With huge variation in design and function and the technology in constant development, testing campaigns for unmanned and remotely piloted aircraft systems (UAS/RPAS/drones) can be difficult to navigate. Perhaps this is even more the case when human passengers enter the picture, as with the eVTOL aircraft of the Urban Air Mobility (UAM) world.
As a strategic and fully accredited partner to the Aerospace industry, we have the multidisciplinary expertise and full-scale facilities to efficiently handle every step of the process, whether in Europe, North America or Asia.
Earlier this year, we became the very first Notified Body for drone certification under EU regulation 2019/945 permitted to certify all the drones and drone kits covered by the regulation.
The EU's 2019 regulatory framework for drones puts them into three categories based on their operations and associated risks: Open Category, Specific Category and Certified Category:
Open Category drones are divided into 3 sub-categories (A1, A2 and A3) and 5 classes (C0, C1, C2, C3 and C4), each with its specific requirements to achieve CE marking (or the non-European alternative).
C5 and C6 classes, which also have their own specific requirements for CE marking, form part of the Specific Category.
To gain certification, both Open Category drones and those in C5 and C6 must go through a range of compliance tests, performed by an accredited laboratory. For C1, C2 and C3, it mandatory for a Notified Body, like Applus+ Laboratories, to be involved in the evaluation.
Normally, Specific Category drone operators also need to carry out Specific Operation Risk Assessments (SORA), and a set of specific tests, including flight tests, to achieve flight authorization for their intended operations.
Certified Category aircraft, often eVTOL systems of the UAM world, have certification processes closer to those of the (manned) civil aviation domain. Each OEM must reach an agreement with the regulating body (whether EASA for Europe, the American FAA, the Chinese CAAC, or other) regarding the requirements for their specific product, based on its characteristics and functionalities.