Drones, also known as UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) or RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems), have until now mainly been operated in the hobby domain or by military agencies. However, there is an increasing number of civilian parties seeking to fulfil commercial, non-commercial or state tasks using drones. The growing drone market is expected to promote industrial competitiveness and entrepreneurial initiatives, and new companies will spring up focusing on entirely new tasks.
However, the key technologies required to integrate drones into the airspace have not yet all been fully developed and standardised. The integration of drones into all air spaces will take place gradually and continue to develop whilst technology, regulations and social acceptance continue to advance. The SESAR joint undertaking has issued the U-Space blueprint which has triggered a range of projects intended to develop a comprehensive concept for the integration of drones in Europe.
One of these projects is AIRPASS (Advanced Integrated RPAS Avionics Safety Suite) which began in November 2017. Within SESAR it is concerned with on-board technologies for drones – an important component in U-space in order to be able to operate drones at low altitudes (Very Low Level, VLL). In this environment, visual flight rules (VFR) normally apply, meaning that all traffic – including drones – must recognise and if necessary avoid potential obstacles and other traffic. To this end, "Detect and Avoid" systems (DAA) and the required communications systems (CNS) are documented, investigated and classified in an overall framework. The project derides recommendations on performance data and framework conditions of these systems. Finally, the intention is for AIRPASS to recommend a cost-effective and open approach for VLL traffic control within U-space.
The DLR Institute for Fight Guidance is leading the AIRPASS project as a whole as well as the work packages for management and for the planning of the evaluation of a future on-board system. Further, it is contributing to the identification of available technologies and the on-board system concept.
You will find detailed information on the project on the project website http://www.airpass-project.eu.
This project has received funding from the SESAR Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 763658. AIRPASS – H2020 – SESAR – 2016/1 – Ref. 763658.
Parthenope University of Naples
Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute (TsAGI)