Drones can perform air operations that manned aircraft struggle with, and their use brings significant economic savings and environmental benefits whilst reducing the risk to human life. Drone-based service and product innovation, driven by increased levels of connectivity and automation, is limited by the growing dependence on poorly interoperable, proprietary technologies, and the risks posed to people, to other vehicles and to property.
This issue has a high impact on European innovation, which demands R&D investments and incentives for the convergence of shared technologies and markets as a remedy. Actions creating globally harmonized, commercially exploitable yet widely accessible R&D ecosystems should be publicly performed.
Complementing existing European efforts, COMP4DRONES is an ECSEL JU project coordinated by Indra that brings together a consortium of 50 partners with the aim of providing a framework of key enabling technologies for safe and autonomous drones. In particular, COMP4DRONES will leverage composability and modularity for customizable and trusted autonomous drones for civilian services. The project takes into account recent regulation developments in this area from EASA. The project will also consider the SESAR-JU studies concerning civilian drones, and will adhere to the U-space approach and protocols when available. COMP4DRONES will carry a holistically designed ecosystem ranging from electronic components to application, realised as a tightly integrated, multi-vendor and compositional drone architecture, complemented by a tool chain addressing the compositional architecture principles. The ecosystem aims at:
- supporting efficient customization and incremental assurance of drone embedded platforms
- safe autonomous decision-making concerning individual or cooperative missions,
- trustworthy drone-to-drone and drone-to-ground communications, even in presence of malicious attackers and under the intrinsic platform constraints, and
- agile and cost-effective compositional design and assurance of drone modules and systems.
COMP4DRONES will also build an open, sustainable ecosystem around public, royalty-free and goal-driven software platform standards that will ease the development of new drone functionalities for multiple application domains, driving ecosystem development and benchmarking on the fields of transport, inspection, logistic, precision agriculture, parcel delivery.