The DroC2om project targets the datalink of the Remotely-Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) / Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). RPAS is the terminology used by the international aviation-related agencies, and UAS is a commonly accepted terminology for the same. DroC2om considers mainly RPAS/UAS datalinks related to Very Low Level (VLL) airspace, i.e. for unmanned aircraft operating up to heights of 500 feet (approx. 150 m), where the aricraft is typically referred to as a drone. The aim is to integrate the operation of drones into civil airspace, i.e. enabling the sharing of the airspace between manned and unmanned aerial systems. The UAS system envioned in DroC2om is illustrated below, showing drones of different sizes (risk classes) operating in VLL airspace. Mainly the UAS system consists of a communications part, and a control part. The latter is referenced here as the U-Space controller, referring to the U-Space concept introduced by the SESAR Joint Undertaking (U-Space).
"*UAS Ground Risk Class (GRC) according to JARUS guidelines on Specific Operations Risk Assessment (SORA), June 2017"
The DroC2om project will design and evaluate an integrated cellular-satellite system architecture concept for data links (C2) in order to support reliable and safe operation of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) based on real drone measurements and modelling.
The project will ensure this objective based on the following main content:
- definition of scenarios and requirements
- design of combined cellular – satellite data link communications architecture for small drone command and control
- software-based evaluation environment (system level)
- experimental radio investigations
The project started on September 1, 2017 and will run for 24 months.
Based on defined use scenarios for UAS up to 150 kg of weight and operating heights of up to 150 m, requirements for the datalink will be derived to ensure that C2 datalink information can be reliably transferred between the U-Sapce controller and the rest of the UAS system. The C2 datalink may use both cellular and satellite data links, or any one of them, depending on the requirements. The DroC2om project will research the combined cellular – satellite radio network architecture and radio mechanisms necessary to ensure the required reliability. One of challenges is the operating conditions for UAS radio channels. Whereas they are reasonably known for the satellite communication channel, there has been little investigation so far on the cellular channel and the operating conditions which prevail at UAS heights up to 150 m. The Droc2om project includes experimental investigations to bring further clarification on this in order to design radio mechanisms that will make the C2 link operate with specified reliability. From initial investigations, it is already clear that interference management poses a challenge for the reliable operation of the C2 datalink. The proposed solutions will be evaluated in realistic system level simulation and demonstration.