Flight safety measurements of UAVs in congested airspace

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Describing spatial safety status is crucial for high-density air traffic involving multiple unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in a complex environment. A probabilistic approach is proposed to measure safety situation in congested airspace. The occupancy distribution of the airspace is represented with conflict probability between spatial positions and UAV. The concept of a safety envelope related to flight performance and response time is presented first instead of the conventional fixed-size protected zones around aircraft. Consequently, the conflict probability is performance-dependent, and effects of various UAVs on safety can be distinguished. The uncertainty of a UAV future position is explicitly accounted for as Brownian motion. An analytic approximate algorithm for the conflict probability is developed to decrease the computational consumption. The relationship between safety and flight performance are discussed for different response times and prediction intervals. To illustrate the applications of the approach, an experiment of three UAVs in formation flight is performed. In addition, an example of trajectory planning is simulated for one UAV flying over airspace where five UAVs exist. The validation of the approach shows its potential in guaranteeing flight safety in highly dynamic environment.




Xiang, J., Liu, Y., & Luo, Z. (2016, October 1). Flight safety measurements of UAVs in congested airspace. Chinese Journal of Aeronautics. Chinese Journal of Aeronautics. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cja.2016.08.017

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