The aim of the Horizon2020 project Labyrinth is to optimise drone traffic to enhance its circulation in highly densified areas and encourage its use, given the high potential of these unmanned aerial vehicles for the optimisation of management and supervision processes. The German Aerospace Center (DLR) will be working on the integration of the envisaged drones into the non-segregated airspace in the urban environment.
Labyrinth will focus its efforts on providing a drone traffic service to improve the safety and efficiency of civil land, sea and air transportation as well as emergency and rescue operations. This ambitious project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 861696 and will be carried out by 13 European entities leading the transport, aviation, research, emergency, and ancillary services sectors.
Over a period of 36 months, these organisations will collaboratively investigate the design of applications and procedures in order to boost the use of drones and accelerate the regulatory changes that will allow drone use in the European Union.
Ensuring the safety and efficiency of transport is one of the EU's priorities. Drones are a great ally in this field, thanks to their ability to carry out surveillance and management operations or access hard-to-reach places in emergency situations. To date, however, security concerns have limited drone use, as drone operation in public areas is often illegal.
In view of its potential, SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research) is leading the U-Space project to create a new air traffic management framework that includes drones. This new framework is designed to integrate low-level drone operations safely and efficiently, up to 120 meters high, into European airspace. For the safe control of this traffic, the electronic registration of the airline is essential, as well as the restriction of access to sensitive areas, such as airports, through geofencing.
The use of drones is increasing: by 2035, there will be around 400,000 unmanned aircraft in Europe. The challenge will be to relieve drone traffic in cities and other areas sensitive to congestion. In such scenarios, there will be a need for a traffic management which is able to efficiently guide the traffic and avoid collisions.
In this regard, Labyrinth will work on a centralised planning system which is capable of communicating with all the drones active in a given area and identifying their directional layout in order to calculate alternative routes for avoiding collisions. This approach is also being investigated by NASA, which is working to create flight control centres for autonomous drone management.
Labyrinth aims to base its technology on the U-Space framework and advance the efforts already made within the SESAR strategy concerning the development of autonomous air traffic control systems for the integration of drones into the European airspace.
Labyrinth potential applications
This project intends to develop applications capable of revolutionising air transport and accelerating regulatory changes regarding drone use in the EU. This advance offers a huge range of applicability and new business models that open the drone industry to new markets.
Labyrinth is focused on offering its services to public or private entities responsible for managing land, sea and air transport infrastructures as well as emergency and rescue operations. The aim of the project is to increase the competitiveness of the civil transport sector by reducing security costs and management outlay.
Labyrinth applications are very diverse depending on the area:
Labyrinth will be executed by 13 European entities from Spain, Germany, Austria, Italy, and Belgium. These entities are experts in the different sectors involved in the project: transport, aviation, research, emergency, and ancillary services.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 861696.
UC3M – University Carlos III of Madrid (Coordinator)
Expace on Board Systems
DLR – The German Aerospace Center
DGT – Directorate General for Traffic
TID – Telefonica Research and Development
INTA – International Institute for Aerospace Technology
Eurocontrol - Organization for the Safety of Navigation
DIN – German Institute for Standardization
The Authority of the Port System of the Eastern Ligure Sea
AIT – Austrian Institute of Technology
PONS Road Safety
Madrid City Council – SAMUR Civil Protection
PKF Attest innCome