U-Space – the new EU regulatory framework for drones – and advancements in autopilots are leading to a growing market for drone applications. Drone services such as inspection or transportation are to be automatically deployed in industrial and commercial environments. This requires an imminent ability to make regulatory compliance verifiable as well as to increase trust and acceptance of the technology.

To demonstrate capabilities and conformity of drones in very low-level airspace, virtual missions can be conducted in realistic simulation environments while also supporting validation and development of drones. Bauhaus Luftfahrt is developing such test scenarios as part of the ADACORSA research project and integrating them into a simulation environment for drones.

The test scenarios are specifically designed to consider U-Space regulations in their missions and will be started via web browser. A scenario description defines the environment, the mission for the drone(s), and corresponding U-Space requirements like airspace restrictions and services. Additionally, a range of defined challenges will appear as unknown elements, which the drone must be able to overcome during its mission.

Beyond the project, the simulation environment and drone scenarios will be made available to developers, regulators, and the public for testing and research purposes. By developing challenging scenarios, Bauhaus Luftfahrt is contributing to greater compliance, verifiability, and acceptance of future drone services.

Drones in a virtual test environment

The simulation environment executes a drone scenario: The drone must complete its mission while overcoming challenges and complying with U-Space rules. Different stakeholders can use the simulation via the browser.

Scenarios in the simulation environment

Insight into structure of the scenario and execution in the simulator: Scenario and drone are loaded in the simulator environment. An implementation-independent behaviour tree is used to execute and observe the scenario in a traceable manner.

New drone services must demonstrate compliance with regulations in order to be accepted.

This project has received funding from the ECSEL Joint Undertaking (JU) under grant agreement No. 876019. https://adacorsa.eu