Establishing a risk-based separation standard for unmanned aircraft self separation
June 14, 2011
Unmanned Aircraft Systems require an ability to sense and avoid other air traffic to gain access to civil airspace and meet requirements in civil aviation regulations. One sense and avoid function is self separation, which requires that aircraft remain "well clear." An approach is proposed in this paper to treat well clear as a separation standard, thus posing it as a relative state between aircraft where the risk of collision first reaches an unacceptable level. By this approach, an analytically-derived boundary for well clear can be derived that supports rigorous safety assessment. A preliminary boundary is proposed in both time and distance for the well clear separation standard, and recommendations for future work are made.