EASA publishes guidelines for UAS design verification

A new set of guidelines has been released by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) targeting drone operators, manufacturers and national authorities. This documentation details the process for the design verification of UAS, which needs to be taken into account for operations in the specific category.

The importance of design verification has increased since the end of 2020 when the EU UAS regulation came into force and the number of drone operations raised. Considering the drone operators are embracing new kinds of environments for their operations such as populated urban areas, the importance of the design verification is now bigger than ever to ensure safety.

Taking into account the level of risk of the operation the process of design verification may vary:

  • High risk operations (SAIL V and VI according to SORA): EASA will issue a type certificate according to Part 21 (EU 748/2012).
  • Medium risk operations (SAIL III and IV): a more simplified approach will be applied leading to a ‘design verification report’.

 “EASA continues its efforts to ensure safe, secure and sustainable operations of drones,” EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky said. “This new design verification process was developed to support all stakeholders, applying a proportionate approach which will foster innovation and growth in this promising sector”.

The design verification process is immediately applicable and national aviation authorities are encouraged to require all UAS operators who are conducting operations in the ‘specific’ category, with medium risk, to operate drones for which EASA has issued a ‘design verification report’.

For more information, please visit:

https://www.easa.europa.eu/sites/default/files/dfu/guidelines_design_verification_uas_medium_risk.pdf

EU U-Space regulatory package approved

After being discussed and assessed by stakeholders from the industry, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has finally approved the proposed U-Space regulation. This set of regulations intends to ensure safety in drone operations in low level airspace and in urban areas in general.

One of the main objectives of U-Space services is to ensure the physical separation between aircraft (manned and unmanned). This technology paired with the regulation will allow UAS to operate in new kinds of airspaces. This will be achieved through the automation of processes (automatic monitoring of drone operations, automatic flight request management, automatic conflict management etc.).

The EU Member States will be responsible for designating the geographical zones where the drone operations will be allowed to take place with the support of U-space services. The Member States should remain fully competent to decide to which extent their national airspace should be open to the drones’ operations, or restricted.

This new regulatory packages clearly defines the different parts involved in the U-Space:

  • The ‘U-space service providers’ (USSP) are defined as organisations that are to be certified to provide U-space service, which may be in one or more Member States. They will have to provide – at least – four mandatory U-space services:
    • geo-awareness
    • traffic information
    • flight authorisation
    • network identification. 
  • Drone operators should have access to all U-space service providers in the Union. They will have to establish a contract with one certified USSP of their choice and request their flight authorisation at least 5 minutes prior to estimated take-off time. They will need to hold a certificate and will have to operate in accordance with the regulations of the package.
  • Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) will continue to remain responsible for the provision of air traffic management (ATM) services to manned aircraft. They will have to establish arrangements with USSPs to ensure adequate coordination and exchange of information.
  • Manned aviation finally also will have to adapt and will have to comply with those provisions from the package that apply to them.

Further safety regulation is being worked on. It is expected that ‘a Notice of Proposed Amendment (NPA)’ will be published by EASA in December 2021. The draft rules will then be shared for public consultation, during one to three months, before the European Commission will adopt them, and then it will be up to the European Parliament to further look into these. It is said that entry into force is expected for January 2023.

Galileo High Accuracy Service

[source: European GNSS Agency (http://www.gsa.europa.eu)]

The European GNSS Agency (GSA) together with the European Commission have published an Information Note on the Galileo High Accuracy Service, providing an overview of the main characteristics of the service, along with information on features such as service levels, target performance, an implementation roadmap, and an overview of the target markets for the service. You can download the Information Note here.

The market for high-accuracy positioning is very dynamic, driven by various factors, including emerging applications such as autonomous vehicles and drones; technological advances such as dual-frequency chipsets for the mass-market; and the market situation, with cheap or free-of-charge augmentation services available in some countries. These factors are resulting in the democratisation of high accuracy, which is becoming a more widespread commodity, rather than the exclusive domain of professional applications.

With the Galileo High Accuracy Service (HAS), Galileo will pioneer a worldwide, free high-accuracy positioning service aimed at applications that require higher performance than that offered by the Galileo Open Service.

Benefitting several markets

Target markets for the HAS include geomatics, agriculture or consumer solutions. Transport is also a major potential target market, with possible applications in aviation, road, rail and maritime and inland waterways. In these markets, the HAS will provide high-accuracy precise point positioning corrections for Galileo and GPS free of charge, in the Galileo E6-B data component and by terrestrial means, to achieve real-time improved user positioning performances, with a positioning error of less than two decimetres in nominal conditions.

Read this: Galileo enabling infrastructure development in harsh environments

“With its High Accuracy Service, Galileo will be the first satellite constellation able to provide a high-accuracy precise point positioning service globally, directly through the Signal in Space,” said GSA Executive Director Rodrigo da Costa. “This will be another key differentiator of the Galileo system, giving it a competitive advantage over other systems and allowing it to foster innovation in both consolidated and emerging markets,” he said.

HAS Initial Service

HAS Phase 1 will cover the provision of an initial Galileo High Accuracy Service resulting from the implementation of a high-accuracy data generation system processing Galileo data only.  Phase 2 will see full provision of the Galileo High Accuracy Service, meeting its target performance of 20 cm worldwide positioning accuracy after 2024.

Through the HAS, Galileo will offer a unique service with the transmission of corrections directly via Galileo satellites, allowing free high-accuracy positioning globally, for everyone.

[source: European GNSS Agency (http://www.gsa.europa.eu)]

EASA releases Drones Information Notices 2021

To support the drone community in the safe operation of their drones, EASA is putting at everyone’s disposal leaflets covering the main safety points related to drones in class from Class 0 to Class 6. The leaflets highlight the do’s and don’ts for drone operators and pilots. You will find them in the packaging of any drone you  buy – or  you can download from this website. We encourage you to take full advantage of this material.

For more information, please visit:

https://www.easa.europa.eu/document-library/general-publications/drones-information-notices-2021

Eurocae releases new version of ATOL MASPS for UAS

The European Standards Agency (EUROCAE) has updated the Minimum Aviation System Performance Standards (MASPS) for Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS) Automatic Take-off And Landing (ATOL) system and applications, ED-283. With this document, EUROCAE aims at defining the minimum system performance and interoperability requirements for the implementation of such systems in drones.

The requirements that are defined in this publication intend to provide a framework to ensure that the components of the ATOL functionality will guarantee a safe operation. The ATOL system is fully defined operationally in ANNEX A, the Operational Services and Environment Definition (OSED) document.

For more information, please visit: www.eurocae.net

U-Space regulatory package could be a reality in 2023

Taking into account the social media activity of entities such as the European Commission, Eurocontrol, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) along with its member states, it looks like there has been an agreement on the final regulatory package that will act as a legal framework for the unified implementation of U-Space in the European Union.

According to a Linkedin post from Diego Fernández Varela, UAS expert with the Spanish Aviation Safety and Security Agency (AESA): “This is one of the key milestones that certainly paves the way towards the future integration of unmanned aircraft into the Single European Sky and, of course, the future of aviation.”

The regulation will become law in January 2023.

Galileo’s advantageous features for UAS

[source] – European GNSS Agency (http://www.gsa.europa.eu)

GNSS is a key enabler for drones and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), ensuring safety of navigation and providing increased reliability for both consumer and commercial applications. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that, over the past decade, drones have become a significant GNSS segment, overtaking mature segments such as maritime, aviation and agriculture in terms of shipments, according to the GNSS Market Report.

At the same time as we have seen this growth in drone traffic, with UAVs used in more and more application areas and a steadily growing user base, new regulatory measures have been put in place to harmonise the European drone market and guarantee the highest level of safety. 

In line with these market trends and new regulations and in support of EU priorities, the GSA defined several innovation areas in the MyGalileoDrone and MyGalileoSolution competitions – such as parcel delivery, emergency and crisis management, infrastructure inspection, leisure etc. – with the aim of challenging contestants to design, develop, test and deliver drone-based applications for commercial launch using Galileo-enabled receivers.

Critical precision

It is difficult to understate the importance of the precision provided by Galileo for drone-enabled services, especially if it is not possible to ensure line-of-sight or human supervision at all times. The improved integrity and high accuracy of Galileo positioning information helps drones to follow their assigned routes closely, especially in urban areas.

Read this: Entrepreneurship Day to showcase the most innovative Galileo-based solutions

“We were delighted to work together with the MyGalileoDrone and MyGalileoSolution competitors, who joined us virtually from across Europe. These teams represent start-ups and SMEs, business and academia alike,” said Katerina Strelcova, GSA Aviation Market Development Innovation Officer. “The contestants showed great creativity in identifying new service areas, achieved technological breakthroughs, and introduced novel business models. The results promise to have a positive societal impact and an excellent commercial value,” she said.

A World of Drones

After rounds of meticulous reviews, expert consultations, and mentoring, the 37 most innovative drone solutions developed during the two competitions will be presented at the “World of Drones” session of the Entrepreneurship Day that will take place  2 March. At this online event, the GSA will showcase the most innovative Galileo-based solutions delivering cutting-edge services across a range of application areas.

Watch this: EGNOS for Drones

[source] – European GNSS Agency (http://www.gsa.europa.eu)

Galileo Workshop 2021 to be carried out on March

[source – European GNSS Agency www.gsa.europa.eu ]

The Galileo Performance Workshop 2021 led by the European GNSS Agency will offer an in-depth analysis of the performance of Galileo and how it is evaluated for users.

Satellite positioning has become an integral part of our everyday lives. Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) provide a multitude of services enabling applications in a broad spectrum of sectors ranging from aviation to maritime, to agriculture and location-based services. GNSS data are used by businesses, start-ups, and public bodies as well as by a wide range of innovative projects in order to bring added value to their endeavours. According to the 2019 GSA GNSS Market Report, the GNSS downstream market revenues from both devices and services, will grow from €150 bln in 2019 to €325 bln in 2029. By 2029, added-value service revenues will account for €166 bln, more than half of the total global GNSS revenues. With such economic impact, the need for monitoring the performance of GNSS is a critical part of the service delivery.

The GSA has established the Galileo Reference Centre (GRC) with a primary mission of providing independent means to monitor and evaluate the performance of the Galileo services and the quality of the signals in space. The GRC is the European hub for such activities, integrating contributions from European national entities, such as research centres, timing laboratories, and national space agencies with its own functionality.

