Airbus is not only a giant in aircraft manufacturing but also a leader in innovations. Airbus is an innovator in autonomous, connected, and zero-emission future aerospace. Over the past five years, C-3 has been an active member of Airbus’ innovation ecosystem, supporting Airbus in achieving highly reliable flight operation for urban air mobility, in which autonomous passenger aircrafts are deployed to provide urban transportation services for the mass.
C-3 started in 2018 as a participant in the “Reliable Connected Fleet Demonstrator” project, sponsored by Airbus ExO Alpha (now Airbus UpNext). This project aimed at addressing the reliability, security, cost, and performance needed for future air transportation services and functions, such as formation flight, package delivery, and urban air mobility, as well as the digitization of maintenance and flight operations and support services.
In this project, C-3 designed a novel technology, the Motley Gateway, to improve the reliability of the command and control (C2)connectivity for autonomous aerial vehicles flying in urban and suburban areas. Reliable command and control links between aerial vehicles and ground control stations are vital for the safety of both onboard passengers and the people and properties on the ground. Due to the complex flying environment and constant mobility of aircrafts, the existing wireless connectivity solutions cannot meet the reliability requirements of urban air transportation. The Motley Gateway solution developed by C-3 offers an innovative method to leverage multiple wireless infrastructure to achieve unprecedented reliability with reduced delays.
C-3’s innovations on this project led to a pending patent filing and have contributed to the next technology development stage. In a continued effort, C-3 teams up with Airbus Urban Mobility, an Airbus wholly owned subsidiary, to evaluate the Motley Gateway technology in actual world flights.
In this second phase, C-3 not only implemented the Motley Gateway system in software but also designed the airborne experimental unit module. The unit was first tested and evaluated in labs, then verified through extensive driving tests, and eventually deployed in an Airbus drone in multiple flight tests. In the software implementation, C-3 not only realized all the functionality of the Motley Gateway but also addressed real-world issues encountered in real-world tests. Furthermore, C-3 developed a performance measurement system, which achieved sub-millisecond level timing accuracy between flying drones and ground stations. The Motley Gateway demonstrated superior reliability in real-world flights.
Currently, C-3 is contracted to supply production-level Motley software implementation to the Airbus lead Air Mobility Initiative (AMI) project, which aims at making urban air mobility within and between cities a reality. C-3 is actively working on expanding the Motley Gateway to work over multiple diversified wireless infrastructure, including public and private cellular networks and satellite networks.
C-3’s broad capabilities, from innovative conceptualization, through system prototyping, to technology maturation. Our Airbus partnership demonstrates C-3’s strength in software development and system integration which ranged from simulation to field tests. More importantly, we displayed our commitment to our customers and our capacity to support our customers in a variety of ways