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12 june 2019

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Mid-air, near mid-air, and on-ground collisions are main causes of accident in general aviation. The aim of ODESSA (Obstruction DEtection Sensor for Surveillance on Aircraft) project is to provide both airplanes and helicopters, piloted on board or remotely, with a small, light, and low-cost sensor (compared to the present ones) to prevent collisions while maneuvering close to the terrain (i.e. take off and landing phases) or on-ground (i.e. taxi phase).  This objective will be achieved by exploiting the experience gained in the automotive market, where low-cost and reliable radars combined with video cameras are mounted on motor vehicles for the early detection of the obstacles. By equipping the avionic system with this kind of sensors, the collision avoiding capabilities will be dramatically enhanced with a quite small investment. It will result in increased safety during landing approach and on-ground handling or taxi phases, regardless of the airport infrastructure. The final ambition of ODESSA is to improve the TAWS or TCAS capabilities, already provided for civil aviation platforms, contributing to the development of the Modular Surveillance System (MSS) in the Clean Sky 2 Systems ITD WP1.3

Project Overview

The automotive industry sustained large investments in sensor technology to provide vehicles with reliable collision detection capabilities. A well-known application is for providing assistance regarding blind spot detection or reverse driving. Current interesting applications are adaptive cruise control, configuration of safety system (seat belt) before crash and auto brake systems. Associated low cost sensors are based on millimetre waves radar combined or not with camera. Radar is in charge of target detection and camera is used to improve detection reliability (ghost echo removal). The achieved level of performances is now very interesting in terms of range of detection (200m – 300m), speed (400km/h) as well as in terms of simultaneous targets detection (more than 50). Automotive constraints are very high in terms of , sensor weight, size, power consumption and cost. This leads to sensor design programs which can be very helpful to build an attractive solution for aeronautical customer. In addition, associated industrial standards (ISO 26262) seem to be very close to aeronautical ones, especially in terms of safety analysis and hardware/software qualification. 

The main challenge is to find out a trade-off between automotive sensors and very expensive sensor for collision avoidance used in aerospace field nowadays. Expensive solutions on small aircraft are not applicable.

The development of a new sensor could help in granting safety on all aircraft classes.

ODESSA aims to develop an affordable, small and easy to integrate sensor, to be installed on all types of aircraft, with the capability to operate also in collaboration with TAWS or TCAS, where available, through the implementation of additional functions.


Vision and Objectives

The aim of the Project is the design and development of an avionic sensor prototype, following the guidelines of the aviation standards RTCA DO-254, DO-178, DO-160, able to detect obstacles on the flight path close to terrain or during the “on ground” manoeuvres.

The expected result is to obtain an affordable sensor equipment derived by mass-market series (automotive), suitably modified to meet aviation safety standards and the functional and environmental requirements of the aeronautical environment. 

Specific Sensor Objectives:

  • The target range of the sensor will be at least 150 m with horizontal field of view of at least 120° and vertical field of view of at least 14°, at a speed up to 250 km/h with the capability to detect at least 10 obstacles at a time.
  • A reduced footprint (SWaP architecture guidelines will be followed) and easy to be installed on the aircrafts (use of 28 Vdc).
  • A weight about 3Kg with a power consumption of 50-60 W.
  • The target price of the equipment will be under 20.000,00 Euros.


The work plan of the project has in total 6 WPs: 1 non-technical WP for management, dissemination, exploitation and communication activities, 5 WPs for technical tasks. 

WP1: it is active throughout the ODESSA project life cycle and includes project management and partner coordination activities. The activities of dissemination and exploitation of the results will also be performed in the framework of this WP.

WP2will drive the selection of a commercial off-the-shelf automotive sensor (based on millimetre radar). In particular, the CONOPS and the top-level requirements (HLR) will be defined in order to mark out the baseline for the next design activities, in terms of SW, HW and Firmware specific requirements. A preliminary prototype of the sensor (“A Model”) will be produced at this stage.

