Leidos Launches UAS Notification Service; BNSF Railway Puts it to Work

Leidos, a Reston, Va.-based science and technology solutions and services provider, recently created an unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) service that the company says helps safeguard the airspace by sending automatic notifications of unmanned aircraft system (UAS) operations to relevant groups.

Leidos says its UAS notification service is being tested as part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Pathfinder Program. Specifically, BNSF Railway is using it to explore concepts for drone flights taking place beyond the visual line of sight (BVLOS) in New Mexico.

UAS pilots can access the Web-based service to file flight plans for their UAS operating areas – in this case, a section of rail or a bridge that is being inspected. The service then automatically generates and sends all required notifications, including to applicable military personnel, and a Notice to Airmen, which alerts manned aircraft pilots of potential hazards that could affect flight safety.

“In addition to the traditional methods of inspecting railways, unmanned aircraft provide an efficient, cost-effective way to maintain their tracks,” says Mike Glasgow, Leidos fellow and chief architect of the company’s notification service. “This process ensures all applicable parties and aircraft in the area are informed ahead of their UAS operations for safety.”

The service, which commenced in September, is being incrementally implemented and will be expanded for other UAS operators in the near future, the company says.

“Our flight service program provides a range of safety-oriented services to more than 80,000 members of the general aviation community across the country each week,” adds Paul Engola, senior vice president of transportation and financial Solutions for Leidos Civil Group. “This UAS notification and deconfliction service broadens that safety mission by providing pilots with the information needed to avoid conflicts as more and more unmanned aircraft take to the skies. We will continue to develop concepts and capabilities that enable safe integration of UAS into the airspace.”

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