Unmanned Experts Inc. (UMEX) says it has partnered with Aeryon Labs Inc., the NASA Ames Research Center and other industry stakeholders in the development and testing of an unmanned aircraft system traffic management (UTM) system.
The UTM system, being developed under a NASA partnership program, would enable safe and efficient low-altitude airspace operations, explains UMEX.
According to the company, the final system, anticipated to be operational in 2019, should provide services such as airspace design, corridors, dynamic geofencing, route planning, sequencing and spacing. In addition, the UTM should provide UAS operators with severe-weather and wind avoidance, congestion management, terrain avoidance, and contingency management.
In August, UMEX was selected as one of 12 partners (out of a field of over 200) to participate in the first round of UTM testing, also known as Build 1. This first round of testing focused on creating, analyzing and managing aircraft trajectories, as well as developing constraints to enable interactive operations with other airspace users.
UMEX, a provider of unmanned aircraft use for infrastructure inspection, aerial mapping and public-safety services, organized a rapid prototyping of its proprietary software to facilitate communication between the UAS and the UTM system.
The Aeryon SkyRanger small UAS (sUAS), part of the UMEX fleet, was chosen for software development and testing of the UTM.
The SkyRanger, with a 50-minute flight time and both autonomous and semi-autonomous flight modes, passed a rigorous airworthiness and flight readiness review by NASA in order to participate. The UAS incorporates multiple fail safes and mission control software capable of geofencing and creating no-fly zones.
Additionally, the SkyRanger is configured to send continuous telemetry and other data parameters that were integrated with UMEX’s software and communicated with the UTM system.
“We are rapidly approaching the time when manned and unmanned aircraft will coexist and perform tasks more effectively, more efficiently and with far greater safety,” comments Drew Jurkofsky, project manager and chief knowledge officer at UMEX. “UMEX and our partners, like Aeryon Labs, are dedicated to working with the visionaries at NASA to speed up the safe and reliable acceptance of unmanned aircraft in the National Airspace System.”
Dave Kroetsch, president and CEO of Aeryon Labs, adds, “Our sUAS are purpose-built to be safe and reliable so that operators can focus on their jobs with confidence. To participate in the UTM program that will set the standards for safe UAS operations within the U.S. airspace is just one example of our commitment to unmanned aviation.”