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Research to combat effects of drones on air travel

Plane and drone

An OU researcher has received funding for a solution to combat the effects of drones on the safety of air travellers and on businesses.

In aviation and in space, a drone refers to a remotely piloted aircraft or spacecraft. In December 2018, thousands of passenger flights had to delay or divert to other airports due to an unconfirmed sighting of a drone.

OU academic, Dr Yijun Yu, OU Senior Lecturer in Computing, has a vision to improve aviation security through cloud computing and blockchains by live streaming black boxes after the missing MH370 flight, which featured in interviews with BBC Radio 4 and BBC World Services aired in April 2014, and received the Microsoft Azure Award (2017).

Because of his research in this field, Dr Yu has received £49,000 from EU Single European Sky Joint Undertaking (SESAR JU) to create live black boxes to avoid the recurrence of such incidents.

“The potential and impact of the project is to produce a novel forensic readiness solution to help the UK and European aviation authorities to regulate unmanned aerial vehicles (also known as drones) in these airspaces,” said Dr Yu. “This is so that the drones do not affect the safety of all air travellers and do not disrupt their businesses (like what has happened at Gatwick airport in December).”

The OU is partnering with NATS and the EU SESAR JU (Single European Sky Joint Undertaking) consortium related to the EngageKTN, which is coordinated by University of Westminster. The Drone Identity project, which will run for 12 months.

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