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    Fundamental Elements of an Urban UTM

    Mc Carthy, Timothy and Pforte, Lars and Burke, Rebekah (2020) Fundamental Elements of an Urban UTM. Aerospace, 7 (85). pp. 1-28. ISSN 2226-4310

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    Urban airspace environments present exciting new opportunities for delivering drone services to an increasingly large global market, including: information gathering; package delivery; air-taxi services. A key challenge is how to model airspace environments over densely populated urban spaces, coupled with the design and development of scalable traffic management systems that may need to handle potentially hundreds to thousands of drone movements per hour. This paper explores the background to Urban unmanned traffic management (UTM), examining highlevel initiatives, such as the USA’s Unmanned Air Traffic (UTM) systems and Europe’s U-Space services, as well as a number of contemporary research activities in this area. The main body of the paper describes the initial research outputs of the U-Flyte R&D group, based at Maynooth University in Ireland, who have focused on developing an integrated approach to airspace modelling and traffic management platforms for operating large drone fleets over urban environments. This work proposes pragmatic and innovative approaches to expedite the roll-out of these much-needed urban UTM solutions. These approaches include the certification of drones for urban operation, the adoption of a collaborative and democratic approach to designing urban airspace, the development of a scalable traffic management and the replacement of direct human involvement in operating drones and coordinating drone traffic with machines. The key fundamental elements of airspace architecture and traffic management for busy drone operations in urban environments are described together with initial UTM performance results from simulation studies.

    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This publication has emanated from research supported by a Strategic Partnership Programme Grant from Science Foundation Ireland, in association with Airbus and Irelandia Aviation, under Grant number 17/SPP/3460. © 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
    Keywords: unmanned aircraft system; drones; U-space services; UTM; risk modelling; traffic management; simulation;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Science and Engineering > Computer Science
    Item ID: 13145
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Tim McCarthy
    Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2020 15:06
    Journal or Publication Title: Aerospace
    Publisher: MDPI
    Refereed: Yes
    Funders: Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), Airbus, Irelandia Aviation
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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