top of page

Takeaways from Transport Systems Catapult Pathfinder Community Day held 3rd April 2019.

First thank you to the Transport Systems Catapult, now the Connected Places Catapult, for gathering the community, offering regulatory and funding updates by a panel of high level speakers, as well as networking opportunities. Anne-Lise represented ARPAS-UK at the event. Our key takeaways:


Following the Gatwick incidents last December, the regulatory activities in the coming months will focus on security and safety measures:

  • The « Drones Bill » will give the police additional powers to enforce the law, and is expected for late 2019;

  • The drone registration and education system is on track for implementation in October – November 2019;

  • A call for evidence on electronic conspicuity has been launched by the CAA in March;

  • Understanding counter-drone threats and availability of solutions to mitigate those threats has become an area of attention.

As you all know, the CAA has updated CAP1763 and the drone code following the ANO2019 amendments.

CAP722 will be updated in matters in relation to operational safety case OSC and NQEs.

The UK will probably be Brexit agnostic when it comes to drones and airspace. It will probably align with the future EU drone regulation.

The first package of EU regulation is expected to be published by June 2019 and gradually implemented by mid-2020.

As a reminder, there are 3 categories based on the risk-level:

  • Open: set of operating conditions where the remote pilot, recreational or professional, can fly without prior authorisation;

  • Specific: prior authorisation or a minima declaration prior to flight;

  • Certified: certification equivalent to manned aviation.

Most of the work required will be in the “specific” categories in order to define the standard scenarios, such as “BVLOS in an urban environment”, and the associated operating safety cases requirements.

Watch for the “Share the air” event on June 27, 2019 – focus on electronic conspicuity.


The Drone Pathfinder Programme has 3 main objectives :

  • Obj 1: routine BVLOS operations in unsegregated airspace

  • Obj 2: enable operations with cross-cutting applicability, ie not for just one customer

  • Obj 3: enabling safe secure sustainable operations

4 scenarios of drone operations will be considered :

  • Long linear BVLOS in rural/remote locations

  • Large area surveys in rural/remote locations

  • Urban BVLOS operations

  • One to many drones operations

For all 4, resilience, robustness and redundancy of technological solutions /operations will be key.

Pathfinder is about technology, but not only. A clear end-user benefit and business end-goal are essential selection criteria. Also, the outputs expected from a particular programme cover:

  • Standard scenarios

  • Conops

  • Operational mitigations

  • Information and return of experience about safety and operational challenges shared with the community

Future Flight Challenge, up to £125M funding, is part of Future Mobility. Wave 3 of competition is expected for the autumn and the person in charge should be announced shortly.

The objective is to deliver a more electric, autonomous and environmentally-friendly aviation and aerospace.

The Challenge expects a system of system approach, with 4 key areas of focus :

  • Air vehicle

  • Airspace management

  • Ground infrastructure

  • Operating models

UTM Unmanned traffic management

The Connected Places Catapult will be running a project dedicated to UTM. UTM is a vital enabling infrastructure service to support drone traffic expansion. It is also an area where the UK has a strong ecosystem with potential global winners that can attract government support.


bottom of page