ATM Modernization, Commercial

NASA Volcano Research Drone Can Inform ATM

By S.L. Fuller | May 4, 2017

Volcano

Nyiragongo's lava lake. Photo courtesy of Cai Tjeenk Willink

NASA plans to explore and monitor volcanoes in an effort to improve air traffic management (ATM) and the accuracy of ash-fall measurements with an unmanned aircraft system, Black Swift Technologies said. The company has been tapped to develop that drone.

Black Swift Technologies aims to deliver a “tightly integrated” solution, including airframe, avionics and sensors. The sensors would be designed to measure selected gasses and atmospheric parameters. Black Swift offers a commercial airframe, SuperSwift, with SwiftCore flight management system. The SuperSwift XT is engineered to operate in high altitudes through strong winds and damaging airborne particulates. The company said that predictive volcanic ash transport and dispersion models can be used to inform ATM systems.

SuperSwift uses Black Swift Technologies’ proprietary mission planning software, so it can be programmed to calculate the area under review and begin collecting data for immediate analysis. Mission monitoring and mapping is performed on an Android tablet, and users can deploy the drone with gesture-based controls.

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