The laws of Connected Drones controlled by the Network

September 2019 - April 2020
40.000 €
Funding organization: 

TIM S.p.A.

Person(s) in charge: 

Eleonora Bassi (Senior Researcher), Giacomo Conti (Junior Researcher)

Executive summary: 

The laws of Connected Drones controlled by the Network is a project focuses on the legal framework for Unmanned Aircraft Systems operations and the main issues raised by drone operations in urban contexts.


The development of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (‘UAS’), also known as Remote Piloted Aircraft Systems (‘RPAS’), or simply drones, offers a wide range of possibilities for the benefit of society, from agriculture to security, from environmental control to journalism, from infrastructure inspections to medical assistance and humanitarian aid, as well as a fascinating variety of commercial services.
For the performance of UAS operations, as well as for data processing during the flight, the communication of geo-localization data, and the drone identification for flight control and security monitoring, UASs use mobile communication networks, including their cloud computing resources and services.
In the next years the integration of mobile networks is going to be stronger, and 5G technologies will play a crucial role. The legal framework for drone operations is evolving too, fostering the development of new safe and lawful activities.


The project’s objectives included:
(i) an analysis of the evolving European and Italian legal framework for UAS operations in urban scenarios, with attention to privacy constraints and measures.
(ii) an analysis of experimental use-cases from EU Member States.
(iii) academic publications.


The activities and the results by Nexa Center were:
(i) a report on the revolution of UAS EU and Italian regulation, including standard scenarios for specific operation (author Giacomo Conti, Spring 2020);
(ii) a report on the most relevant European experimental use-cases of civilian UAS operations in urban contexts (author: Giacomo Conti, due date Summer 2020).
(iii) the following peer reviewed academic publications:
Eleonora Bassi, “European Drones Regulation: Today's Legal Challenges". In: 2019 International Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (ICUAS). pp. 443-450. IEEE, Atlanta, GA (USA) (2019).
Eleonora Bassi, “From Here to 2023: Civil Drones Operations and the Setting of New Legal Rules for the European Single Sky". Journal of Intelligent & Robotic Systems, 2020, doi:
Eleonora Bassi, "Urban Unmanned Aerial Systems Operations: on Privacy, Data Protection, and Surveillance”, Law in Context (37) 2020, pp. 1-25, (accepted for publication, Open access).

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