The performance is measured by so-called Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), the computation of which depends on GNSS data measurements and derived reference products (e.g. precise orbits, satellites clock corrections). It can be based on publicly available data and products, which are available with various levels of quality, reliability and latency. To be able to compare results obtained by independent sources, it is important to have a common understanding, guidelines for monitoring and a sound assessment methodology. 

This online webinar organised by the GSA on March 3rd at 14:00 CET will give you the opportunity to better understand how the performance of Galileo services is crucial for the service provision for every user application. There will be a particular focus on:

  • the Galileo programme needs for performance monitoring 
  • the Galileo services as defined in the Service Definition Document (SDD)
  • the Minimum Performance Levels (MPLs)
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), which are quantifiable measures used to evaluate the performance
  • publicly available data, products and tools that can be used for GNSS monitoring
  • a set of monitoring and assessment guidelines for the implementation of a solution able to monitor the Galileo system performance based on publicly available data, products, and tools. 

The workshop will gather GSA and Member States representatives and is open to anyone interested in GNSS.

For your information, the presentations delivered during the Galileo service status session during the EU Space Week can be found here.

Registrations are now open.

[source – European GNSS Agency www.gsa.europa.eu ]

Drone deliveries in urban areas are a close reality

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has published the full regulatory framework setting the parameters for drone services such as parcel delivery in urban areas, railway and power lines inspection, or delivery of essential supplies into crisis zones.

The framework enables unmanned aircraft system (UAS) operations in urban environment categorised as medium risk in the specific category. It comprises the agency decision amending the risk assessment methodology – known as Specific Operations Risk Assessment (SORA) – with regard to flight over-populated areas and assemblies of people, and the Airworthiness Standards known as Special Condition Light UAS Medium Risk. 

The standards are the result of a proposal that EASA published in July 2020 and the comments received from stakeholders. EASA has scheduled to publish standards for the operations characterised by a high risk in the specific category in 2021.

“With the publication of these documents, European drone operators can now safely operate drones in populated areas,” EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky said. “This is a matter of concern and interest for many European citizens and we are pleased to now have the needed regulatory framework in place to allow industry to go ahead and implement new innovative service solutions.”

To complete the package EASA will soon provide further advisory/guidance material addressing a proportionate approach to type certification, approval of design organizations and continuing airworthiness, already applicable with the current framework, for drones operated in the specific category medium risk. These clear rules mean the drone industry can estimate the cost of their activities and define their business plan.

Drone operations may provide public services including the possibility to safely transport medical equipment and vaccines.

EASA releases new revision of the Easy Access Rules for Drones

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency has updated the Easy Access Rules for Drones based on ED Decision 2020/022/R amending the AMC and GM to Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/947 and to Part-UAS.

This revision from January 2021 clarifies the conditions for authorising UAS operations over populated areas and assemblies of people as part of the specific category, introduces new predefined risk assessments (PDRAs) and enables the interoperability of the EASA Member State’s national registration systems for UAS operators and for certified UAS that need to be registered.

As explained by EASA, this document will be updated regularly to incorporate further changes and evolutions to the content. Feedback can be provided to the document by contacting: erules@easa.europa.eu.

For more information, please visit:

https://www.easa.europa.eu/sites/default/files/dfu/Easy%20Access%20Rules%20for%20Unmanned%20Aircraft%20Systems%20%28Regulations%20%28EU%29%202019-947%20and%20%28EU%29%202019-945%29.pdf

New European drone regulation comes into force

The new UAS regulation issued by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) came into effect on 1st January 2021 in the UK, all EU member states, Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein.

This new set of rules are designed to create a unified framework along the European countries to help drone pilots operate their aircraft in different territories with the same regulation as in their own country, for both recreational and commercial purposes.

It is expected that this regulation will improve flight safety, simplify user approval procedures, enhance user experience, support rapid business development and facilitate users’ personal and business applications.

This new framework divides operation into three categories (open, specific and certified) depending on the operational risk and not exclusively on the type of aircraft. This means that an operation performed with the same aircraft might fall into different categories depending on the ConOps:

  • the ‘open’ category is a category of UAS operation that, considering the risks involved, does not require a prior authorisation by the competent authority nor a declaration by the UAS operator before the operation takes place;
  • the ‘specific’ category is a category of UAS operation that, considering the risks involved, requires an authorisation by the competent authority before the operation takes place, taking into account the mitigation measures identified in an operational risk assessment, except for certain standard scenarios where a declaration by the operator is sufficient or when the operator holds a light UAS operator certificate (LUC) with the appropriate privileges;
  • the ‘certified’ category is a category of UA operation that, considering the risks involved, requires the certification of the UAS, a licensed remote pilot and an operator approved by the competent authority, in order to ensure an appropriate level of safety.

One of the most relevant aspects will be the introduction of the CE marking process in drones for the Open (low risk) category. The UAS sold for these kind of operations will need to meet the safety, health and environmental protection requirements established by the EU.  

More information about the new regulation can be found here:

https://www.easa.europa.eu/sites/default/files/dfu/Easy%20Access%20Rules%20for%20Unmanned%20Aircraft%20Systems%20November%202020.pdf

GSA is launching the 2020 editions of its Galileo and EGNOS User Satisfaction Surveys

[source: European GNSS Agency: http://www.gsa.europa.eu]

The European GNSS Agency (GSA) is launching the 2020 editions of its Galileo User Satisfaction Survey and EGNOS User Satisfaction Survey. These surveys play an important role in the evolution of the EGNSS programmes by feeding users’ needs and requirements into programme development. 

Our motto at the GSA is ‘linking space to user needs’ and these are not empty words – users have always been at the heart of Galileo and EGNOS service provision, and feedback from users on their experience of the programmes is invaluable in shaping our services, making sure that they develop in line with market needs and continue to meet user requirements in the best way possible.

A targeted approach

The Galileo and EGNOS User Satisfaction Surveys are addressing all users and market segments including.: Aviation, Maritime, Rail, Road, Location Based Services, Agriculture and Surveying and Mapping. When responding to the survey, select the market segment in which you operate; the market segment that corresponds to your main area of activity; or the market segment that is the most important for your company or organisation, if you are active in multiple market segments.  The Galileo User Satisfaction survey is also looking for user feedback on the support provided to the users via the Galileo Service Center. You can access the Galileo survey here.

Take part to the Galileo survey here.

In addition to the various market segments, the EGNOS survey also covers all the EGNOS services, including the Open Service, the Safety of Life Service and the EGNOS Data Access Service (EDAS). It also assesses the EGNOS service provider’s management of EGNOS User Support Services. For the EGNOS survey, click here.

Take part to the EGNOS survey here.

The feedback was positive in the 2019 EGNOS User Satisfaction Survey, with a global user satisfaction score of 8.6 out of 10, up from 8.3 in the previous year. User satisfaction with EGNOS support was up across all the support services – the website, documentation and the helpdesk.

Based on the feedback, recommendations were drawn up for improvements across all the EGNOS services and support to users. For an overview of the results of the 2019 EGNOS User Satisfaction Survey and the recommendations it generated, click here. We strongly encourage Galileo or EGNOS users to take part in the survey and help us fine-tune our service provision. The more users respond, from all market segments, the better the GSA and the Galileo and EGNOS systems will be able to go on meeting the requirements of the entire user community. The surveys only takes a few minutes to complete and your feedback will make a real difference.

In the 2019 Galileo User Satisfaction Survey, we were pleased to see that overall satisfaction with the service was up from the previous year, with 94% of users satisfied with the service and 97% of users happy to recommend the service to others. Based on user feedback, a number of recommendations were drawn up to strengthen the GNSS Service Centre (GSC).

[source: European GNSS Agency: http://www.gsa.europa.eu]

New promotional Video for ADW

Having in mind our participation in the Amsterdam Drone Week, we released a promotional video describing the status and all the work performed in GAUSS during the last 3 years, so that more people can get to know the project and understand its objectives.
GAUSS is an H2020 project in collaboration with the European GNSS Agency that aims to evaluate the advantageous features for a UTM environment of Galileo and Egnos in terms of precision, integrity and availability . As of now, one of the two scheduled Flight Trials has taken place, succesfully evaluating different EGNSS sensors integrated in fixed-wing and multirotor UAS. The Second Trials aim to demonstrate the complete positioning, security and UTM system of GAUSS project and will take place in 2021.

For more information, please visit the video [https://projectgauss.eu/index.php/gauss-video/]

Participation in Amsterdam Drone Week

This week, we have participated in the Amsterdam Drone Week, an online meeting that brings together the main players in the UAS Sector. We offered a session presenting the challenges and opportunities of EGNSS systems, a key element for UTM due to its benefits in precision, integrity and availability.

[For more information, please visit: https://www.amsterdamdroneweek.com/about/about-amsterdam-drone-week]

Registrations for the 3rd User Consultation Platform are now open: it’s your chance to shape next-generation space applications

[source: European GNSS Agency: http://www.gsa.europa.eu]

The User Consultation Platform (UCP) is a biennial event involving a wide range of users from 12 different market segments. It is a space where users from 12 different market segments meet to discuss their needs for applications relying on Location, Navigation, Timing, Earth Observation, and Secure Telecommunications. New entry for the 2020 edition, the UCP will include other Copernicus users and GovSatCom users in addition to the classic EGNSS ones.

The Consultation is engaging with user communities, industries, service providers and R&D, bringing together expertise and insights from different applications, sharing experiences, and strengthening a EU network of innovators that can strive only by working together.

Building on the central role of users in shaping EU Space applications, the outcomes of the Consultation will help informing the decision-making process around service definition and service provision, leveraging on the unique perspective of EU Space multi-disciplinary user community.

Most of the work of the UCP will be carried out during 1-2 December, in 12 parallel panel sessions grouping users by market segment: Road, Agriculture & Forestry, Maritime & Ocean Monitoring, Geomatics & Urban Planning, Public Transport, Natural Disasters & Emergency Response, Critical Infrastructures, Rail, Mass market, Space Users, Aviation & Drones and Governmental. During these sessions several topics will be addressed including an update on the user requirements, testing campaigns, main market trends, evolution of Galileo/EGNOS, and R&D. A new entry for the 2020 edition will be the addition of other Copernicus users and GovSatCom users.

