European SESAR research examines technologies to protect airports from drone incursions

The SESAR European research programme is co-funding a two-year project examining innovative ways to protect airports from drone incursions. The Airport System PRotection from Intruding Drones (ASPRID) programme aims to develop a service-oriented operational concept and system architecture to protect airport operations from unwanted drones. To do so, the project will analyse aircraft and airport (runway and ground) operations to pinpoint possible vulnerabilities. With this, the project aims to identify possible technologies, procedures and regulations that could help better safeguard against drone incursions and/or can help them recover from any disruptions as quickly and as efficiently as possible. In doing so, the project proposes a more integrated and coordinated approach to handling drone incursions.

The project is pooling knowledge and resources from seven European entities from different sectors: airports, research, innovation technologies, drone operations, IT, safety and security. It builds on research and development already underway on a broad range of systems that are able to impede such so-called rogue-drone flights over non-authorised areas by detecting and neutralising drones. While innovative, these solutions are not necessarily interoperable or customised with airports environments in mind.

SESAR says the benefit of having an integrated approach to addressing drone incursions at airports include the following:

  • Increased airport operational and cost efficiency, by managing the operational flow and minimising the cost of disruptions in case of drone intrusions.
  • Enhanced safety and security, by increasing awareness about threats and preventing/mitigating their effects.
  • Enabling environmental and economy, fostering the safe and secure use of drones for airport services and arising new market opportunities related to drones and airport protection systems from drones.
  • Regulation: Supporting drone & U-space with the definition of characteristics for zones where drones are (not) allowed to fly under any circumstances or restrictions due to the risk for the airport in terms of safety and security.

ASPRID will be carried out by 7 European entities from Spain, Italy and France. These entities are experts in the different sectors involved in the project: airports, research, innovation technologies, drone operations, IT, safety and security.

  • Aena SME SA
  • Aerospace Laboratory for Innovative components (ALI Scarl)
  • Centro Italiano Ricerche Aerospaziali (CIRA)
  • Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial (INTA)
  • Office National d’Etudes et de Recherches Aérospatiales (ONERA)
  • SoulSoftware SRL

The project has received funding from the SESAR Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 892036.

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