Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs)

Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs) represent another type of aerospace platform requiring fault-tolerant characteristics - motivated more because of the level of autonomy they are required to operate at, rather than from a safety perspective. Often these vehicles tend to be built from cheap, commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) components, and the challenge is to create reliable systems from less reliable components. These systems provide relatively inexpensive and safe implementation platforms to test state-of-the-art FTC scheme. Another driver for significantly increased levels of fault tolerance for UAVs comes from the recent European initiative SESAR, which aims to integrate unmanned air vehicles with civilian traffic over European airspace as part of an effort to modernise the European air traffic management system. As a consequence, higher levels of reliability for the UAVs are necessary because these vehicles cannot rely on humans-in-the-loop to recover from 'upset' conditions and are not able to benefit from the skills of highly trained pilots to cope with emergency situations.