The on-airfield delivery scenario features an on-airfield drone flight that will cross active traffic paths to deliver equipment having gained electronic flight approval from air traffic control (ATC). This scenario is designed to demonstrate the safe use of unmanned air vehicles to deliver parts or equipment without causing disruption in a busy, complex and dynamic airfield environment. Operation Zenith will demonstrate the end-to-end process, including defining workflows for pre-approved operations, on-demand initiation, ATC approval and providing situational awareness.
For safety, it’s important to restrict the number of vehicles crossing taxiways and aircraft parking areas. As a result, vehicles often use the public roads surrounding the airport. This can result in significant delays, as the vehicle goes through airport security and can often get caught up in traffic. Airlines are under pressure to reduce their delays as they could potentially have to compensate their passengers for late departures. The use of a drone to transfer parts or equipment across the airfield can save significant amounts of time thus improving efficiency.