Commercial, Unmanned

NASA Creates Industry Day to Talk Drone/NAS Integration with Academia, Industry

By S.L. Fuller | November 3, 2017
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NASA is further calling on the industry to help with unmanned aircraft system (UAS) integration into the U.S. national airspace system (NAS). The agency is hosting an industry day at the end of the month to galvanize interested parties in preparation of a 2020 demonstration under its “UAS in the NAS” project.

Scheduled for Nov. 30 in San Diego, Industry Day would call for input from commercial and academic partners who are interested in supporting or who have technology available that can support the planned systems integration and operationalization (SIO) demonstration to take place in mid-2020.

According to NASA, the goals of Industry Day would include leveraging agency research in integrated detect and avoid, command and control, and other technologies. This would assist in the effort toward FAA certification of operations above 500 feet or more agl. NASA said specific objectives of the day would include:

  • Gaining technical information on relevant industry efforts, such as technology development cycles and overall plans for UAS commercialization
  • Obtaining schedule-related information to determine whether a 2020 SIO demonstration date is feasible
  • Acquiring reasonable fiscal rough orders of magnitude from industry to guide partnership/acquisition decisions, and ensuring the SIO demonstration can be successfully executed within resources
  • Communicating NASA expectations for the NASA partnership development process
  • Fostering coordination across industry participants and potential partnership teams

NASA is currently involved in multiple programs that aim to demonstrate some sort of technology or methodology for safe drone integration into the NAS. One year ago in November 2016, AT&T said it had signed an agreement with NASA to research UAS traffic management (UTM) systems. In June, the FAA and NASA convened with Google’s Project Wing for a round of testing of its unmanned traffic management concept.

This follows a recent White House announcement that the presidential administration had created a UAS integration pilot program to be carried out through the U.S. Transportation Department.

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