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Advanced Integrated RPAS Avionics Safety Suite

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - AIRPASS (Advanced Integrated RPAS Avionics Safety Suite)

Reporting period: 2018-11-01 to 2020-02-29

The emerging technology of drones is increasingly used to provide non-military aviation services (commercial, non-commercial or governmental non-military) and is expected to boost industrial competitiveness, promote entrepreneurship and create new businesses in order to generate growth. Drones are able to fly in areas or under conditions that are considered to be too dangerous, dull or dirty for manned aircraft, such as flying close to the ground/water. Furthermore, they comprise multiple systems with a great variety of equipment and payloads, making them suitable for a lot of different tasks. Examples of situations for which drones could be useful are coastguard search and rescue, mapping fires, police surveillance, or packet delivery. As such, there is a high demand for drone technologies resulting in additional jobs. Beyond the drone operators, manufacturers and system integrators, the drone industry also includes a broad supply chain providing a large range of enabling technologies.

Since not all key technologies required for drones to fly in non-segregated airspace are currently mature and standardised, drone integration into all types of airspace will be gradual and will evolve as technology, regulation and societal acceptance progress. For this reason, it is difficult to address all of the issues simultaneously, and the European Union (EU) RPAS roadmap provides a prioritised timeline for achieving full integration. The early focus should be on achieving integration with Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) operations in managed airspace, and therefore research in collision avoidance (detect and avoid, D&A) as well as command and control performance is also required. AIRPASS addresses the on-board technologies for drones that are required in order to implement the Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) concept for drone operations in very low level (VLL) conditions and within the visual flight rules (VFR) environment. The investigations will cover DAA systems for cooperative and non-cooperative traffic, autopilot systems as well as CNS systems. AIRPASS will recommend a low cost and open approach for the issue of VLL traffic management on-board systems.

The overall project objective is to examine of the range of technologies on-board the drone itself that are needed, or that need to be developed, in order to implement a UTM concept. The project objective can be viewed from different perspectives: From the societal perspective; objectives in terms of contribution to society in general. From the industrial perspective; objectives in terms of making valuable contribution to realize the ambition of the aerospace industry. From the research perspective; objectives in terms of the knowledge, tools, and capabilities that the consortium members, need to provide in order to be able to conduct the requested activities.
"Next to the project management and dissemination activities (project management plan and website published), these key deliverables were submitted:

D3.1: A set of 68 functional requirements on several on-board components
D3.2: An on-board system concept for participation in U-space was defined. Functional flow diagrams of the overall system and its subsystems were generated. Required interfaces between the subsystems amongst each other and with the outside world were identified. To verify the data flow through the system, various scenarios were developed for VLOS and BVLOS flights at all U-space service levels, U1 through U4
D3.3: Technologies gap analysis for the on-board system concept defined in deliverable D3.2. Analysis focused on the gap between currently available and required technologies to support the concept Analysis touches upon all subsystems. For communication systems, it was identified that the main gap is the lack of sufficient infrastructure to support the required bandwidth for U3 and U4 deployment
D3.4: Risk assessment and proposed mitigation measures: Full risk assessment was not performed since the severities are not quantified at upper level. It is thus not determined how safe operation at VLL needs to be. The assessment is chosen to be done at a qualitative level with justification and rationale for all derived requirements
D4.1: Gap analysis of the derived functional sub-systems: Technologies are available, but the infrastructure (e.g. mobile services for communication) or the levels of qualification (e.g. hardware) might not be sufficient for a large-scale integration of drones.

Key results are: Functional on-board system architecture for drones with all functions required for U-space services; this is the key novelty of the project; Risk assessment to analyse risks of the on-board system architecture with some mitigation strategies; Gap analysis of the derived functional sub-systems: Technologies are available, but the infrastructure (e.g. mobile services for communication) or the levels of qualification (e.g. hardware) might not be sufficient for a large-scale integration of drones.

AIRPASS dissemination activities:
R. Geister, AIRPASS presentation for Second CORUS U-space workshop, Second CORUS U-space workshop, 28.6.2018 Toulouse, France
E. Neeman, AIRPASS presentation for SAFEDRONE, SAFEDRONE project meeting, 22.1.2019 Madrid, Spain
G. Del Core, R. Geister, AIRPASS presentation for PLATINUM: ""Il Futuro è dei droni"", Italy, PLATINUM, July 2019
R. Geister, et al. (2019) On-Board System Concept for Drones in the European U-space. DASC 2019, 8.9.19 - 12.9.19 San Diego, CA, USA.
A stakeholder workshop was carried out end of 2019"
The existing CNS infrastructure that is available were reviewed to identify which technologies could or should be used on-board to enable (or optimise) VLL operations within the UTM concept. Upon these results, the requirements were identified for the on-board systems with respect to the available CNS infrastructure. Aspects that were taken into account are the large number of drones, (low) costs, the necessity of miniaturisation, and the impact on frequency spectrum. The functional requirements were drafted and categorised according to the specific type of drones, taking into account the operational categories as defined by EASA (i.e. open, specific and certified). Several studies to define the on-board system concept for VLL drone operations within the envisioned U-space concept were performed. These included the following: communications, navigation, surveillance, autopilot, DAA, geo-fencing, miniaturisation, and integration. The studies covered both hard- and software. Aspects, such as compatibility with manned operations, large number of drones, and low costs solutions were taken into account under the mentioned subjects.

The project studied various technology solutions tailored to the type of drones and the operation to be conducted and defined requirements for a drone on-board system meeting the needs of VLL usage and operations harmonized with U-space. In addition, high level safety requirements were allocated to the different technical systems needed for operations in VLL environment according to U-space by using the SORA methodology being developed for various VLL operations and applied this for the different technical systems to derive safety requirements. A functional on-board system architecture for drones with all functions required for U-space service was developed; this is the key novelty of the project.