U-Space: The airspace of the future


Civil drones: long considered a 'new phenomenon in the sky', this technology has become an important part of various areas of our everyday life including inspection work, cartography, weather data generation or transport. Civilian drones are used in a wide variety of places and contexts: transportation of laboratory equipment in cities, rescue flights in mountainous terrain or inspecting infrastructure in agglomerations. Drones can also be used to provide humanitarian aid in disaster areas and to a certain extent civilian drones have helped to bring digital technology to more traditional branches such as agriculture.

Background: What is the idea?

Around the globe, and in Switzerland in particular, this has led to the development of a fertile drone ecosystem which draws on the knowledge of both renowned Swiss universities and promising start-ups. These technologies are expected to spawn numerous new business areas and permanently transforming existing ones. Drone operations are also likely to become increasingly complex and will, for example, be increasingly conducted beyond visual line of sight flights and flights in urban areas.
This in turn will open up new applications such as smart mobility solutions in cities.

Such developments force us to address the issue of safe and efficient integration of drones into the airspace and in particular to find ways to protect privacy and the environment. U-space is considered to be the main means of achieving this.

U-Space in brief

The term U-space, refers to a collection of digitalised and automated functions and processes aimed at providing safe, efficient and fair access to airspace for the growing number of civilian drone operations. U-space provides a framework to facilitate the implementation of all types of operation in all classes of airspace and all types of environment, while ensuring an orderly coexistence with manned aviation and air traffic control. U-space airspace is a framework that facilitates the implementation of any type of operation in any class of airspace and any environment, while ensuring orderly coexistence with manned aviation and air traffic control. Switzerland does not yet have an operational U-space airspace. The FOCA is currently working to establish such airspaces, especially in areas where large numbers of simultaneously operated drones

Where do we stand today?

What U-Space services are available?

In a U-space, there are no limitations placed on the various U-space service providers: An open, free and fair market is perceived as the best possible solution for U-space service providers and drone operators. In its U-space concept (ConOps), the FOCA has described all of the services that may be provided within the U-space architecture. Some of these services have already been introduced, others are about to be launched and still others have not yet been fully developed.

The U-space Regulation declares the following U-space services in U-space airspace as mandatory:

The U-space Regulation declares that the following U-space services as optional but possibly useful as a means of reducing potential drone flight risk:


FOCA's Report Remote ID Demonstration 16.9.2019 (PDF, 6 MB, 27.09.2019)This report documents the findings that resulted from the demonstration of the U-Space remote identification service.

Master Agreement, SUSI-NetRID (PDF, 207 kB, 08.12.2020)All companies involved in the development and provision of RID have formalised their efforts under the master agreement.

Swiss U-Space concept of operations (ConOps) (PDF, 849 kB, 07.04.2020)U-Space concept: A systematic description of the roles, services, and overarching architecture of U-Space.

Declaration of Intent: FOCA and FAA (EN) (PDF, 459 kB, 09.02.2021)This agreement provided the framework for the formalisation of intensified cooperation between the FOCA and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in relation to U-Space.


Last modification 15.11.2022

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