Drones & UAM

With huge variations in design and function, unmanned and remotely piloted aircraft systems (UAS/RPAS/drones) are constantly evolving. 

Due to potential risks in drone use and operations, countries are regulating both market access and drone operations, particularly in more populated or high density areas. 

We are a strategic and fully accredited testing and certification partner for different types of UAS. From drones used for recreational use to medium-sized ones destined for logistics, and moving on to the latest eVTOL systems in Urban Air Mobility (UAM), our services accompany the new challenges and market needs of this booming industry.  

We also offer our expertise and support to navigate complex regulatory frameworks for UAS development, in  Europe and North America regions with different conformity processes



Applus+ Laboratories can support the three UAS categories established by the European Union: the Open Category, the Specific Category and the Certified Category.   

As one of the first Notified Bodies for drone certification under the EU 2019/945, we currently hold the exclusive capability to certify the full scope of (EU) R945 compliance, including all classes, C5 accessory kits, and DRI add-ons. This applies to both the Open and Specific Categories.

Additionally, we also support operators and manufacturers that operate within the Specific Category drones to conduct high-risk operational evaluations. 

When it comes to Certified Category drones and eVTOLS, our multidisciplinary expertise and full-scale facilities allow us to conduct cutting-edge mechanical on-ground testing campaigns.


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). 

  • Intended for recreational purposes (and some commercial activities)
  • Operations are always within the Visual Line of Sight (VLOS) and at altitudes less than 120 metres
  • Always weigh less than 25kg


This category includes C5 and C6 classes and the majority of drones out of the open category scope, which also have their own specific requirements for CE marking.

  • Intended for increased risk flight operations
  • Can operate beyond the VLOS (BVLOS) and at altitudes higher than 120 meters


  • Intended for high-risk operations, such as transporting people and potentially dangerous cargo
  • Usually considered to be larger than Open Category and Specific Category UAS


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 is mandatory for a Notified Body, like Applus+ Laboratories, to be involved in the evaluation. 


We support both drone manufacturers and operators that want to place their UAS or intend to operate within the Specific Category. In essence, we support UAS operators in the development of all kinds of operational declarations, Light UAS Certificates and operational authorisations, including both SORA and PDRA. For manufacturers, Applus+ supports UAS designers and producers to positively conduct C5 or C6 campaigns, UAS characterization and declaration of the technical safety objectives.


Certified Category aircraft, often eVTOL systems of the UAM world, have the same certification processes as (manned) civil aviation domain. When it comes to specific European product requirements based on characteristics and functionalities, OEMs must reach an agreement with the regional regulation body, in this case, the EASA (European Union Aviation Safety Agency). The process for this type of aircraft may be similar for regulatory bodies in other countries, such as the FAA in the United States or CAAC in China.  


In the United States, all types of drone pilots or operators need to comply with federal regulations and the drone itself is registered under the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). 

When it comes to drone manufacturers, the main compliance requisite is ensuring that drones are compliant with the National Airspace System (NAS) which incorporates Standard Remote ID (Remote ID broadcast module) capacities. 

From regulatory compliance to technical reports, our experts can guide you in every step of this process. We provide support to ensure that drone operations comply with the mandates established by the federal administration, contributing to safer and more responsible use. 

The Remote ID requirement applies to almost all registered drones, with minor exceptions*.  

*The Remote ID doesn’t apply to drones that fly within the Visual Line of Sight (VLOS), in FAA-Recognized Identification Areas (FRIA). It also does not apply to ADS-B out or to those drones intended for aeronautical research, demonstration of compliance with regulations or those legally authorized by the official administration."


We provide support for UAS testing and certification, catering to the type of drone, its intended use, and the regulatory terms established by each region. 

Backed up by our unique, full-scale facilities, expertise and capabilities, our experts can handle the different UAS testing stages. This includes in-flight testing in the open field to laboratory-based testing of materials, structures, systems, and high-voltage components.

With a strong presence in China and Europe, our experts are standing by to support manufacturers and operators in navigating complex regional mandatory regulations. 

Our role as a Notified Body for UAS certification under EU regulation 2019/945 and our multidisciplinary expertise in aerospace electrics, electronics, mechanics, and acoustics, as well as cybersecurity, gives us a main competitive advantage to test Open and Specific category drones.

Additionally, our experience navigating challenging (and novel) aerospace programs allows us to offer unparalleled support for eVTOL OEMs.

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