This is the first report of progress in producing a NextGen Unmanned Aircraft Systems Research, Development and Demonstration Roadmap (NextGen UAS RD&D Roadmap). The activity was established to enable a responsive, efficient, timely, coordinated multiagency Research and Development (R&D) effort that will enable the U.S. to realize fully the benefits of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in the National Airspace System (NAS).
The use of UAS dates from the earliest days of flight. UAS today play an increasing role in many public missions such as border surveillance, wildlife surveys, military training, weather monitoring, and local law enforcement. However, expansion of domestic UAS operations has been inhibited by lack of a common understanding of what is required to safely and routinely operate UAS in the NAS. Challenges such as the lack of an onboard pilot to see and avoid other aircraft and the wide variation in unmanned aircraft missions and capabilities must be addressed in order to fully integrate UAS operations in the NAS in the NextGen timeframe.
This report represents a significant effort on the part of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) partner agencies to establish a multiagency roadmap of the R&D necessary to enable routine operations of UAS in the NextGen NAS. This initial report is intended to
accomplish the following objectives:
• Document an initial set of critical R&D challenges that need to be addressed to enable routine
access for UAS in the NextGen NAS
• Develop an approach to linking the R&D activities of the partner agencies with the R&D
needs of the FAA to support integration of UAS in the NAS
• Establish an approach to coordinating R&D activities of the participating agencies in order to
address those challenges
• Identify relevant ongoing and planned R&D projects to serve as a baseline for the NextGen UAS RD&D Roadmap 1
• Set forth a series of next steps toward achieving a responsive, vetted roadmap, monitoring progress, and identifying actions needed
The Office of Management and Budget recently tasked the NextGen partner agencies to develop a strategic, multiagency, NextGen UAS RD&D Roadmap with facilitation and assistance from the Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO). The primary objective was to identify the most critical technology issues involved in establishing a plan for UAS operations. The results are contained in this document, which will serve as a baseline for further development of the Roadmap.
The roadmapping activity is intended to assist the FAA in identifying and providing information needed to enable routine UAS access in the NextGen NAS. The Roadmap will also assist the R&D performers in the partner agencies to share information, enabling the agencies to make faster progress in addressing the critical R&D challenges; to capitalize on the research.