Aspects of UTM systems & U-Space services to consider when rolling-out Cargo Drone operations

by Dr. Tim McCarthy, Senior Lecturer, Maynooth University

Unmanned Cargo flight operations present various challenges in terms of their design, construction and management – all of which will need to be investigated, developed and adapted for long-haul, short-haul, regional and urban operational environments.

Various topics need to be considered including; automation, aircraft platform performance, airspace structure, routing, de-confliction, optimisation, emergency event handling and ground infrastructure. These topics are underpinned by regulatory (legislation, protocols, certification), technology (aerospace, sensors, connectivity, computation) and operational (UTM/U-Space services, business models, Societal) aspects.

These topics and aspects involve a wider stakeholder group including; unmanned cargo aircraft manufacturers, technology companies, cargo drone fleet managers, UTM/U-Space operators, logistics market, ATM, airport, municipal authorities & regulators. Some of these key areas will be explored & discussed during this presentation.



What drives you?
Research and developing practical solutions to support drone operations.

Why should the delegate attend your presentation?
To understand how existing UTM and U-Space services can help with roll-out of cargo-drone services.

What emerging technologies/trends do you see as having the greatest potential in the short and long run?
The role of automation in rolling-out regular BVLOS operations for a range of drone platforms – in all flying environments through; 1) high performance drone platforms, 2) dependable DAA 3)reliable Communication 3)highly automated UTM/U-Space services & 4)clear, efficient certification process.

What kind of impact do you expect them to have?
Realizing the true potential of drones – across the world in all sectors; data gathering, package-delivery, air-taxi, specialist operations.

What are the barriers that might stand in the way?
Making the join between key generic technologies (platforms, automation, sensors, connectivity and computation) and regulatory/certification requirements.

“Special Quote”
Highly automated, certifiable systems & technologies are required to enable drones ‘fly over the hill’ on a regular basis – whether this is 1km, 100km or even 1000km. We will have unleashed the full benefits of drones when this day happens.

About Tim McCarthy

Tim McCarthy, Senior Lecturer (Dept of Computer Science), Maynooth University (Dublin, Ireland),
• Research Areas; Earth Observation, Geospatial Science, Sensor Technology, Cloud Computing, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drones)
• Principal Investigator SFI Strategic Partnership U-Flyte – Researching highly automated Drone airspace systems
• Current Research Team size = 15, €20m Research funding secured to date (as PI/Co-PI)
• Staff page Link:

Tim has almost thirty years R&D experience in Earth Observation and Geographical Information Science, specialising in a number of research areas including:

Earth Observation: Satellite, Airborne & Terrestrial Mapping Systems
Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) – Drones
Geospatial Web & Mobile Services
Spatial Decision Support (Cloud-based) Platforms

He is currently Principal Investigator on SFI Strategic Research Partnership U-Flyte, leading a team of ten researchers to develop novel solutions for unmanned aircraft system airspace (U-Space), unmanned aircraft systems traffic management (UTM) and downstream application information services based around wide-area, swarm mapping, object-detection & tracking and drone delivery models.

He also manages a small number of R&D projects together with associated researchers in Precision Agriculture, Road Safety Risk Analysis, Data Standards, Maritime Monitoring and Emergency Management. He provides RTDI support to a number of start-up ventures based around geospatial science & technology including; Earth Observation, Mobile Mapping, Decision Support and Drones. He sits (appointed 2015) as the Irish National delegate for the Copernicus programme in Brussels.

He has led (PI/Co-PI) more than thirty externally funded research projects (>€20m), continues to supervise PhDs/MSc candidates and has spun-out two University companies over his past thirteen years at Maynooth.

About Maynooth University

Maynooth University is an internationally recognised institution located 25 kilometres outside of Dublin, Ireland, and is the nation’s fastest growing university.

One of four constituent universities of the National University of Ireland, Maynooth University in 2017 placed in the global top 50 universities under 50 years old in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

On 16 June 2017, Maynooth University celebrated its 20th birthday, having been formally established as an autonomous university in 1997. Yet, it traces its origins to the foundation of the Royal College of St. Patrick in 1795, drawing inspiration from a heritage that includes over 200 years of education and scholarship.

Today, Maynooth University is a place of lively contrasts–a modern institution, dynamic, rapidly-growing, research-led and engaged, yet grounded in historic academic strengths and scholarly traditions.

With more than 12,000 students from more than 90 countries, Maynooth offers a range of programmes at undergraduate, Master’s and PhD level in the humanities, science and engineering, and social sciences, including business, law, and education. The University also offers a range of international programmes and partnerships.

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