Tests recently took place at Grottaglie-Taranto civil experimental airport, assessing the safety of drone operations between two logistics centres located in the suburbs of the city of Manduria. The testing is part of the SESAR project CORUS-XUAM, a very large-scale demonstration, lead by ENAV with support from D-Flight, Pipistrel, Techno Sky, NAIS and EUROCONTROL, which aims to advance solutions for safe and secure urban air mobility (UAM). The demonstration involved a Pipistrel fixed-wing aircraft and other drones, which transported medical/health cargo.
The demonstration showcased several U-space solutions for the safe separation between all drone operations in a strategic way (i.e. planning and strategic deconfliction) and monitoring flight progress compliance. Other services included tracking and monitoring the authorised volume and interfaces to enable information exchange between air traffic service actors involved in emergency and/or contingency situations.
The Italian demonstration confirmed that the tested U-space services are mainly ready for emergency transport, although some technological issues still remain. The demonstration allowed the project partners to collect valuable feedback for the subsequent industrialisation phase of the trialled solutions. Furthermore, the results on the ATM and U-space interface obtained by ENAV and D-Flight will allow the ENAV Group to contribute significantly to the definition of the European UAM operating concept, demonstrating its applicability in the Italian context and ensuring its correspondence with national interests and business strategies.
The CORUS-XUAM project is coordinated by EUROCONTROL and co-funded by the SESAR Joint Undertaking through the Horizon 2020 programme. The Italian partners are ENAV, DTA, D-Flight, Techno Sky, Pipistrel, NAIS.