As part of the UK Government’s ‘Future Flight Challenge’ – which will see up to UK125million investment to demonstrate a fully integrated aviation system in 2024 – NATS has designed a Distributed Beyond Visual Line of Sight Aviation System’ (DBAS), a control room concept that can be used to co-ordinate airspace users, including new and novel aircraft like electric air-taxis, drones, and commercial space operators.
According to a NATS blog:
“The prototype demonstrated how the control room operator could automatically authorise flight plans, provide deconfliction advice and instructions, monitor notifications related to airspace restrictions and specific missions, and maintain oversight to ensure safe and efficient operations for all those wishing to use the airspace.
“One of the biggest challenges for future airspace will be around integrating an increasing number of aircraft types with different flying characteristics, all in the same airspace – a small drone flies in a very different way to a commercial airliner, for example. The DBAS project, which was led by sees.ai and had a number of other technical partners, demonstrated how this challenge can be overcome by using a single unified tool to safely co-ordinate all operations.
“One of the DBAS project’s central aims was the integration of BVLOS drone systems into the wider aviation system”said John McKenna, CEO of sees.ai. “BVLOS drones today typically fly in either segregated airspace, or in our case at low altitude away from other aircraft. If we wish to realise the vision of uncrewed and crewed aviation systems operating safely in the wider airspace, then central coordination of such activities is going to be crucial. In this project NATS has demonstrated a clear vision for how that could be achieved.”
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