NASA Announces Urban Drone Traffic Management Tests


Image: NASA

NASA has selected the hosts for the final phase of its four-year series of small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS/drones) technical demonstrations. According to NASA, the demonstrations are designed to confirm that NASA’s UAS Traffic Management (UTM) system can safely and effectively manage drone traffic in urban areas and “aim to help the commercial drone industry understand the challenges posed by flying in an urban environment.” The demonstration flights will be hosted by the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems in Las Vegas, Nevada, and the Lone Star UAS Center for Excellence & Innovation in Corpus Christi, Texas.

“This phase represents the most complicated demonstration of advanced UAS operating in a demanding urban environment that will have been tested to date,” said NASA UTM project manager Ronald Johnson. “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.”

The flights are scheduled to take place between March and June in Nevada and during July and August in Texas. NASA is looking to demonstrate technologies including an airspace regulator Flight Information Management System, UAS Service Supplier interface for multiple independent UAS traffic management service providers and an interface with vehicle integrated detect-and-avoid capabilities, vehicle-to-vehicle communication and collision avoidance, and automated safe landing technologies.