On December 7, representatives of each segment will present the outcomes of the panel sessions during the User Consultation Plenary at the European Space Week 2020. During the plenary the audience will have the opportunity to ask questions and interact with the panellists from the European Commission and the European GNSS Agency (GSA). Insights from the UCP will feed into the future release of the new Reports on User needs and Requirements.

To register click here, and get ready to engage with business leaders, experts and innovators shaping the future of next-generation space applications.

[source: European GNSS Agency: http://www.gsa.europa.eu]

EASA publishes Easy Access Rules for UAS

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has recently released the latest edition of its “Easy Access Rules for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Regulations (EU) 2019/947 and (EU) 2019/945)”.

This publication contains the rules and procedures for the operation of unmanned aircraft displayed in a consolidated, easy-to-read format with advanced navigation features through links and bookmarks.

Easy access rules - drones

It covers the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/947, the related acceptable means of compliance (AMC) and guidance material (GM), as well as the Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/945 on unmanned aircraft systems and on third-country operators of unmanned aircraft systems. 

The Revision from November 2020 incorporates the changes introduced with following regulations:

The document will be updated regularly to incorporate further changes and evolutions to the implementing rules (IR), delegated rules (DR), AMC and GM.

More information can be found at the following link:

https://www.easa.europa.eu/sites/default/files/dfu/Easy%20Access%20Rules%20for%20Unmanned%20Aircraft%20Systems%20November%202020.pdf

Consolidated report on SESAR U-space research and innovation results

The report provides the state-of-play of the technological capabilities and services required for making U-space a reality. The report consolidates the findings from 19 SESAR research and demonstrations projects, including an analysis of the coverage and level of maturity of each U-space service, and identifies areas requiring further research.


What’s in the publication?

  • Key milestones and findings (Chapter 2);
  • A summary of future research and development needs (Chapter 3);
  • An overview of the recommendations for standardisation and regulation activities (Chapters 4 and 5);
  • catalogue of U-space services, with a definition for each service, notable requirements and related project findings (Annex 1);
  • summary of the outcomes of each exploratory research and demonstration project (Annex 2).

The report is available for download here.

ANSI issues user survey to collect input on the standardisation roadmap for UAS

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has released a user survey to assess how stakeholders are using the standardisation roadmap for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) version 2.0 which was published by the ANSI UAS standardisation collaborative (UASSC) in June 2020. The number of registered downloads has almost reached a thousand and this new version expands the content with the identification of additional standardization features not included in the previous 1.0 version. The roadmap can be downloaded from here www.ansi.org/uassc.

Launched in 2017, the ANSI UASSC has the mission to coordinate and accelerate the development of the standards and related conformance programs needed to facilitate the safe integration of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into the US national airspace system, with international coordination and adaptability. 

The roadmap collects published standards and partially developed standards, detects gaps in them, and makes recommendations for priority areas where additional standardization including pre-standardization research and development (R&D) is needed.  The roadmap aims to support the growth of the UAS market with an emphasis on civil, commercial, and public safety applications. Its recommendations are envisaged to be widely adopted by the standardization community. It covers a wide range of UAS related issues: airworthiness; flight operations; personnel training, qualifications, and certification; infrastructure inspections; environmental applications; commercial services; workplace safety; and public safety operations. 

More information can be found here:

www.ansi.org

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/8CPVF53

3rd GNSS User Technology Report now available

[source: European GNSS Agency (http://www.gsa.europa.eu)]

The European GNSS Agency (GSA) has just released its latest GNSS User Technology Report, providing a comprehensive analysis of latest GNSS trends and developments. With four Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) available and more than 100 satellites in operation broadcasting multiple frequencies, the GNSS industry is shifting towards the wide adoption of multifrequency receivers across market segments to meet the diverging user needs of emerging applications.

The Report counts on contributions from leading GNSS receiver, chipset manufacturers and service providers, and serves as a valuable tool to support planning and decision-making with regards to developing, purchasing and using GNSS technology. Published biennially since 2016, the User Technology Report has become a point of reference for the GNSS industry, research and policy-makers.

The report is built around four macrosegments defined on the basis of commonalities from a technology point of view:

  • high volume,
  • safety- and liability-critical,
  • high-accuracy, and,
  • new-entry in this edition, timing devices and solutions.

The full GNSS User Technology Report 2020 is available for download here.

[source: European GNSS Agency (http://www.gsa.europa.eu)]

Project GAUSS flights evaluate EGNSS precision navigation for U-space drone operations

Project GAUSS recently performed the first flight campaigns aimed at assessing and strengthening the performance of European satellite navigation systems, Galileo and EGNOS, in drone operations.

The consortium carried out more than one hundred drone flights in July at ATLAS test flight centre in Villacarrillo (Jaén, Spain) where different navigation settings were tested on the on-board sensors. Six scenarios were simulated during the exercises, which has led to the extraction of up to 600 data packets that are already being analysed with the objective of proving the advantages of EGNOS and Galileo in terms of accuracy, integrity and availability.

The simulated scenarios included delivering a package navigating obstacles, surveilling vast expanses of land, technical exercises and flight simulation in an urban area, among others. The urban simulation will be completed with flights in a real urban setting in Seville in the coming weeks. Project GAUSS employed three platforms to conduct the tests: two multi-rotor systems, one from the University of Seville and the other from Spanish company, SCR, and a fixed-wing drone, TUCAN, also from SCR. Septentrio, u-blox and NovAtel sensors were integrated.

Project GAUSS is based on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) together with the use and fusion of on-board sensors. One of its key elements is the integration and exploitation of Galileo and EGNOS exceptional features in terms of accuracy, integrity, security and availability.

For more information, the following links can be visited:

https://www.unmannedairspace.info/latest-news-and-information/project-gauss-flights-trial-gnss-precision-navigation-for-u-space-drone-operations/

https://www.avionrevue.com/espacio/el-proyecto-gauss-realiza-las-primeras-campanas-de-vuelos-con-drones/

http://www.infodron.es/id/2020/10/14/noticia-centro-atlas-acoge-primeras-pruebas-drones-proyecto-gauss.html

EASA requests comments on BVLOS operations in urban environments webinar

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has made a call on comments about the past Webinar on BVLOS operations in urban environment held on 1 October. The webinar covered all the most important aspects of these operations from a regulatory and operational point of view:

  • Population density: EASA intends to develop a tool to map the population density in real time.
  • Drone Design: EU (through EASA) is competent to assess the design of an aircraft (including drones)
  • High robustness for SAIL V and VI: UAS operated in high risk operations in BVLOS in urban environments will be required to be certified.
  • JARUS SORA developments: Drone-to-drone collision risk to be tackled in the future.
  • Light certification process for «medium assurance operations»: EASA will leave to the NAA the decision of whether it is necessary or not to certify in medium risk operations.
  • Experimental flights under the Specific category: They will also need an authorisation process.
  • Discussing changes to SORA with JARUS: Not any changes to SORA expected for this year. Discussions are in process.
  • Way forward to ensure a uniform & consistent implementation of medium risk operations in the specific category: EASA is currently coordinating the needs of this operations with the NAA.

EASA’s plans for this issue in the near future are:

  • Receive comments on this proposal by NAAs by 9 October
  • Review the changes proposed to EASA SORA with JARUS WG6 by end of October
  • Publish by the end of 2020 the Cert Memo/DOARI/GM or similar regulatory
    material to bridge time until adoption of new regulation
  • Publish by end of 2020/beginning 2021 a Decision with amendments to EASA SORA
  • Have a focused consultation with all affected stakeholders on the proposal of the
    new regulation on AW of certified UAS in medium risk in the specific category by
    Q1 2021
  • Publish the new regulation on AW of UAS in medium risk in the specific category
    by Q3 2021

For more information, please visit: https://rpas-regulations.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/EASA_Presentation_Operations-Medium-Risk-Specific-Category_201001_TR.pdf

European Commission: ANSPs can be UTM CIS providers with separate accounts

The European Comission has proposed new improvements in the Single European Sky regulatory framework. The most relevant change is the release of a staff working document which proposes air navigation service providers (ANSPs) to be able to provide both UAS traffic management (UTM) services and UTM technology services, like Common Information Services (CIS).

Examining into more detail the working paper, it says:

“The SES ecosystem has evolved since the beginning of the initiative in 2004. The new users of the airspace are one of the significant changes. Unmanned aircraft, commonly called drones, are already delivering innovative services within the European airspace. Yet, these emerging technologies also present a challenge. The rising number of unmanned aircraft system (UAS) operations in the European airspace poses safety, security and airspace integration issues. In order to ensure safe UAS traffic management while at the same time ensuring that those unmanned aircraft can safely operate within the existing air traffic environment in a harmonised way across the European airspace, there is a need to develop a robust regulatory framework….It is therefore necessary to establish requirements on the pricing, and related oversight, of the Common Information Services (CIS) that are needed to enable safe air traffic management of the unmanned traffic (i.e. drones), as well as on the pricing of and access to data necessary for such services. Those requirements should be similar to those relating to air traffic data services, namely that air navigation service providers must make data available at marginal cost. In addition, if an ANSP wishes to become a CIS provider, and in the interest of transparency and to avoid discrimination and cross-subsidisation, it should have separate accounts.

“If U-space services are provided under market conditions, then a single point of truth needs to be established on data to enable the dynamic reconfiguration of airspace intended for unmanned aircraft. For this, rules on common information services are necessary. This issue needs to be considered in the context of the ongoing work in the EASA Committee on the U-space regulation.”

For more information, the following link can be visited:

(https://ec.europa.eu/transport/sites/transport/files/legislation/swd20200187-ses.pdf)

EGNSS as a key for UAS industry development

[source: European GNSS Agency  – http://www.gsa.europa.eu]

The European GNSS (EGNSS) is at the core of the drone revolution and future U-space services. EGNOS and Galileo provide significant added value to drone navigation, positioning, and related applications, and the use of their differentiators will be instrumental in developing new business opportunities. Receiver manufacturers, well aware of the benefits that GNSS can bring to the users, are eager to adopt Galileo and EGNOS and pass on these advantages to their users. 

A growing number of drone applications require accurate positioning information. According to the 2019 GSA’s GNSS Market Report survey, almost 50% of drone users expect a horizontal accuracy of below 10 cm and 38% a vertical accuracy of below 10cm. This increased performance is critical for multiple drone applications and is not achievable without any GNSS signal augmentation. The EGNOS Open Service can augment GPS signal to a minimum accuracy of 3 metres in the horizontal and 4 metres in the vertical planes compared to 17 and 37 metres for non-augmented GPS.

