As Phase II and Phase III award winners Sky-Drones Technologies give an update on Project ALIAS, part of the Future Flight challenge by Innovate UK.
Project ALIAS – Phase III
– in progress for 2022-2024
ALIAS brings together highly motivated technology companies to show a scalable and cohesive airspace system for the future. This system will incorporate drones, air taxis and piloted aircraft working in unison to deliver economic and societal benefit for the UK and the Channel Islands.
During the initial phases the partners will integrate their individual technologies, incrementally building a regional airspace system including ground and flight testing of the sub-systems. This deployment will include drones performing maritime and public health missions alongside scheduled manned operations from the local airports.
ALIAS VTOL UAV based on the SkyLane-250 combines Volant’s Full Stack Autonomy Solution with Sky-Drones’ AIRLink to ensure fully autonomous flight, with real-time video streaming, AI, cloud connectivity and 5G onboard.
The SkyLane is optimized for long-range BVLOS missions, capable of achieving a 500 km flight range with a flight time of 5.5+ hours. Operations will be managed using the Dronecloud Flight Operation Management system and UTM (unmanned traffic management) platform, connected to the ground Distributed Sensor Network. The collaborators are currently working on the hardware and software integration.
AgiLe Integrated Airspace System
ALIAS (AgiLe Integrated Airspace System) is a consortium of innovative SMEs collaborating to deliver, and demonstrate, the necessary elements of an agile and scalable airspace system. There are five cross-cutting technologies that form the basis of the ALIAS airspace system:
1. Intelligent Detect And Avoid (DAA) — replicating airborne decision-making so that each aircraft is independently safe even in non-normal situations.
2. Secure Communications — enabling consistent communication between modules without risk of interference.
3. Distributed Sensor Network — sharing of sensor data between ground and airborne sensor nodes maximises distributed situational awareness.
4. Scalable Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) — UTM is required to coordinate operations efficiently and supplement safety. It must be scalable to satisfy the requirements of each region.
5. Aircraft Systems — both Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and Advanced Aerial Mobility (AAM) that integrate into the system whilst fulfilling viable and profitable purpose.
These elements will be incorporated into a cohesive system to be demonstrated as a working, viable and scalable system through several weeks of flight tests including multiple UAS and standard commercial traffic in the same airspace.
Public benefit of ALIAS will be economic, social and environmental.
The economic benefit is primarily through enabling drone and AAM operations with all of the associated jobs, growth and returns.
The social benefits are primarily due to the flexible, regionalised approach to UTM which can form the backbone of an integrated transport network giving rural and remote areas of the UK full access to the nation’s resources.
The environmental benefits come from reduced emissions and ground infrastructure associated with future aircraft platforms coupled with the ability of the agile airspace system to minimise noise disturbance to the public.
“We are looking forward to continuing the work with our experienced consortium partners to implement our ideas within ALIAS and Blueprint to build an agile drone transportation system and UTM service to enable trusted, safe and scalable BVLOS flights across the UK and abroad.”
– Kirill Shilov, CEO Sky-Drones
Sky-Drones provides expertise in commercial UAS operations in the UK, US and EU including autonomous BVLOS missions. Customers utilise the Sky-Drones Platform for building UAV solutions for Delivery, Inspections, Public Safety, Future Air Mobility and custom enterprise applications. Sky-Drones platform has 60,000+ total flight hours operating most common airframes including copter, fixed-wing and VTOL.
The Sky-Drones AIRLink flight controller transforms UAVs into flying computers with advanced features: RF / 5G / Satellite connectivity, AI & autonomy, real-time processing of the sensor’s data/video, BVLOS flights.