Answer given by Mr Tajani on behalf of the Commission
In the current FP7(1), the Commission is not funding research on drones as such. The mentioned projects are looking at (the validation of) innovative operational concepts to facilitate the use of existing Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) for civil purposes.
As to the tests foreseen by Aeroceptor and Closeye, for the Aeroceptor tests the Yamaha Rmax — a commercial RPAS already owned by one of the consortium members — will be used. The estimated cost for this work is about EUR 200.000. Closeye has not yet chosen the platform to be used for the maritime surveillance experiments. The use of RPAS might be considered.
So far Aeroceptor has not tested any payload device. The testing will depend on the suitability of the devices to perform effective and safe detentions fulfilling all the requirements resulting from previous safety, ethical and legal analysis. This will be assessed in next stages of the project. Closeye intends to test surveillance equipment.
Aeroceptor intends to perform flight testing, either in INTA (Spain) or ONERA (France) facilities during summer 2015. Closeye intends to conduct testing activities in 2015. The specific testing place(s) are not yet defined.
There is currently no money earmarked for RPAS in the 2014-2020 MFF. Projects involving RPAS and their payloads can participate in calls for proposals under Horizon 2020, in line with its rules and under relevant thematic components, as it has been the case under the FP7. This is done at the level of the annual work programmes. Moreover, the Commission is working now on a roadmap for the insertion of RPAS into civil airspace. This work might result in the development of some of the technologies necessary for civil RPAS to meet flight safety requirements.