Galileo: a must have for drone operators

Whether used for guiding drones automatically back to the operator, building inspection or just maintaining geo-awareness to avoid obstacles or no fly zones, GNSS has become a ‘must have’ for drone operators. With Galileo satellites in addition to GPS, drones may use signals from more satellites as well as dual frequency to determine their position, which improves the accuracy and also increases the availability of received signals. 

The urban environment can pose various challenges to the reception of GNSS signals. Galileo-enabled, multi-constellation receivers provide significantly better performances. Earlier this year, the EGNSS4RPAS Project performed EGNSS-enabled drone flight trials. The results demonstrated that the use of Galileo in dual constellation with GPS notably improves accuracy compared to GPS-only for both the horizontal and vertical dimension.  

[source: European GNSS Agency  – http://www.gsa.europa.eu]

EUROCAE calls for participation in SORA working group

The European standards agency (EUROCAE) has recently announced that they seek participation in WG-105 SG-6 SORA. Safety Operations Risk Assessment (SORA) is a key element in how to approach, design and prepare UAS operations.

One of the current aims of this working group is to develop guidelines that can be a tool to proof that the UAS is designed to be operated in an acceptable flight envelope margin, considering also human error in order to comply with OSO#18 requirements when performing a SORA risk assessment.

As of now, a preliminary draft of these guidelines has been developed by EUROCAE, but their intention is to involve a larger number of stakeholders and experts with the aim of improving it, as it can be a useful tool to progress in the development of safe UAS operations.

For more info, please visit www.eurocae.net

EGNOS successfully integrates the first GPS III satellites

[source – European GNSS Agency –  http://www.gsa.europa.eu]

Introduction of the first GPS III satellites into EGNOS services was successfully achieved on 27 July 2020, following the initiation by GPS of a transition from its “GPS Block II” satellites to its new generation “GPS Block III” satellites.

The GPS operational constellation started in 2020 to migrate from GPS II satellites to the new generation GPS III satellites. Through cooperation exchanges with the US, the European Commission and the European GNSS Agency (GSA) obtained assurance on the “backward compatibility” of the GPS III satellites with regard to GPS II, and in particular concerning their failure characteristics.

Step-wise approach 

Based on this, the GSA developed a step-wise approach to accelerate the introduction of GPS-III into the EGNOS system, overwriting the initial plan for GPS III system qualification within EGNOS 242B System release development.

As a first step, the GSA implemented a fast-track process to be as quick as possible while staying safe and respectful of the roles and obligations of the Service Provider and of the Product manufacturer.

Next steps

In the short term, a few more GPS III satellites are expected to be put into operation by the US. In fact, a third GPS-III satellite has already been launched on 30 June 2020 and is planned to be commissioned in August 2020, while a fourth GPS-III is planned to be launched in 30 Sept 2020.

The GSA is currently planning to extend its fast-track process in order to introduce these additional GPS III satellites into operations, until the delivery and entry into service of the next major System release (ESR 242A) in 2021 which will be also updated to GPS III.

[source – European GNSS Agency –  http://www.gsa.europa.eu]

EASA publishes FAQs regarding UAS operations

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has recently released a set of frequently asked questions on their website. These FAQs focus on the open an specific categories, aiming at approaching the most relevant features of the regulation to the common user.

The language used in the explanations is user-friendly and they have diagrams and examples with the aim of being concise and easy to understand. This new tool is intended to complement the videos and presentations published in the past by EASA about open and specific category operations. 

More information can be found at the following link:

https://www.easa.europa.eu/the-agency/faqs/drones-uas#category-regulations-on-uas-drone-explained  

Stakeholders provide comments to EASA U-Space regulation

A meeting took place in July between the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and various National Aviation Authorities and experts from the Informal European Drone Experts Group. The objective of this meeting was to provide input to the latest EASA U-Space draft regulations.

The importance of developing a common European U-Space system was one of the focus points of the meeting, but it was made clear that the national authorities should have the final decision on how to organize the U-Space Areas within their own airspace.   

“There appears to be a new willingness on behalf of EASA,” according to one of the expert group participants, “to give States more flexibility in how and when they deploy U-space areas. States should be able to define whether there is one area or ten and they should also be able to decide what will be the most appropriate timescale for deployment.”  

Under the current proposals, after the publication of the U-space regulation States would have one year in which to deploy the rules at a national level, but this timescale might be extended.

EGNSS receivers tested in the First Field Trials

During the First Field Trials of Project GAUSS, that took place in the week of July 13th in ATLAS Flight Test Center, EGNSS receivers from u-blox, Septentrio and Novatel were tested in order to evaluate their performance in six different tailored scenarios and receiver’s configurations.

Two receivers from u-blox were tested, the M8-Neo and the ZED-F9P. In the case of Septentrio, the AsteRx-m2 receiver was evaluated. Finally, the OEM7720 from Novatel was also tested during the testing campaign. Below, some relevant specifications of the four receivers can be seen:

After post-processing the logs extracted from the receivers, they will be analysed in order to evaluate the advantageous features of Galileo and EGNOS regarding precision, integrity and availability.

UAS used in GAUSS First Field Trials

The First Field Trials of Project GAUSS took place during the week of July 13th in ATLAS Flight Test Center. During the test campaign, the UAS of Sistemas de Control Remoto (SCR) and the University of Seville (USE) were used for evaluating the performance of EGNSS receivers. These UAS were chosen in order to test the receivers in both rotary and fixed wing drones, due to the different flight dynamics of these two types of aircraft.

On SCR side, two UAS were tested, the fixed wing Tucan and the M-600 Pro multirotor. The LRM multirotor was used by USE in order to compare its results to the ones obtained with the M-600 Pro. Below, the most relevant features of the three UAS can be found:

Project GAUSS evaluates the performance of EGNSS sensors

Project GAUSS Consortium has successfully performed its First Field Trials during last week (13-17th July). Flights were carried out in ATLAS Flight Test Center in Villacarillo (Spain) to evaluate the performance of different EGNSS sensors on board drones. The event was attended by the members of GAUSS consortium along with the GSA. In collaboration with GNSS manufacturers Ublox  and Septentrio, several sensors were integrated either as payload or as the main drone positioning system in the UAS of Sistemas de Control Remoto SCR and the University of Seville.

The flights were carried out correctly without any major issues from Monday to Friday. A detailed analysis of the collected data will be performed in the following weeks with the aim of demonstrating GALILEO and EGNOS advantageous features in precision, integrity and availability.

First Galileo Performance Reports of 2020 now available

[source: European GNSS Agency (http://www.gsa.europa.eu)]

Galileo Initial Services Open Service and SAR/Galileo Enhanced Services Performance Reports covering the first quarter of 2020 are available in the Electronic Library of the European GNSS Service Centre web portal.  

These quarterly reports provide the public with the latest information on the Galileo OS and SAR/Galileo Services measured performance statistics with respect to their Minimum Performance Levels (MPLs) (as declared in their respective Galileo Service Definition Documents: OS-SDD and SAR-SDD). Both SDDs can be found in the Programme Reference Documents section of the GSC web portal. It should be noted that this SAR/Galileo Service Performance Report is the first one following the declaration of the SAR/Galileo Enhanced Services and the publication of the updated SDD last January.

Some highlights from the Q1-2020 performance reports:  

  • Initial Service OS:       
    • Galileo Initial Open Service Ranging Performance: This is measured based on the Availability of the Galileo SF/DF Ranging Service [between 96.29% (all signals, March) and 96.42% (SIS E5a and Dual Frequency combination E1-E5a, February)], Per-slot Availability of Healthy Signal in Space for each Galileo operational satellite [low values were observed for GSAT-209 (86.71% in February) and GSAT-103 (with F/NAV and I/NAV SIS availability of respectively 45.34% and 51.52% during March)] and the Galileo Signal in Space Ranging Accuracy [for individual space vehicles: worst case value of 0.41 [m] for DF in February and 0.68 [m] for SF in February and March; best case values of 0.15 [m] for DF in January and 0.22 [m] for SF in February and March].       
    • Galileo UTC and GGTO Dissemination and Determination Performance: The Galileo UTC Determination Service Availability reached a monthly value of 100% during the entire quarter, exceeding the MPL target of 87%. Moreover, the GGTO Determination Availability exceeds the MPL target of 80% over the reported months, reaching 100% in January and March.       
    • Galileo Positioning Performance: This is measured based on the Availability of the Galileo Position Dilution of Precision and the Positioning Service, and the Galileo measured Positioning Performance.       
    • Timely Publication of NAGUs (Notice Advisory to Galileo Users): The timeliness requirements for NAGU publication were met both for Planned and Unplanned events (NAGUs related to planned events need to be published at least 24 hours before the event starts, and those related to unplanned events with a delay of up to 72 hours from the detection of the unplanned event). A total number of 8 NAGUs have been published on the GSC web portal in the reported period.  
  • Enhanced SAR/GALILEO Service:       
    • Availability of SAR/Galileo:           
      • Forward Link Service: 99.9% for the reported period (above defined MPLs of 99%). 
      • MEOLUT facilities in “Nominal” and “Nominal + Degraded” modes: remain at excellent levels, always above the MPL targets of 95% in “Nominal” and 97.5% in “Nominal + Degraded” modes.
      • Return Link Service: 100% all over the period (MPL set to 95%).
      •  SAR Transponders: achieved excellent levels of performance reaching monthly satellite transponder availability of 100% for almost all space vehicles (except for GSAT-214 in February, and for GSAT-103 in March).       
    • Performance of: 
      • Detection Service: monthly values of a valid message detection probability after a single transmitted burst over 99.7%, where the MPL target is 99%.
      • Location Probability: excellent values were achieved, with monthly values higher than 99.3% for a single burst, where the MPL target is 90%, and 99.7% after 12 transmitted bursts (multi-burst), where the MPL target is 98%.            
      • Location Accuracy: surpassed the targets with monthly values higher than 98.6% for a single burst and 99.1% for multi-burst transmissions with accuracy better than 5 km, while the MPLs are 90% and 95% respectively.        
    • Return Link Service:           
      • Delivery Latency within 15 min: 99.94% on average over the reported period for an MPL set to 99%.            
      • Reception Probability: 99.76% in average over the reported period for an MPL set to 99%. 

