Currently, there is no established infrastructure to enable and safely manage the widespread use of low-altitude airspace and UAS operations, regardless of the type of UAS. A UAS traffic management (UTM) system for low-altitude airspace may be needed, perhaps leveraging concepts from the system of roads, lanes, stop signs, rules and lights that govern vehicles on the ground today, whether the vehicles are driven by humans or are automated.
While incorporating lessons learned from today’s well-established air traffic management system, which was a response that grew out of a mid-air collision over the Grand Canyon in the early days of commercial aviation, the UTM system would enable safe and efficient low-altitude airspace operations. This is achieved by providing services such as airspace design, corridors, dynamic geofencing, severe weather and wind avoidance, congestion management, terrain avoidance, route planning and re-routing, separation management, sequencing and spacing and contingency management.
One of the key attributes of the UTM system is that it would not require human operators to monitor every vehicle continuously. The system could offer human managers the data to make strategic decisions related to initiation, continuation and termination of airspace operations. This approach would ensure that only authenticated UAS could operate in the airspace. In its most mature form, the UTM system could be developed using autonomicity characteristics that include self-configuration, self-optimization and self-protection. The self-configuration aspect could determine whether the operations should continue given the current and/or predicted wind/weather conditions.Back to All Services