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Periodic Reporting for period 1 - CORUS (Concept of Operations for EuRopean UTM Systems)


The aim of CORUS is to develop a concept of operations (or ConOps ) for U-space, that is acceptable to a wide audience and makes to best use of available information. Many projects are developing UTM world-wide and CORUS tries to follow as many of these as possible. To this...


The aim of CORUS is to develop a concept of operations (or ConOps ) for U-space, that is acceptable to a wide audience and makes to best use of available information. Many projects are developing UTM world-wide and CORUS tries to follow as many of these as possible. To this end CORUS as established an advisory board, containing interested parties who have committed to support the CORUS work, and what we call the U-space Community Network, a large group of organisations and individuals who have expressed an interest in the CORUS work.
CORUS is initially interested in what we call VLL or Very Low Level. VLL is the airspace below that normally used by visual flight rules (VFR) traffic. Initially CORUS focuses on the needs of small drones, typically used for inspection, photography or delivery.
CORUS is concerned with “visual line of sight” (VLOS) operations where the remote pilot can see the aircraft and “beyond visual line of sight” (BVLOS) operations where the pilot cannot. CORUS is also looking to a time when the number of drone flights will be much higher than today.
In particular, CORUS should develop a ConOps that could work in both the short term and the long term; to this scope, the first version of the CORUS ConOps contains a lot of thought about BVLOS flights, which are relatively rare today but are expected to be the normal way of operating for many commercial drone activities, such as delivery or infrastructure inspections.

The first version of the ConOps was released it in July 2018. The CORUS ConOps can be downloaded from

The CORUS team are collecting comments on the v1 ConOps to drive the development of the second version, expected in February 2019.
Comments are welcome and should be sent to

Work performed

In order to achieve the objectives detailed in the Annex 1 of the Grant Agreement, the CORUS project has performed the following actions:
1. Definition of an initial set of drone operations and the related UTM requirement. Operations in non-populated, sparsely populated and populated areas have been described in detail, as well airport related missions. The project has described the airspace and the rules of the air, the general and detailed operations, the involved stakeholders and their roles and an initial set of requirements for the U-space services and solutions. A wide variety of safety methods and methodologies have been explored, evaluated and combined in order to reach a safety assessment method tailored to CORUS’ needs (MEDUSA).
2. Initial assessment of the societal and institutional impact and proposed a set of indicators of societal acceptance, as well as the mechanisms to measure the selected societal acceptance indicators end evaluate possible trade-off between them.
3. Identification of possible missions near airports, on movement areas, on airport facilities and in departure or arrival paths. A number of possible partner airports for Use Case development has been identified.
4. Production an Initial CORUS ConOps document, presented to the stakeholders’ community during the CORUS Definition Workshop. The inputs of the stakeholders’ community have been collected and will constitute the basis for the preparation of the Intermediate ConOps.
5. Definition of an initial U-space architecture from a business and operational viewpoints and an overview of the service and system from an architectural viewpoint. Laying the foundations for the construction of a description of U-space extending EATMA (the European Air Traffic Management Architecture).
6. Organisation and conduct of two workshops:
a. The Exploratory Workshop, conducted in January 2018 in Castelldefels, Spain, aiming to explore the most relevant Use Cases of drone operations and identify a set of supporting services for the U-space drone management system for Europe. Hosted by the “Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya”, the workshop saw the participation of around 90 experts from the drone and manned aviation community of stakeholders. The main scope of this first workshop was to define and cluster the possible VLL Operations and an initial airspace organisation. U-space solutions & services were also explored.
b. The Definition Workshop conducted in June 2018, hosted by Ecole Nationale de l’Aviation Civile (ENAC) in Toulouse, France, saw the participation of around 70 experts. Each of the three days saw a different audience attending the event: EASA, SJU and the other drone related SESAR projects on the first day, then the project’s Advisory Board experts and finally the U-space Community Network representing a large cross section of the stakeholders. After an initial plenary presentation introducing the content of the Initial CORUS ConOps the participants attended dedicated sessions covering in detail elements such as airspace classification, drone operation in airports, ways to minimise risks of conflicts, position transmission and tracking, and contingency, emergency and social aspects.

Final results

Currently, there is not a harmonized approach within Europe to integrate the emerging business sector of drones operating in very low level (VLL) airspace. As this market is growing and the number of use cases is increasing, a clear and complete integration concept is needed.
The project is addressing several unanswered questions and found solutions, ranging from a clear definition of the VLL airspace and environment, how drones will need to be managed in that environment, how to deal with contingencies and emergencies and how to address the societal implications and concerns.
Large scale drone operations may directly impact society at large from a number of different perspectives, which include such examples as noise, privacy and access to public/private spaces, as well as accident reporting. The project has started to identify which elements of the
UTM concept could impact society in general and institutions and organisations in particular. The evaluation of those impacts, both positive and negative is generating the necessary constraints or modifications of the UTM concept to guarantee its long-term viability and smooth integration with Society.

This innovation potential associated with the project are:
• The CORUS ConOps will provide further momentum to the growth of drone applications in very different sectors, such as energy and infrastructure, agriculture, forestry and so on. These applications, in particular logistic and parcel delivery have an increasing interest in terms of market value, as can be inferred from the different research and development activities.

• CORUS results will have relevant outcomes for the current (non-drone) airspace users operations in VLL (i.e. GA11, Gliders, Medivac/OAT12 flights,…). The benefits of the CORUS project, therefore, are not limited to drones but encompass also the other AUs domain, having the potential to provide innovation in both frameworks.

• The CONOPS, by describing the possible architecture, solutions and services of UTM systems, will provide guidance for the raising industry of UTM service providers. The presence in the consortium of a UTM system company is ensuring the soundness of the architectural definition and the timely exploitation of the project findings.

• The CORUS innovative concept elements are providing guidance to the other SESAR RPAS projects and demonstrations.

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