EUROCONTROL involved in 4 winning entries at the SESAR JU Digital Sky Awards

SJU awards 2021 banner

EUROCONTROL’s contribution to advancing H2020 research and innovation (R&I) in ATM in Europe was recognised at this year’s SESAR Joint Undertaking Digital Sky Awards to celebrate the best R&I projects of the last year, with the Agency and partners involved in four of the five winning projects.

At the online ceremony presided over by the SESAR JU’s Chief Programme Officer Benoit Fonck and Senior Comms Officer Triona Keaveney, and with an opening video address by European Transport Commissioner Adina Vălean, four projects led by or with the participation of EUROCONTROL experts were successful in the exploratory research category (RETINA), industrial research (EARTH), demonstration (DIGITS) and U-space (CORUS); the sustainability category was won by FlyATM4E. 

RETINA, winner of the exploratory research category, is a concept that exploits digital technologies to improve the safety and resilience of airport operations, allowing them to handle the future growth of air traffic.

EARTH, winner of the industrial research category, focuses on improving runway and airport throughput, and is delivering tangible increases in runway capacity throughput, as well as reducing fuel burnt in the TMA and consequently lowering CO2 emissions.

“The EUROCONTROL Network Manager always strives to provide best-in-class solutions for the aviation community. I am delighted that EUROCONTROL NM has received such strong recognition for RETINA and EARTH: these are important projects, and we look forward to continuing the good cooperation with our partners to make future air traffic management more efficient with the least possible impact on the environment.”

DIGITS, winner of the demonstration category, is a very large-scale demonstration aimed at assessing the operational benefits of an aircraft sharing its complete predicted 4D trajectory (3D + time) with air traffic control services. EUROCONTROL’s Maastricht Upper Area Control Centre led the pre-operational trials, while EEC & DECMA provided core datalink expertise and was one of the ground sites establishing ADS-C contracts with the participating aircraft, recording, distributing and analysing collected data.

“This award for DIGITS proves that this cornerstone for Trajectory-Based Operations is ready for the next step: deployment preparations”.

John Santurbano Director Maastricht Upper Area Control Centre, EUROCONTROL

CORUS, winner of the U-space category, was recognised for successfully developing a concept of operations for drones in very low-level airspace – transforming the high-level vision of U-space into tangible procedures supported by digital services, and laying the foundation for the implementation of U-space in Europe. Building on the success of CORUS, an enlarged project team is currently working on the Extension for Urban Air Mobility.

“The unmatched expertise of our teams in research and innovation has once again been recognised at these Digital Sky Awards. We’ve worked on some very innovative concepts using advanced technologies to support all aviation stakeholders including emerging domains such as drones and U-space. As part of our strategic orientation, EUROCONTROL will continue to play a critical role in the new SESAR 3”.

Philippe Merlo Director European Civil-Military Aviation, EUROCONTROL

If you missed the Awards ceremony, you can watch it below.