Research and advanced projects

MAP4CAT: tandem car/drone for road 3D mapping of the Catalan region

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MapKITE brings together two recent mapping revolutions (aerial robots and mobile mapping systems) in an innovative operational scheme: a mapping drone autonomously following a mapping car to deliver simultaneous air/ground 3D geo-data of corridors (roads, railways, waterways...) In this novel concept, the highest (surveying) costs inherent to corridor mapping are lowered by leveraging computer vision, trajectography and kinematic geodetic techniques. In mapKITE, an enhanced follow-me software virtually tethers the aerial mapping robot from the land mapping vehicle in a mission-efficient way. Market-wise, MAP4CAT mitigates the current bottleneck connecting high-potential technology to the 3D mapping market by gathering a drone services operator, technology supplier and an end-user (local road authority support) through a technology demonstrator validating its technical/economic viability in the target user domain of “road, rail & infrastructure connected with cities.”

AMPERE: Asset Mapping Platform for Emerging CountRies Electrification

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The purpose of the AMPERE (Asset Mapping Platform for Emerging countRies Electrification) project is to engineer and to start to commercialise a dedicated solution, to be used for electrical power network information gathering. AMPERE will support decision making actors (e.g. institutions and public/ private companies in charge to manage electrical network) to collect all needed info to plan electrical network maintenance and upgrade.

In particular, the need for such a solution comes in emerging countries (worldwide) where, despite global electrification rates are significantly progressing, the access to electricity is still far from being achieved in a reliable way. Indeed, the challenge facing such communities goes beyond the lack of infrastructure assets: what is needed is a mapping of already deployed infrastructure (not known!) in order to perform holistic assessment of the energy demand and its expected growth over time.

In such a context, Galileo is a key enabler -especially, considering its free-of-charge High Accuracy Service (HAS) and its highly precise E5 AltBOC code measurements- as a core component to map electric utilities, optimise decision making process about the network development and therefore increase time and cost efficiency, offering more convenient way to manage energy distribution. 

DELOREAN: Drones and EGNSS for low airspace urban mobility

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The project DELOREAN is about urban air mobility (UAM) and how the European Global Navigation Satellite Systems (EGNSS), composed of EGNOS and Galileo, are its enablers by guaranteeing safe navigation to UAM aircraft.

Urban air mobility (UAM) refers to urban transportation systems that move people by air. UAM includes both manned and unmanned aircraft and has been developed in response to ground traffic congestion. According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the United States of America, UAM is a “system for air passenger and cargo transportation within an urban area, inclusive of small package delivery and other urban unmanned aircraft systems services.” A close definition is provided by the aviation company Honeywell as “an aviation industry term for on-demand and automated passenger or cargo-carrying air transportation services, typically flown without a pilot.” Taxi drones and delivery drones are particular cases of aircraft for UAM services. Urban air delivery (UAD) refers to drone delivery services in urban areas.

REALITY. RPAS EGNOS adoption and liaison with navigation integrity

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The goal of REALITY is to promote the use of EGNOS for safe drone operations, in the short term and in the context of the EU drone operations vision, the U-Space. For this, REALITY will map non-recreational drone application-specific requirements into navigation performance and safety requirements –i.e., into accuracy, availability, continuity & integrity– and analyse to what extent EGNOS-based drone navigation systems meet them.

REALITY is motivated by the urgent need to respond, from an EGNSS perspective, to the challenge of safely integrating hundreds of thousands of non-recreational drones in EU airspace, flying at the so-called Very Low Level (VLL) altitude –500 ft above ground-, and at same time, by the challenge of fully leveraging current EGNOS (specifically, its integrity service) for the specific RPAS needs. As seen in preliminary studies [Molina-2012], civil aviation standards e.g. APV-I are clearly too conservative, non-protective for RPAS VLL operations, yet EGNOS has potential to be fully unleashed by adapting its integrity performance.