Demonstration drone flights will shortly begin testing U-space functionalities at an enhanced service level as part of the EuroDRONE programme. EuroDRONE is among the series of demonstrations programmes led by the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) Joint Undertaking within the framework of the EU’s Connecting Europe Facility programme. The work is directed towards opening up the market for a broad range of drone operations and related services that are currently restricted such as parcel deliveries in dense urban locations, medical emergencies and police interventions, maritime search and rescue missions, and forestry inspections.
EuroDRONE aims to connect operators, regulators, law enforcement agencies and product developers – and the different systems they use – in a unified environment. The tests include beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) flights over the sea near Missolonghi, Greece, operating in national and international environments. Consortium member Cranfield University is leading work around path planning and clearance procedures, connectivity between airports and drones, the tracking of drones to monitor their operations and behaviour, and the assessment and development of appropriate sense and avoid techniques.
The EuroDRONE architecture is made up of cloud software and hardware (transponders) to be installed on drones. It is a sophisticated self-learning system operating in a distributed computing environment and offering multiple levels of redundancy, fail-safe algorithms for conflict prevention/resolution and asset management.
Professor Antonios Tsourdos, Head of the Autonomous and Cyber-Physical Systems Centre at Cranfield, said: “Drones and autonomous vehicles have a wide range of potential uses which are currently underexploited. The presence of unmanned aerial vehicles in our airspace will become increasingly common and test programmes such as this are crucial to ensuring they can operate safely alongside one another and manned aircraft.”
EuroDRONE project partners include Aslogic, Cranfield University, Dronsystems Limited, the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority (HCAA), Hellenic Post S.A. (ELTA), University of Patras (UPAT) and Romanian Post (CNPR). The project is being coordinated by the University of Patras in Greece.
(Image: Cranfield University)
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