U-space Separation in Europe (USEPE)

Significant growth is forecasted for urban air transport and thus for the number of possible fields of application for drones in the next few years. However, this increases the number of aircraft, operating simultaneously in a certain area. The USEPE project was launched to ensure a safe usage of all systems in the airspace. It is a SESAR Exploratory Research Project for the safe separation of unmanned aircraft in dense urban airspace, both from each other and from other manned aircraft. In order to ensure this even in highly demanding environments such as cities, additional factors, such as the proximity of the drones to the buildings and the occurrence of dangerous, turbulent wind shear in street canyons, must be taken into account in the separation concept. In addition, machine learning algorithms are evaluated for their suitability for the automation of the separation management and the strategic and tactical conflict avoidance in the airspace under consideration, in order to make the developed concept usable for heavily filled airspaces.

In order to achieve the most valuable results, real-case scenarios are defined as part of the project and checked with regard to their feasibility. The most suitable of these are then implemented and validated using the so-called European Operational Concept Validation Methodology.

The turbulence-resolving flow simulation model PALM developed at the Institute of Meteorology and Climatology supplies the wind fields that need to be tanke into account. The BlueSky flight simulation is used to visualize, analyze and simulate the air traffic.

Symbolic image of a drone in an urban environment (Source: usepe.eu).