Thales to lead EU project on drone geofencing technologies to secure future U-space

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SPH Engineering
April 5, 2019

Paving the way for future drone traffic increase, SESAR Joint Undertaking (SESAR JU) is supporting the European Commission U-space initiative by researching and developing new services for safe, efficient and secure access to the airspace of a large number of drones.

The Geosafe project is part of the founding services for the development of drones operation. Engaged in the creation of solutions that will make tomorrow’s mobility possible, Thales will manage the project, supported by the competences of Aeromapper, AirMap, Atechsys, and SPH Engineering.

By securing the flight pattern of drones to avoid determined zones, geofencing solutions are key safety enablers. They are notably mandatory to ensure that drones do not fly in protected perimeters around critical infrastructures, such as power plants or airports. The objectives of Geosafe are to establish state-of-the-art geofencing solutions regarding U-space regulation and to propose improvements and recommendations for future geofencing system definition.

Geosafe will be based on a one-year long flight-test campaign, assessing a number of commercially-available geofencing solutions in order to propose an improved geofencing system for tomorrow and technological improvements for automated drones.

Thales, world-class leader in military drones, commercial avionics, and air traffic management, designs systems ensuring the highest security and safety levels for future air mobility. As the leader of the project, the group will organize all tests and will provide recommendations for the European geofencing system.

“Thales is playing a leading role in shaping the autonomous world,” said Christian Bardot, Thales VP in charge of Helicopter and UAV Avionics Business. “Together with SESAR JU and the Geosafe partners, we will strengthen the foundations of drones safe and secure operations unleashing the potential of this tremendous market.

The 280 flight tests will be conducted in France, Germany, and Latvia, along the year. These tests are intended to test all possible situations that an automated drone will face in urban and rural areas.



As the technological pillar of the Single European Sky initiative, SESAR aims to modernise and harmonize air traffic management in Europe. The SESAR Joint Undertaking (SESAR JU) was established in 2007 as a public-private partnership to support this endeavor. It does so by pooling the knowledge and resources of the entire ATM community in order to define, research, develop and validate innovative technological and operational solutions. The SESAR JU is also responsible for the execution of the European ATM Master Plan which defines the EU priorities for R&D and implementation. Founded by the European Union and Eurocontrol, the SESAR JU has 19 members, who together with their partners and affiliate associations represent over 100 companies working in Europe and beyond. The SESAR JU also works closely with staff associations, regulators, airport operators, airspace users, the military and the scientific community. Learn more about SESAR:


Research and is underway in SESAR to ensure that the increase of drone traffic in Europe's skies can be managed safely, in particular in relation to commercial air transport. Much of it is done within the framework of U-space, an initiative by the European Commission to ensure the safe and secure integration of drones across Europe. The aim of U-space is to put in place a set of new services relying on a high level of digitalization and automation of functions and specific procedures designed to support safe, efficient and secure access to airspace for a large number of drones, with an initial look at very low-level (VLL) operations. The services and technologies are categorized as foundation services (U1), initial services (U2), advanced services (U3) and full services (U4). U-space In this context, in 2017 the SESAR launched a series of U-space projects addressing everything from the concept of operations for drone operations, critical communications, surveillance and tracking, and information management to aircraft systems, ground-based technologies, cyber-resilience, and geo-fencing. In 2017-2018, Large-scale demonstrations got underway to showcase already matured U-space services and technologies for visual line of sight (VLOS) and BVLOS drone flights. The scope covers operations in rural and urban areas, in the vicinity of airports, in uncontrolled and controlled airspace, and in mixed environments with manned aviation. Projects are, for example, examining how to handle VLL operations where general aviation, commercial aviation, and drones share the airspace.


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