We were surprised to discover this bizarre Spanish language press release buried on the website of a university in the tip of Spain. (See Google translation below).

The Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV) is leading Bubbles, a European research project whose main objective is to ensure the safe integration of drones in airspace.

Professor Juan Vicente Balbastre, researcher at the Institute of Information and Communication Technologies (ITACA) at UPV and coordinator of the project, points out that the use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS), such as drones,

“It has grown dramatically, and is expected to continue to do so in the coming years. Parcel delivery, public safety and entertainment are just a few of its potential uses. There are going to be more and more drones and their economic impact is going to be very high, but it is necessary to guarantee their safe integration into airspace ”.

U-Space benefits and risks

And is that the use of UAS carries some risks, especially in densely populated areas, whether terrestrial, with accidents or incidents in which UAS, people, surface vehicles, buildings and / or infrastructure may be involved; or air, related to manned aircraft and collisions between UAS. There are also privacy risks, which may arise from the misuse of data collected by the aircraft, and security risks – cyber attacks, terrorists by transporting explosives, etc.

“Although the benefits of using UAS are much greater than the risks,” says Balbastre, “it is necessary to face the latter so that the former can be fully achieved. For this, the European Commission, through SESAR JU , proposes the design of a set of new services, based on a high level of digitization and automation of functions and specific procedures, aimed at supporting safe and efficient access to space of large amounts of UAS, which is known as the U-Space. “

Safety bubbles

One of the main objectives of Bubbles is the generation of a new advanced service for the management of aircraft separation in U-Space, aimed at complex operations in areas with heavy traffic. This service will define “safety bubbles” around the UAS and develop procedures to prevent those bubbles from touching each other.

To formulate and validate the concept of this advanced separation management service at U-Space, Bubbles will define the basic elements from which it will be built, describing how to assemble and operate them.

“Bubbles will develop algorithms to calculate the risk of collision of unmanned aerial systems”, indicates the UPV researcher, “taking into account all the sources of risk involved, which will allow establishing minimums and separation methods so that a level can be maintained safety defined in terms of overall probability of collision. “

Likewise, Bubbles “will also investigate the application of artificial intelligence (AI) to support separation management, both for centralized and distributed systems. In addition, it will contribute to the standardization of the U-Space by writing the performance specifications required for CNS systems (Communications, Navigation and Surveillance) based on AI and involved in the provision of the Separation Management service, “says Balbastre.

On the UPV’s part, researchers from the Institute of Industrial Automation and Informatics (ai2) and the Department of Cartographic Engineering, Geodesy and Photogrammetry also participate in the project.

2.5 years of project and 1.6 million euros of financing

The project, financed by the European Union through Horizon 2020 and SESAR JU with more than 1.6 million euros, has started this month in May and will run until the end of 2022.

Led by UPV, Bubbles also includes the University of Coimbra, the Università degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza, the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation (EUROCONTROL) and Indra, an air traffic management company.

End of press release.


The programme referred to on the SESAR Website is also suitably vague:

BUBBLES aims to formulate and validate the concept of a U-space advanced (U3) ‘separation management service’. It will develop algorithms to compute the collision risk of UAS, allowing to define separation minima and methods, so that a safety level stated in terms of overall probability of collision can be defined and maintained. 

[No mention of deliverables -Ed.]

Apart from that we know that the whole shebang costs €1.9M and keeps some people off the streets until October 31st 2022 and that sharing the loot are:

Universitat Politècnica de València
Universidade de Coimbra
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”
EUROCONTRO [think they mean EUROCONTROL – Ed.]
Indra Sistemas

UK readers will be delighted to know that they have helped to finance this ‘fun in the sun’ without being invited to the party since they will sadly be unable to benefit from the musings of these sages thanks to Brexit….

Regular readers will remember our post from last week:

Droniq Launches UTM System in Germany

If a fellow EU country has a working system, can someone please explain why EU taxpayers should be paying academics for two years to think about a system…?

So maybe ‘Bubbles’ is a good name for the party after all – Champagne all round…!

Source: Press Release

UAV DACH: Beitrag im Original auf https://www.uasvision.com/2020/06/02/eu-wastes-another-e1-6m-on-bubbles-for-drones/, mit freundlicher Genehmigung von UAS Vision automatisch importiert. Der Beitrag gibt nicht unbedingt die Meinung oder Position des UAV DACH e.V. wieder. Das Original ist in englischer Sprache.