Over the next 10 years, it is anticipated that the number of civilian Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) operations will increase significantly in Europe and USA. A significant percentage of these foreseen drone activities such as delivery and e-commerce, inspections, agriculture...
Over the next 10 years, it is anticipated that the number of civilian Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) operations will increase significantly in Europe and USA. A significant percentage of these foreseen drone activities such as delivery and e-commerce, inspections, agriculture or public safety and security will take place in Very Low-Level (VLL) airspace. This expected growth of UAS movements in rural as well as urban areas indicates the need for unmanned traffic management solutions, ensuring a normal course of trouble free operations of unmanned as well as manned aviation in the same area. SESAR addresses this challenge by defining U-Space as â€œa set of new services relying on a high level of digitalisation and automation of functions and specific procedures designed to support safe, efficient and secure access to airspace for large numbers of drones.â€
IMPETUS contributes by analysing the information management needs of drone operations in very low-level (VLL) airspace and proposing a technologically and commercially feasible solution for the future U-space system to address those needs. The solution will be based on a microservice-based approach that will allow the evolution of U-space services overtime. U-Space will be a highly complex system of systems and is only going to become more so as the drone operators will increase, and new services will be required. The microservice-based approach will forego this issue by splitting the entire application into sets of small, independent and highly interconnected services according to different business capabilities. The ability for services to be independently deployed will provide the flexibility required for rapid and agile increments of the overall U-Space capability.
Since information management is an infrastructural prerequisite of future unmanned traffic management systems, the results support the European goal to gain in prosperity by means of the job and business opportunities of an emerging drones market.
IMPETUS performed a domain analysis dealing with the information management of the future U-Space system. The analysis was focused on capturing usersâ€™ needs and the characterization of data requirements through specific use cases. This task was performed by following a bottom-up approach, including an extensive literature review and a stakeholdersâ€™ survey designed by the IMPETUS Consortium.
Complementarily to the bottom-up domain analysis, IMPETUS focused on the elucidation of the conceptual drone information functions that will be needed to realize U-Space. IMPETUS yields a coherent framework identifying key information management challenges that long-term U-Space services will have to fulfil.
IMPETUS has selected crucial U-space services to be further explored through several experiments by balancing the interests of the consortium members and the relevance of the challenges previously identified. These experiments will allow consolidating the requirements of the selected U-space services and they will also conclude on the feasibility of the microservice-based approach as a flexible and cost-efficient solution for the design of the future U-space system.
IMPETUS expects to consolidate the requirements of crucial U-space services. The addressed U-space services include drone-specific weather provision, drone flight planning management, monitoring and traffic information provision as well as the elaboration of traffic management services for drones. As an example, IMPETUS will define the traffic management services which are needed to dynamically manage the airspace capacity limits in the execution phase, through new separation criteria that take diverse drone capabilities into account.
IMPETUS will test these services via specific experiments, to not only address the challenges of these services but foremost to define how these services interact with each other within the context of a global architecture. The U-space architectural framework for the IMPETUS experiments is based on a federated architecture, built around the idea of a layered distribution of responsibilities, with a central actor which has a global view and the single point of truth of the airspace situation. The federated architecture, which is also identified by the exploratory research project in charge of the U-space operational concept i.e. CORUS, offers several advantages versus a confederated deployment, where no central node exists, or the monolithic deployment where a single provider manages all system functions. IMPETUS expects to better understand the benefits and drawbacks of this federated architecture.
On the other hand, IMPETUS experiments will transversally explore the benefits of the U-space implementation based on microservices. Microservices, self-contained units which will be characterized by being decoupled from the rest and deployed individually, will allow a fully automated drone operations lifecycle. All exercises will provide inputs to better quantify the benefits of this implementation. The experiments will have to prove that the microservice solution is scalable, efficient, secure and cost-effective enough to meet the U-space operational requirements, whilst meeting all the safety requirements from an ATM perspective. As an example, the experiments will research on how to deal with the possibility of having failure modes which are impacting safety-critical services, on the impact of a decentralised data management with microservices having their own private database or on the scalability of the solution taking into account the expected growth in the dronesâ€™ operation.
This federated architecture will open the market for competition whilst still maintaining an adequate level of safety due to the central position being managed by one single actor. This is one of the deployment architecture options endorsed by CORUS and it is also being actively implemented in several national initiatives. IMPETUS research will provide relevant inputs to facilitate this implementation. On the other hand, the ability for services to be independently deployed in the microservice approach will provide the flexibility required for rapid and agile increments of the overall U-Space capability.
More info: http://impetus-research.eu/.