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Tactical Instrumental Deconfliction And in flight Resolution

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A tactical deconfliction service for U-space users

A conflict detection and resolution service developed and demonstrated by the EU-funded TINDAiR project aims to ensure that the highly automated aircraft of the future can be safely integrated into crowded urban airspace.

Transport and Mobility icon Transport and Mobility

In the not-so-distant future, instead of taking a taxi or using a rideshare from one side of a city to another, we’ll travel via a small, highly automated aircraft that flies at lower altitudes. Known as urban air mobility (UAM), this new mode of transportation is set to reduce emissions and alleviate traffic congestion. “But before UAM can take off, it first needs to be safely integrated into the skies alongside existing crewed aviation and air traffic control,” says Stéphane Bascobert, president of Innov’ATM. To help make this happen, the SESAR Joint Undertaking, a public-private partnership set up to modernise Europe’s air traffic management system, is pooling Europe’s resources and expertise to develop new operational concepts and solutions on safely and securely integrating drones into urban airspace. Together, these solutions are referred to as U-space. “U-space relies on a high level of digitalisation and automation of functions, along with specific procedures designed to support safe, efficient and secure access to airspace for large numbers of drones,” explains Bascobert. It is within this context that the EU-funded TINDAiR project was launched.

A conflict detection and resolution algorithm

Led by Innov’ATM and supported by the SESAR Joint Undertaking, the project is focused on providing U-space users with a tactical deconfliction service. “As urban areas are very dense and many aircraft with different sizes and speeds will be sharing the same airspace, a service to prevent and avoid collisions is necessary,” notes Bascobert. The TINDAiR service includes systems and devices that detect possible conflicts and provide alerts in a timely manner. Through a safe communication link, the service sends appropriate instructions to change aircraft speed, altitude and/or heading as needed to safely and efficiently deconflict and to guide the rerouted aircraft back on course once the conflict is resolved. “The project’s greatest achievement is its development of a powerful conflict detection and resolution algorithm capable of adapting to various operational contexts and meeting the stringent response time requirements imposed by air traffic management,” adds Bascobert.

A very large-scale demonstration

Not only did the project develop a deconfliction service, it also successfully conducted very large-scale demonstrations of its viability. The demonstrations involved a range of representative and operational use cases and featured a combination of crewed and uncrewed aircraft. “Despite the many regulatory, technical and meteorological challenges we faced, we carried out the demonstrations with real flights and using different types of drones and with different systems communicating together,” notes Bascobert. “The results of these demonstrations were very promising in terms of the service’s performance, response time and operational efficiency.”

A big step forward, but more work to do

While these results represent a big step forward towards making UAM a reality, there is still a lot of work to be done. For instance, due to regulatory restrictions, the TINDAiR demos could not be conducted in urban airspace – something that must happen before the services can receive their type certification. “While this project made significant progress in securing drone airspace, and I have no doubt that many of the services we developed will find application within the UAM ecosystem, fully integrating drones into the urban airspace will require more work, research and time,” concludes Bascobert. Bascobert and the TINDAiR consortium hope to conduct some of this additional work and research via a new EU-funded project.


TINDAiR, urban air mobility, UAM, aviation, air traffic control, air traffic management, U-space, transportation, SESAR Joint Undertaking, tactical deconfliction service, aircraft, drones

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