WP3: the “A” model sensor will be integrated on a UAV/RPAS. Flight Trials will be performed to carry out a characterization of the detection capabilities performance. An action plan will be agreed to implement the adaptation and the improvements on the millimetre radar to meet the performance targets.

WP4: the aim of this phase is the deep analysis of the flight trials results and the implementation of the action plan that will be finalised with more details. It will be necessary to identify the main improvement and new parameters, derived from the flight trials that could be taken into account for improving sensor internal processing. The “A” model will be retrofitted by adding new features leading to the final version of the Sensor Protoype (“B” model). A preliminary validation (Safe of Flight) and qualification activities will be conducted in preparation for the next phase.

WP5: the main objective of the WP is to test the “B” Model sensor in a quite realistic environment. This activity will be performed in close collaboration with Topic Manager.

WP6: the last phase of the project consists of analysis of the test results and the measurement of the performance achieved by the sensor.


About Interconsulting

Interconsulting (IC) is a System Engineering Company providing added value solutions and services for Aerospace market. Since 2001, IC has been involved in several projects with the major Italian Aeronautics and Avionic System Integrator Companies, mainly belonging to Leonardo- Finmeccanica Group. In particular, it has developed safety critical certifiable HW and SW components for Ground and Onboard modular platforms, to be installed on manned and unmanned aircrafts. IC is organized in three Business Units covering four areas of expertise: Aerospace & Defence, Security and Research & Development. A central support for Administration Management and Marketing & Sales departments complete the organization. IC holds remarkable experience in Research & Development in National & European projects acting as coordinator (Italian MIUR – CADMO, Italian MoD COLIBRI EW) and partner (FP7 Alicia, Italian MISE POR FSE – Micro Satellite Technologies). IC holds the capabilities for the design, realization, integration, testing and support of engineering solutions. In particular, has special knowledge and experience into the development of certifiable equipment according to RTCA DO-178B and RTCA DO-254. IC is involved into the major European avionic programs (M346, SKY-Y, Eurofighter Typhoon, C-27J, NH-90, AW-101) providing both software and hardware components. About 100 employees work for IC, mainly graduated in engineering areas. The headquarter is located in Rome. The company was awarded as “Best Supplier” of Alenia Aeronautica (former name of Leonardo S.p.a. Aircraft Division) in 2010, with the special mention on Mission Software applications. Within Odessa IC acts as Project Coordinator and conducts the sensor equipment development in accordance with aviation standards 

LEAT: a CNRS Joint Research Unit with University Nice Sophia Antipolis

The French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) is the largest public research organisation in France, accounting for around 1 100 services and/or research units (either joint or not) throughout the country. As a multidisciplinary institution, it covers all fields of scientific research driving various programs and actions designed to address society and industry expectations. In particular, the CNRS has the following missions: 

i) to evaluate and carry out all research capable of advancing knowledge and bringing social, cultural, and economic benefits for society, 

ii) to contribute to the application and promotion of research results, iii) to develop scientific information, iv) to support research training and v) to participate in the analysis of the national and international scientific climate and its potential for evolution to develop a national policy.

ODESSA consortium includes one CNRS Joint Research Unit (LEAT- UMR7248) with its third party, University Nice-Sophia Antipolis. 

LEAT unit research is located on the SophiaTech campus in Sophia Antipolis, France and is directed by Professor Robert Staraj. Research activities of LEAT are conducted in the field of telecommunications, radar, e-health, safety, smart buildings, defense, … LEAT is organized in 3 teams and has a joint laboratory with Orange Labs. MCSOC team works on the design of wireless sensors, optimization of wireless network sensors and embedded software. CMA team has its research activity on antenna design mainly for miniature purposes and electromagnetic simulation with TLM method. ISA (Imaging and Antennas Systems) team works on antenna design for radar systems, scattering and RCS measurements and microwave imaging.

