Heron Systems identifies the UAS National Air Space (NAS) integration project as the principle NASA mission to benefit from MACE. Collaborative UAS capabilities can support several ongoing initiatives either directly or by offering capabilities that empower further opportunities. MACE is well suited to benefit the ongoing effort to integrate UAS into the NAS. Methods for determining suitable paths in the presence of both cooperating and non-cooperating aircraft are vital for safe integration. Additionally, MACE can provide NASA with a framework for enabling safe terminal area operations where collaborative control can be used to guide entering and exiting UAS into safe, predictable flight patterns while in the terminal area.
Commercially, MACE promises to dramatically improve the efficiency of operations of many envisioned UAS applications. Of particular interest are those in the areas of precision agriculture and pipeline/electrical grid inspection. Heron Systems will build a service delivery model tailored for precision agriculture supporting rapid surveying of fields and follow-on tasking based on real-time findings. Similarly, a second product line will tailor to the needs of long distance pipeline and electrical grid operators, supporting inspection requirements. Heron Systems is principally targeting the commercial market. Collaborative UAS capabilities can enable game changing opportunities for the government market broadly. For example, the US military would benefit from collaborative small UAS packages where size, weight, power and cost are scaled down to support high capability in a near disposable package. This could enable front-line ISR missions or even kinetic events in support of squad level operations, amongst many other possibilities. Ongoing persistent surveillance missions could be enhanced by allowing for teams of heterogeneously equipped assets to work together to increase the amount and/or quality of the surveillance data captured. The Department of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Agency could benefit from collaborative teams performing agricultural surveys and environmental inspections/monitoring. These and many more opportunities will be pursued.