On December 16, 2022, the USEPE consortium partners gathered for a last meeting with the SESAR 3 Joint Undertaking team in charge of the project. After a presentation of the project activities and results, the method developed was deeply discussed, precisely defining the benefits and remaining challenges of the proposed solution. Finally, the technology readiness was addressed and the partners are now fine-tuning last project documents before closing on December 31, 2022.
The meeting began with a presentation of all participants, starting with the project coordinator Esther Nistal from ISDEFE, and all partners with their respective responsibilities in the project. Then the 3 representatives of the SESAR 3 Joint Undertaking introduced themselves and their expectations for the meeting.
The main objective was to expose the project purpose, scope, and tasks, and how they were fulfilled through the conducted activities. Based on this, the maturity of the developed solutions were to be assessed by the funding organisation.
As the project purpose was to develop a method for drone separation over populated areas, the meeting consisted in the presentation of the development process, the description of testing and validation tools and activities, and the explanation of the results obtained.
To summarize, the USEPE project started with the identification of key stakeholders to involve in the definition of criteria for the drone separation method over populated areas. Consultation activities were organised and requirements were derived for the method development. These requirements were turned into system requirements using existing literature and research results. The USEPE D2-C2 method was then developed, and tested in three use cases through the Blue Sky simulation tool. Wind field simulations were included in the testing process. In parallel, machine learning methods were investigated to help strategic and tactical conflict resolution services.
The results obtained were finally confronted with the views of stakeholders originally involved in the criteria definition. This led to a final review of the USEPE Concept of Operation, which will be submitted by end of December 2022.
A lively discussion followed the extended presentation of the project partners. Many questions addressed the benefits of the method developed and its specific features. The technical partners explained in details the advantages and shortcomings observed, to define how the method developed can contribute to the improvement of U-Space services. Outcomes exploitation was also covered, as the USEPE method is still in the exploratory research stage. The conclusion was that further development is necessary to reach technology readiness level 2, though great progress has been done in 24 months work by the USEPE partners. This gives nice perspectives for future research and development activities!