Aviation is expected to face a surge in the number of manned aircraft and drones in the coming years, making it necessary to integrate Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management (UTM) into Air Traffic Management (ATM) to ensure safe and efficient operations. This research proposes a novel hexagonal grid-based 4D trajectory representation framework for unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) traffic management that overcomes the limitations of existing square/cubic trajectory representation methods. The proposed model employs a hierarchical indexing structure using hexagonal cells, enabling efficient ground based strategic conflict detection and conflict free 4D trajectory planning. Additionally, the use of Hexagonal Discrete Global Grid Systems provides a more accurate representation of UAV trajectories, improved sampling efficiency and higher angular resolution. The proposed approach can be used for predeparture conflict free 4D trajectory planning, reducing computational complexity and memory requirements while improving the accuracy of strategic trajectory conflict detection. The proposed framework can also be extended for air traffic flow management trajectory planning, Air Traffic Control (ATC) workload measurement, sector capacity estimation, dynamics airspace sectorization using hexagonal sectors and traffic density calculation, contributing to the development of an efficient UTM system, and facilitating the integration of UAVs into the national airspace system with ATM


The authors would like to express their gratitude towards Institute of Applied Reseach, Emirates Aviation University, Dubai for providing the necessary infrastructure to carry out this work successfully.



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