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 electricity production. Furthermore, civilian drones are used in a wide variety of contexts including both cities and mountainous or rural areas. In the context of humanitarian missions, they can save lives; they can also revolutionise traditional industries such as agriculture through the application of pesticides or other substances.

Background: What is the concept?

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. In view of technological advances and society’s need for smarter mobility solutions and more sustainable and efficient processes, these technologies are expected to evolve rapidly in the future, spawning 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.

It is precisely these types of operations that force us to address the issue of safe and efficient integration of drones into the airspace.

U-Space in brief

The term U-Space (referred to as “unmanned aircraft system traffic management [UTM] in the US), 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.

Where do we stand today?

What U-Space services are available?

In U-Space, all drone operators can choose the services that best suit their needs, the type of flight planned and its environment. The FOCA has listed and described in detail all the services within the U-Space architecture in its U-Space concept (ConOps). Some of them have already been implemented, while others are about to be implemented or are in progress.

The following list provides an overview of those services which have already been implemented or are in the process of being implemented within the framework of the SUSI:


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, 13.04.2021)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.


Media releases

Last modification 13.04.2021

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