Submitted by CUTULLIC Samuel on 30 December 2020

Drones: The European consortium PRESTIGIOUS will contribute to the competitiveness of European SMEs in the field of drones

Launched by the European Union's Executive Agency for Small and Medium Enterprises (EASME), the purpose of PRESTIGIOUS is to reinforce the competitiveness of SMEs in the field of drones thanks to the contribution of four European partners: Andalucia Aerospace (Spain), Cluster Drones Paris Region (France), NAE (France) and SKYWIN (Belgium).

Drones represent an emerging market (valued at $18.14 billion in 2017, with an annual growth rate of 14 %). It is mainly led by SMEs, which are not sufficiently structured and which do not have the support necessary to take full advantage of international opportunities. 

PRESTIGIOUS will work in close collaboration with European clusters to provide SMEs with dedicated, tailor-made support in terms of internationalization. PRESTIGIOUS will target two of the market segments with high growth potential for European SMEs: Inspection and Safety, in the form of VLOS (visual line of sight ) and BVLOS applications (beyond visual line of sight ). The project will focus on opportunities in four non-European countries (Chile, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea and Canada).

PRESTIGIOUS will implement four main actions:

  • The assessment of the value chain for drones in Europe, in order to identify the strengths of European SMEs;
  • The organization of three information missions to non-European countries in order to establish contact with other clusters and to identify potential end users outside Europe;
  • The supply of individual support for European SMEs and the organization of training seminars for the transfer of information;
  • Finally, the preparation of a joint internationalization strategy and an implementation roadmap to establish a European strategy for drones.

With these actions, PRESTIGIOUS will support at least 100 SMEs working on drones in Europe within the next two years.

Strengths of the Consortium:

AAero represents about 60 Andalusian companies, including 40 SMEs. Created in 2018, this new cluster is very ambitious in supporting the growth of its SMEs in Europe and in markets outside Europe. The growth of the drone industry in the region is part of the diversification strategy for the air and space industry. AAero covers several sectors for the use of drones (indoor inspection, inspection of coastal areas, agriculture, safety, etc.).

DPR was created in 2016. The French government, the Cœur d’Essonne metropolitan area and the Val d’Essonne Community of Municipalities are at the origin of this project, which is within the scope of the Reconversion Contract of the Defense Site at Airbase 217. Solely devoted to drone

activities, the cluster has 52 members, including 31 SMEs. DPR provides its specific knowledge as well as its market expertise on drones in order to develop the value chain for drones in Europe.

NAE has been the network for air, space, defense and security businesses in Normandy since 1998. Its members cover all aspects of the drone industry (training, R&D, drone fleets, Artificial Intelligence, test and pilot centers), with applications in various sectors (inspection, safety). Its Drone roadmap is based on two focus areas, differentiating between the development of technological building blocks and services with high added value for three priority uses (safety/environment, logistics, drone taxis) and drone detection. As the consortium manager, NAE will provide an already proven methodology for the evaluation of export maturity via its "Export Club" as well as the expertise of SMEs such as ROAV7 regarding access to the African market, for which NAE is the manager.

Skywin is the air and space cluster for Wallonia (Belgium).  This association of companies, research organizations and training centers engaged in public-private partnerships and in the implementation of innovative collaborative projects has 150 members, including about 100 SMEs, 30 of which work on drones. The cluster has a solid international network that contributes to the successful development of the project and the creation of an ESCP[1] on drones.


[1] European Strategic Cluster Partnership

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