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Given the very strong growth in drone air traffic, their integration into airspace and UTM (Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management) are now becoming major challenges worldwide.

Since the 2016 Warsaw Declaration, the European Commission has promoted a European vision of UTM and its associated services to drone operators named “U-Space”. U-Space is being progressively implemented through increasingly sophisticated services defined by the SESAR JU in its U-Space Blueprint, planned to culminate in the complete integration of drone operations into General Air Traffic.

In order to experiment and develop the future French traffic management system dedicated to civil drones, DSNA, the French Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP), has launched an innovative approach based on collaborative and competitive partnerships with industry suppliers. Operational trials of Minimum Viable Product level solutions have been carried out since early 2020 at several aerodromes (e.g. Paris-Orly, Nice, Clermont-Ferrand). These experiments will extend into 2021 and feature new services and larger airspaces. These successive trials of pre-operational services should converge in 2023 towards a fully operational architecture throughout French continental and overseas areas. The target architecture is a digital platform, named “Hubspace”, offering in particular interoperability services.

Egis is actively supporting DSNA with the development of the French U-Space concept of operations by assisting DSNA in identifying needs around UTM and analysing local implementations.

Using a UML-based approach, Egis has helped DSNA in modelling the French U-Space needs and the target services. The CORUS concept of operation developed by the SESAR JU was the basis for modelling the data, data flows and functionalities required by U-Space. Egis then iteratively and incrementally assisted DSNA in complementing this baseline with French UTM operational needs collected in workshops with DSNA operations staff and with results from operational trials. Elements are formally described in easily readable UML diagrams, representing the French UTM operational needs and the services that meet these needs. Egis’s contribution in UML modelling and workshop leadership helped move the project forwards, helped the client explore the problems to be addressed in a structured way, and supported them with solving those problems.

This support to DSNA is a result of our longstanding involvement in the European drone arena. Recently, DSNA has selected Egis to design the System Wide Information Management (SWIM) services that will enable U-Space. Egis has also supported skeyes, the Belgian ANSP, in implementing new services for users of its Droneguide UTM platform. These current activities reflect our successes in developing and inventing solutions such as a drone equipped with a lightweight ADS-B emitter or in supporting Airbus through analyses of the performance, costs and benefits for various UAS Control-Command link options. Among our drone-related projects, Egis has conducted a feasibility study for the European Space Agency on various space based surveillance solutions to identify and track drones. Within the SESAR R&I programme, Egis is also supporting DSNA in evaluating the safety performance and the operational interoperability of the next generation of collision avoidance systems (ACAS Xu), which has to take account of drone traffic and maintain the safety benefits brought by collision avoidance systems equipping manned aircraft (TCAS, ACAS Xa).

Moving beyond UTM and its integration with air traffic management, Egis is now involved in Urban Air Mobility, supporting Toulouse Metropole with defining and implementing the VILAGIL project. Under the umbrella of the French Caisse des Depots, this project will develop smart transportation with a low carbon footprint and a better management of intermodality.

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