Assuring Safety in the Evolving Aviation Ecosystem: A Holistic Approach
The introduction of drones and Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) is rapidly changing the aviation ecosystem and has led to the development of many use cases that can bring huge benefits to society such as: medical deliveries, infrastructure inspections, logistics and search & rescue. These use cases not only create commercial opportunities for the respective organisations servicing them, but also wider benefits to society, such as; improvements to health services, removing workers from dangerous environments, levelling up less-supported regions, improvements in public services, and increased sustainability.
Drones and AAM vehicles are complex systems that involve a variety of different stakeholders, including the manufacturer, the operator, the regulator, and the public, and the number of new entrants continues to grow. The introduction of new actors, technology, and infrastructure has the potential to affect the risk associated with the existing UK aviation ecosystem, exposing new boundaries of service and interfaces (relationships). Traditional safety and security assurance activities need to adapt to consider uses cases representative of these considerations that operating in a modernised industry will introduce. This includes areas of airspace with new operations, integrated with crewed operations, beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS), and interacting closely with the public.
Holistic safety assurance is an essential part of ensuring the continued safe operation of drone and AAM systems. By taking a performance-based approach to accurately assess, mitigate, and manage the risks holistically (i.e., considering the whole ‘system’ of technical parts, products, services, and actors within the operating environment) this will help to ensure that the ‘system’ is designed and operated in a safe manner. Along with ensuring that risk mitigating measures are effective through practical safety performance monitoring, a holistic approach can help reduce the likelihood of accidents and incidents and increase public acceptance of these systems.
A collaborative approach with the different actors and stakeholders involved is fundamental, which will help to build safety arguments supported by realistic testing data, safety requirements and evidence, and standards. Along with engagement with the regulator, this will also ensure derived industry evidence can be safely and realistically scaled to support and influence Regulation and acceptable means of compliance.
Ebeni places safety at the forefront of everything we do, with a particular focus on safety and mission critical systems and operations. We offer stakeholders effective solutions to build a safer and more secure business; we have a proven track record helping existing industry and new aviation stakeholders to integrate into the aviation ecosystem safely and efficiently.
Through our experiences with existing and new methodologies such as the Specific Operations Risk Assessment (SORA) developed by the Joint Authorities for Rulemaking on Unmanned Systems (JARUS), our participation within the Future Flight Challenge Project BLUEPRINT and our work within the National Drone Innovation Gateway, we have focussed on developing a holistic approach to demonstrate and scale safety risk evidence for the operation. This has helped to ensure we have confidence that the entire system can achieve industry recognised safety objectives, guide where there are gaps within evidence, and determine where industry and regulatory focus needs to be to safely and sustainably manage the integration of drone and AAM operations within the UK aviation ecosystem.
We are committed to advancing aviation safety and supporting the innovative use of drone technology. Our collaboration with other industry leaders contributes to the development of best practices and regulatory frameworks that will benefit not only the UK but also serve as a model for other countries aiming to safely integrate drones into their airspace.