USEPE is a SESAR Exploratory Research project to develop a concept of operations that ensures safe separation of unmanned aerial vehicles (from other drones and from manned aircraft) in a crowded urban airspace. To account for highly demanding environments like cities, additional factors such as the drone’s close proximity to buildings and extremely turbulent wind shears in urban canyons will be included in the concepts. Also, new machine learning methods to automate the separation management will be evaluated.
As a response to the new business opportunities arising through the use of drones for a range of commercial services, the SESAR Joint Undertaking published its so-called U-space Blueprint in 2017 as a “set of services and specific procedures designed to support safe, efficient and secure access to airspace for large numbers of drones”.
With this blueprint as its foundation, the field of urban air mobility and thereby the number of drone applications is projected to grow significantly in the coming years, leading to an increase of aerial vehicles flying simultaneously in the same geographical area. To ensure safe operations for all airspace members in such an area (both manned and unmanned), while at the same time allowing for a maximum number of parallel flights, a system to automatically separate them at a safe distance is necessary. This problem is most apparent in highly demanding environments like cities, where the flight paths may be close to tall buildings and similar structures - and where the drones are additionally subjected to potentially dangerous turbulent wind shears, induced by these same structures.
Having these issues in mind, USEPE will research drone separation methods (like the DLR’s proposed density-based approach) and develop a concept of operations that will be implemented and simulated for its validation. To make the implemented concept feasible for a large number of airspace users, USEPE will also research how machine learning algorithms can be included in the automation of the safe separation and the strategical and tactical deconfliction of drones, while maintaining airspace capacity. This will provide the U-space separation management system with artificial intelligence capabilities in compliance with the European ATM Masterplan Roadmap for the integration of drones into all classes of airspace.
Potential urban scenarios will be defined and assessed regarding their feasibility in order to obtain valuable results. The more suitable scenarios will be implemented and a full validation based on the European Operational Concept Validation Methodology will be performed.
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 890378.
Ingeniería de Sistemas para la Defensa de España (Coordinator)
Nommon Solutions and Technologies
Universitetet i Sørøst-Norge
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Universität Hannover
POLIS – Promotion of Operational Links with Integrated Services
Indra Navia AS