Drone applications are reshaping existing business models and industry standard techniques. the growing demand for these to operate in all types of airspace requires not only a significant social acceptance but, a number of critical advancements in technology, air traffic management and regulation. trustworthy traffic management solutions relying on accurate positioning information, detect and avoid data link or geofencing applied to drones will be essential to meet the safety standards of the aviation industry.
EGNOS plays a relevant role as a technology, to enable safe and robust navigation and support drone traffic management. originally designed to meet the safety requirements that civil aviation posed to a number of critical air operations, EGNOS technologies extended to other domains like maritime, agriculture, mapping, surveying and more recently drones. when executing an autonomous mission or flying manually the navigation performance is crucial, today there’s a wide variety of auto pilots to combine the measurements from the onboard sensors such as accelerometers, magnetometers, gyroscopes and barometers in different ways to navigate.
The same happens to mission planning, where there are multiple software platforms to choose from, even some which take into account the elevation of the terrain but, there is a key element common to all, satellite navigation especially for those operations beyond the line of sight or those requiring precise navigation for a specific path. contrary to RTK systems which rely on expensive ground infrastructure and have a very limited range. EGNOS provides enhanced positioning accuracy for free all over Europe via satellite broadcast.
Most receivers available in the market today are capable of applying its Corrections and achieving sub-meter accuracy both horizontally and vertically. EGNOS can be used simultaneously for navigation and geo referencing the data gathered by the different sensors onboard the drones. for instance, EGNOS can reduce the number of ground control points needed for aerial photogrammetry, as well as the flying time required by reducing the necessary side and overlaps. EGNOS integrity concept that is key in aviation today, could be used for drone applications or environments requiring a measure of trust on the estimated position of the platform such as avoiding entering restricted areas.