In ODESSA project, CNRS will be involved through Mrs. Claire Migliaccio, Mr. J.Y Dauvignac (as project leader), Mr. Jérôme Lantéri from ISA team and Mr. Laurent Brochier as  easurement’s engineer. A post-doctorand will be recruited in the frame of the project. Research activity of ISA team is focused on the study of antennas and antenna systems for radar, measurement of RCS (Radar Cross section), MMW measurements and modeling for inverse problems in microwave imaging. Applications are varied like security (see Through the Walls, Mines detection, FOD detection, geological monitoring, food monitoring) or health in the context to provide a first and quick diagnostic in case of suspicion of stroke.  

In ODSESSA project, LEAT will be in charge to propose new kind of antenna for MMW radar front-end. Since 2009, ISA team has designed antenna MMW arrays with various technologies. ISA has also developed some specific designs on high gain antennas for Radar applications using reflect array technology. To design, develop and validate antennas, LEAT is equipped with high performance workstations for antenna design using commercial and homemade software tools. The laboratory is also equipped of instruments (vector network analyzer) in W band and two facilities tests for antenna measurement (a 3D scanner and an anechoic room with a spherical near field scanner and a compact range). LEAT can provide 3D radiation patterns, gain and directivity measurements of any kinds of antenna from 700 MHz to 260 GHz. Radiation patterns measurements can be conducted in both near or far fields configurations. 

About InnoSenT GmbH

InnoSenT GmbH, located in Donnersdorf / Germany, was founded in 1999 and is one of the world’s leading companies in the field of Radar technology. By holding a strong focus on progress, innovation and certified quality, the company ensures its ongoing success and expert status. 

While InnoSenT is clearly oriented as a B2B company, the powerful engineering team focuses on the demands of the end customers when implementing inn1 ovative Radar solutions. InnoSenT develops automotive Radar sensors for Advanced  river Assistance Systems, but serves also Radar applications in the fields of security, home automation, traffic management, level measurement and collision avoidance to make everyday life smart, comfortable and safe. InnoSenT also offers her expertise for engineering and electronic manufacturing services – starting from customer-specific developments up to series production and testing.

About Siralab Robotics

Siralab Robotics operates in the field of robotics with particular reference to unmanned technologies. It was founded in 2007 as Spin Off of the University of Perugia, Department of Electrical Engineering and Information. All employees are former university researchers and engineers with industrial experience, a solid understanding of the automatic control of avionic systems and in the aeromechanics of the mini UAV. Each of us has an infinite passion for unmanned systems.

Over the years, Siralab Robotics has achieved a strong specialization in the development of avionics systems for UAS and unmanned platforms.

The mission of Siralab Robotics is to develop new ideas and products in unmanned vehicles and in the field of sensing by air.

Our main partners are Leonardo, IDS Systems Engineering, Thales, MBDA, ARPA umbria, ENEA, Civil Protection. Currently Siralab, together with the Lombardy mountain rescue, has developed a pilot project that is at the conclusion of the first phase of experimentation and the industrialization phase is starting, which uses a drone specifically equipped for search and rescue in the wooded areas of the Lombard Alps.

Our solution includes electronic boards for the avionics section, firmware and C2 framework software certifiable in accordance with Mil or Civilian Airwothiness regulations such as ENAC Rules (“Remotely Piloted Aerial Vehicles” Art.10.6).

The design effort is specifically focused on very light and miniaturized solutions to ensure high reliability and to achieve the best flight time and performance.

The task of Siralab in the Odessa project will be the integration of the “A” model and “B” model sensor prototypes on the UAV/RPAS. Flight Trials will be performed to make a characterization of the detection capabilities performance.

SIRALAB will provide the capabilities in terms of aeronautical platforms (both fixed and rotary wings) to perform test trials of the ODESSA prototypes in realistic scenarios.


Here you are the Flight Tests Results: D5.2.1 Flight Test Report rev 1 final !!!

Download and enjoy!


    This project has received funding from the Clean Sky 2 Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement  N° 821263

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