West Palm Beach, FL – NE3RD is partnering with NASA and a handful of other companies to develop and test solutions for integrating drones into the low-altitude airspace using the Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Traffic Management (UTM) system.
The popularity of drones or UAS is rapidly gaining traction in the commercial space for such uses as survey and mapping, infrastructure monitoring, agriculture and eventually package delivery. While drones or unmanned robots can provide safer and more efficient alternatives to traditional methods for many of these tasks, there is no system currently in place to keep drones safely separated from existing manned aviation aircraft and helicopters. The United States has the world’s busiest airspace with thousands of aircraft flying daily so there is a critical need for a traffic management system to enable drones to operate safely in this environment. Based on this existing traffic and the need to prevent drones from illegally operating near airports or restricted areas including Washington D.C., NASA is working with private sector companies and universities to devise a system to manage unmanned vehicle flights. As the number of drones increase over the coming years a system of coordinating this traffic, much like stop signs, red lights and high-speed lanes do for cars, will need to be adopted to ensure safe operations.
NASA is leading the effort which is being developed through a series of increasingly complex iterations or technical capability levels of software over the next 4 years with a complete system build-out within 10 to 15 years. NE3RD is working with its ground control software partner SPH Engineering, the developers of the Universal Ground Control Software (UgCS) to embed the UTM client-side technology into the ground control software. A key attribute of this software is the ability to control drones from multiple manufacturers which is important in providing the UTM technology to a broad segment of the UAV market through a single software product. The first software iteration was completed this summer and proven during test flights that NE3RD performed with NASA and other partners in August of 2015. The UTM system will allow regulators to approve or deny proposed drone routes or flight plans in real-time based on current airspace restrictions and other system variables including weather and conflicting traffic. Broader functionality and vehicle autonomy is planned in forthcoming UTM technical capability levels. To learn more about NASA’s UTM System please visit the fact sheet here.
NE3RD LLC is a creative technology company focused on UAV flight services, imagery data collection, GIS and UAS integration strategies for hardware, software, sensors, mission planning and analytic solutions to meet their client’s enterprise needs. Discover more about us at: www.ne3rd.com and our ground control software solution at: http://ugcs.com