Honeywell-led project OperA aims to bring AAM and autonomous flight to Europe

Jan. 2, 2024

BRNO, Czech Republic - Honeywell in Phoenix has initiated Project OperA, securing funding from the European Union’s SESAR 3 Joint Undertaking. The project, based at Honeywell’s international development center in Brno, Czech Republic, aims to devise and validate practical solutions for safely integrating advanced air mobility (AAM) vehicles into European airspace.

Project OperA, short for Operate Anywhere, will address the complexities of AAM operations, focusing on air traffic control conditions in Europe. The primary objectives involve developing solutions for air-ground integration and facilitating the transition from piloted to automated flights. Honeywell says the project will leverage various autonomy-enabling technologies to enhance flight routing for minimal noise and optimal energy utilization.

Honeywell says it will focus on an energy-efficient approach, utilizing a ground control station, precision navigation solutions, and airborne detect-and-avoid technology. These technologies will play a role in the ecosystem of crewed air taxi and uncrewed cargo cross-border operations.

Project OperA involves 15 partners from 11 European countries and is expected to be completed in 2026. The consortium will work closely with Pipistrel Vertical Solutions, Vertical Aerospace, and Lilium, leading AAM OEMs, to validate technologies on uncrewed and crewed AAM vehicles. Consortium partners represent the ecosystem for urban air mobility aircraft: from regulators [Eurocontrol], air navigation service providers [Latvijas gaisa satiksme, Oro Navigacija, ENAIRE and its R&D subsidiary CRIDA], operators [Nordic Unmanned], Vertiport operators [Skyports, Aena] to ground and industry members [Frequentis, Honeywell].

The SESAR 3 Joint Undertaking is an institutionalized European partnership between private and public sector partners co-funded by the European Union to accelerate the delivery of the Digital European Sky through research and innovation.

“We are proud to work with consortium members on SESAR projects that enable the advancement and adoption of urban air mobility aircraft in airspace across Europe and beyond,” said Jolana Dvorska, senior research and development manager and architect for SESAR, Honeywell Aerospace. “By focusing on an energy-efficient approach, ground control station, airborne autonomy decision engine, including contingency management, detect-and-avoid, and navigation, Honeywell aims to bring higher levels of automation in aviation.”

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