A Demonstration of Reliability and Certification Standards for Unmanned Aircraft System Control Links

Contributing USMA Research Unit(s)

Civil and Mechanical Engineering

Publication Date


Publication Title

American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Scitech Conference

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


As the desire to integrate Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) more fully into the National Airspace System (NAS), significant concerns regarding safety remain. One concern is the possibility of an air vehicle losing link with the controller and causing harm to people on the ground or aboard other aircraft. Since a data link is not a critical component for manned aircraft, the industry lacks standards for such a system. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how minimum reliability standards for UAS links can be established using a Target Level of Safety (TLS) approach. This approach incorporates factors related to the operating environment. The paper demonstrates the implementation of a model that incorporates event tree analysis using Monte Carlo simulation to predict casualties caused by UAS failures to third-party persons only. The work demonstrates how analyzing a lost link condition as an initiating condition of a system failure, the user can determine minimum system reliability requirements and conduct trade offs between the link failure rate and a mean time to reestablish link, in the event of a failure.

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