European call for Digital Sky Demonstrators in the areas of automation and virtualisation

SESAR Joint Undertaking has announced a call by the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA) under the Connecting Europe Facility, containing provisions for a series of SESAR JU Digital European Sky Demonstrators in the areas of automation and virtualisation. The demonstrators are a key tool to support the SESAR JU’s vision of delivering the Digital European Sky, matching the ambitions of “sustainable and smart mobility” and “Europe fit for the digital age” initiatives. The demonstrators, when selected, are expected to be launched in 2023 and to run until 2026. The two SESAR-related topics covered by the call, “gradual transition towards higher levels of automation” and “virtual centres and ATM data service providers (ADSPs)”, have been selected from among nine flagships outlined in SESAR 3 Joint undertaking’s multiannual work programme.

The Digital Sky Demonstrators will take place in live operational environments and will put to the test (on a very large scale) the technological solutions necessary to deliver the Digital European Sky. The demonstrators are part of an innovation pipeline designed by the SESAR Joint 3 Undertaking to bridge the gap between applied/industrial research and industrialisation, and to accelerate market uptake. Critical to their success will be the involvement of early movers, as well as a strong close connection with relevant standardisation and regulatory activities and bodies.

CEF SESAR 3 JU call topics

  • Gradual transition to higher levels of automation (CEF-T-2022-SIMOBGEN-SESAR-DSDA-WORKS): Europe’s ATM infrastructure operates with low levels of automation support and data exchange, leading to rigidity, lack of scalability and resilience, and an inability to exploit emerging digital technologies, including in support of new airspace users. The future architecture of the European sky requires increased automation in air traffic control and an infrastructure commensurate with the performance required by each airspace user type and environment, including those in the transition areas between Europe and neighbouring ICAO regions, which may have specific regulations and challenges.
  • Virtual centres and ATM data service providers (ADSPs) (CEF-T-2022-SIMOBGEN-SESAR-DSDU-WORKS): A lack of flexibility in the sector configuration capabilities at pan-European level. This is caused by the close coupling of ATM service provision to the ATS systems and operational procedures, preventing air traffic from making use of cloud-based data service provision. A more flexible use of external data services, considering data properties and access rights, would allow the infrastructure to be rationalised, reducing the related costs. It will enable data- sharing, foster a more dynamic airspace management and ATM service provision, allowing air traffic service units (ATSU) to improve capacity in portions of airspace where traffic demand exceeds the available capacity. It furthermore offers options for the contingency of operations and the resilience of ATM service provision.

The deadline for submissions is 18 January 2023.

Read the European Commission announcement

Visit the CINEA call page for deadlines and details about upcoming call information days

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