Drones usually fly at altitudes of up to 150 metres and can be used for collecting aerial data, inspecting infrastructure or helping with precision farming, transport and logistics.
“We need the EU to be in the driving seat and have a safe drone services market up and running by 2019. The EU needs to take a leading role worldwide in developing the right framework for this market to flourish,” Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc said in a statement.
The blueprint, created by the public-private initiative Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research, is not binding but will serve as a basis for legislation the Commission will draft.
It aims to make ‘U-Space’ — a term for all operations and services conducted in low-level airspace — safe, automated and operational. It also calls for mandatory electronic registration of all drones, as well as their e-identification and geofencing, or setting virtual geographic boundaries in the sky, no later than 2019.