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Airborne data collection on resilient system architectures

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ADACORSA (Airborne data collection on resilient system architectures)

Reporting period: 2021-05-01 to 2022-04-30

Amaras Law states that we tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short term and underestimate its impact in the long. Drones may only have limited application today as the playthings of children and enablers of spectacular camerawork, but there are few emerging technologies that have the potential to catalyse equivalent fundamental change in our mobility infrastructure, given that they promise application of the third dimension to relieve some of the pressure on our increasingly overburdened transport networks.
The “plateau of productivity” for drones holds enormous promise but demands new technical and regulatory capabilities to support drone operations in long range, semi-autonomous use cases Beyond Visible Line Of Sight (BVLOS). Integration with existing planning and flight management infrastructures, highly reliable multi-technology communication systems, reliable power, fail-operational hardware and fault tolerant software are all needed. For drones, none of these things exist, in a commercially usable form, today.
SESAR (Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research) has already started work on regulatory and procedural structures for drone co-existence with crewed traffic with the U-Space architecture and has defined levels of implementation of that architecture U1-U4 covering the period from 2019 to 2035. This will demand new technical capabilities that are not available at realistic price points today.
That is not to say these technologies will be created in a vacuum – many of them already have analogues in the “traditional” aerospace arena. Alongside that, the drive for connected and autonomous automobiles has also created impetus for some of these pieceparts at price points and multiplicities that the traditional aerospace industry can only dream of. A project addressing widespread drone deployment must therefore bring together the widest possible set of stakeholders from across our entire technical corpus, including the traditional aerospace and automotive industries, to ensure the best possible technical solutions are developed. It is properly the role ECSEL to nurture such a ‘broad church’, to deliver a project that truly changes the landscape of drone development for the next thirty years.

ADACORSA is that project, it's a project to develop sensor and communication technologies for drones to give drones the chance being safe and efficient “elements” for observation, analysis, or transport in an extended out of line-of-sight operation range. The strategic aim is to:

• Helping unlock potential in long-range and BVLOS drone operations
• Contributing to higher public and regulatory acceptance of drone use
o More robust and reliable technologies through functional redundancy
o Better sensors via fusion and more reliable communications via integration of data links
• Further strengthen the integration of automotive and drone industry
o World-class sensors from automotive industry
o Commercial off-the-shelf data communication technologies and services
o Design for automotive-style efficient production of components and subsystems

In order to keep the leading competitive strength, and to respond to the global challenge, the ECSEL-JU project ADACORSA has gathered Europe’s leading semiconductor companies, suppliers, and research institutes to create a pan-European eco-system, which has the critical mass to initiate standards and to provide relevant sensors, components, architectures and subsystems for a completely new type of drones.
ADACORSA is a large and complex R&D project, requiring adequate management and quality assurance structures. The key characteristics of the project are:

• 49 Partners from 12 EU countries
• Around 41 Mio Euro total budget and 12 Mio of funding
• 8 work packages and 10 supply chains
• 77 deliverables
• Research and innovation action with different Technology Readiness Levels (TRL 2 to 5)
The second project year was characterized by the development of architectures and components (sensors, actuators etc.) suiting ADACORSAs needs, with special focus on fail-oparability. Suitable architectures, sensors and components were designed, first prototypes are already available. Given the large consortium and the manifold of technical objectives and views, during the second year an excessive amount of communication was needed. This includes the organization and moderation of vision, mission meetings as well as technical workshops, phone conferences etc. The project internal data exchange server is in operation since the start of the project. The public project website is up and running and regularly updated. After the second year of the project, we conclude that the high amount of communication effort was really valuable but that the project still has to hadle side problems caused by the COVID 19 situation – Also I the year 2021 and 2022 (so far) it was not possible to invite for a face-to-face meetings, as well as the partners still have problems in hiring suitable empolyees.
The active work packages are currently really good in line with the plan and really tried to catch up the bad start 2020, shown by the first set of component prototypes.
ADACORSA is a Key Digital Technologies JU project addressing key technologies for Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drone operations. Its diverse consortium ambition is to carry technologies from adjacent industries (mobility, communication, computing) over to unmanned aviation to lower the effort required to develop components and systems for drones aimed at BVLOS operation.

Within the 5 foci of ADACORSA there a different targets:

Drone Avionics:
Drones should be able to detect and avoid a collision with cooperative and non cooperative flying or fixed obstacles. This is strongly dependent on Sensors - which are partley developed inside the project. Some aspects will be demonstrated in the flying demonstrators.
Another important feature especially for delivery of goods drones should be able to take off and land automatically as well as the communication with air traffic management and ground control stations.

The drone system has to maintain a safe and secure communication between flying part and ground control station. The Drone system has to register within the ATM System.

Legal and Regulatory framework:
A new regulatory network that drones can fly BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line Of Sight) needs to evaluated. ADACORSA will keep the project updated on the development of this regularly aspects and gives advice for development rules and requirements according this.

Beside the Saftey aspects of drones systems security is a most important issue. The experience in automotive of reports on hacked auto mobiles gives input to secure communication links.

Social acceptance:
From the binning of Drones there are a lot of concerns about using drones. The public acceptance is an important point of using drones. ADACORSA contributes with metrics and evaluation of public acceptance of drones within a broad spectrum of European countries.

The results out of the 5 focus areas of ADACORSA will be shown through the 10 supply chains in the project, which will deliver 35 demonstrators in the end.

First prototypes and first versions of the demonstrators are already availabel after the two years of project running time.