Sunday, September 19, 2021

Twitter not Radar for Urban Air Mobility Safety

Michael DeKort

Yes, that title is a bit exaggerated. But not by much. The issue, as I have written before, is UTM, which does not involve active/passive radar or other “surveillance” measures, is being touted as the primary deconfliction solution through all complexity levels. That includes tens of thousands of simultaneous air ops at UML 6.

Where do you see surveillance in the chart?

Document link —

I am writing this article because of what was and was not stated at NASA’s recent UTM Project Technical Interchange Meeting (TIM).

While some folks mentioned surveillance being necessary at some complexity level the overall presentation continues to exaggerate the capabilities of UTM, avoid surveillance, and lay all the systems engineering and implementation on local governments. Which is nuts.

At one point in the event, Joey Rios, NASA chief engineer of ATM-X and former chief engineer of UTM, addressed the surveillance is “supplemental” points I have been making by saying it was not secondary, but simply another capability. This is reckless hair splitting, especially when you factor in the UML chart above has not been changed. Do you see surveillance on there?

Would you turn off radar at an airport? I looked up how many simultaneous flights there are in the world. There were ~15,000 in April before the Covid-19 downturn. Might tens of thousands, thousands or even hundreds of air taxi and drone flights in a city be a bit more complex than this, especially regarding and keeping vertical separation? Now factor in not just autonomy but that most of these folks, like their ground domain relatives, use human Guinea pigs, and the public, to train and/or test these systems. And finally, the fact that one disaster will cause this whole thing to come to a grinding halt. I strongly suggest the hype and bottoms up Agile approach needs to give way to top-down systems engineering due diligence and common sense.

More here

Urban Air Mobility — Four Paths to Disaster


Silicon Valley and Agile are Ruining Engineering


My name is Michael DeKort — I am a former system engineer, engineering, and program manager for Lockheed Martin. I worked in simulation, as the software engineering manager for NORAD, as a PM on the Aegis Weapon System and lead C4ISR systems engineer for the DHS Deepwater program. I am now CEO/CTO at Dactle.

Key Autonomous Vehicle Industry Participation

– Founder SAE On-Road Autonomous Driving Simulation Task Force

– Member SAE ORAD Verification and Validation Task Force

– Member SAE G-34 / EUROCAE WG-114 Artificial Intelligence in Aviation

– Stakeholder for UL4600 — Creating AV Safety Guidelines

– Member of the IEEE Artificial Intelligence & Autonomous Systems Policy Committee

– Presented the IEEE Barus Ethics Award for Post 9/11 DoD/DHS Whistleblowing Efforts

Gary Mortimer
Founder and Editor of sUAS News | Gary Mortimer has been a commercial balloon pilot for 25 years and also flies full-size helicopters. Prior to that, he made tea and coffee in air traffic control towers across the UK as a member of the Royal Air Force.