The core application of the work in this project will be to further NASA's and the FAA's goals to enable safe and efficient Trajectory-Based Operations for UAS. If successful, it is envisioned that DRIFT-UAS will provide the platform though which all aircraft (unmanned or otherwise) would strategically interact with the air traffic management system to signal trajectory intent and receive feedback on delays and congestion. DRIFT-UAS would also serve as a centralized repository for trajectory intent and system capacity. In the short-term, DRIFT UAS could be integrated within NASA's SMART NAS platform as a trajectory planning module. This would aid SMART NAS in technology demonstrations and research experiments for topics such as integrating UAS into the national airspace system, planning traffic flow management activities, collaborative decision making for traffic flow management, trajectory-based operations, and enabling civilian low-altitude airspace UAS Operations. Near-term applications of DRIFT-UAS include estimating the impact of late entrants (i.e. unmanned or manned pop-up flights) to the system by examining the marginal cost of their addition, and measuring the marginal cost of all aircraft in the system to devise more efficient allocation schemes.
The FAA will have similar interest in DRIFT-UAS as would NASA, by providing a prototype tool for planning trajectories based on user intent and preference information. If DRIFT-UAS were to go live, the FAA would be the holder of the software. Like NASA, the FAA will have interest in conducting research experiments for UAS integration and trajectory-based operations. These simulation and experimental needs are shared by other non-NASA organizations, especially those who possess or are developing large-scale air transportation simulators. Those organizations include Embry Riddle University, MITRE-CAASD, and Volpe. Each of these organizations has a European counterpart with comparable roles and interests. Those organizations include EUROCONTROL, SESAR, and the Ecole Polytechnique. Furthermore, for real-time application of DRIFT-UAS, there are many foreign air navigation service provides (ANSP), who are the counterpart of the FAA, with burgeoning air traffic management systems that could benefit from more organized methods of trajectory planning. In some respects, these are even more viable customers for our product than the FAA because their air traffic management systems are less highly developed (in some cases, nascent) and, therefore, able to incorporate new subsystems. Countries with such ANSP include South Africa, the Dominican Republic, Australia, and Colombia.