In a security-critical situation in the maritime area, the Federal Police in Germany could employ the ship-based deployment of remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) that may enable the automated acquisition of aerial images. Where an intervention is required, response time could be shortened significantly. The requirements and possibilities for such a scenario are examined in the framework of the project MaRPAS (maritime RPAS operation).
In the MaRPAS project, DLR is investigating the requirements and possibilities for the deployment of remotely piloted aircraft systems in a maritime area. This research is in cooperation with the German Federal Police and requires the close collaboration of DLR’s institutes of Flight Guidance and Flight Systems. The common objective is the design, simulation and execution of precision approaches by an RPAS to a landing platform on a ship. Real time parameters such as weather will be considered during the flight planning of the missions.
The project will conclude with a series of demonstrations, where an unmanned vehicle will be flown onto a moving platform using precise navigation. U-Fly, a ground control station developed at the Institute of Flight Guidance, will be used in this campaign and allows research scientists to manage the flight-planning task, and to support the command and control links with the unmanned vehicle.
More than two thirds of today’s freight is transported by sea. Furthermore, offshore wind farms are growing in size and number to provide power from renewable energy. Industrial nations around the globe benefit from the potential of the world's oceans. However, authorities are constantly facing numerous threats that affect maritime safety and security, such as accidents, storm surges, piracy, or maritime terrorism. An essential task of the government is to address the risks in the maritime sector. Detailed and timely information is necessary to assess and respond to the current situation. Unmanned aerial systems offer great potential in this context.
In a crisis, up-to-date information needs to be collected and distributed among all parties involved. This information allows participants to detect threats early, plan missions appropriately, make proper decisions and react in a timely manner. The use of RPAS can support this process by gathering aerial imagery of locations that are hard to reach or inaccessible during severe weather events. Ship-based deployment of RPAS, however, requires accurate navigation performance as rough seas and turbulence above landing platforms pose a particular challenge to the systems. The MaRPAS project aims to respond to these challenges.