The European Commission is fostering R&D aimed at enhancing exploitation of EGNSS by the growing UAV community. The objective of the SUGUS project is to investigate how EGNSS services can better support drone operations in the U-Space by tailoring the service provision layer to this new user community.
Contract Number: Call for TendersNo 746/PP/GRO/RCH/19/11305
Project Segment: Horizon 2020, Galileo Mission and Services evolution
Duration: December 2019 – August 2021
Budget: €485 000
Project Partners: GMV (Spain), everis Aerospacial y Defensa (Spain), Unifly (Belgium), Fundación Andaluza para el Desarrollo Aerospacial (Spain), VVA (Belgium) and European Satellite Services Provider (France).
Marta Cueto Santamaría, GMV
European Commission Project Manager:
Ignacio Alcantarilla Medina
Miguel Aguilera (technical advisor to EC)
Drone segment is rapidly evolving with the ability to progressively carry out more complex operations. This poses several challenges to the traditional aviation domain from many angles (integration, safety, regulation, etc.). At the same time, the main positioning sensor for drone navigation and other specific services (geo-fencing, detect and avoid, identification, amongst others) is GNSS. In this context, and in order to unlock all the potential economic and societal benefits of drone-based operations that EGNSS services and unique features can provide, it is deemed necessary to assess how to tailor EGNSS service provision to drone users (in a wide sense, from final users to operator or U-Space service providers) to enhance safety and security, and to support the swiftly deployment of the U-Space in Europe.
The main project objectives are:
- capture U-Space service provider and operator needs in complex operations, including but not limited to, Beyond Visual Line-of-Sight and urban.
- perform gap analysis between the elements already implemented in EGNSS Programmes and the needs for a fast acceptance as an additional service in U-Space.
- perform impact analysis in the service provision layer for the facilitation of the use of EGNSS in U-Space and, more specifically, for the mitigation of risks in the Specific Category.
- define and implement an Application Programming Interface (API) for EGNSS which could be called upon by U-Space service providers, drone designers or systems developers, and integrated in existing commercial solutions.
- Perform a proof of concept by means of execution flight trials in a complex environment (Specific category).
The results of the SUGUS project are:
- U-Space service provider and operator needs were captured and analysed in detail in order to derive requirements for the use of EGNSS services. This process was based on the review of outcomes from past and on-going projects researching the use of EGNSS for drones and it included the organization of a survey to relevant U-Space stakeholders
- A gap and impact analysis allowed to identify which elements of the current EGNSS service provision layer are missing or should be tailored in order to better serve drone operations. A high-level and preliminary implementation plan was also defined.
- A preliminary service provision model and liability scheme was developed, with focus on the Specific Category and the use of EGNOS integrity
- An API was developed, tested and integrated with a commercial U-Space solution for drone operations management. The API is a new communication channel which supports the delivery of added-value information required by the drone community, such as performance forecast and monitoring. In the future, this API will be evolved to provide additional functions in a real operational environment
- The solution developed by SUGUS was validated in real flight trials involving medium-risk drone operations. The outcomes of the validation campaign were presented to the project Advisory Board (made up of relevant U-Space stakeholders), that confirmed their relevance for the development of the U-Space
- In terms of dissemination and awareness, a web page (https://projectsugus.eu/) was created to inform the U-Space community about the progress of the project. Additionally, a promotional video of the flight trials and a project leaflet were produced. Finally, a conference paper was presented focused on the API solution and the trials.
It is expected that the outcomes of the SUGUS project help to accelerate the uptake of EGNSS services in the drone segment, notably for the Open category of operations in the short-term. In the medium-term, it will support further actions for the set-up of EGNSS services in the Specific and Certified category of operations.
The delivery of performance forecast and monitoring services through the API constitutes and innovative element in the EGNSS Programmes and represent and step forward towards the provision of EGNSS services for the U-Space.
Disclaimer: The project results represent the views of the consortium. They do not necessarily represent the views of the European Commission and they do not commit the Commission to implementing the results.