Thales has been chosen to lead the new project which has been organised by SESAR Joint Undertaking (JU) to support the European Commission U-space initiative.
The Geosafe project involves researching and developing new services for safe, efficient and secure access to airspace for a large number of drones.
Thales will manage the project, supported by the likes of Aeromapper, AirMap, Atechsys, Airmarine and SPH Engineering.
The company said: “By securing the flight pattern of drones to avoid determined zones, geofencing solutions are key safety enablers.
“They are notably mandatory to ensure that drones do not fly in protected perimeters around critical infrastructures, such as power plants or airports.”
The objectives of Geosafe are to establish geofencing solutions regarding U-space regulation and to propose improvements and recommendations for future geofencing system definition.
Geosafe will be based on a one-year long flight-test campaign, assessing a number of commercially-available geofencing solutions in order to propose a better system and technological improvements for automated drones.
As the leader of the project, the group will organise all tests and will provide recommendations for the European geofencing system.
Christian Bardot, Thales VP in charge of helicopter and UAV avionics business, said: “Thales is playing a leading role in shaping the autonomous world.
“Together with SESAR JU and the Geosafe partners, we will strengthen the foundations of drones safe and secure operations unleashing the potential of this tremendous market.”
The 280 flight tests will be conducted in France, Germany and Latvia and are intended to test all possible situations that an automated drone will face in urban and rural areas.
Thales specialises in military drones, commercial avionics and air traffic management, and designs high-security systems.