For the most up-to-date information on the Galileo system and constellation, visit the European GNSS Service Centre (GSC) website, in particular, the Galileo constellation status section. For an exhaustive description of the Minimum Performance Levels (MPLs), refer to the SDDs (Programme Reference documents).   For more details on Galileo performance and its Services, do not hesitate to contact the Galileo Help Desk. Moreover, if you wish to receive NAGUs automatically, please register to the GSC web portal.  

[source: European GNSS Agency (http://www.gsa.europa.eu)]

EUROCAE publishes operational performance standards for geo-caging

European standards agency EUROCAE has published ED-270 – Minimum Operational Performance Specification (MOPS) for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) geo-caging.   The objective of the document is to define minimum operational performance standards for geo-caging tasks. These specifications describe performance without prescribing its design and implementation as far as possible. Compliance with the standard is recommended as one means of assuring that the Function will perform its intended sub-functions satisfactorily under all conditions normally encountered in routine aeronautical operation and will comply with applicable regulations.  

The specification can be found here: https://eshop.eurocae.net/eurocae-documents-and-reports/ed-270/

EUROCAE’s Draft Standards on “UTM E-Identification” available for Open Consultation

EUROCAE has recently communicated that their draft standards on “UTM E-Identification” are available for Open Consultation. According to them, Draft ED-282 ” Minimum Operational Performance Standard for UAS E-Identification ” defines minimum requirements for UAS e-Identification systems, specially focusing on the e-Identification function to proivde surveillance information coming from the UAS, either from the GCS or from the aircraft itself. This will be provided to other UAS and U-space services.

EUROCAE stated that compliance with this standard is recommended as one means of assuring that the equipment will perform its intended function(s) satisfactorily under all conditions normally encountered in routine aeronautical operation. It is designed to ensure that equipment (either the unmanned aircraft system or a sub-set of hardware and /or software components implementing the function) compliant to it, will be able to demonstrate safety and suitability for operational use.

The deadline for the comments submission is 05/08/2020. (https://www.eurocae.net/news/posts/2020/june/eurocae-open-consultation-ed-282/)

GAUSS Collaborates with OPTICS2

We are happy to announce our collaboration with the OPTICS2 project. The OPTICS2 project Team is in charge of assessing valuable projects in aviation on behalf of European Commission to analyse the current state of the art versus Flightpath 2050 goals.

OPTICS2 will make research more effective and efficient, by identifying future needs, gaps and barriers, and by providing recommendations for further actions.

OPTICS2 mission is to see if the European Research is on the right track towards Flightpath 2050, the vision for aviation safety and security provided by the Advisory Council for Aviation Research and Innovation in Europe (ACARE). The project works in close collaboration with the European Commission and use the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA).

For more information of OPTICS2 project: http://www.optics-project.eu/

The European Commission postponed the UAS operating rules until January 2021

The European Commission has published the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/746 of 04 June 2020 amending Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/947 where postponing dates of application of certain measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Confinement and changes in the working conditions and availability of employees combined with the additional workload required to manage the significant negative consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for all stakeholders are impairing preparations for the application of these Implementing Regulations.

A delay in executing the different tasks required for the proper and timely implementation of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/947, notably the establishment of registration systems that are digital and interoperable, as well as the adaptation of authorisations, declarations and certifications issued on the basis of national law, is inevitable as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The standardisation process and other related activities led by the industry and standardisation bodies, such as preparation of testing methodologies, or the testing of technical features, such as the remote identification, has been delayed. This in turn will have a negative impact on the capacity of manufacturers to put on the market unmanned aircraft systems meeting the new standardised requirements in accordance with Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/945

All UAS types should thus be allowed to continue to operate under the existing conditions for an additional 6 months. Therefore, the dates of application of Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/947 should be postponed accordingly in order to allow UAS operators to be able to use UAS not complying with Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/945 for additional 6 months

Source: Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/746

EGNOS key for COVID-19 emergency medical response

(source: European GNSS Agency GSA)

The European Space Programmes are playing a key role in managing the COVID-19 pandemic and in particular in supporting emergency and medical operations in all weather, anytime, when they are most needed. We have talked to air ambulance and emergency operators using EGNOS about their experience and how EGNOS is helping them to take care of EU citizens, operate more effectively in these difficult times and save lives.

During this difficult period, the perception of our world has changed and we recognise the health sector and care givers as our new heroes. When patients from remote areas need to be taken to a hospital at night, in difficult weather situations and life is at stake, EGNOS makes the operation safe. Patients with confirmed COVID-19 infection need to be transported in an operation that is safe for patients and crew.  The accessibility and efficiency gains offered by EGNOS make it possible to land in adverse weather conditions and limited visibility, which is a major advantage. The gains on mission time might well make the difference between life and death of a critically ill patient in regions with limited medical services available.

Previously, operators had to fly under visual flight rules, and therefore faced restrictions in difficult weather conditions or at night. This type of operation can be implemented at helipads in hospitals without the ground infrastructure costs required in conventional operations. In this way, EGNOS provides a cost efficient and safe solution to transfer patients and medical teams to those hospitals with increased reliability and availability, which is essential to save lives.

The GSA (http://www.gsa.europa.eu) was pioneer in supporting the implementation of EGNOS-based approaches and low-level routes in Europe, and is funding a large number of operations and helicopter upgrades. As of today, 23 operational helicopter approaches are using EGNOS in Italy, Austria, Norway, Italy, Czech Republic, France, Switzerland and Germany. Building on users’ needs, the EGNOS Safety of Life Service Definition Document also explicitly reflects rotorcraft operations and, in particular, EGNOS-based Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) operations.

In order to harmonise implementation of operations, the GSA supported the creation of the Five Lives Advisory Group (FLAG) of helicopter users, now consolidated as the European focal point for the coordination of EGNOS-based operations for emergency response. In cooperation with EASA and Eurocontrol, the group now includes more than 40 experts from National Aviation Authorities and Air Navigation Service Providers from all Member States, along with emergency operators and manufacturers working on helicopter operations based on EGNOS. In collaboration with all stakeholders the group has developed a three-year work programme for implementation and support of satellite-based rotorcraft operations and published Safety Guidance material for these operations.

(source: European GNSS Agency GSA)

EUROCAE released new document Automation and Emergency Recovery for UAS to open consultation

The European Organisation for Civil Aviation Equipment (EUROCAE) has recently announced an Open Consultation regarding the EUROCAE WG-105 SG-53 “ERA – Automation and Emergency Recovery” document, released by the working group WG-105 SG-53 “Automatic protection function for UAS”.

This document provides the Minimum Aviation System Performance Standard for the implementation of an Automation and Emergency Recovery (A&ER) capability for a fixed-wing Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) operating in non-segregated airspace and aircraft ground manoeuvring areas. This document is intended to provide globally recognised allocations for performance within the functions of a generic A&ER capability (i.e. both the airborne and the ground-based components of the capability in order to ensure a harmonised approach worldwide leading to enhanced global safety.

The document has been uploaded to EUROCAE’s workspace and it is open for everyone’s feedback until the 27th July 2020.

New version of the Rolling Development Plan to be released by EUSCG in June

The European UAS Standards Coordination Group (EUSCG) has announced the release of a new version of the Rolling Development Plan (RDP) for implementing UAS standards by the end of June.

The EUSCG is a joint coordination and advisory group established to coordinate the UAS-related standardisation activities across Europe, essentially stemming from the EU regulations and EASA rulemaking initiatives. The EUSCG provides a link to bridge the European activities to those at international level. According to EUSCG, this document brings together all relevant regulatory and standardisation activities and their status, and is updated regularly in order to maintain visibility and awareness of the progress. It provides a method for the identification and discussion of overlaps, and as a basis for feedback to contributing organisations, to improve overall coordination of standards developments. The process also identifies the technical input from other sources into the standards plan through the interfaces of the EUSCG with the international level. This last version is the fourth one and integrates the roadmap provided by EASA and other civil and military organisations.

Source

EUROCAE announces new Open Consultation about RPAS safety

The European Organisation for Civil Aviation Equipment (EUROCAE) has recently announced an Open Consultation regarding the  ED-279 “Generic Functional Hazard Assessment (FHA) for UAS and RPAS” DRAFT document, released by the working group WG-105 SG-41 “RPAS System Safety Assessment Criteria”.

The main goal of the document is to develop an UAS/RPAS FHA. This FHA is intended to go through as many different types of UAS as possible aiming at being a useful tool for designers when it comes to make an FHA. In order to achieve this goal, the main functions of an UAS have been detailed and assessed separately from each other. However, the difficulty of generating an FHA that covers every kind of UAS configuration is rather high due to the wide variety of configurations. Consequently, not all essential functions may be included and considered independently.

The document has been uploaded to EUROCAE’s portal and it is open for everyone’s feedback until the 18th June 2020.

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/639

EASA has announced that the amendments to the Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/947 and the Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/945 have been adopted.

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/639 amending Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/947 as regards standard scenarios for operations executed in or beyond the visual line of sight has been already published in Official Journal of EU and is available on EASA website under the link https://www.easa.europa.eu/document-library/regulations/commission-implementing-regulation-eu-2020639

As for the amendment to Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/945 as regards the introduction of class C5 and C6 UAS, the document is currently being scrutinized by Parliament and Council. The scrutiny period will be completed on 27th of June, after which the amendment will be published.

EASA proposed new rules for operations in BVLOS over populated areas

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has published recently the Notice of Proposed Amendment (NPA) 2020-07 entitled “Unmanned aircraft system beyond visual line operations over populated areas or assemblies of people in the ‘specific’ category” .

The objective of this NPA is to clarify the conditions under which unmanned aircraft system (UAS) beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations over a populated area or an assembly of people can be authorised in the ‘specific’ category.

This NPA proposes to amend the Acceptable Means of Compliance (AMC) and Guidance Material (GM) to Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/947. The AMC and GM to Article 11 ‘Rules for conducting an operational risk assessment’ of said Regulation are proposed to be amended to define the intrinsic UAS ground risk classes (GRCs) for the following operational scenarios:
-BVLOS operations over a populated area; and
-BVLOS operations over an assembly of people.

The proposed amendments are expected to increase safety, improve harmonisation among EASA Member States, and facilitate societal acceptance of UAS BVLOS operations in the ‘specific’ category.  

Currently, comments can be submitted using the Comment-Response Tool (CRT) available at http://hub.easa.europa.eu/crt/. The deadline for submission of comments is the 29th May 2020.  

