Proving operations of drones with initial UAS traffic management

Supporting U-space, the European vision for the safe, secure and efficient handling of drone traffic.

PODIUM stands for Providing Operations of Drones with Initial UTM. It supports U-space, the European vision for the safe, secure and efficient handling of drone traffic and a key enabler for the growing drone market to generate economic and societal benefits. PODIUM will:

  • Demonstrate U-space services, procedures and technologies at four operational sites at Odense in Denmark, EUROCONTROL's Innovation Hub and Rodez in France, and Eelde in the Netherlands in late 2018 and the first half of 2019.
  • Provide agreed conclusions on the maturity of U-space services and technologies – backed up by evidence on flight efficiency, safety, security and human performance metrics etc. – when used in a defined set of operational scenarios and environments.
  • Provide recommendations on future deployment and for regulations and standards.

PODIUM is part of the SESAR 2020 (Single European Sky ATM Research) Research and Innovation (R&I) Programme. It will demonstrate unmanned aircraft system traffic management (UTM) services, procedures and technologies at five operational sites in Denmark, France and the Netherlands throughout 2018 and 2019.

Our contribution

EUROCONTROL is a significant contributor within the PODIUM consortium. 

We lead the work packages on:

  • coordination and management;
  • concept and architecture;
  • demonstration assessment and recommendations.

We also ensure that the work is aligned with wider air traffic management and remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) strategies and we collaborate closely with the EUROCONTROL-led CORUS exploratory research project, which is preparing a concept for UTM.


See and avoid limitations

For VLOS flights, the drone pilot can avoid other traffic based on the “see and avoid” principle. The application of the see and avoid principle to detect small drones, however, is very challenging, both now and increasingly so in the future.

Manual processes

Today, drone operators often need to perform a number of manual processes before they can actually fly an operation. All this takes extra time and effort, which can seriously affect the commercial viability of certain drone operations.


PODIUM will validate the ease of use and benefits of U-space services, by demonstrating their use by operators and other actors in a variety of operational environments.

PODIUM will help reduce the risks inherent to the operational and industrial deployment of UTM by demonstrating a comprehensive web-based UTM system – including an open cloud-based solution and a secure gateway solution -, using tracking systems based on ADS-B 1090 MHz, UNB- L-Band, and GSM networks.


PODIUM will:

  • demonstrate U-Space services;

  • deliver agreed conclusions on the maturity of U-Space services and technologies;

  • provide recommendations on future deployment as well as regulations and standards.

Preparatory work and flight trials will be carried out throughout 2018 and 2019. These will form the basis of a final report with conclusions and recommendations on deployment to be released in late 2019. In October 2019, PODIUM will deliver a Demonstration Report providing agreed conclusions on the maturity of U-space services and technologies.


The PODIUM consortium is made up of : Airbus,  DSNA,  DELAIR,  Drones Paris Region,  Integra Aerial Services,  Naviair,  NLR, Orange,  Unifly.

Around 20 drone operators – including many small and medium enterprises – will participate as third parties in the consortium.

Learn more about PODIUM