The Separation Assurance and Control project comprises three main areas of investigation: Sense & Avoid, Ground Operations & Human Systems Interaction, and Communications Systems and Interaction.
Sense & Avoid
The Sense capability enables the UAS to sense (using visual, radar, co-operative transponder or other advanced technologies) all other air traffic in the airspace or ground based obstacles, and to determine whether any air traffic poses a potential conflict. The Avoid capability enables the UAS to take action to circumvent an impending collision in situations where a loss of separation has occurred.
This endeavour will provide the UAS pilot with data to determine any course or altitude change to avoid intruders or to autonomously manoeuvre the UAS to eliminate the conflict.
The theme will develop a clear path to certification through comprehensive regulatory engagement, and will demonstrate and explore technology solutions and operating standards to the stakeholder community in both synthetic and real world environments. This will build public confidence and develop a complete and robust safety case leading to an increased demand for UAS solutions in the civil domain.
Theme Lead: Mike Fielding – Thales Aerospace
Ground Operations & Human Systems Interaction
This theme will identify the ground operational environment required for a UAS, including:
- Tools required by the operator and the information that needs to be provided to allow informed decisions to be made.
- The required interaction with ATC and other authorities.
- The restrictions placed on the ground operating environment by the regulatory authorities, e.g. safety, security and certification requirements.
This theme will also identify how to fully integrate the human with the autonomous system, including:
- Issues of system trust and maintaining operator awareness.
- Innovative HSI solutions.
- Numbers of operators, their roles and skill levels.
- Novel solutions to meet training needs.
Theme Lead: Chris Gollop – Thales
Communications Systems and Interaction
This theme will determine how the future systems will communicate both with the ground and other airborne assets to provide safe flight and human-in-the-loop capabilities in a civil environment. This will be achieved as follows:
- Develop and demonstrate the architecture that allows the human-in-the-loop to maintain communications with the UAS in both Line of Sight (LOS) and a Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) situations.
- Augment the capability of the UAS to cooperate with other air assets in normal and exceptional circumstances.
- Ensure that the Operator has the ability to intervene, make decisions and take control if necessary, thus maintaining public confidence.
- Enable higher UAV density through cooperation and mutual understanding of individual air vehicle intentions.
Theme Lead: David Rees – Cassidian