NASA seeks R&D collaborations for UAS traffic management

By Patrick C. Miller | September 02, 2014

The NASA Ames Research Center (ARC) is looking for U.S.-based public, private and academic organizations to collaborate on UAS traffic management (UTM) research and development.

ARC issued a notice asking interested parties to provide information on safely conducting UTM operations from low altitudes (2,000 feet and below in Class G airspace). The deadline for responses is Sept. 19.

The collaboration will involve a series of UTM builds of evolving complexity. The notice said, “There will be no funds exchanged between NASA and collaborating parties.”

The study’s goal is to produce a working prototype UTM system, as well as documentation of results demonstrating how low-altitude airspace and UAS operations could be safely conducted for the stakeholder community and national benefit.

Stakeholders at the UTM workshop held in February 2014 discussed the need for airspace management system automation, procedures, rules and regulations to safely enable low-altitude airspace and UAS operations.

Field test results should be beneficial to collaborating parties, including NASA researchers, the FAA, the NOAA and National Weather Service (NWS), academia, UAS manufacturers and applications industry, avionics industry, and policy makers. They will receive performance data on their assets and their ability to operate in the mixed airspace.

Potential collaborators include: UAS manufacturers; personal aircraft vehicle manufacturers; UAS avionics and middleware industry representatives; UAS operators; software companies; sensor manufacturers; communications and navigation surveillance providers; FAA UAS test sites; universities; researchers; system integrators; ground system developers; and others with low-altitude operations capabilities.