Deep Blue and EASA published the first results of UAS standards assessment

The SHEPHERD project, funded by EASA – European Union Aviation Safety Agency and led by Deep Blue, whose purpose was to technically assess the suitability of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) standards to comply with the EU drone regulations, is ready to share its results.



The SHEPHERD project was funded by EASA – European Union Aviation Safety Agency public contract “Horizon Europe Project: UAS standard” and performed its research for two years.

The main objective of the SHEPHERD project was to build upon the work performed by the AW-Drones project by complementing its analysis through the technical assessment of the suitability of the standards listed by AW-Drones as good candidates to fulfil the requirements contained in the following provisions. Specifically, the AW-Drones project assessed the standards listed in the EUSCG (European UAS Standards Coordination Group) UAS Rolling Development Plan (U-RDP) with regard to maturity, coverage, cost of compliance, environmental impact, impact on EU industry competitiveness and social acceptance. The assessment, however, was limited to the scope of the standards and did not include the evaluation of the technical content to determine whether the standards are adequate to meet the safety objectives of the provisions of the related regulations.

The list of standards is based on the AW-Drones deliverables.

The well assorted Consortium brings together 9 international partners, great experts in the drones domain: Deep Blue (project coordinator), Wing Aviation Finland Oy (technical leader), Azur Drones, Michael Allouche, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Murzilli Consulting, ANRA Technologies,  EuroUSC Italia S.r.l., and Volocopter GmbH.




To evaluate the technical suitability of the standards, it was considered of paramount importance to develop a rigorous methodology assuring impartial, systematic, and consistent assessment results.

The work methodology proposed by SHEPHERD is composed of four steps:

Step #1 – Identify the standards in scope and the requirements against which the standards need to be assessed.

As explained in the introduction, the list of standards proposed to be considered within the scope of the SHEPHERD project is extracted from the AW-Drones project deliverables, which are aligned with the EUSCG U-RDP.

Step #2 – Categorise the requirements against which the standards in scope need to be assessed.

The requirements identified in Step#1 were categorised either as:

  • Technical objective-based requirements: performance-oriented requirements targeting a specific technical consideration or design but leaving flexibility on the implementation up to the UAS manufacturer.
  • Operational or organisational objective-based requirements: performance-oriented leaving flexibility on the implementation at operational (e.g., with respect to training / manual and procedures) or organisational levels up to the UAS operator.
  • Technology-dependent requirements: provide performance requirements whose implementation will strongly depend on the technology chosen by the applicant.

Step #3 – Assess with a 4-eye independent principle each proposed standard linked to the objective-based requirements.

This step was carried out through a preliminary high-level assessment and a successive detailed technical assessment.

Step #4 – Summarise the assessment.

Once the previous steps are completed, an assessment summary will be produced for each standard, covering all the requirements assessed against.

The way to present such an assessment summary will depend on the type of requirements (i.e., ‘type A’ and ‘type B’ requirements) assessed against, as explained in Sections 2.4.1 and 2.4.2 below.

More detailed information about the methodology can be found in “SHEPHERD – D-1 – Industry standards assessment criteria and work methodology” on the EASA website.




The first iteration assessed 23 standards in fulfilling the relevant requirements. A summary of the standard assessments of this first iteration can be found in “D2.1-D3.1 – Identification of satisfactory industry standards and justification for not acceptable industry standards”. Several gaps were identified, but the list is not publicly available.

In the second iteration, 27 standards were assessed and shared with EASA and the Advisory Board. A second document will be soon published on the EASA website, including a list of gaps and justification for not acceptable standards for SDOs consideration.




Since the project team has now successfully accomplished all tasks, the SHEPHERD consortium and EASA are glad to invite you for the final dissemination webinar. It will take place on April 23rd, from 10:00 – 12:00 CET (UTC +1).

For registration and agenda, please visit the EASA dedicated webpage.

The webinar will also be recorded and made available on the same webpage and the project page after the webinar.

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