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Drone information management

In reference to the SJU Annual Work Programme 2016, this topics covers Section 3.5.3 (e) 2) topic a).

It is anticipated that information management will be as applicable to drone operations as it is to manned aviation, but it is not clear if the type of data currently available to manned aviation, and the way it is managed and accessed, is appropriate to drone operations. This should be investigated. Furthermore, the cost implications should be considered against the potentially more financially-constrained nature of many forms of drone operation.

The range of drones under consideration is very large, ranging from small line-of-sight (LOS) drones of limited capability, all the way up to extremely advanced machines flying autonomously over long distances in a wide variety of airspace environments. Consequently, this topic should consider information management from the perspective of the many mission types that may be envisaged. A scenario-based approach may be considered to illustrate the range and applicability of information management.

A project proposing to cover this topic should make clear any assumptions made about the volumes of traffic used in the analysis and any implications for the conclusions.

In manned aviation, the sharing of timely and relevant information, of guaranteed quality, is recognised as a prerequisite for safe and efficient operations. Drones will operate in complex low-level airspace where there will be other drones, manned aircraft, buildings and terrain hazards. It is essential, therefore, that aeronautical information and planning facilities are sufficiently robust and accurate to enable these operations to be conducted safely and efficiently.

There is likely to be a vast amount of information generated by the appearance of large numbers of drones in the skies. Unless drone operations are supported by an appropriate information-management environment, it is unlikely that safe and effective drone operations could be conducted. This study will identify drone-specific issues concerning information management, the need for integration with manned aviation, and explore solutions to the issues raised. In doing this, a safe increase in drone activity will be supported, and growth of the industry promoted.