Multirotor UAVs enable a wide range of new applications and are already having a major impact on many industries. Significant effort has been made in the last years to advance the technical state of the art of the vehicles themselves. This is reflected in many aspects. Some of the most notable ones are increased performance, larger endurance and more lightweight structures. In addition, a regulatory framework for operation and systems has been introduced by the European Commission. This includes the concept of the Single European Sky and U-Spaces [with the objective to foster safe operation and innovation.
One topic which has so far not been one of the top priorities is the impact of adverse weather conditions like in-flight icing. This was also due to the lack of detailed data about the implications for operation. Now, thanks to initiatives like the FFG/BMK funded R&D project All-weather Drone, it is known that icing can have a major impact on unprotected multirotor UAVs and lead within minutes to a loss of the vehicle. Hence, the risk of an icing encounter must be taken into account for the operational approval and corresponding Specific Operations Risk Assessment (SORA) by the responsible aviation authority.
However, commercially available multirotor UAVs neither have technical systems for ice detection nor ice protection installed because there is a lack of technologies. As a consequence, the risk of icing cannot be fully addressed. Certain operators, like the Austrian Authorities and Organizations with Security tasks (BOS), require their UAVs (mainly DJI M300 RTK and DJI M30T) to be capable to operate safely all-year round, including icing conditions, to be a feasible technical instrument for daily operations. Therefore, the motivation for IceDrone is to investigate viable technical solutions to overcome these limitations and enable the operation of multirotor UAVs, especially of the BOS, in icing conditions.rther development of ground-based climatic test capabilities, as well as the elaboration of standardized procedures for the investigation of Class I UAVs.