A Simulation Study of Risk-Aware Path Planning in Mitigating the Third-Party Risk of a Commercial UAS Operation in an Urban Area

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

View graph of relations


Related Research Unit(s)


Original languageEnglish
Article number682
Journal / PublicationAerospace
Issue number11
Online published3 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022



UAS-based commercial services such as urban parcel delivery are expected to grow in the upcoming years and may lead to a large volume of UAS operations in urban areas. These flights may pose safety risks to persons and property on the ground, which are referred to as third-party risks. Path-planning methods have been developed to generate a nominal flight path for each UAS flight that poses relative low third-party risks by passing over less risky areas, e.g., areas with low-density unsheltered populations. However, it is not clear if risk minimization per flight works well in a commercial UAS operation that involves a large number of annual flights in an urban area. Recently, it has been shown that when using shortest flight path planning, a UAS-based parcel delivery service in an urban area can lead to society-critical third-party risk levels. The aim of this paper is to evaluate the mitigating effect of state-of-the-art risk-aware path planning on these society-critical third-party risk levels. To accomplish this, a third-party risk simulation using the shortest paths is extended with a state-of-the-art risk-aware path-planning method, and the societal effects on third-party risk levels have been assessed and compared to those obtained using shortest paths. The results show that state-of-the-art risk-aware path planning can reduce the total number of fatalities in an area, but at the cost of a critical increase in safety risks for persons living in areas that are favored by a state-of-the-art risk-aware path-planning method.

Research Area(s)

  • unmanned aircraft system, urban air delivery, risk assessment, flight volume

Download Statistics

No data available