TRACE, a project of the European Union Agency

TRACE, a project of the European Union Agency for the European Union Space Programme (EUSPA) in the framework of the »Adoption of EGNOS in Aviation» program, recently carried out its final test flights in Jaen, Spain. The project has validated drones’ positioning and identification system and improved positioning accuracy thanks to an onboard smart beacon based on EGNOS capabilities.

The small town of Linares (Jaen) witnessed the Urban Scenario Flight Test, and the ATLAS Experimental Centre was chosen for the Aerodromes’ flights and the final presentation.  ATLAS, located in Villacarrillo (Jaen), offers the international aeronautical community an aerodrome with excellent facilities and ideal airspace to carry out different types of flights using unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).

Another important goal of TRACE is to promote the use of EGNOS inside the UAS sector. EGNOS is an Augmentation System based on a network of satellites and ground stations used to improve the performance of the various satellite navigation systems (GPS, Galileo, GLONASS) in Europe. In this way, TRACE will enable safer integration of drones into the shared airspace through the safe deployment of the U-space, making it easier for traditional aviation pilots to let them know the position of drones at each moment.


The project also aims to develop a concept of operations endorsed by SORA (Specific Operations Risk Assessment).

In the framework of TRACE, several topics have been considered:

  • monitoring VLOS operation with volume infringement
  • monitoring multi-layer VLOS operation with distress
  • urban inspection operation
  • manned aircraft awareness

Different scenarios were developed, including an urban flight to test the innovative beacon capabilities. The technology used in this beacon improves accuracy thanks to EGNOS and, of course, thanks to new technologies such as 5G.

TRACE project, led by ALTER TECHNOLOGY, involves renowned companies such as FADA-CATEC, UNIFLY (Belgium), and PILDO LABS.

EUSPA, the funding entity of this project, provides secure satellite navigation services, promotes the use of Galileo, EGNOS, and Copernicus data and services, and coordinates the EU’s next governmental satellite communications program, GOVSATCOM. EUSPA is also responsible for the security accreditation of all components of the EU Space Programme.