NTT DATA Corporation (hereinafter NTT DATA) launched the drone traffic management software package "airpalette® UTM" to drone-utilizing businesses and local governments in November 2017.
The software package enables simultaneous remote control of multiple drones of different models, thus improving the efficiency of infrastructure inspections and disaster responses that would be dangerous and time consuming for human workers to conduct.
During the nuclear emergency exercise held in Ehime Prefecture on November 14, the airpalette UTM function successfully controlled a drone from the Ehime Prefectural Government Office located about 70 km away from the nuclear power plant and provided the camera images of the evacuation routes near the power plant to the concerned parties in real time.
NTT DATA will continue to develop and provide a variety of services to help realize safe and secure drone operations not only for infrastructure inspections and disaster responses but also for a diversity of industrial applications for the global markets.
Active use of drones is anticipated in various industrial fields as recent technological advances have improved drone control stability and reduced drone prices, and deregulation of drone usage is being promoted around the world. Meanwhile, increased utilization of drones is causing growing concerns about greater risks of drone-to-drone crashes and collision with manned aircraft in the event drones enter a no-fly zone such as near an airport or heliport.
To resolve those issues, NTT DATA developed the airpalette UTM software package for safe and efficient operation of multiple drones based on its expertise accumulated for over more than 40 years of experience in providing IT services to customers in the field of manned aircraft traffic control and management.
Outline and features
The airpalette UTM software package consists of two functions: an "FOS" (Flight Operation System) drone operation control function that enables simultaneous remote operations*1 of multiple drones and a "UTM core" (UAS Traffic Management core) unmanned aircraft traffic management function that centralizes the management of position information of multiple drones operating in a certain airspace.
The FOS function
The FOS function enables simultaneous remote operation of multiple drones and helps improve the efficiency of activities conducted by workers involved in infrastructure inspections, disaster prevention activities, etc.
■ Remote operation of drones using various types of networks
■ Simultaneous control of multiple drones
■ Flight planning function (flight date and time; latitude, longitude, and altitude information of takeoff, passing, and destination points; air speed; etc.)
■ Drone self-position display function
■ Drone and user information management function
■ Map, no-fly zones, weather, and topographic information display and management function
■ Interfacing with business software or other external information (map information, weather information, information of other nearby drones, etc.)
■ Flight plan application function*
■ Manned and other aircraft position information, NOTAM*2, and radio wave coverage area*3 information display function*
The UTM core function
The UTM core function centralizes the management of position information and the like of multiple drones operating in a certain airspace. By detecting possibilities of midair collisions and entry into a no-fly zone and by providing such information to drone operators, this function realizes enhanced airspace safety.
■ Overall monitoring function such as monitoring of multiple drone positions
■ User information management function
■ Flight plan confirmation function (flight date and time; latitude, longitude, and altitude information of takeoff, passing, and destination points; air speed; etc.)
■ Function for transmitting various information (flight plans of other aircraft, information of other aircraft, airspace information, NOTAM, etc.) to FOS*
■ Flight plan verification function that takes into consideration map, no-fly zones, and topographic information
■ Manned aircraft information provision function*
■ Mid-air collision possibility detection function
■ Inter-operator adjustment function (airspace management, air traffic status management, etc.)* (* Scheduled to be developed in or after 2018)
The government of Ehime Prefecture promotes a project for the use of drones in the event of a nuclear disaster to check the damage conditions of evacuation routes and to ensure efficient and thorough evacuation of residents. NTT DATA was entrusted by the government of Ehime Prefecture with the fiscal 2017 project for the examination of drones in the event of a nuclear disaster, and is studying drone body designs and drone operation management systems. During the nuclear emergency exercise held in Ehime Prefecture on November 14, the airpalette UTM function successfully controlled a drone from the Ehime Prefectural Government Office located about 70 km away from the nuclear power plant and provided the camera images of the evacuation routes near the power plant to the concerned parties in real time.
In this exercise, NTT DATA verified the effectiveness of drones for prompt and reliable evacuation of residents.
Future business activities
NTT DATA will continue to develop and provide a variety of services to help realize safe and secure drone operations not only for infrastructure inspections and disaster prevention activities but also for a diversity of industrial applications for the global markets.
Notes *1 May be prohibited or require permission pursuant to local laws and regulations.
*2 NOTAM (notice to airmen) refers to aviation information, such as air navigation facility information and air service information, provided by relevant organizations for the purposes of maintaining safe operation of aircraft.
*3 "Radio wave coverage area" refers to an area where radio waves transmitted from the base station can be received.
* “airpalette” is a registered trademark of NTT DATA Corporation in Japan, CTM (Europe), the United States, and China. * Other product names, company names, and organization names mentioned in the text are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.
Website for airpalette UTM http://www.airpalette.net/utm