This effort supports the objectives of the NASA Unmanned Aerial System Traffic Management (UTM) system concept and also the activities of NASA's Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Laboratory (SUAVE Lab). Successful implementation of the UTM concept will require that UAVs operate without failure or fault to the greatest extent possible. UTM Technical Capability Level Four will involve higher-density urban areas for autonomous vehicles used for news gathering and package delivery (with a demonstration target of 2019); flight incidents in urban areas could result in injury to humans or damage to property of loss of control incidents occur. The SUAVE Lab designs, develops, builds and tests small UAVs and provides expertise to national level organizations on small UAV designs, operations and airspace integration. The technology serves to ensure the reliability of small UAV systems advances as needed to support expansion of their use in the future.
Non-NASA use will target manufacturers of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in the industrial and hobbyist market sectors that wish to provide their end-users with highly reliable UAVs. Reliability will become increasingly important in these market sectors as the cost and complexity of payloads increases and as proximity to humans and property decreases. The technology developed will be low-cost and will integrate seamlessly with existing designs. UAVs are well-suited to performing many types of missions including those that are inherently dangerous to humans, those that require precision flight for data collection, and those that need to be performed within a limited budget. Applications for UAVs include aerial photography, remote sensing, disaster response, agricultural monitoring, forestry service support (including forest fires), infrastructure inspection, mining and quarrying, and environmental surveys to name a few.