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SKYOPENER - establishing new foundations for the use of Remotely-Piloted Aircraft Systems for civilian applications.

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - SKYOPENER (SKYOPENER - establishing new foundations for the use of Remotely-Piloted Aircraft Systems for civilian applications.)

Reporting period: 2017-08-01 to 2019-06-30

The European aviation community debate how & under what conditions, Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) can offer new services & applications (apps) beyond traditional aviation & to perform existing services affordably & environmentally friendly. RPAS will create new opportunities in Europe, sustainable jobs & manufacturing industry & future RPAS user growth prospects in all sectors. Demand to operate RPAS over long range is increasing due to a wide range of civil apps. However RPAS regulations in civil airspace is not yet ready to enable RPAS BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line Of Sight) operations.
SKYOPENER gathered a group of experts to master full-system risk. Swiss ANSP Skyguide - expert partner to manage flight authorization working closely with Swiss CAA. The consortium gathered technology leaders: Navigation, Satcom, ATM & business process.
Objectives & conclusions:
1. Improve RPAS navigation system reliability & security: Improvement was demonstrated during on-ground tests for robustness against jamming, precision & availability. Using GPS & Galileo in multi-frequency combinations results in improved availability, better accuracy with dual-frequency measurements & improved robustness against interference. EGNOS can meet the stringent requirements for navigation, continuity, accuracy & availability, while Galileo's inclusion in the multi-constellation concept & integration with other sensors can dramatically improve UAV navigation accuracy, availability, continuity & reliability
2. Use Satcom as compliment to GNSS to increase RPAS situational awareness & enhance traffic surveillance: Satcom was demonstrated in flight to transmit UAV status (location, speed, direction, engine information) to RPS & UTM
3. Use Satcom to increase RPAS comm. systems reliability: Satcom was successfully used, with radio & LTE
4. Develop safety systems to mitigate against human error & safety threats: Human error was mitigated via specific HMI design
5. Develop contingency systems onboard & on-ground systems that mitigate against C2 (command & control) loss/human error: Contingency procedures inc. auto. trajectory check were demonstrated
6. Develop an ATM system dedicated to RPA VLL operations with interactive surveillance features - UAV Traffic Management (UTM): ATM system dedicated to RPA VLL is the UTM demonstrated during the flight campaign. UTM & ATM Interaction was demonstrated
7. Improve information processing & presentation on RPAS to reduce human error risk: The current ground control station interface has a system state summary to quickly assess the overall state of the RPAS & dynamic interface for online flight plan changes
8. Develop BLOS e-TOD & linear surveillance RPAS mission payload & software: Airborne mission payload designed for target use-case was integrated to RPA & successfully tested in flight. Processed payload data gave a successful result
-Use case requirements from large end-user survey
-System requirements, integration, test:
RPA (airborne): CNS, Mission payload, mission management computer
RPS (Ground) & mission payload management: enhanced flight operation/situation awareness & mission payload remote management
Communication system & services: C2 link, interaction UTM, RPAS, ATM
-Flight campaign, flight authorization & SORA & post-processing results
Tests proved the GALILEO & EGNOS benefits for signals robustness vs jamming, PVT solution precision, signal & PVT availability. The Skyopener test bench allows to verify in advance the behavior of the UAV (Guidance, Navigation and Control) & the UAV is fit for a specific mission case.
Comm. services, data links & mission network (NW) management:
Comm. services: C2 link & Ground cloud NW
Ensuring communication services required for air, ground systems & stakeholders:
-C2 link (Air-Ground) for the UAV: Very high availability & resilience. Enabled by hot-redundancy hybrid NW using Radio, LTE & Satcom
-Ground Cloud NW connecting apps supporting missions & stakeholders
Mission NW manager was developed to optimize & monitor the hybrid NW for UAV flight operations & monitor the apps for flight operations.
Mission management suite:
Managed mission process from internal service request to final report including mission preparation, supervision & flight operation awareness for stakeholders & onboard computer which monitors flight operations & sensor payload management. Mission preparation module enables RPAS configuration before flight.
Flight operations validated modules for 2 business cases by flying over powerline & a Swiss airport:
-Surveillance of critical infrastructure
-Surveillance of airports and surroundings: E-TOD
The flight authorization process was achieved including flight authorization & SORA submitted to Swiss CAA. Specific risk reduction was successfully implemented.
Geo-fencing with safety buffer was set to avoid populated area in case of emergency procedure, such as return home or fail safe crash. BVLoS operations are still very challenging & require coordination on authorities requirements & timelines. ICAO, EASA, National & JARUS SARPs must be further developed for the regulations to allow use of available technologies for the society benefit.
Unifly flight view display delivered a map-view for the RPA with unique features: layer selection & basemaps. UTM system integration for ATM gateway coordination was developed, able to receive manned aircraft positions from ATM gateway via a developed Asterix protocol providing situational awareness of UAV & manned traffic.
Payload Data Exploitation:
Data from the LiDAR, visible imaging camera & IR sensor were processed per apps & payload alarm requirements.
For the corridor mapping app, LiDAR data acquired over powerline was processed to recognize intruding vegetation per requirements & survey report. Visible images allow for simple assessment & rapid dangerpoints check e.g. recognizing tree species. IR images allowed hotspot detection. Damage detection was simulated by auto-change-detection over 2 days. Implemented the ability to auto-detect powerline issues by processing data while flying.
E-TOD: tall trees, pylons & wires detection exceeding the height limit & mapping was demonstrated.
SKYOPENER impacts RPAS manufacturers & operators, ANSPs & their customers e.g. critical infrastructure operators. Railways & airports will benefit from RPAS new services & apps beyond traditional aviation. Existing services can be lower cost & environmentally friendly. SKYOPENER reduces the specific operation risk & enables operation in locations requiring cost prohibitive high data rate services for manned aircrafts. A system allowing RPAS to fly safely allows service provision where manned aircraft would present a risk to life e.g. humanitarian relief, border patrol & disasters. Lower risks & costs meets market needs, particularly emerging markets.Acceleration towards RPAS operation in civil airspace will impact services offered. Systems that enable RPAS to fly safely in compliance with regulation will reduce RPAS operator insurance cost making RPAS apps more commercially attractive & widely used.The lower cost RPAS vs manned aircraft will have a positive impact on the European RPAS & aviation industry. SKYOPENER will accelerate the European roadmap implementation & contribute to the European RPAS Strategy by giving European industry a headstart in the international market resulting in more jobs, taxes & RPAS enterprises.