U.K. Trial Tests UAS BVLOS Operations in Non-Segregated Airspace
Monday, September 28, 2020 | Comments

ANRA Technologies, Trax International, uAvionix and Plane Finder are working together on a project to demonstrate beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) unmanned aircraft system (UAS) operations in non-segregated airspace in the United Kingdom.

The consortium received U.K. Research and Innovation (UKRI) funding because the technical solution proposed by the project was considered an essential enabler for a multitude of UAS projects that would allow more effective recovery from existing and/or future COVID impacts.

Temporary danger areas (TDA) are currently established in the U.K. to provide airspace segregation between BVLOS operations and other airspace users. As demand increases, multiple TDAs pose a safety risk in terms of airspace complexity and efficiency.

The project aims to deliver a known operating environment, without the necessity for a TDA, within which all airspace users are detected and presented to the UAS operator in order to demonstrate a ‘detect and avoid’ capability that is as good as the ‘see and avoid’ capability of conventional aircraft under visual flight rules.

The drone technologies will be harmonized on ANRA’s UAS traffic management (UTM) system to improve safety and enable BVLOS operations. The project will take advantage of the U.K. Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) intention to use 978 MHz as a second automatic dependent surveillance broadcast (ADS-B) frequency to share surveillance and flight information data with other airspace users.

A live trial is planned to take place in 2021 in partnership with the Aviation Innovation Centre at Goodwood Aerodrome.

The integration of UAS operations into existing airspace systems presents a variety of issues and novel challenges. The predicted volume of UAS operations across both controlled and uncontrolled airspace, which could be on a scale comparable, if not greater, to that of present-day manned air traffic, compounds these challenges. UTM will extend beyond the current paradigm for manned aircraft operations to those that promote shared situational awareness among unmanned aircraft operators. UTM will help promote safe, efficient and equitable airspace access for all operators, manned and unmanned.

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