This new high-performance navigation system will allow for reduced, collaborative separation between different drones operating simultaneously

AERTEC, an international company specialized in aerospace technology, has presented at the headquarters of the Spanish Space Agency the results of the GEODESY (Galileo Enhanced Operation for Drone Systems) project, thanks to which a multi-frequency / multi-constellation Galileo receiver has been developed that will allow drones, UAS (unmanned aerial systems) and VTOLs (vertical take-off and landing vehicles) navigation performance that meets very demanding technical and operational requirements.

Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) will generate a high concentration of aircraft, manned or unmanned, flying at low altitude over our urban environments with very strict precision margins, which with current systems are still difficult to achieve. “The scenario of real flight operations of unmanned aerial vehicles in non-segregated space is undoubtedly one of the most important foreseen in the future and the most relevant according to an urban air mobility industry that is advancing rapidly in the technical field, but that “needs this type of projects to validate the operational safety of its technological proposals,” says Rafael Márquez, Director of Aerospace Systems Business Development at AERTEC.

The GEODESY project, co-financed by the European Agency for the Development of the Space Program (EUSPA) as part of the FUNDAMENTAL ELEMENTS call, is part of the EASA Specific Category of drone operations considering VLL (very low altitude) routes within a U-Space environment in regards to its positioning properties such as geofencing, geocaging and ATOL (automatic take-off and landing), since it is the area that has the greatest potential for industrial growth. On these types of VLL routes, safe separation is the key concept to keep aircraft at a minimum distance from each other to reduce the risk of collision between them. In uncontrolled airspace, minimum separation is maintained through rules of procedure and situational awareness, and minimum distances for safe separation of aircraft currently depend on the accuracy offered by the navigation system used.

Thanks to the consortium of companies that make up GEODESY, led by AERTEC, and of which PildoLabs, the Advanced Center for Aerospace Technologies (CATEC) and the Telecommunications Technology Center of Catalonia (CTTC) are also part, this new high-performance navigation system will contribute to improving the final capability of U-Space, as reduced separations between drones can be allowed thanks to more precise positioning. GEODESY could be the starting point for the future definition of conceptual collaborative separation between different drones.

The project has also focused on utilizing the added value that the use of Galileo and its differentiators can bring to the performance of drones, in particular with the deployment in the system of OS-NMA (signal authentication) and HAS ( extended precision). Galileo is the European satellite radionavigation and positioning system, launched by ESA (European Space Agency), and which provides the European Union with technology independent of the American GPS and the Russian GLONASS.

“Unmanned systems facilitate new applications and business models for citizens, which would not otherwise be possible without correct location and control of RPAS. Due to their versatile configurations and adaptability, the number of drones operating in global airspace is expected to increase exponentially in the coming years, and GEODESY will be able to contribute to the safe and harmonious growth of this new market,” adds Rafael Márquez.

AERTEC, in addition to leading the GEODESY project and being the representative of the Consortium before the EUSPA, has developed the integration of the Galileo multi-constellation / multi-frequency receiver in the TARSIS fixed-wing RPAS navigation system, to validate its effectiveness in flight operations both in line of sight and out of line of sight, simulating an operation of a large remotely piloted vehicle for transporting goods or people and flying in a scenario where several multicopters may be performing other missions at the same time.

In the words of the Aerospace Systems Business Development Director of AERTEC, “this project has been a great opportunity to strengthen the cooperation of industry and academia with aviation safety agencies to implement and expand the use of Galileo, providing an effective enhancer for European technology sovereignty and the implementation of European standards for RPAS navigation systems.”