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Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Integration into the NAS, Phase II

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Integration into the NAS, Phase II
Technological innovations have enabled a wide range of aerial vehicles that can be remotely operated. Viable applications include military missions, law enforcement, border patrol, weather data collection, telecommunications, land use imaging, and cargo transport. NASA and other organizations have invested heavily in this unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) research. UAVs can be flown in the National Airspace System (NAS) today, but only with special permission from the FAA – a process that often takes 60 to 90 days. Moreover, permission is often contingent on heavy restrictions, such as accompanying the UAV with a manned chase plane, thereby nullifying the cost savings of a UAV. Full fruition of UAV technology will require incorporation of UAVs into mainstream air traffic management (ATM) practices, including traffic flow management flow control programs and possible creation of special use airspace (SUA). In this SBIR, we propose a UAV-to-traffic flow management (AIM-UAS) interface. This allows traffic managers to anticipate and track UAVs. In turn, this allows UAV operators to understand their impact on commercial air traffic and their involvement in traffic management activities. More »

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