GOF 2.0

28 September saw another trial to integrate drones into urban environments in Estonia. GOF 2.0 Tallinn Trial 2022 Photos.

28 September saw another trials to integrate drones into urban environments in Estonia

GOF2.0 Tallinn Trial 2022 Photos

On 28 September, under the initiative of the Estonian Air Navigation Services, trial flights once again took place in Viimsi as part of the GOF2.0 project with drones of different sizes and purposes in cooperation with drone developers and manufacturers CAFA Tech Estonia, Threod Systems Estonia. The flights were used to test systems and technical solutions developed for the management of unmanned air traffic in urban environments and for supporting drone flight in controlled and uncontrolled airspace.

Trials are carried out within the framework of the GOF 2.0 project of the SESAR 3 joint European undertaking, which aims to integrate unmanned air traffic systems. In addition to Estonia, test flights are also taking place in Austria, Finland and Poland.

The new U-space legal framework encompassing the European Union will enter into force as early as January 2023, regulating the management of unmanned air traffic and prescribing the implementation of systems for advanced unmanned aviation. In Estonia and most European countries, you currently need to apply for a permit at least three working days in advance to fly a drone in an urban environment. Unfortunately, weather conditions and business needs can change rapidly, making it inefficient to plan things several days in advance.

The new systems devised by developers as part of the GOF 2.0 project enable drone operators to use the airspace in a flexible manner, and already issued flight plans can be altered from the moment a request is made. This should significantly speed up the coordination and approval of drone flights with air traffic control units in areas where this may prove necessary.

Tanel Järvet (CAFA Tech, Estonia) and Airboss Jonas Stjernberg (Robots Expert, Finland)

According to Tanel Järvet, CEO of Estonian drone and robotics company CAFA Tech, almost all commercial flights performed by drones today are already automated. But we need common control systems to ensure the safety of everyone using the airspace.

“We have been testing different systems for unmanned aviation since 2019, and have now integrated the C2 control systems of CAFA Tech drones with the unmanned aviation system. As a result of our work, the positions of our drones can be monitored in real time by all aircrafts in a single air traffic control system,” said Tanel Järvet.

In addition to flexibility, the technical solutions developed allow unmanned aviation to be integrated with conventional aviation, and the positions of drones can also be shared in real time. This information can be used for air traffic management and coordination with manned flights. The submission, acceptance and alteration of drone flight plans and the display of airspace warnings is also automated, and information about changes in the airspace and in air traffic conditions reaches the drone pilot without any delay.

For example, this means that if a medical helicopter and a package delivery drone want to reach the same building at the same time, the new system makes it possible to automatically postpone the delivery drone’s flight by something like 20 minutes until the medical helicopter has left the area.

Maria Tamm (EANS, Estonia)

Considering the rapid advancements made in drone flight and its expansion into other areas, such flexible use of airspace is already necessary and it is high time to integrate drones with other air traffic. According to Maria Tamm, Project Manager at EANS, U-space is needed to speed up the pre-flight approvals of unmanned flights and, in particular, to support flights that operate outside of the direct line of sight and share airspace with several other users, including manned aircrafts. “With U-space, we can integrate drone flights into the single airspace in such a way that these flights will take place in a safe and secure manner while also supporting the real needs of companies and operators. To this end, manned and unmanned aviation systems need to communicate with each other and exchange information necessary for aviation activities with all parties, thus enabling flexible airspace use,” said Tamm.

European air traffic management research and development projects coordinator SESAR 3 JU supports the GOF 2.0 project, which aims to integrate unmanned air traffic systems into shared airspace.

The project is coordinated by the Estonian Air Navigation Services and it includes a total of 15 companies: Airbus, Aviamaps, CAFA Tech, Dimetor, Droneradar, EHang, Fintraffic ANS, Frequentis, Poznan Supercomputing and Networking Center, Polish Air Navigation Services Agency, Robots Expert Finland, Threod Systems Estonia, Unmanned Life, Vaisala Oyj.

GOF2.0 Tallinn Trial 2022 Photo Gallery

Press Release

Successful drone test flights in Austria for EU project GOF 2.0

Successful drone test flights in Austria for EU project GOF 2.0

The drone market is growing rapidly and unmanned aerial vehicles, including air taxis, are the next milestone for the development of airborne digital mobility technologies. The SESAR 3 JU project GOF 2.0 Integrated Urban Airspace VLD is developing solutions for the safe and sustainable integration of unmanned aerial vehicles and air taxi operations in urban airspace. In September, an important series of tests took place in Austria, the findings of which mark a milestone for further development.

Fifteen partners from both the scientific community and the drone and aviation industry are working together in the EU project GOF 2.0 to enable safe, orderly, and efficient control of unmanned aerial systems in a manned aviation environment. Interoperability is at the forefront, enabling secure (data) communication between airborne and ground-based systems. This creates a “system of systems” that combines classic air traffic management and new and improved drone-specific services. The international consortium consists of: Estonian Air Navigation Services (EANS), Dimetor, Airbus Urban Mobility GmbH, Aviamaps, CAFA Tech, DroneRadar, EHang, Fintraffic ANS, Frequentis, PCSS Poznańskie Centrum Superkomputerowo-Sieciowe, Polish Air Navigation Services Agency, Robots.Expert, Threod Systems, Unmanned Life, Vaisala.

The basis for an economical and scalable use of this new type of airborne mobility technology is the further integration of airport and port infrastructure, public transport, and logistics centers. In all use cases, the focus is on increasing efficiency compared to ground-based technologies and supporting a seamless transport chain between urban areas and the airports while taking into account the highest safety requirements.

The integrations between partner systems developed as part of the project will be validated in various European countries together with the air traffic control authorities since April 2022. St. Georgen am Ybbsfeld Airport – not far from Amstetten / Lower Austria – was chosen for the Austrian validation. In this trial, among other things, automated parcel delivery at low-altitude and its safe interaction with air taxi flights and conventional air traffic were extensively tested as an example of a realistic use case.

The GOF 2.0 partners after the successful test fligts:
Günter Graf, Frequentis, VP New Business Development and Innnovation

Michael Holzbauer, Frequentis, Manager European Affairs and ATM Programs

Maria Tamm, GOF 2.0 Project Coordination

Ingrid Kernstock, BMK

Obst Klaus Strutzmann, BMLV

Jonas Stjernberg, GOF 2.0 Demonstration Lead

Copyright: Markus Haslinger

“It is of utmost importance that we can integrate drone traffic control systems directly into our air traffic management systems and ensure a safe and smooth operation,” explains Günter Graf, Vice President New Business Development and Innovation at Frequentis, the Austrian GOF 2.0 partner and host of this validation. “Many thanks to our partners for the good cooperation and their attendance with us in Austria. The team is working excellently, and the results are promising.”

The results of the GOF2.0 demonstrations underline the technical possibilities as well as the future challenges to integrate simultaneous unmanned flights into urban airspace shared with manned aviation based on the European Commission’s initiative to integrate drones into the European airspace.

“GOF2 demonstrations highlight the importance of integrating Uspace information directly into drone operator mission control systems“, says Jonas Stjernberg, SVP and Partner at Robots.Expert, and continues, “the biggest challenge for the industry and regulators is to ensure that Uspace systems are interoperable on a European level.

This project has received funding from the SESAR 3 Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020
research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101017689.

GOF2.0 Austria Trial Gallery