On 14 January 2019, Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao addressed attendees to the Transportation Research Board (TRB) 98th Annual Meeting on the future of Transportation. In her remarks, Secretary Chao highlighted the DOT / FAA Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Traffic Management (UTM) Pilot Program (UPP) awardees, which included the FAA-designated State of Nevada UAS Test Site.
The UPP is a milestone pilot program to safely integrate drones into the National Airspace System (NAS). Congress directs the coordination, collaboration, development, and publication of a UTM Research Plan and establishment of a UTM Pilot Program (UPP) through the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016. The UPP includes the development and demonstration of enterprise services to support initial UTM operations. The innovative Nevada UPP concept is a Smart Silver State (S3) theme to advance the UTM and help the FAA evolve airspace procedures and processes.
“This UPP award is exciting for the state of Nevada, the City of Reno, and the City of Henderson,” said Governor Steve Sisolak. “Nevada’s key role in this endeavour is just one more example of what our state and communities have to offer in today’s most exciting, emerging technologies.”
“The State of Nevada is quickly becoming a focal point for the UAS industry,” said Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve. “Last year the City of Reno was selected to participate in the FAA’s UAS Integration Pilot Program, and now we are very honoured to have the opportunity to partner with the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems as they conduct testing that will help develop processes for safe integration of drones into the National Airspace.”
“Our Nevada Team is very much looking forward to evolving and safely integrating aerial drones into the National Airspace System (NAS). The DOT/FAA UPP, initially launching in the City of Reno has the full support of the Reno Mayor and City Staff, is unlike any other FAA pilot to date, and is a major stepping stone for growing the Nevada and National UAS Industry. Our participating partners are the very best across the UAS Industry and each one brings an incredible capability to Nevada and we are looking to make the state the global location of choice for Smart Communities and Drone Technologies,” said Dr. Chris Walach, Executive/Senior Director of all FAA-designated Nevada UAS Test Sites and Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems.
This past year, Business Facilities magazine ranked Nevada second among states for its drone industry, with New York coming in first. “With additional State of Nevada capital investment in growing the Nevada Drone Industry, Nevada has a real chance at being number one not only nationally, but globally,” Walach said.
The Nevada UPP will focus on advanced airspace, drone, and sensor technology for safe drone airspace operations in an urban environment. The Nevada UAS Test Site proposal included over 20 Nevada-based, out of state Nevada Teammates, and international partners and will be demonstrated in the City of Reno with additional testing in the City of Henderson or Town of Laughlin, Nevada.
The Nevada (Smart Silver State) UPP partners include Fortune 50 companies and Nevada Teammates/Airspace developers including: AiRXOS a GE venture, ANRA Technologies, WhiteFox Defense, Iris Automation, Drone America, Praxis Aerospace Concepts International, Inc., UltiSat, Inc., AviSight, Deseret-UAS/USU, Telesis, Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority, the Cities of Reno and Henderson, Town of Laughlin, and international partners Unifly and Institute of Aviation, Warsaw (ILOT).
About the City of Reno: The City of Reno government’s mission is dedicated to creating a community that people are proud to call home. In order to achieve that purpose, the Reno City Council has established five key priorities: Thriving Downtown and University District, Vibrant Neighborhoods and Public Places, Well-Managed Growth, Strong Financial Condition, and Efficient and Dependable Business Environment. To learn more about the City of Reno, visit Reno.gov or call 775-334-INFO (4636).
About the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS): The Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS) and FAA-designated Nevada Unmanned Aviation Test Site leads the growth of the Nevada Unmanned Aviation Systems (UAS) Industry through business teaming relationships, collaborating with primary research institutions on UAS research and development, and enhancing the Nevada UAS Industry knowledge base to attract new and permanent business and create jobs in the State of Nevada. Learn more at www.nias-uas.com.