The European Commission (EC) announced a trio of initiatives designed to boost the region’s standing in the development of drone technology, modern satellite communications and space traffic management systems.
Revealed as part of an action plan to invest in technologies providing synergies between the civil, defence and space sectors, the projects are designed to increase the region’s “technological autonomy” and establish it as a “global standard setter” in the fields.
The space-based secure communications initiative centres on designing systems to provide high-speed connectivity using multi-orbit space infrastructure, including low-orbit satellites.
By integrating quantum encryption technologies, the EC aims to be able to support highly secure communications for European Union (EU) member states and commercial organisations.
It noted the system may also be able to deliver mass-market broadband, noting the potential to “enable access to high-speed connectivity for everyone in Europe, and provide a resilient connectivity system allowing Europe to remain connected whatever happens, including large-scale cyberattacks”.
Though offering limited detail on its drone project, the EC noted it would assess elements related to both unmanned aircraft and the “technological building blocks” to manage related traffic.
The EU strategy for space traffic management, will develop rules designed to prevent collisions between “EU assets in space” with satellites and debris. The EC added this strand would “avoid the risk of non-EU standards becoming the norm” and should contribute to relevant global initiatives.
Cash for the projects will be contributed partly by the European Defence Fund, with the primary use cases across all fields falling under its remit.
EC Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton said: “Ensuring strong synergies between defence, space and civil technologies will generate disruptive innovations and allow Europe to remain a global standard setter. It will also reduce our dependencies in critical technologies and boost the industrial leadership we need to recover from the [Covid-19] crisis.”Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back