July 11, 2022

UK Demos

AMU-LED Open Demo Day at Cranfield University, 30 June 2022

After months of dedication and hard work, we are proud to successfully complete the first phase of the AMU-LED Cranfield demo!  

AMU-LED Open Demo Day at Cranfield was started with the project presentations. Overview of the AMU-LED project and upcoming demo plans are elaborated. All the details of the research and services explored throughout the project and Cranfield demo was explained. Finally, details of the demo plan at Cranfield was given.

AMU-LED project presentations

After the presentations, we had a tour to some of the experimental locations which were involved in Cranfield demo. First, Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre (DARTeC) – Air Traffic Management/Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management (ATM/UTM) Laboratory was visited where the co-simulation environment has been prepared.

DARTeC - ATM/UTM Lab. visit

After that, we visited the Aerospace Integration Research Centre (AIRC) – Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) Laboratory where the AAM simulator is located. Visitors had a chance to explore the virtual reality (VR) feature of the AAM simulator.

AIRC - AAM Lab. visit

While laboratory visits were happening, our team at Cranfield Airport was getting ready for the actual flights of the Cranfield demo.

Preparations at Cranfield Airport

Finally, it was time for the flight demos. We started everything with one of the real flights and performed specific scenarios that are defined in AMU-LED project, throughout the flight demos. Visitors and online guests were able to follow what is going on in each laboratory and at site.

During Cranfield demo flights

General structure of the Cranfield demo can be described by the below diagram. We had Cranfield Digital Tower as air traffic controller and Cranfield Airport as both airport and vertiport during the demo. One of the roles that Cranfield University carried was being an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) operator through real drone flights by getting flight permission from Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Two standard performing vehicles (SPVs) were in use which are Swift vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) and Multicopter. In collaboration with Satellite Applications Catapult, we had a chance to test 4G + Satcom communication capabilities on the Multicopter platform which enables to have an internet connection on-board. Alongside the real flights, Cranfield University acted as a virtual AAM operator as well. An AAM simulator is used as a high performing vehicle (HPV) during the demo which also provided a VR experience of an air taxi pilot / passenger to the visitors. Additionally, we tested a multiple U-space service provider (USSP) structure within this demo, partnering with ANRA Technologies and Airbus. The decentralized architecture mechanisms and procedures across multiple USSP environment is demonstrated and deployment of the U-space services at all levels are shown by considering the key technologies and capabilities over fully autonomous UASs. Besides all the services that we provide, we explored and tested the contingency management procedures by considering emergency operations and contingency actions, partnering with Boeing.

Cranfield demos consist of three different general cases which are Milton Keynes, Bedford, and Cranfield. We showcased different capabilities in each scenario through various business cases of AAM such that shuttle services, cargo / food / mail deliveries, surveillance, and so forth. In Milton Keynes case, we focused on the strategic phase of the operations and presented strategic deconfliction, risk assessment, dynamic capacity management, conformance monitoring, and contingency management capabilities. In Bedford case, we focused more on the tactical phase of the operations and showcased conformance monitoring, contingency management, and tactical deconfliction abilities. Last but not least, in Cranfield scenarios, we demonstrated full capability of U-space services by having actual and simulated flights alongside the manned aviation.

We had a very large, successful rehearsal of the AAM concept where all the real and simulated SPV / HPV flights through various platforms and the ATM are integrated within a co-simulation framework. AMU-LED Demo at Cranfield was another step forward and put another brick in the wall towards the future AAM concept and making it a reality. We cannot wait for the other demos throughout the AMU-LED project and to welcome you again in Cranfield for the second phase on September!

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