The explosive popularity of drones and associated technology advances has transformed the once-specialist equipment into devices which can be operated by novices.

Drones can now be bought cheaply by users of all ages and flown without training. In Iceland we have seen some breathtaking videos of the recent volcanic activity taken by amateur drone operators, these videos would have been impossible to capture with traditional means.

Beyond the benefits of drone technology, their operation can cause concern for aviation authorities. Potentially dangerous situations can arise when aircraft and drones share the same airspace.

As a result of this concern, discussion around the reasonable regulation of the use of drones and unmanned aerial vehicles is ongoing around the world. A good example of such discussion is this blog by our partners HungaroControl.

They have increasingly put drone research and development into focus and have engaged Tern Systems to begin the planning and development of solutions for the safe management of drone traffic.

Will be able to track and display the movement of drones

“The aim of the project is to develop a software system that is capable of tracking and displaying the movement of drones” says Guðný Árnadóttir, Software Engineer at Tern Systems. “We have a collaborative research team with members from Tern Systems and HungaroControl working together on this research Project".

Guðný, a Mechatronics Engineer who recently joined Tern Systems, explains that the purpose of this research is to study and develop a suitable tracking algorithm for drones since drones follow different kinematics than conventional aircraft. “The user interface of the system will display the drone tracking information and safety net warnings on the Controller Working Position. The logic and graphical parameters of the user interface will be designed in collaboration with HungaroControl”.

Provides numerous possibilities

According to this development agreement between Tern Systems and HungaroControl, a layered display will be created, with the possibility to select information according to submitted and approved drone zones, drone detection system classification and altitude data. “For example, the system will be able to alert the operator if a drone exits its approved airspace” Guðný explains.

The project is divided into phases and the aim is to deliver the final phase to HungaroControl in November 2022. Guðný closed our brief interview by summarising the enthusiastic mood of the drone team, “We're very excited about this project and look forward to further great collaboration with HungaroControl”.

As announced in November 2020, Tern Systems and HungaroControl, the ANSP of Hungary, partnered to develop the Polaris MAG Backup ATM system for Hungary with integrated Drone Monitoring. Polaris is the next-generation system in development to serve future Icelandic Air Traffic Management requirements. The new version for HungaroContreol will provide a research platform for advanced ATM functions and Contingency ATM services to HungaroControl air traffic controllers.

The project recently passed two major contractual milestones. The Preliminary Design Document was accepted by HungaroControl in December 2020 and in March the Detailed Design Document was delivered by Tern Systems and accepted by our Hungarian partners. This means that the project is well under way, the processes of requirements and architectural outcome have been sharpened and now the work aims to deliver Factory Acceptance Testing (FAT) as the next major milestone. The FAT aims to confirm that the Polaris MAG will perform according to the initial system and design requirements. Isavia ANS, the owner of Tern Systems and the ANSP of Iceland, have actively participated in reviewing the requirements with valuable feedback.

We at Tern Systems look forward to an ongoing great partnership with HungaroControl in the development of the back-up system Polaris MAG.

Tern Systems have been working with Mittarfeqarfiit, the operator of airports in Greenland, to deploy the Aries Weather system. The project is progressing according to plan and recently passed the important milestone of Site Acceptance Testing (SAT). The tests were supported by Tern Systems using video-conferencing technology and passed with Aries successfully installed in Nuuk airport. This major milestone in the project and the positive result confirms that the system works seamlessly when connected to weather equipment at Greenland airports. After a validation period required by the Danish regulator, Aries will become the main weather monitoring and reporting system at Nuuk Airport ATC tower. The next step will be to deploy the system in 12 other airports across Greenland. Training for Air Traffic Controllers at Mittarfeqarfiit is scheduled for the coming weeks.

Aries Weather is a proven Aerodrome Weather Reporting system developed by Tern Systems to operate in the harsh weather conditions around Iceland.

Benoit Branger, the Tern Systems project manager for the Aries Weather deployment in Greenland, is very pleased with the result of the SAT and looks forward to the next steps in the project:

“We are confident that the Aries Weather System will be a great addition to the Airport towers in Greenland, providing more efficient weather monitoring and reporting and an enhanced user experience. It has been a great pleasure to work with the experts at Mittarfeqarfiit in this project and we look forward to finishing the system deployment at Greenland’s Airports and to our future relationship.”

Picture: Aries Weather System is a simple Weather Monitoring and Reporting Solution for Airports