Estonia’s U-Area Sandbox – DRONELIFE

ANRA Technologies, a global leader in unmanned traffic management (UTM) and drone operations platforms, recently announced the successful opening of a new U-Space Sandbox located in Tartu, Estonia, in partnership with the Estonian Transport Administration, the Estonian Business and Innovation Agency and the Tartu Science Park Foundation.

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First announced in May, 2023, and then formally launched in June, the test facility had its first successful test flights on September 12th and 13th, modeling a range of scenarios designed to validate the facility.

“The working group’s activities reached another very important phase as we tested the performance of the U-space services and made test flights,” said Priit Rifk, Head of the Unmanned Aviation Department at the Estonian Transport Administration.

ANRA Technologies, who provide services for the U-Space and act as the Common Information Services provider, are working alongside the Estonian Aviation Academy, who are providing piloting services for the new U-Space. “Testing and validation play an important role, as it allows us to try out the different scenarios that will appear in U-space in the future,” Rifk added. “As a result of the testing, we hope to obtain the necessary input for the validation and certification of the U-space service providers.”

Maria Tamm, the Unmanned Aerial Systems Team Lead at the Estonian Aviation Academy, struck an optimistic tone in their press release, stating that, “The testing of the systems developed by ANRA revealed a number of regulatory and technical challenges for the implementation of the U-space. This will help us to better focus our efforts in the near future, so that the unmanned aviation sector gets the boost it needs to develop.”

After the completion of the test phase at the end of September, the facility can finally fully come on-line. “The results of the technical tests currently being conducted will be analyzed by both the Aviation Academy and the Transport Administration, and only on this basis will it be possible to establish a subsequent roadmap regarding the volume and shape of the created test facility,” Tamm said.

Amit Ganjoo, the CEO of ANRA Technologies, stated, “This has been a terrific private-public collaboration for providing the foundation for credible U-space activities. ANRA’s support of Estonia’s innovative approach for launching U-space services culminated in a successful delivery of a sandbox that is a major step for establishing commercial U-space services.”

This project is merely one step in a broader effort to provide uncrewed air traffic services across Europe in accordance with the European Commission’s Implementing Regulation 664/2021. The participants in the project are the Estonian Transport Administration, the Estonian Business and Innovation Agency, ANRA Technologies, the Estonian Aviation Academy, Lennuliiklusteeninduse AS, the Ministry of Climate, the City of Tartu and Tartu Science Park.

The cooperation project “Expertise for the development of the uncrewed aviation test facility (U-space sandbox)” is funded by the European Regional Development Fund 2014–2020.

ANRA also recently announced the release of their new Mission Manager X Fleet Operations Software, which you can read more about here.


Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry.  Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.


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