Inside Unmanned Systems

APR-MAY 2018

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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26 April/May 2018 unmanned systems inside SPECIAL REPORT NASA TECHNOLOGY on what drone is flying where. Industry will be providing services such as UAS Service Suppliers, services that drone operators will use on a subscription ba- sis to do f light planning and deconf lic- tion. NASA is developing a prototype of what industry will be doing that it will transfer to participating com- panies in the form of specifications and APIs (application programming interfaces) for the USS system. APIs are the connective software necessary for different elements of the UTM to communicate. Alphabet (the parent company of Google) and Amazon are among the f irms already working on becom- ing USS providers. There also will be commercially run supplemental data service providers, or SDSPs, that will supply information to support USS operators. "Weather is an example of supple- mental data service that could be a third party or a commercial f irm," Johnson said. The weather firm or UTM Opportunities Firms will be needed to supply: •   Flight planning and deconfl iction •   Weather data •  Terrain mapping •  Radar surveillance s n a p s h o t when the pilot no longer has control or the drone has been co-opted. Stopping the f light doesn't necessar- ily mean the drone is lost. It could be equipped with a parachute for a rela- tively soft landing—but the f light will be stopped. "So with Safeguard, what we're es- sentially saying is you're not going to ever cross your boundaries," Dill said. UTM OPPORTUNITIES Safeguard-equipped drones are al- ready being used to assess vehicle- to-vehicle communications as part of the testing of NASA's UAS Traffic Management (UTM), one of the most ambitious drone-related programs un- derway at NASA. Building on its decades-long rela- tionship with the Federal Aviation Administration (FA A), NASA is de- veloping an air traffic management system capable of handling what is ex- pected to be an extraordinary volume of drone f lights. "There are projections for how many drones or UAS—unmanned aircraft systems—are projected to be f lown commercially in just the next few years. It's on the order of millions," UTM Project Manager Ronald Johnson said. "And so the paradigm of having a hu- man air traffic controller in communi- cation with an aircraft for separation and such, it's just not going to work in terms of trying to scale up for the pro- jected commercialization of drones. And the FAA realizes that. NASA rec- ognized that a while back. So the idea is that the UTM system is software based on the traffic management side of it and there's enough automation in it so that there's a minimal amount of human involvement in actually reviewing and approving operations." A s cur rently env isioned U T M will be a federated system. The FA A will produce and manage the Flight Information Management System, which sets the overall airspace con- straints and can provide information NASA's UAS Traffi c Management System (UTM) will be implemented by private fi rms. Other fi rms will supply UTM data. Photos courtesy of NASA.

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