Following the closing of the public commenting period, EASA will review all the comments received.  Based on the comments received, EASA will develop a decision that amends the AMC and GM to Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/9475 (the ‘UAS Regulation’). A summary of the comments received will be provided in the explanatory note to the decision. The comments received on this NPA and the EASA responses to them will be reflected in a comment-response document (CRD). The CRD will be published on the EASA website.  

Source

SJU webinars

During the third webinar hosted by SESAR Joint Undertaking (SJU) at the end of last April, lecturers highlighted the next steps for the safe integration of drones.

A participant involved in research projects highlighted several issues, said: “There is a clear need for the drone services market as a whole to have a secure connection to an authority and to be able to plan and manage drones in one place.” Its team is developing the technology to deliver this and U-space demonstrations reveal potential market opportunities. “We also need standards that everybody agrees to and adheres to, to ensure we have one single way of working that is approved by at least all the member states and preferably across the oceans as well,” he/she added.

In the Netherlands, the first version of U-space is now available. Research is continuing into how it can be used, how coordination activity is managed, how to establish flight priorities, and the possibilities for beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS). “We need to think about how to make sure manned aviation is aware of what drones are doing. U-space services offers a good solution for this. People need to be aware of each other’s activities. The good thing about U-space is you can connect to just one of the services, like the surveillance service, and get information about the traffic without the need for the full deployment.”

Enaire’s Drone Business Chief, reiterated the importance of conspicuity, but added: “Conspicuity is very difficult, especially in low level airspace where you don’t have surveillance. This needs to be developed, but it is a hard topic.” The DOMUS project highlighted the importance of a single “Ecosystem Manager” combined with a federated structure to provide the necessary de-confliction services. This interface between air traffic management and unmanned traffic management is central to tactical coordination. A lot of work still needs to be done according to the U-space Programme Manager. “On the one hand we are happy to see all the work that has been done in short space of time and we expect to release the results in a brochure with data from the project reports by this Summer. At the same time, there is still a lot to do. That is why the material that has been developed in these projects, including technical specifications, will be made available to disseminate more widely.”

Source

Android GNSS raw measurements

The European GNSS Agency (GSA) has launched two calls for papers ahead of its GNSS Raw Measurements Taskforce Workshop, to be held online on 28 May 2020. The first of these calls targets innovative work using raw measurements while the second is related to testing EGNOS Data Access Service (EDAS) corrections in smartphones. EDAS is the EGNOS internet broadcast service, which provides free of charge access to EGNOS data.

In its call for papers related to innovative work using raw measurements, the GSA is particularly interested in recent work using GNSS raw measurements in the field of high accuracy, robustness, testing or monitoring. However, other work in these fields beyond the use of raw measurements is also of interest. Proposals in this call should be submitted by 6 May.

If you are working on innovative solutions in these areas, the GSA wants to hear from you! Proposals, in the form of an abstract (maximum one page in length) should be sent to martin.sunkevic@gsa.europa.eu, clearly indicating the name of the call. In the event that too many proposals are received, the GSA reserves the right to choose the proposals to be presented at the workshop.

Source

Galileo Green Lane

The European GNSS Agency (GSA) is working together with the European Commission (EC) on an app to facilitate the movement of goods and freight within the EU in support of the COVID-19 pandemic response. The “Galileo Green Lane” app will ease the flow of freight through borders and enable the efficient transit of critical goods in order to reduce waiting times at Green Lane border crossings.

“At the GSA, one of our key roles is to promote the use of Galileo and to address the economic and societal challenges that Europe faces. The European Commission´s Galileo Green Lane initiative fits this profile exactly,” said Pascal Claudel, Acting Executive Director at the GSA. “By supporting a solution that eases the transport of critical goods across borders, Galileo is making its contribution to help reduce the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the EU’s economy and its citizens,” he said.

The app will have two interfaces. The first is for border control authorities and provides a real-time visualisation of the overall border situation between a country and its neighbours. In turn, border officials can contribute information to the system by regularly feeding updates into the app on the traffic flow and waiting times at their borders. At the same time, the app will provide Member States with a website, generating reports automatically to demonstrate compliance to the EU on the Green Lanes implementation. The app will also feature a user interface providing drivers with a real-time visualisation of borders of interest to them, through an EU-wide map indicating Green Lane border crossing times. When drivers enter a geo-fenced area within a specified distance to a border, they can receive a notification produced by the border officers on the situation at that border. Their location is collected anonymously only when they are approaching the border and it is solely used to update the overall border picture. Crowdsourced information from different sources is aggregated, including data from the leading European real-time visibility platform Sixfold.

Source

U-Space webinars

SESAR JU members and partners recently brought to a close two years of research and development (R&D) on how to integrate safely and securely drones across Europe, within the framework of U-space, an initiative by the European Commission.

Organised within the framework of the SESAR Digital Academy, three webinar sessions will present the work of some of these projects addressing the concept of operations for U-Space, critical communications, surveillance and tracking, information management and exchange, detect and avoid, and CNS technologies.

SESAR has scheduled the following webinars:

-28 April 10.00-11.00 From concept to reality
-28 April 14.00-15.00 Taking up the U-Space challenge
-30 April 10.00-11.00 Demonstrating U-Space

For registrations, visit https://www.sesarju.eu/node/3537. The number of participants is limited.

SUGUS project is calling respondents to take part in a survey

The European Solution for E-GNSS U-Space Service (SUGUS) project is calling respondents to take part in a survey to identify and analyse needs to achieve safe drone integration. The survey is open until 15 May 2020 at https://projectsugus.eu/survey/

The objective of the survey is to identify and capture U-space and EGNSS key stakeholders’ needs in different operational scenarios: U-space Services Technology Suppliers, Operators, UAS and GNSS receiver Manufacturers, UAS Pilots and Operators, Public Bodies, Authorities and Organizations and UAS Test and Training Centers. Results of the survey will help to define a new EGNSS-based Application Programming Interface (API) and contribute to the development of drone standardisation and regulation.

SuguS is a European Commission’s project aimed at accelerating the use of the European GNSS (E-GNSS, EGNOS and Galileo) in the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) market, putting in place the necessary means at service provision level for facilitating the operational use of E-GNSS by operators and their approval by the aviation authorities. The project will demonstrate the added value for drone operations of the measures implemented at service provision level and the new EGNSS API. Amongst those benefits are the ability to mitigate the risks of the operations and the facilitation of the mission preparation and authorization processes by the operator.

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eCall emergency response system

On 31 March 2018, the EU launched its eCall emergency response system with the publication of the European eCall regulation, requiring all new car and light van types sold in the EU to be fitted with the system.

eCall is activated automatically as soon as in-vehicle sensors detect a serious crash. Once activated, the system dials the European emergency number 112 and establishes a telephone link to the appropriate emergency call centre.

Leveraging EGNSS (Galileo and EGNOS), the system sends the accurate position of the crashed vehicle and the direction of travel to the emergency services, enabling the emergency responders to get to the accident site faster. An eCall can also be triggered manually by pushing a button in the car, for example by a witness to a serious accident.

European Joint Research Centre and the GSA have given support for a quick and smooth uptake by the automobile industry, publishing a set of guidelines to help the eCall industry value chain to pre-test the accuracy of their new devices and understand how to reap the benefits of Galileo.

By speeding up emergency response times by 40% in urban areas and 50% in the countryside, it is estimated that eCall could help prevent 2,500 road deaths and save EUR 26 billion every year.

As of today, in the two years since the launch of the EU’s eCall emergency response system, manufacturers have been quick to implement the life-saving technology, with around 3 million eCall-enabled vehicles already sold in Europe.

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Contribution agreement on aviation safety research activities

The European Commission (EC) and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) have signed a contribution agreement on aviation safety research activities, and EC assigned EASA with the management of compelling research actions in the field of environmental protection and aviation safety. Investigations issues address topics such as environmental research, vulnerability of manned aircraft to drone strikes, and effectiveness of flight time limitations.

This compromise covers a budget of 13 M€ over the next 7 years and research activities are financed through the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

Under the agreement, EASA is in charge for contracting, the technical oversight and the proper dissemination and usage of the research results. The accord proves the commitment by the EC and EASA to support the sustainability of the aviation industry and to further improve aviation safety.

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EGNSS for drones operations

The European GNSS Agency has published a document entitled “EGNSS for Drones Operations”. The document has free access.

The document is divided in 5 main sections:

-The first one, entitled Background, speaks about the drone market and the regulatory framework. It also mentions European initiatives as SESAR JU.

-The second block describes current technologies used for drone positioning and navigation and the third one presents benefits and motivation for enabling European GNSS in unmanned air systems. For that purpose, it explains how EGNOS improves the accuracy of the position and presents the results of several flight tests performed by GSA. Lastly, the third section talks about how EU is developing the Galileo High Accuracy Service (HAS).

-The fourth main block presents briefly the current two authentication mechanisms that are planned for Galileo.

-Finally, the document presents different GSA-supported projects. Through R&D funding, the GSA is supporting initiatives related to the implementation of drones: from equipment development, through definition of operations to commercial applications development. Project GAUSS is one of them.

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New U-Space project kicks off

SUGUS is an European Commission project, which involves solutions for E-GNSS U-Space Service. The main goal is to speed up the adoption of EGNOS and Galileo technologies in unmanned aircraft and to ensure safe and efficient coexistence of manned and unmanned air traffic.

U-Space is a set of new airspace-management services and procedures designed to ensure airspace access to UAS while looking out for operational security, the right to privacy and the safety of persons and infrastructure. These services rely on a high level of digitization and function automation, whether onboard the drone itself or part of the ground-based environment.

SUGUS will demonstrate the benefits for drone operations of the measures implemented at service-provision level and the new EGNSS API (European GNSS application programming interface) to be implemented in the project.

These benefits include the mitigation of operating risks, improvement of preparation processes and clearance of the operator’s mission.

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GSA joins the 2020 Global Surveyors Day

The geomatics community has always supported and trusted the European GNSS, proved by the gradual penetration of Galileo in GNSS receivers for surveying and mapping. Nowadays, around 55% of GNSS surveying receivers already support Galileo and around 90% are EGNOS-enabled.

The GSA engages in a systematic process of consultation with the surveying community, and based on this consultation, it produces The Report on Surveying User Needs and Requirements

On the occasion of Global Surveyors Day, The European GNSS Agency (GSA) joins the 2020 Global Surveyors Day, to celebrate and to congratulate the men and women of the surveying profession and their valuable work across a wide range of geomatics applications including land surveying and offshore surveying.

