Inside Unmanned Systems

APR-MAY 2017

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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10 unmanned systems inside   April/May 2017 out a solution that just addresses law enforcement's need to ID drones, but a hasty solution could make our cyber security problem worse, plus miss an opportunity to make drones safer and more integrated into our NAS. The good news, to quote FAA UAS Program Manager Earl Lawrence's recent testimony, is that "we have sev- eral viable systems (for electronic ID), we just need to pick the right one." Mr. Lawrence is correct—we do have several viable systems, but do they all address the needs of safety, security, air traffic management, law enforce- ment and DAA? If we look at the co- ordinated problem from this perspec- tive, the field of potential solutions narrows. The most basic requirement for electronic ID is to identify the se- rial number of a drone in f light. With just a serial number, law enforcement could at least trace the owner to take action. However, I don't think that's enough. Electronic ID should also yield the "N-number" of the remote pilot and indicate if this drone is operating un- der any Certificate of Authorizations, waivers to Part 107, or any other exist- ing or future rule. This will not only make it easier to identify pilots of rogue drones, but advise law enforce- ment if the operator is operating legal- ly. Hence, I'd strongly advocate for an electronic ID integrated into NASA's Unmanned Traffic Management sys- tem. This would provide all the in- formation law enforcement needs to make an enforcement decision, plus it would make the entire National Airspace System safer because drones, their remote pilots and their locations would be fully identified as authorized users to appropriate entities. As I see it, the viable technical so- lutions are: the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), an LTE (i.e., cell phone) solution, radio beacon/transponder, WiFi broadcast, or an RF ID tag. Let's look at each from the aspect of safety, security, air traf- fic management, law enforcement and DAA. ADS-B: I'll have to admit, ADS-B is my favorite solution. It's the safest be- cause 'ADS-B Out', which broadcasts an aircraft's GPS position constantly, is already mandatory equipment for manned aircraft by 2020. Similarly equipped aircraft can receive ADS-B broadcasts directly as long as they're in line of sight of each other. 'ADS-B In' adds an additional layer of safety be- cause it receives the Traffic Information Ser v ice-Broadcast (TIS-B). TIS-B broadcasts FAA radar traffic directly and re-broadcasts ADS-B Out from signals it receives from a nation-wide network of receivers. A n aircraf t equipped with an ADS-B In receiver can therefore see all ADS-B compli- ant traffic, whether the other aircraft are in their line of sight or not. ADS-B is also protected from radio frequency interference because it uses aviation- protected spectrum. ADS-B can pro- vide very secure identification if paired with either a read-only identity or, ide- ally, with a certificate based ID system like AirMap's recently proposed Drone ID. ADS-B neatly solves problems with air traffic integration because all FAA ELECTRONIC IDENTIFICATION IS SOMETHING THE FAA SHOULD HAVE INSISTED UPON FROM THE VERY BEGINNING IN PART 107. MAJOR GENERAL JAMES O. POSS (RET) is a leading expert on UAS, having targeted the first armed UAS strikes, designed the U.S. Air Force's remote split operations system for UAS control, and designed the Distributed Common Ground Station for UAS intelligence analysis. General Poss was the Executive Director of the Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE) of the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Center of Excellence Team. He is CEO of ISR Ideas—an intelligence, unmanned systems and cyber warfare consulting company with decades of intelligence community experience, coupled with insider FAA knowledge. General Overview by James Poss, Maj Gen (RET) USAF

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