Unmanned Air Transport / Mobility

Future Sky Theme 4 2018 - 2025


The governing goal of Future Sky is to be thought of as a whole new branch of the air transport system relying on quiet, clean and safe vehicles operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, independent of weather conditions. To design such a system major efforts are to be made on vehicle as well as on the air transport system. The Twenty-four-seven Enabler 3 will focus on the next but one generation of vehicles, including totally new elements such as unmanned aircraft systems for air cargo. To this end, Future Sky’s Twenty-four-Seven Enabler 3 is designed to complement Clean Sky and SESAR by looking further ahead, considering the air transport system to be an essential element of a future total transport chain. The 24/7 system is e.g. to provide an essential contribution to  achieving the Flightpath 2050 goal of at least 90% of travellers within Europe completing their journey, door-to-door, within 4 hours.

Starting from the 24/7 goal defined in the ACARE Flightpath 2050, air transport integration is to comprise four major fields of research:

  • Technology Integration into aircraft. Technologies related to performance, comfort, safety and impact which are defined in TSE 1, 2, other European projects or national activities of the EREA Partners are to be gathered and integrated into a virtual platform. The focus is to be on understanding the requirements driving vehicle design in the future.
  • Aircraft integration into the transport system including regulatory requirements. As stated in Flightpath 2050, all weather 24/7 operations demand higher standards of resilience, especially with regard to adverse weather conditions and disruptive events including an assessment of a future regulatory framework.   
  • Integration of unmanned freighters. A special focus will be on the insertion of cargo RPAS in the air transport system. For this, vehicles, ground stations, communication, missions, and regulatory requirements will be studied.
  • Intermodal aspects integration into a future total transport system. 24/7 air transport including RPAS is to be sustained by an appropriate ground transportation system. Thus intermodal interfaces are to be studied including the design of more efficient and effective air transport interface nodes, including systems and processes.

Links to former and parallel activities will be key to successfully integrate all available technologies relevant to a 24/7 air transport system. Since technology integration on both vehicle and air transport system level is to be the major focus of TSE3, it will be critical to link TSE3 to research programmes such as Clean Sky, SESAR, and national activities of the EREA members.

All of these efforts are to be flanked by a consistent lifecycle assessment to substantiate efficiency and sustainability of the resulting concept. This will involve the development of assessment strategies for vehicles and air travel, i.e. setting standards covering sustainability, production, operations, safety, and recycling or disposal.