Eurocontrol paper simulates safety and efficiency impacts of airspace constraints in U-space airspace

A paper published by Eurocontrol, written by experts from Eurocontrol and Airbus, demonstrates the use of simulation to quantify the safety and efficiency implications of airspace restrictions on Uncrewed Aircraft System (UAS) operations in U-space airspace.

The authors simulate package delivery type operations across the city of Riga, Latvia with and without strategic deconfliction based on volumetric operational intent. Three scenarios were simulated across a range of demand levels: (1) a baseline in which no airspace restrictions are in place; (2) a scenario in which a small number of airspace restrictions are in place associated with air risk; and (3) a scenario in which a larger number of airspace restrictions are in place associated with both air risk and ground risk.

The simulation results suggest that the probability of mid air collisions (MAC) increases with increasingly complex airspace restrictions, but that the effectiveness of strategic deconfliction based on volumetric intent to ensure operational safety by reducing the probability of MAC remains approximately constant. Results are also presented for average throughput and delay, which suggest that, when applying strategic deconfliction, operational restrictions limit throughput and lead to increases in delay – at all the demand levels simulated.

The paper demonstrates the value of simulation to support airspace assessment, which is required by European Member States in order to meet the requirements of the European U-space regulation.

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