Earlier this month, NASA came forward with a plan to develop an unmanned aerial systems (UAS) traffic management system for the purpose of enabling safe and efficient low-altitude UAS operations.
Airware, a San Francisco-based creator of a hardware, software and cloud services platform for commercial UAS development and operation, recently announced that it has partnered with NASA for the project.
Under the collaboration, Airware and NASA will have the ability to operate and test a diverse set of aircraft, sensors and custom software, such as aircraft spacing, collision avoidance and 4D trajectory modeling.
“To build out a traffic management system for small UAS, you need to test a large number of aircraft – fixed-wing, multi-rotor, flying-wing, gas-powered, battery-powered and many others, to simulate what will exist in future operational scenarios,” says Jesse Kallman, Airware’s head of business development and regulatory affairs.
“We’re excited to partner with NASA because our technology will allow us both to work towards a common goal of enabling safe and efficient commercial UAS operations, in addition to supplementing the work we are already conducting in the areas of collision avoidance and GPS denied flight, among others,” he explains.
Airware says it offers robust flight control systems for the commercial market that allow for high levels of flexibility to operate a wide range of vehicles and payloads. It also has an extensive list of partners that provide high-quality vehicles, payloads, sensors and software.
Bringing this flexibility and ecosystem to the table will provide both NASA and Airware the ability to test and validate a wide range of scenarios to enable the development of the traffic management system, the company says.
“We look forward to working with NASA over the next several years as we continue to refine the technology so that UAS will be able to safely operate in the complex U.S. national airspace system,” Kallman adds. “Just as we’ve worked closely with the FAA to anticipate regulatory needs, we look forward to this partnership with NASA and hope to help more rapidly introduce commercial UAS technology into the national airspace.”
Airware recently raised $25 million in Series B financing as part of a preparation for the commercial launch of its platform and for the expansion of its engineering, sales, marketing and customer support functions.
The company began working with commercial UAS companies as part of its beta program last year, including Delta Drone and Cyber Technology, and has partnered with researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Late last year, Airware demonstrated UAS for wildlife conservation and anti-poaching.