The Avionics today
The drone has always been considered as a mobile infrastructure that carries its own payload, such as a video camera, in total analogy with the TCP/IP protocol and its own packages. However, considering the management and maintenance high costs, it was decided to completely separate the two entities, and so having semi-autonomous channels. On one side, this was a first step towards a radical costs reduction, on the other one, it introduced a strong limitation: the applications remain entities within their belonging field and they can’t control the drone, unless implementing custom solutions. AvIoT has the ambition to create a standard interface which allows the application to communicate with the aircraft piloting primitives, in order to control it. This means implementing high-level applications which have their own logic, in fact the system intelligence won’t reside only in the CPUs on board but it will be distributed on Cloud. Another important aspect is distinguishing two applications classes, according to a certain hardware module, the Execution Environment, of which each aircraft is equipped: safe applications, that work in a protected environment and for which can be guaranteed data authenticity and non-alterability and free applications. Plus, although efficient and fast solutions that connect drones and network exist yet, they are lacking of reliability and security and despite the mission management and the autopilot control are handled using closed-source and paid commercial solutions, there aren’t open-source standards to be customized in full autonomy for sure. Finally, what avionics is missing is the idea of exploiting a multi-sensor system to which is associated an analysis of the data collected on the cloud platform.
The AvIoT innovative solution
Considering all the limitations in terms of security and management, the project intends to use an encryption system with hardware keys, already installed on board, in order to certify the flight operations, the aircraft identity and the data flow transmitted authenticity. The idea is to use a redundant communication that takes advantages of multiple parallel channels WiFi/3G/4G to have a really strong connection with the Cloud and, at the same time, virtualizing, inside the operating system all the resources involved: sensors, network itself, so as to easily enjoy all the services and the high level applications. The project’s policies envisage exploiting a certain reusability level of all the already existing solutions, extending them according to the project needs.
In the specific, AvIoT wants to contribute to two specific open source efforts: