NASA taps organizations for final phase UAS traffic management system

WASHINGTON. The Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems in Las Vegas and the Lone Star UAS Center for Excellence & Innovation in Corpus Christi, Texas will host the final phase of NASA's four-year series technical demonstrations involving small unmanned aerial systems (UASs).

The two organizations will host demonstrations to confirm NASA's UAS Traffic Management (UTM) system can safely and effectively manage drone traffic in an urban area. The UAS flights will take place in and around downtown Reno, Nevada between March and June, and Corpus Christi during July and August.

"This phase represents the most complicated demonstration of advanced UAS operating in a demanding urban environment that will have been tested to date," says Ronald Johnson, NASA's UTM project manager. "We are pleased at the plans by our partners in Nevada and Texas to conduct flight tests in a true urban environment with the support of the City of Reno and the City of Corpus Christi."

With these demonstrations, NASA and its partners including the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), aim to help the commercial UAS industry understand the challenges posed by flying in an urban environment. Results of the flight demonstrations also will help inform future rules, policies and traffic management procedures for operating drones safely over populated areas.

Key technologies to be demonstrated include: airspace regulator Flight Information Management System, the UAS Service Supplier interface for multiple independent UAS traffic management service providers, and their interface with vehicle integrated detect-and-avoid capabilities, vehicle-to-vehicle communication and collision avoidance, and automated safe landing technologies.

The UTM project is part of the Airspace Operations and Safety Program in NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate.