This summer, the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) held their Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management (UTM) demonstration at three of its designated UAS test sites. Called the UAS Pilot Program (UPP), ANRA supported these demonstrations to further develop low altitude airspace management at the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership facility in Blacksburg, VA. and the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems in Las Vegas, NV.
The FAA provided specific guidance for these demonstrations and ANRA worked alongside partners including Wing, AiRXOS a GE Company, AirMap and Uber to develop, demonstrate, and provide decentralized and federated services that will support implementation of initial UTM operations. This enterprise service will support the sharing of intent and situational awareness information amongst participants.
Tests included flying drones beyond visual line-of-sight (BVLOS), implementing dynamic restrictions and operating multiple drones within close proximity of each other. This required the drones to share flight path information before and during its flight. It also required providing the drone pilots critical information such as weather and controlled airspace locations. ANRA’s UTM platform (DroneUSSTM) provided that capability so the drone pilots could avoid operating in the same airspace as another drone, or avoid airspace that had a restriction such as a life-flight helicopter.
Integration of low-altitude UAS operations into the National Airspace System (NAS) presents a variety of issues and challenges. The forecast increase in UAS fleet size will magnify the volume of operations and consequently a demand for airspace services. The number of daily operations could potentially reach into the millions, taxing the NAS well beyond its current service requirements.
Given the number and type of UAS operations envisioned, it is clear the existing Air Traffic Management (ATM) System cannot cost-effectively scale to deliver services for UAS. The nature of most of these operations does not require direct interaction with the ATM System.
“The technology to address this complex airspace integration is being driven by the Industry and working jointly with the regulators industry can provide technology that can scale with expected increase in drone operations. UPP is addressing these concerns as we pursue safe and efficient solutions”, said Amit Ganjoo, CEO of ANRA Technologies.
Solutions that scale beyond the current ATM infrastructure and Air Traffic Control (ATC) manpower resources are necessary to enable safe management of the expected rapid influx of UAS operations in this historically underutilized airspace. Within the envisioned UTM ecosystem, operations are organized, coordinated, and managed by a federated set of actors in a distributed network of highly automated systems. ANRA is honored to be a long-time contributor to advancing UTM with the results of this successful UPP effort.