Etopia News reached out to the Federal Aviation Administration and promptly got a detailed response to its inquiry regarding that agency’s plans to institute an advanced air-traffic control system for unmanned aerial systems (UAS), commonly referred to as “drones.” Here’s what they had to say, from Ian Gregor, Public Affairs Manager of the FAA Pacific Division:
“The FAA is very interested in the evolution of NASA's UAS Traffic Management (UTM) concept and is working collaboratively with NASA to mature it. We have existing avenues, such as the UAS Pathfinder Program, that could be used to help vet the UTM concept with the aviation industry.
“Many beneficial civilian applications of UAS have been proposed, from goods delivery and infrastructure surveillance, to search and rescue, and agricultural monitoring. As some of these UAS operations would require interactions with a mix of general aviation aircraft, helicopters and gliders, there is a strong need to safely accommodate all of these aircraft at lower altitudes. Currently, there is no established infrastructure to allow and safely manage the widespread use of low-altitude airspace and UAS operations, regardless of the type of UAS. A UTM system for low-altitude airspace is needed.
“Working with many government, industry and academic partners, NASA will lead the research, development, testing, and implementation of the UTM, exploring functional designs, concepts and technology development, and testing of proposed UTM systems using a series of builds, each increasing in capability.”
For more about NASA’s efforts in this area, click here.