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ICAO Unmanned Aviation Week 2018

Simlabs visited ICAO Unmanned Aviation Week 2018 held in Chengdu, China from 10 to 14 September 2018. The conference touched upon a variety of regulatory issues in the area of unmanned aviation. As it is typical for a recently emerged area, unmanned aviation faces numerous gaps in legislation which may hamper the large-scale development of drone or other services. Representatives of many international organizations, namely JARUS, IATA, IFALPA, GUTMA, shared their views on the future of the industry and regulation.
As the conference was organized by ICAO, most of the presentations were dedicated to regulation issues. Unmanned aerial systems (UAS) have come on the scene very recently. This is the main reason why the area is vulnerable to gaps in legislation. These gaps cannot be ignored as they interfere with business development and prosperity. Unmanned Aviation Week has left a lot of food for thought in this regard including those about taxonomy, safety, and technology for UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles).
Taxonomy
UAVs are relatively more diverse than traditional aerial vehicles in terms of weight, size, area of airspace and functions. All the mentioned factors should be considered when airworthiness of a UAV is evaluated. Moreover, pilot licensing and certification should no doubt depend on UAV's types. However, to implement a regulatory framework for both airworthiness assessment and pilot licensing, it is required to develop taxonomy first. A vast variety of UAVs makes this issue trickier than you might think.

To know more, you can use a presentation of Mr. Mark Wuennenberg, Technical Officer, ICAO Air Navigation Bureau, to guide you through the topic of taxonomy.

Safety
UAS face a complicated trade-off between risks to people's lives when introducing new technologies and benefits of those technologies. This compounded with safety vs. freedom dilemma showed the need to regulate in what cases risky technologies are justified and how to give people the right to freely use UAVs so that they do not interfere with each other.

To gather some insights on this topic, you can check out a regulatory framework suggested by Airbus showing their vision on how to integrate UAVs into the airspace.
Technology
Currently, there is no perfectly reliable solution for remote or unmanned piloting of aerial vehicles. Besides, the reliability and availability of surveillance systems for UAVs is still an issue. The cutting-edge technologies are great but we will always have room for improvement. And this is exactly what Simlabs is doing.

The most anticipated event of this conference for us was a white paper presentation on a decentralized solution for integrating large-scale UAS operations into future aviation system by Distributed Sky, a consortium uniting companies engrossed by global UTM (air traffic management). Simlabs made a significant contribution to this work.

The conference talk was devoted to a decentralized ecosystem in which UAVs and other interested parties can operate. They proposed an approach to providing reliable communication channels, a single source of truth and transfer of liability for all members of a distributed network. To make it possible, the UTM system is based on a blockchain technology.

The idea behind the UTM system is simple. There is a set of interested parties that may be represented by customers, pilots, drones and drone owners if we take an example of drone services. These units communicate with each other via smart contracts to make the system completely fraudproof and reliable. Some technical infrastructure is required to make this communication possible including user interface, data storage, functionality to find appropriate executors depending on customers' tasks and surveillance system to ensure task execution.

Simlabs is keeping pace with the rapidly changing area of unmanned aviation. We publish key messages and new insights discussed at the exhibitions and conferences. Subscribe to our blog to stay updated and know the latest news!


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