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EASA publishes U-space opinion

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has published its U-space opinion containing a draft regulation. As anticipated, the agency has stuck to its original proposal requiring that there should be only one common information service (CIS) provider per U-space airspace (though a State can define many different U-space areas within its airspace) and that a CIS organisation cannot also be the U-space service provider (USSP).

The draft opinion also defines mandatory U-space services: network identification, geo-awareness, traffic information and UAS flight authorisation.

The principle is that ANSPs provide air navigation services (ANS) to manned aircraft while USSPs provide U-space services to UAS operators. Both ANSPs and USSPs are certified to provide their respective services in a safe, secure and continuous manner. Within controlled airspace, U-space airspace is designated by the Member States and is dynamically managed by the ANSP. The safety of operations is guaranteed by the fact that manned and unmanned traffic will not mix with each other as they are dynamically segregated since both ANS and U-space services are not provided at the same time in the same volume of airspace.

In the short term, it is not considered that USSPs would provide ATC-like service in controlled airspace. If USSPs would provide ATC-like services within controlled airspace, they would need to meet the same certification requirements that ATS providers meet today and be designated as stipulated in the SES Regulation.

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EUROCAE publishes Draft ED-275 Vol. II

EUROCAE has announced the availability of  Draft ED-275 Vol. II entitled “Minimum Operational Performance Standard (MOPS) for ACAS Xu – Volume II – Algorithm Design Description (ADD)”

This document is aimed to provide the Algorithm Design Description (ADD) for the Surveillance and Tracking Module (STM) and the Threat Resolution Module (TRM) of the next generation Airborne Collision Avoidance System (ACAS Xu). This CA system is designed for, amongst many airborne systems, for Unmanned Aircraft Systems as well.

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SESAR results of U-space research

During the last two years, SESAR JU and its partners have successfully achieved 19 research and demonstration projects, addressing a lot of issues from the concept of operations for drone operations, critical communications, surveillance and tracking, and information management to aircraft systems, ground-based technologies, cyber-resilience and geo-fencing.

The results are published in a report entitled Supporting Safe and Secure Drone Operations in Europe. This report describes the work undertaken by 125 entities, including 25 European airports, 25 ANSPs, 11 universities, more than 65 start-ups and businesses, as well as 800 experts. More details will be included in a document pending to be published in the second half of 2020.

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Galileo Return Link Service performance

The Galileo Return Link Service (RLS) is a free global service available to Cospas-Sarsat RLS compatible beacons. This functionality offers a communication link that relays Return Link Messages (RLM) back to the originating beacon through the Galileo Navigation Signal in Space (I/NAV E1). This is part of the Galileo Search and Rescue (SAR) Service, which is continuously monitored by the GSA.

The Galileo RLS, which allows people in distress to receive automatic acknowledgement that their signal has been received, was declared operational at the 12th European Space Conference on January 21. 

The first performance evaluation of the Galileo Return Link Service (RLS) following its launch has revealed excellent service provision that exceeds set targets.  Galileo Return Link Service was available 100% of the time, above the target value of 95%. On average, the Galileo system took 37 seconds to deliver automatic acknowledgement to the beacon. This is significantly better than the target value of 15 minutes, which was achieved 99.61% of the time.

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EGNOS use cases in airport approaches

Recently, a Riga based airline has proved successful execution in tactical phase of landing approaches using EGNOS enabled LPV procedures.

This GNSS application is an example of the relevance of EGNOS in the aviation industry and the growth of the implementation of modern technologies in air navigation.

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GNSS reference stations as testbed in Denmark

Sited in Denmark, the 600-square-kilometer Testbed in Aarhus for Precision Positioning and Autonomous Systems (TAPAS) covers both a densely populated city center and suburbs, a large industrial harbor and parts of Aarhus Bay. Aarhus is the second largest city in Denmark with a population of 350,000 people.

The TAPAS GNSS reference stations are equipped with the newest generation of GNSS receivers and antennas capable of tracking all available signals from the GPS, GLONASS, Galileo and BeiDou systems.

Based on RTK methodology, TAPAS is a sound ground-based testbed to support, test and validate technological developments with a need for fast, efficient, flexible and reliable precision positioning. It is designed as a geodetic innovation platform, with both physical and virtual networks providing positioning to the centimeter level (cubic centimeter).

Data from the TAPAS stations streams in real time to the Central Processing Facility (CPF) operated at a dedicated server at DTU Space in Lyngby, North of Copenhagen. The GNSS observations are processed using the GNSMART 2 software from Geo++, where corrections for network RTK positioning are estimated. The corrections are estimates for errors affecting the GNSS positioning, such as inaccuracies in satellite positions and clock drift parameters as well as ionospheric and tropospheric effects. The dense network of reference stations in TAPAS will assure that corrections for the atmospheric effects will be of very high quality.

After the field tests, it was concluded that the TAPAS testbed is able to provide correction data that makes it possible to perform GNSS-based positioning in real time in both static and dynamic mode with position uncertainties at the cm-level. In this way, TAPAS is able to aid research into feasible infrastructure for the technologies of tomorrow, such as autonomous driving or navigation of RPAS.

Sources

“Anti-RPAS” system purchased by DGAM

The Spanish Military Airworthiness Authority (Dirección General de Armamento y Material, DGAM) has acquired jamming devices able to inhibit both GNSS signals and control signals from the Remote Pilot Station to the Remote Piloted Aircraft, and to force its immediate landing.

The difference with respect to other jamming systems is the availability of unlimited number of inhibition profiles for any frequency ranging from 200MHz to 6GHz.

The GAUSS Project will enable not only safe, timely and efficient operations but also coordination among a higher number of RPAS in the air with the appropriate levels of security, as it will improve anti-jamming and anti-spoofing capabilities through a multi-frequency and multi-constellation approach and Galileo authentication operations.

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Webinar on GNSS and inertial navigation

The next February 12th a free webinar entitled “Automative-Grade GNSS + Inertial for Robust Navigation” will take place. Registration is open and free.

During the webinar, several sensor integrations will be covered regarding navigation in a full range of environments.

The members of the panel will guide the attendants through the intricacies of GNSS-inertial integration from three points:

  • via sensor-agnostic self-contained software that performs tight coupling of carrier-phase GNSS with inertial measurements, a vehicle motion model with software-based multipath mitigation and without connecting to vehicle sensors;
  • via tightly coupled GNSS, MEMS accelerometers and gyros, integrated in the GNSS module, from dual frequency with full RTK corrections and ambiguity resolution and a wheel-pulse connection (automotive dead reckoning);
  • via a wheel-mounted inertial measurement unit providing high-rate (2 kHz) bias-free data, road-quality measurements and instantaneous wheel dynamics estimation.

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Recent testing of an autonomous testing

Live testing of an autonomous car during last November provided positioning performances with safety margins, achieved by estimated protection levels designed into the positioning engine. In the European Safety Critical Applications Positioning Engine (ESCAPE) GNSS Engine (EGE), a real-time Precise Point Positioning (PPP) hybrid algorithm employs dual-frequency GPS and Galileo measurements, inertial sensors and PPP corrections from a web server over a cellular network.

A robust GPS + Galileo hybrid configuration for the positioning algorithm performs consistency checks in parallel for safety. This enhances the accuracy by integrating data from several vehicle sensors. EGE enables potential use of the Galileo signal authentication feature and tests provision of an integrity layer to assess the degree of confidence one can associate with the position information provided by the device.

Automotive intelligent cameras provide lateral distance measurements to road markings, combined with data showing position computed relative to lane-level accurate maps. This yields an accurate position relative to the map and enables estimation of the associated integrity Protection Levels (PLs), computed for multiple-target integrity risks (IRs).

The EGE was integrated in an autonomous car for driving tests in July 2019 at the University of Technology of Compiègne (UTC) in France. The car also carried a high-grade trajectory reference system (GNSS+high-grade IMU); its post-processed centimeter-error solution served as a truth reference to assess EGE performance.

The EGE (European Safety Critical Applications Positioning Engine GNSS Engine) provides a hybrid solution with an integrity layer, making the most of all sensors that should be present in autonomous vehicles and it creates a new paradigm of safety-oriented navigation technology on the road.

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Recent flight trials for European GNSS solutions

EGNSS4RPAS project, funded by the European Commission, has deployed recently dedicated flight trials to show how Galileo and EGNOS are able to commit to a safer and more efficient future of U-Space.

Some field trials took place at the ATLAS drone test facility in Villacarrillo, Spain involving a fixed-wing RPA and two multirotor RPAs. One trial took place in the urban environment of Villacarrillo using the multirotor RPA. This last operation was the first one in an urban environment ever approved by the national civil aviation authority AESA, and one of the few examples of real urban operations in Europe.

In all these experimental test operations, the RPAs were equipped with a multi-constellation and multi-frequency receiver which was used to compute the EGNSS solutions and the reference trajectory using Precise Point Positioning. Moreover, multi-constellation and multi-frequency antennas were also installed.

In open visibility conditions, the results clearly show that the use of Galileo in dual constellation with GPS significantly improves accuracy compared to GPS-only for both the horizontal and vertical dimension. The introduction of EGNOS significantly enhances the GPS-only accuracy.

The urban scenario posed several challenges to the reception of GNSS signals. Despite having fewer satellites available, the Galileo-only solution still provides significantly better performances than the GPS-only solution.

Eventually, these flight trials showed how European GNSS solutions are a pivotal element for the safety and efficiency of drone operations even in cities. These operations have demonstrated, again, the added value of EGNSS for drones and support the uptake of EGNSS-based standards in the RPAS community.

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Disaster management

European GNSS (Galileo and EGNOS) can provide a significant support in order to effectively manage the response to an emergency or a disaster.

During distress events where the management of the consequences is critical, it is mandatory to have access to precise and updated information. GNSS makes a significant contribution during the mitigation phase of disaster management, supporting GNSS monitoring and early warning systems for disasters such as landslides or tsunamis. 

Regarding the integration of GNSS in RPAS for Search and Rescue, the MOBNET project is designing a system to locate isolated victims in the event of natural or man-made disasters. The system also can help first responder services to find lost people in the mountains.

