The PODIUM consortium poses for a photo
The EUROCONTROL-led SESAR Horizon 2020 PODIUM project reviewed its conclusions on U-space maturity and recommendations for deployment with an invited group of engaged stakeholders at EUROCONTROL Brussels on the 17th of October.
PODIUM has performed U-space demonstrations for BVLOS and VLOS flights at five operational sites in Europe, namely: Hans Christian Andersen Airport in Odense, Denmark; the Netherlands RPAS Test Centre in Marknesse and Groningen Airport Eelde, the Drones Paris Région cluster in Brétigny-sur-Orge and Rodez-Aveyron Airport in Rodez, France.
During the morning session, NLR pilots from the Netherlands RPAS Test Centre, Matthijs van Essen and Jasper van der Vorst, performed a live demonstration - using the Unifly UTM system – for the registration, flight planning and authorisation flows for a BVLOS flight at Groningen Airport Eelde.
“I need to work with six authorities to get approval for a BVLOS flight in Denmark,” stresses Brad Beach of UAS Denmark. “The way that ATC handles drones is very unpredictable; there is a real lack of harmonisation in Europe”, adds Bastien Mancini of DELAIR.
“I can’t use ‘see and avoid’ to spot a drone when I’m on duty in the tower – the Airbus solution really helps me to see the DELAIR drone on the screen,” explains Charles Dournel, an air traffic controller at Rodez-Aveyron airport.
And there were many other valuable insights highlighted during the two panel sessions on operational and technical aspects, and business considerations.
“Thanks to PODIUM, innovative drone pilots and manufacturers, air traffic controllers and nominal U-space supervisors have used U-space services and systems hands-on,” explains Peter Alty, the EUROCONTROL project coordinator, “providing the team with valuable insights on the ease-of-use, the benefits, and areas for improvement.“
PODIUM concludes that there is a very strong demand from all stakeholders for U-space solutions that can ease the burden of obtaining flight authorisations, and that increase situational awareness to enable safety and efficiency benefits during flight execution.
The project concludes that U-space services for the pre-flight phase are practically ready for deployment, but that significant action is needed to ensure that U-space services can really take-off in the flight execution phase.
In particular, PODIUM has important recommendations relating to tracking, the human machine interface for drone pilots, and the access to trustworthy data. PODIUM aims to publish its final demonstration report in November 2019.
The full set of presentations from the event can be found here.