Commercial, Unmanned

Eurocontrol Leads New SESAR Effort for UTM

By S.L. Fuller | October 13, 2017
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SESAR is gearing up to kick off a drone project in January. The SESAR Horizon 2020 PODIUM project (which stands for “Single European Sky ATM Research Horizon 2020 Proving Operations of Drones with Initial Unmanned Traffic Management [UTM]) is to run in support of the European Commission’s Project U-space for UTM.

The PODIUM project aims to demonstrate UTM services, procedures and technologies at four operational sites in Denmark, France and the Netherlands throughout 2018 and 2019, according to Eurocontrol. Work is to be performed by a consortium, led by Eurocontrol, made up of Airbus, France’s DSNA, Delair, Drones Paris Region, Integra Aerial Services, Naviair, NLR, Orange and Unifly. About 20 drone operators are to participate as third parties.

Eurocontrol said its job is to coordinate the consortium and lead work packages on coordination and management, concept and architecture, and demonstration assessment and recommendations. PODIUM is also to work closely with Concept of Operation for European UTM Systems (CORUS), also led by Eurocontrol.

During the project, four complementary large-scale demonstrations are to be performed, with more than 185 drone flights. The plan is for UTM solutions to be demonstrated for line-of-sight and beyond-line-of-sight drone operations. The scope of the work would cover very-low-level operations in both urban and rural areas, operations new airports, operations in both controlled and uncontrolled airspace, and mixed environments with manned aviation. According to Eurocontrol, PODIUM should contribute to de-risking the operational and industrial deployment of a drone traffic system by demonstrating a comprehensive web-based system, using tracking systems based on Mode-S.

The consortium is to be guided by an advisory board, which has not yet been constructed, according to Eurocontrol. A final report is to be issued following the end of the PODIUM project, with conclusions and recommendations. That report is expected for deployment in late 2019.

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