Over the past five years, multiple incidents of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS, commonly known as drones) took place across European cities . These resulted in inter alia disruption of air traffic, attempts to smuggle drugs and tobacco, invasion of presidential properties etc. The incidents affected densely populated urban centres. Furthermore, near misses between manned aircraft and drones have become a common occurrence in every crowded airspace system in the world.
While some of these incidents are the result of uninformed—or reckless— operators, they still pose the danger of catastrophic accidents whether in the air or on the ground. A collision with a manned aircraft or other critical and sensitive infrastructures or public spaces and people, may result in injuries, damage property, and business losses (from flight cancellations) worth millions of euros. An attack with harmful agents or explosives for criminal or terrorist purposes can be even more serious.
In recognition of the risks posed by non-cooperative UAS, but especially in cities, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs (DG HOME) launched in August 2020 an external study of different metropolitan approaches in confronting this challenge now and in the years to come. Specifically, the study looks to identify, assess and provide guidance and recommendations concerning different possible measures aimed at addressing the security-related threats that UAS pose to different stakeholders in a metropolitan context. PRIO is a member of the project team and responsible for work in fulfilment of specific project deliverables.