Safety in unmanned air traffic

In the previously unguarded lower airspace, unmanned air traffic is constantly increasing. In Germany alone, there are now more than one million UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems).

© Deutsche Flugsicherung DFS, Langen
The picture shows the altitude zones established in Germany with the different regulations for air traffic. The areas relevant for SIMULU are the white zones, which represent the lower airspace outside the airports.
© Fraunhofer IOSB
Non-hazardous and hazardous aircraft and their impact on the objects.

Brief description of the project

Traffic management systems for this, based on the ATM (Air Traffic Management) established in manned aviation, are currently being developed (UTM - Unmanned Air Traffic Management). In addition, a market for autonomous flight cabs and transport systems is establishing itself.

To ensure the required safety, necessary protection processes must be established in the largely automated air management system. These are to ensure the protection of endangered infrastructure objects (e.g., airports, train stations, logistics bases) from attacking drones and autonomous flying aircraft. For this purpose, suitable interfaces are defined and implemented, a friend-or-foe detection system is set up, an anomaly detection and classification system is implemented, and suitable protective measures are derived.

Project goals

Based on the results of the ArGUS project, the detection and classification procedures are being expanded and refined. This includes the type classification of aircraft and, in particular, rapid hazard assessment through scenario-based situation analysis and the associated risk management. An important aspect is the integration into the control systems, powerful, flexible interfaces to the users, user-friendly visualization and interactive hazard management. For the detection of hazardous situations, a multi-level classification system consisting of several catalogs for the situation, criteria and indicators as well as analysis components based on statistical methods and heuristic components (facts, rules, inference engine) is created.

Project outcome

A security architecture with a sophisticated interface concept is currently being developed. For hazard detection, there is a collection of anomalies as well as statistical analysis procedures. Furthermore, there is a visualization component to display flight movements, deviations from normal conditions and drone characteristics. Diagrams for analyzing scenarios are also under development. A collection of facts, rules and measurable indicators is being created based on predefined anomaly states.

Exiting the flight corridor

© Fraunhofer IOSB
The image shows several aircrafts, most of which are flying completely inside the corridor (green), one is about to leave the corridor (yellow) and one has already left the corridor (red).

Project partners

  • VfS Forum für Sicherheit GmbH, Hamburg
  • Atos Deutschland GmbH, Paderborn
  • Securiton GmbH, Achern
  • EASC e.V., Trebbin
  • TH Deggendorf, Freyung
  • esc Aerospace GmbH, Taufkirchen  (deputy coordinator)

Associated partners:

  • Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH, Langen
  • Flughafen Frankfurt Hahn GmbH, Hahn
  • Flugplatzges. Schönhagen mbH, Trebbin
  • Fraport AG, Frankfurt

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Participating departments of Fraunhofer IOSB

Interoperability and Assistance Systems Department

More information

on the project Safety in unmanned air traffic (SIMULU):


Project volume: 2.393 k € (Funding rate 74,96 % BMVI)

Project duration: 7/2020 – 12/2022

Project promoters:

  • Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI)
  • Bundesanstalt für Verwaltungsdienstleistungen (BAV)