NASA Involved in Drone Traffic Management Initiative

NASA Involved in Drone Traffic Management Initiative

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UAS traffic management (UTM) capabilities recently demonstrated in the US will help move closer to safe beyond-visual-line-of-sight drone operations. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has concluded the second phase of its UAS Traffic Management Pilot Program (UTM/UPP)  with virtual demonstrations in partnership with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and two UAS Test Sites: the Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership (MAAP) and the New York UAS Test Site(NYUASTS).

The UPP results will provide a proof of concept for UTM capabilities and serve as the basis for policy considerations, standards development and the implementation of a UTM system.

The FAA said flight testing UTM capabilities in high-density airspace will help develop policy for safely and efficiently integrating drones into the national airspace while benefiting and serving communities.

Both test sites collaborated with drone operators and local public safety agencies to demonstrate scenarios that featured various complex UTM capabilities working together to support BVLOS operations with increasing volumes and densities.

Several capabilities were demonstrated:

  • The FAA UTM Flight Information Management System prototype and infrastructure, which gives FAA access to information from industry and other stakeholders on demand.
  • New technologies and data flows to validate the latest international standards for remote identification and support authorized users with specific operator data.
  • In-flight deconfliction in high-density airspace to validate recently proposed UTM standards to help drones avoid each other.
  • UAS volume reservations to notify drone operators of emergencies and make sure other UTM capabilities worked properly in these scenarios.
  • Secure information exchanges between FAA, industry, and authorized users to ensure data integrity.

The FAA has worked closely with NASA, industry and other stakeholders since 2017 to identify the initial set of capabilities needed to support small drone operations and advance UTM, according to