MOBNET Project

The MOBNET solution takes advantage of the ubiquity of mobile phones and the cost and performance gains of using drones in search and rescue operations, while leveraging the high-quality timing synchronization capabilities provided by Galileo. Taking advantage of these features, MOBNET uses digital cellular technologies to detect the presence of people, by locating their mobiles, and help rescuers in their search.

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GIANO – robust GNSS for critical infrastructure

Thales Alenia Space has been awarded a grant under the European GNSS Agency’s (GSA) Fundamental Elements funding mechanism for the development of the GIANO (Galileo-based TIming Receiver for CriticAl INfrastructure Robustness) receiver, which aims to make critical infrastructure more robust against interference, jamming and spoofing.

The GIANO receiver will leverage Galileo and EGNOS-driven innovation to improve the resilience of the receiver against interference, jamming and spoofing and increase the accuracy and reliability of the time transfer service.

The timing platform prototype to be developed and validated will integrate all the latest innovative technologies, including professional products from Thales Alenia Space, paving the way for future Galileo-based timing receivers that offer improved resilience and accuracy at a reasonable cost.

The project will also benefit from the support of the European Commission’s in-house science service – the Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the Italian National Metrology Institute (INRIM), which will make available its test facilities for verification activities on the developed equipment.

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Development of a drone-borne Galileo receiver

European GNSS, EGNOS and Galileo, provides significant added value to drone navigation, positioning and related applications, and the use of their differentiators will be instrumental in opening up new business opportunities.

RPAS are becoming the 3rd GNSS market segment for device shipments according to the last GSA market report. Drones generally integrate GNSS solutions in an effort to navigate efficiently and safely.

Within this context, there is a Call for Proposals recently opened under the European GNSS Agency’s (GSA) Fundamental Elements funding mechanism. This Call for Proposals is targeting the development of a drone-borne low-cost double-frequency Galileo multi-constellation receiver, integrated with INS (inertial navigation system) and other sensors. The technology should be at a sufficient level of maturity (technology readiness level 7).

Fundamental Elements call, at a Glance :

  • Title: Development of a drone-borne double frequency Galileo receiver     
  • Budget: €1,500,000
  • Indicative number of projects: up to 2 projects
  • Deadline for applications: 2 March 2020  

The call aims at delivery of a robust navigation solution, including integrity requirements for operations, that leverages Galileo differentiators such as OS Authentication and High Accuracy. The solution should be validated in a representative environment for the target operations. This includes conducting flight tests and analysing the performances obtained from a Galileo-only constellation and comparing these with those coming from multi-constellation mode.

For more information on this call, click here.

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First GALILEO-enabled autonomous vehicles

Nowadays, GALILEO is a potential driver for the future navigation of autonomous vehicles.

The last November 27th, demonstrations of autonomous vehicles took place at the University of Technology of Compiègne, France. These live demonstrations involved for the first time Gelileo-enabled autonomous vehicles made in the EU.

Assisting participants to the event had the unique opportunity to ride in an autonomous vehicle fitted with a GALILEO-enabled ESCAPE GNSS engine (EGE).

The EGE is an innovative positioning engine that leverages the Galileo signals and services to provide a core positioning component in autonomous vehicles. It was designed and prototyped by the ESCAPE project, funded under the European GNSS Agency’s (GSA) Fundamental Elements programme.

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SAFEDRONE’s Open Day at ATLAS test center

The last November 28th, several test cases related to the SAFEDRONE project took place at the ATLAS Flight Test Center in Villacarrilo, Jaén.

Demonstrations were aimed to show the latest state of the art technologies related to U-space and the integration of drones into the airspace. The test cases involved large number of drones and general aviation aircrafts during the Open Day.

The main goal was to integrate general aviation aircrafts into U-space. Moreover advanced technologies related to U3 functionalities, like automated Detect&Avoid functionalities and operating a group of drones by a single pilot, were shown.

On the other hand, contigency situations were taken into account, such as geo-fencing breach and dynamic creation of no-fly zones.

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GALILEO AND EGNOS IN FOCUS AT EU SPACE WEEK

The European Space Week 2019 editions took place at the Helsinki Congress Paasitorni in the Finnish capital on December 3-5. It offered the opportunity to join the European Space applications community and discover the latest Galileo, EGNOS and Copernicus applications and meet global leaders, award-winning entrepreneurs, start-ups and visionaries.

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Integration of UAS in U-Space

CATEC (Advanced center of aerospace technologies) is sponsoring a new european project SAFEDRONE. It will tackle one of the major field trials in Europe, in Jaén.

The trials will involve drones and conventional aircrafts sharing the same airspace at very low level (VLL) up to 120 meters of height.

Through H2020 and SESAR JU, this initiative aims to facilitate the incursion of drone in cities and countryside surroundings in order to provide many services during the next decade.

All the flight tests will take place in Villacarrillo, Jaén. The trials will involve up to 8 different air vehicles flying at the same time in the same airspace. Concerning the RPAS, some operations will be performed beyond the visual line of sight, reproducing the delivery of medical items, generation of maps and control of territory use.

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Deploying Galileo in UAS operations

A consortium formed by GMV, VVA and FADA-Catec has assesed the Galileo and EGNOS features and services in the UAS sector for Air Traffic Management and other different applications.

The Egnss4RPAS project has deployed several test trials for unmanned aircrafts under the European Commission order to show the usefulness and aplicability of Galileo and Egnos services for UAS operations. The trials have proved that Galileo offers a better response compared to the GPS systems, as well as the corrections provided by EGNOS to enhance the positioning provided by GPS, showing precission errors below 1 meter.

The trials have showed without a doubt that when Galileo and EGNOS technologies are used together, the performances are very rebust.

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GSA enhances integrity and precision of RPAS positioning

The GSA is co-financing the SKYOPENER project, which aims for more civil RPAS aplications taking benefits from GNSS and EGNOS.

The growing demand of larger range RPAS missions cannot be satisfied due to the restrictions for beyond visual line of sight operations. Skyopener seeks to change this. The project is developing activities in order to reduce risks related to RPAS allowing ANSPs to manage low-level operations. In order to do this, Galileo and EGNOS will play a major role.

One test trial demonstrated that the use of GPS and Galileo under different frequency combinations provides a better availability, precission and robustness against against jamming.

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Validation tests of remote activation of Galileo radio beacons

The last 16th of September, several trials for using the Galileo Return Link Service (RLS) were performed in Madrid. This is a particular Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) for Distress Tracking (ELT-DT).

This service can be activated automatically should certain situations on board the aircraft take place and it can also be activated and deactivated remotely; so its functionality does not depend on the crew, and the position information can be later sent to rescue centers such as COSPAS-SARSAT.

The concept of using the ELT-DT with remote activation and subsequent deactivation emerged within an EUROCAE group in 2018. Several field trials were planned and a series of flight tests took place in Madrid in September. These trials consisted in activation tests with subsequent remote deactivations using radiobeacons.

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Project GAUSS public deliverables

Project GAUSS has published the public deliverables of the project corresponding to:

  • WP2: UTM Operational Framework, D2.1 (Design of UTM Concept of Operations) and D2.2 (Definition of UTM Scenarios and use cases report).
  • WP4: EGNSS Signal Integrity and Security, D4.1 (Report on EGNSS security-enabling features relevant for RPAS)

Stay tuned for the upcoming successes of the project.

EGNOS and Galileo – opening the door to new drone applications

With European GNSS providing the positioning accuracy that drones need to operate safely, more and more drone-based applications are hitting the market. The GSA highlighted a number of these innovative services during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The integration of EGNOS and Galileo into drone and UAV technology enhances positioning and opens the door to a wide range of new applications and services. In fact, according to the latest edition of the European GNSS Agency’s (GSA) Market Report, by 2025 the installed base of GNSS devices in drones will reach 70 million – more than twice the sum of other professional market segments combined. But with this growing market comes growing concerns about how to ensure the safe operation of drones.

See GSA

everis coordinates European project to achieve an improvement on UAV performances through EGNOS and Galileo

everis Aerospace and Defense leads the consortium of companies that will develop GSA’s (European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency) GAUSS project. Within the framework of H2020 and with a duration of 3 years, this initiative intends to improve both security and positioning features of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with the aid of  EGNOS and Galileo systems.

Apart from everis Aerospace & Defense, who will play the role of coordinator, there will be other participants in the project, more precisely the IRI (Institut de Robòtica i Informática Industrial), the Cranfield University, the University of Seville and the companies RINA Consulting, Aratos Systems and Satways Ltd.

Sources:

everis

Avion Revue

infodefensa

defensa.com

infodron

Opinión militar

actualidad aeroespacial

GAUSS Project gathers prominent European actors to analyse benefits of Galileo and EGNOS in operations with Unmanned Aircraft Systems

The GAUSS project, a GSA initiative coordinated by everis Aerospace, Defense, and Security (everis ADS), recently organised a workshop at the University of Cranfield (United Kingdom) to analyse the benefits of Galileo and EGNOS in the context of operations involving unmanned systems (UAS) and their air traffic management (in Europe, U-Space). 

Together with the celebration of this workshop, another important milestone of the project was the signing of the EU U-space demonstrator network manifesto during the launch event on October 19th in Antwerp. This network, supported by the EC, EASA, SESAR JU, and Eurocontrol will become a forum to share knowledge on how to keep drone operations safe, secure, and green. It focuses specifically on relevant projects that, with a clear business case, build on mature technologies, but need some further operational and regulatory demonstrations before starting commercial operations.

Sources:

sUAS News

unmanned airspace

Drones Crunch

GSA highlights added value of GNSS of drones at WATM 2019

The added value of EGNSS (Galileo and EGNOS) for drones was the focus of a special session organised by the European GNSS Agency (GSA) at this year’s World ATM Congress in Madrid on 12 March, at which representatives from several projects spoke about how they are benefitting from the European space programme.

The GAUSS GSA-H2020 project was represented by Adrián Jiménez González from Everis Aerospace & Defence, which is chairing the new EUROCAE subgroup on Multi GNSS for UAS. He said that the integration of Galileo and EGNOS into drone technology is mainly focused on safety and security, thanks to the increased integrity and accuracy that they provide. This is particularly relevant given the growing popularity of drones, Jiménez González said. “Due to their growing popularity and usage, in the near future we will see hundreds of drones sharing airspace, making the added value of EGNOS and Galileo, specifically improved manoeuvring, and accurate positioning, all the more relevant for public and airspace safety,” he said.

See this information in context.