Siemens Industry Software SAS (SIEMENS) develops in France and in Netherlands for over 20 years the Simcenter System Simulation solutions (Amesim, Prescan). The Simcenter System Simulation solutions allow to model and simulate the dynamic behavior of complex multi-domains systems and their environmental perception, mainly addressing the automotive, aerospace, industry and energy engineering domains.
In the AURORA project, SIEMENS role is first to support closed-loop flight automation virtual testing encompassing environment perception, coupling with perception processing with THALES, avoidance strategies, aircraft physics (propulsion to flight dynamics aeroelasticity) and flight controls laws with UNIFI. These virtual closed-loop flight automation will support the development of functions and assessment of UAM concepts.
Leading Virtual Demonstrations in the AURORA Project
Siemens is a leading partner for Work Package 6 (WP6), which is focused on virtual demonstrations in the AURORA project. We recently had an interview with Victor Dezobry (Application specialist – Aerospace & Defense) from Siemens who gave insights into the progress of WP6 and how they are coordinating virtual demonstrations with other work packages.
Victor mentioned that Siemens started the WP6 activities by organizing sessions with different partners involved to better understand their expectations. Real-world demonstration leaders were also involved to explain the ideal scenario for each use case, including first responders, urgent logistics, and smart cities. Based on the scenarios, Siemens identified the technology blocks that will be utilised for each use case. They have also ensured that each component can communicate with the others by providing the interface contract, including inputs/outputs with the associated format, to build the co-simulation framework. Currently, Siemens is working on building the co-simulation framework, as some partners are still improving their technology blocks.
After being asked how Siemens is planning and coordinating the virtual demonstrations with other work packages, Victor stated that most of the technology blocks used in virtual demonstrations come from other work packages. For instance, global path planning, local path planning, and safe landing site detection technology blocks from WP2 (Urban Flight Navigation) and WP3 (Urban Autonomous Flight). He added that some plant model prototypes are currently being finalized in WP5 (integration). However, he reiterated that “this is quite a challenge because the timeline might vary from one work package to another, so we need to prevent any conflicts to deliver the virtual demonstrations on time.”
Regarding the details on the specific technologies and tools being used for the virtual demonstrations, Victor responded to this giving an example of the smart city use case to understand which technology blocks they are using and what they are being used for. He stated that in the smart city use case, a mission is set via several Points of Interest (PoI) in the Mission Management System (MMS). The system generates mission parameters (PoI ID, PoI location, PoI area, PoI action) based on inputs such as weather forecast (wind speed and direction), and these data are sent to the Global Path Planner (GPP). The GPP finds a continuous trajectory to link the different PoIs, using sensors data and environment information, and computes the global waypoints ID and position. The Local Map Generator (LMG) detects unknown obstacles along the global path via sensors, and the Local Path Planner (LPP) finds a pathway around obstacles to compute the next waypoint position for the drone to fly towards. The Autopilot (AP) computes each propeller’s angular speed to reach this position, and the plant model in Simcenter Amesim (AME) computes the drone trajectory, battery state of charge, and other factors. The Simcenter Prescan (PS) tool models the environment and emulates sensor data, which is used by different technology blocks, such as the Safe Landing Site (SLS) detection system.
Victor highlighted that the key objectives of virtual demonstrations in WP6 are to reduce the time and cost of the overall test campaign and extend the complexity of test case scenarios. He added that in the virtual environment, it is easy to change the lighting and weather conditions, add obstacles, and test the different technology blocks under numerous flight conditions. Furthermore, virtual testing are a safer way to obtain the necessary permits to fly autonomous systems for real tests.
At the present moment, Victor mentioned that Siemens is integrating the different technology blocks within the co-simulation framework and ensuring that the communication between them is working properly. The company will then run simple tests before conducting use case scenarios. Siemens expects to learn a lot from the virtual demonstrations and incorporate this knowledge into the AURORA project’s next stages.
In conclusion, virtual demonstrations are an essential component of the AURORA project, and Siemens is playing a critical role in leading WP6. The use of advanced technologies and tools allows for extensive testing of complex scenarios and conditions, which significantly reduces the time and cost of the overall test campaign. The virtual demonstrations will provide valuable insights into the feasibility of the project’s use cases and the technology blocks used to enable them.