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The tests are carried out within the framework of the SONORA project and seek to collect relevant data for urban mobility of unmanned aerial systems

Benidorm hosts a pilot test of drone navigation in urban environments of the European Commission

22 November 2023
Benidorm acoge una prueba piloto de navegación de drones en entornos urbanos de la Comisión Europea

The General Directorate of Defense and Space Industry of the European Commission has chosen Benidorm to carry out the second flight tests of SONORA (Support to Standardization Actions for EGNOS and Galileo in the U-Space), a project financed by the European Commission and Its fundamental objective is the development of the future of the so-called 'U-Space' industry and unmanned aerial systems. The tests are being carried out in the Urban Lab established on Belgium Avenue, where the Councilor for Citizen Security, Jesús Carrobles, has traveled along with several agents from the Local Police Air Unit to support these tests.

The mayor of Citizen Security has highlighted that the Urban Lab “has been established as an ideal urban setting for this type of test”, given that “Benidorm, due to the high concentration of tall buildings that cause interference and errors in the reception of the signals from positioning satellites, is ideal for testing the technology that is intended to be used in the immediate future for drone flights that will allow the delivery of goods and transportation of people.”

The objective of the testing that is being carried out these days in the city is to test the improvements applied to the Galileo satellite navigation system, which has 30 satellites in orbit. Specifically, to measure the precision of the location coordinates and thus improve the establishment of air routes as well as the safety of these flights.

The SONORA project is developed by a consortium led by VVA Brussels and which includes prominent institutions and companies, such as the Advanced Center for Aerospace Technologies (CATEC), as well as GMV, MCI, and RP Legal & Tax. Currently, its mission focuses on improving the conditions for the future development of the 'U-Space' industry - the set of services and procedures that are being developed to enable a high number of operations with unmanned aircraft, in an orderly manner. , fluid and safe - and unmanned aerial systems. Likewise, it proposes to revolutionize this industry by incorporating the services of the European Global Navigation Satellite System (EGNSS) into its rules and regulations, while promoting the implementation of solutions based on EGNSS in the 'U-Space' environment.

EGNSS is a satellite navigation system that provides positioning, navigation, and time synchronization services in Europe. It consists of two main components: the Galileo system and the EGNOS system, a regional system that improves the accuracy and integrity of existing satellite navigation systems in Europe.

The tests being carried out in Benidorm are part of the second flight campaign planned within the framework of SONORA. The first took place in November 2022 at the ATLAS center (Tactical Center of the Air Traffic Laboratory for Advanced Unmanned Systems) located in Jaén, to collect and analyze GNSS data, collected by different equipment and technology, to support the development and verification standards and evaluate several new EGNSS services, such as Galileo HAS (High Accuracy Service) and OS-NMA (Open Service - Navigation Message Authentication), in a barrier-free environment.

The second drone flight tests of the SONORA project were held between November 20 and 22 in Benidorm. During these three days, the results of a study similar to the first test were analyzed, but in an urban scenario, more challenging in terms of navigation, including the use of GNSS receivers hybridized with other technologies, such as inertial measurement (IMU). ), used to measure the angular velocity and acceleration of an object, allowing in-depth motion analysis. Among other tests, during these days a calibration of equipment and sensors onboard the drones has been carried out, which has been followed by several flight series and evaluation of results, allowing all of this to “collect relevant data for urban air mobility of aerial systems unmanned”, as their spokespersons have explained.