Galileo and EGNOS could play a significant role in any future European Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) framework in terms of providing the vital integrity and accuracy for drones.
A recent GSA (European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency) workshop at the University of Cranfield to analyse the benefits of Galileo and EGNOS in unmanned systems operations attempted to define how the European GNSS and its Satellite-based Augmentation System (SBAS) called EGNOS could contribute to U-Space operations.
Part of the EU-funded GAUSS project, the event gathered relevant European actors in the fields of drone air traffic management and regulation, as well as air navigation service providers (ANSP), the industry, and research centres.
Specifically, the goal of the GAUSS project is to leverage the functionalities and services of Galileo and EGNOS in the field of UAS for three main purposes: improving the positioning, speed, and guidance of unmanned air vehicles; developing attack detection and mitigation mechanisms based on jamming (satellite signal interference) and spoofing (satellite signal masquerading); and applying these improvements to the air traffic management procedures of unmanned vehicles.
For Marta Krywanis-Brzostowska, GSA project officer, the workshop provided an opportunity to discuss the EGNOS benefits for drones. “The drone market is booming and future drone-based applications will face more demanding requirements in terms of integrity and accuracy,” she said.
SBAS will cover the increasingly demanding requirements in terms of robust navigation, continuity, accuracy and availability while the inclusion of Galileo in the multi-constellation concept and integration with other sensors (e.g. inertial, vision) will significantly improve the accuracy, availability, continuity and reliability of drone positioning/navigation. Galileo’s authentication will also contribute by minimising the risk of threats.
Another important milestone of the project was the signing of the EU U-Space demonstrator network manifesto which will become a European forum to share knowledge on how to keep drone operations safe, secure, and green. It focuses specifically on relevant projects that, with a clear business case, build on mature technologies, but need some further operational and regulatory demonstrations before starting commercial operations.