Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.
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20 unmanned systems inside December 2016/January 2017 I 'm convinced that NASA's Unmanned Traffic Man- agement (UTM) system is absolutely key to safe UAS operation in our country. I believed so from NASA's first UTM conference last year in California and was therefore very eager to attend this year's UTM conference in Syracuse, NY. Last year, the FAA wasn't enthusiastic about UTM and I could detect a real "not invented here" vibe among the FAA folks who attended. The FAA didn't like NASA telling them how to manage air traffic. All I can say is—"Wow. What a difference a year makes!" The mood at the Syracuse UTM con- ference was completely different. Nearly every panel was a joint NASA/FA A/in- dustry arrangement. Rather than keeping UTM at arm's length, the FA A now has a joint Research Transition Team headed by some real experts. Sherri Magyarits at FAA was a lead concept developer for NextGen and has been working UAS for about five years. Joe Rios at NASA Ames is one of PK Kopardekar's top researchers and UTM program lead for NASA (PK is the Godfather of UTM). There's a Global UTM Association dedicated to establish- ing worldwide UTM standards. The re- search is starting to pile in—NASA has a firm research plan for UTM and the FAA's ASSURE Center of Excellence for UAS is working two projects to provide research for solid policy decisions. The standards organizations have been hard at work also; they're on the verge of releasing a "well clear" definition for small UAS, as well as working hard on Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) standards. So what happened? Why the change at FAA? We could blame it on Congress. Con- gressional budget language was clear that NASA and the FAA must work together to develop UTM and the language prompted the aggressive FAA/NASA timeline. They'll have a research plan by January 2017, a pilot program by April 2017 and execute between March of 2017 and 2020. I'm not sure I believe Congress was completely be- hind the change though. Let's admit it; the Photo courtesy of Oklahoma State and Rendering courtesy of NASA NASA UTM by JAMES POSS, MAJ GEN (RET) USAF, CEO ISR IDEAS General Overview by James Poss, Maj Gen (RET) USAF NASA's concept for a possible UTM system would safely manage diverse UAS operations in the airspace above buildings and below crewed aircraf t operations in suburban and urban areas. CONFERENCE