PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2021, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (9): 1503-1515.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2021.09.006

• Operation Supervision of UAV • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Environmental risk assessment of obstacles in low-altitude flight of unmanned aerial vehicle: Taking the Beijing-Tianjin New Town as an example

HE Hongbo1,2(), XU Chenchen1,3,4, YE Huping1,*()   

  1. 1. State Key Laboratory of Resources and Environment Information System, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    3. The Research Centre for UAV Application and Regulation, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    4. Institute of UAV Application Research, Tianjin and CAS, Tianjin 301800, China
  • Received:2020-11-30 Revised:2021-02-26 Online:2021-09-28 Published:2021-09-28
  • Contact: YE Huping;
  • Supported by:
    The Key Research Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences(ZDRW-KT-2020-2-1);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41771388);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41971359);Tianjin Intelligent Manufacturing Project(Tianjin-IMP-2018-2)


Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is increasingly widely used, but with the continuous progress of urban development, the safe operation of UAV in cities is increasingly more prominent. Therefore, environmental risk assessment of obstacles has become one of the key issues in the field of low-altitude UAV research. In this study, taking the Beijing-Tianjin New Town as an example, the low-altitude airspace was divided into micro, light, and small UAV flight zones according to the low-altitude UAV types and operating heights. Based on the shape and size of UAVs, their motion constraints, and obstacle constraints, this research proposed an algorithm for approximation point expansion. The algorithm generates an expanded boundary on the basis of the original boundary of the obstacles, and this expanded boundary serves as a transitional zone between high risk and low risk areas in the low-altitude flight environment. Based on the UAV image data of 0.5 m resolution in the Beijing-Tianjin New Town in 2019, this study extracted obstacle elements in different assessment areas, and generated low-altitude flight obstacle environmental risk maps for different UAV types and different heights based on the risk assessment. The study area was divided into high-risk zone, high-risk transitional zone, medium-risk zone, and low-risk zone according to the threat posed to UAVs. The results show that: 1) The risk transitional zone in the micro, light, and small UAV control areas in the study area accounted for 10.9%, 7.3% and 9.0%, respectively, and the sharp-angle convex vertex optimization of the approximate point expansion algorithm can save about 1% of the airspace resources. 2) The proposed method can calculate the potential collision risk area of the UAVs in the flight area based on the mutual influence of the UAVs and the obstacles, and realize the effective assessment of the environmental risk of the low-altitude obstacles and provide a scientific reference for the navigability of the UAVs of different types in the flight area.

Key words: UAV, low-altitude flight environment, approximate expansion algorithm of polygons, risk map, Beijing-Tianjin New Town