The safe and orderly integration of unmanned aircraft in the airspace is surely among the most difficult challenges to be solved in the near future. However, a safe and fluid traffic management on the ground is not less important and not less challenging, as completely different aspects have to be considered here. Much less work has been done yet to solve this question. In the frame of the project Surface Management Operations (SuMO), a procedural solution has been developed to enable fully integrated unmanned airport ground movements while allowing air traffic controllers to guarantee a safe, orderly and expeditious flow of traffic. This concept is based on the idea of segmented standard taxi routes for unmanned aircraft, while maintaining current procedures for manned aircraft. From 2017 to 2019, a two-stage validation campaign validated this new solution. No concerns regarding safety or human factors issues were revealed. Access and Equity, as well as Interoperability, were found to be very satisfying. A fast time simulation of mixed manned and unmanned traffic, using the proposed solution, was almost as efficient as pure manned traffic and can easily be implemented at medium-size airports. This article provides information about the experimental setup and the conduction of both validations stages, and illustrates obtained results. It closes with a discussion and an outlook.
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