ 2 563 885,91
00195 Roma

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Centro (IT) Lazio Roma
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Total cost
€ 3 775 392,50

Participants (51)