by Johann Dauer, Project leader, German Aerospace Center (DLR)
DLR, the German Aerospace Center, has conducted a research project between 2016 and 2019 on cargo drones with one metric ton payload capacity. This project took advantage of a newly established operational risk approach, introducing a new perspective on regulating the safety of unmanned aviation.
The Specific Operations Risk Assessment (SORA) first determines the risk that the drone poses to its environment and then defines the certification process, requirements on the manufacturer, and the operator to ensure safety.
The project assumed two core operational limits to reduce the operational risk: flight in very low level altitudes below common air traffic and only over sparsely populated areas. At the same time, we have challenged the limits of the SORA based approach on the other side of the risk scale with heavy aircraft.
The concepts were matured enough to enable the design, build, and test of one of the largest drone prototypes used for transportation which is based on an ultralight gyrocopter. This presentation offers details on this concept including aircraft configurations, technological development, system architecture and safe operation.