CORUS-XUAM

Concept of operations for European UTM systems – Extension for urban air mobility

CORUS-XUAM is a two-year very large-scale demonstration (VLD) project that will demonstrate how U-space services and solutions could support integrated Urban Air Mobility (UAM) flight operations. These services should allow electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles (eVTOL), unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and other airspace users (unmanned and manned) to operate safely, securely, sustainably and efficiently in a controlled and fully integrated airspace, without undue impact on operations currently managed by ATM.

The project is proposed by a project consortium coordinated by EUROCONTROL Experimental Centre, representing innovative research arms of the ATM, UAS and UAM industries and it is performed within the framework of the SESAR Joint Undertaking (SESAR JU) and Europe’s Horizon 2020 programme. The same consortium delivered the CORUS U-space Concept of Operations in 2019 and has now been extended by the addition of UAM expertise. The activities will start with the update of the U-space Concept of Operations, addressing the integration of UAM/UAS operations into the airspace, also identifying new U3/U4 services followed by the preparation and execution of six challenging demonstration campaigns in Belgium, France, Germany and the UK, Italy, Spain, and Sweden.

Challenges

U-space and UAM are topics where a fast increase in research, innovation and implementation is foreseen in the short and medium term and Europe is interested to foster the development of some early solutions to support the rapidly growing industry and a harmonized approach for the integration of UAM into the low level airspace.

Urban Air Mobility encompasses the use of new type of aircraft (eVTOL) as well as new concepts, technologies, airspace management constructs/procedures, regulations and stakeholders performing operations that are expected to be sustainable and interoperable with U-space manned and unmanned aviation as well as with ATM operations.

More specifically, the term UAM refers to an ecosystem that enables on-demand, highly automated, passenger or cargo-carrying air transport services with particular reference to the urban and sub-urban environments, where aviation is often highly regulated today. The expectation is to have safe, secure, green and acceptable UAM solutions/services deployed by 2025-2030 to exploit seamless freight, emergency, security and mobility services.

Benefits

The UAM challenges can only be met through an evolutionary development process ensuring the definition of appropriate, advanced and interoperable U-space infrastructures, technologies, traffic management capabilities and new set of advanced services that fit with expected type of operations and levels of demand.

This will support the European Commission’s vision for the safe, secure integrated and efficient handling of drone and UAM traffic operations and will be a key enabler for the growing drone market to generate economic and social benefits.

Demonstrations

The demonstration activities will be at the heart of CORUS-XUAM and will support integrated operations of UAS/UAM and manned aircraft, and advanced forms of interaction through digital data exchange supported by integrated and advanced U-space services in urban, sub-urban, and inter-city scenarios as well as in and near ATM-controlled airspaces and airports. The VLDs will focus on different types of mission such as passenger transport, delivery, emergency response and surveillance. The very large-scale demonstrations will use different U-space deployment architectures and state-of-the-art technologies. They will consider coordination between ATC and U-space, including interaction with ATCOs and pilots. The VLDs will combine flights by eVTOLs with other traffic, and operations in the CTRs of major airports. Vertiport procedures, separation, and data services will be also demonstrated.

The Belgium VLD is focused on developing guidelines for safe UAM operations at urban ports, in particular in the urban areas around the Ports of Zeebruges and Antwerp. Ports are one of the critical infrastructures that benefit the most from the use of drones, and the Belgian VLD tests the two main applications of these technologies in the port environment: surveillance and infrastructure-inspection operations.

The main goal of the VLD executed simultaneously in Germany & UK, is the optimisation of urban flight routes structures from airport to city metropolitan area. Of special interest is having business aspects such as on-time departure/arrival to link with commercial flights and efficiency of routes within congested urban airspace taken into account.

The demonstration, led by the Italian Air Navigation Service Provider ENAV jointly with the Italian U-space Service Provider D-Flight and conducted with the support of the Distretto Tecnologico Aerospaziale (DTA), NAIS and the UAM Operator Pipistrel Vertical Solutions, focuses on guidelines for safe depot-to-depot operations between two logistics centres within a suburban area. Flight tests, with involvement of a fast UAM vehicle and other drones for specific operations, will take place at Grottaglie-Taranto civil experimental airport, allowing the involvement of an ATM component and the demonstration of coordination and interoperability between ATM and U-space for the management of UAM traffic. This VLD addresses a UAM-tailored performance framework including safety, access and equity, cyber security and human performance, measured through humans-in-the-loop assessment, such as ATCOs and pilots, during the demonstration.

The Spanish VLD will look deeper into the interrelations between UAM operations, urban restrictions and intermodality links. The scenarios chosen to do this aim to reproduce the door-to-door transport of goods in a residential area close to the beach at Castelldefels, a mid-size municipality within the CTR of Barcelona airport. Logistics operations will coexist with law enforcement surveillance and emergency actions.

The Swedish VLD will undertake fully autonomous intercity flights between the Linköping municipality and Norrköping Airport (two Swedish sites around 50 km apart). Real test flights will be merged with simulated traffic to demonstrate the capability of combined U-space services and on-drone Detect and Avoid (DAA), to safely de-conflict the route of autonomous eVTOL flights.

The France VLD focuses on the demonstration of the feasibility and benefits of interconnecting airports and city vertiports via UAM for transporting people and goods. The WP11 VLD will bring together a wide variety of UAM players involved in the target scenario, including Aéroports de Paris (ADP), Paris mobility provider RATP, and Skyports (a vertiport infrastructure developer). Three technical areas will be specifically addressed: a dynamic U-space airspace configuration, trajectory conformity monitoring and the operational guidelines for UAM vertiports operations. This demonstration forms part of the preparation of UAM for 2024 Olympic Games.

Deliverables

The main results will be used to update the Concept of operations for European UTM systems at the end of the project and will include valuable insights to regulatory authorities, such as EASA.

The project will also involve extensive consultation and communication initiatives with U-space stakeholders, end-users and authorities.

Our role

EUROCONTROL Experimental Centre coordinates the consortium and leads the work package on U-space concept of operations and architecture working closely with all project consortium members and third party partners all of which have an invaluable role in the project. EUROCONTROL will also provide a significant contribution on the validation and demonstration management activities, aiming to ensure their alignment with wider ATM and U-space EU strategies.

Partners

EUROCONTROL, Groupe Aéroports de Paris, AOPA UK, ASLOGIC, DFS, DLR, Droniq GmbH, DSNA, ENAIRE, ENAV, HEMAV, INDRA, LFV Group, NATS, Pipistrel VS, SkeyDrone, Unifly nv, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Volocopter, M3 Systems, Ehang Holding GmbH, Hologarde, CRIDA, D-FLIGHT, NAIS, DTA, IBG, Linköping University, Citymesh, SABCA.

 

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