The Unmanned Aircraft Systems Authentication System (UASAS) project is one of over 40 projects in the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Future Flight Challenge programme. UASAS is led by ANGOKA, with partners Cranfield University and Connected Places Catapult. 

Unmanned Aircraft Systems present a real opportunity to drastically improve the quality of life for people across various scenarios; for example, drones could potentially deliver medicine to hard-to-reach or rural places. However, without a proper system to identify and authenticate these vehicles, it will be almost impossible to implement drones safely. 

This project aims to strengthen the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) operations across use cases, including for medical emergencies and supply delivery. By ensuring the security and integrity of UAS communications that is crucial to their safe flight, as well as the safety of other airspace users. 

The UASAS project team, have worked to create a system that identifies and authenticates Unmanned Aircraft Systems in a timely and secure manner preventing hackers from cyberattacks and other activities such as sending false electronic conspicuity data, C2 and telemetry.. Additionally, this will enable to critical national infrastructure, such as power grids, mobile towers and airports, to be alerted from rogue drones. 

In this project, we will build a Proof of Concept (PoC) UAS Authentication System (UASAS) hardware device by adapting Angoka’s automotive technology to suit UAS and UTM requirements. The proposed UASAS will provide electronic identification for UAS that is ‘tamper-resilient’ so that malicious actors are not able to spoof UAS ID messages (i.e. to impersonate another UAS). This will ensure that communication from a UAS is authenticated and therefore can be trusted. The PoC consists of three main parts: 

1. Build a prototype hardware DAU optimised for UAS use 

2. Build a prototype UASAS system with an interface to UTMs 

3. Demonstrate functionality in Field Trial