Enabling Civilian Low-Altitude Airspace and Unmanned Aircraft System Operations
The rapid innovation of drones has led to an endless list of beneficial civilian applications of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), from goods delivery and infrastructure surveillance, to search and rescue, and agricultural monitoring. Currently, there is no established infrastructure to enable and safely manage the widespread use of low-altitude airspace and UAS operations, regardless of the type of UAS. UTM is a nation-wide initiative being researched and led by NASA. The NUAIR Alliance is working closely with the FAA, NASA, local and national industry teams to develop the critical safety cases that will lead to certification of these systems. A UTM system will be developed, certified and deployed in central New York as part of Project U-SAFE.
The UAS Secure Autonomous Flight Environment’s (U-SAFE) primary outcome will be the development, fielding and performance validation of a low altitude unmanned traffic management (UTM) system. U-SAFE initiative is a State of New York funded program that will help accelerate the integration of low-altitude, small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) into the National Airspace System (NAS). This system will enable large scales beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) UTM operations across Central New York and the Mohawk Valley. This system will help unlock the potential of the sUAS industry for hundreds of applications including package delivery, precision agriculture, public safety, and critical infrastructure inspection protection.
A unique UTM infrastructure will be deployed around Central New York allowing it to become one of the first areas in the nation for large-scale UTM BVLOS operations. Not currently approved by the FAA, high volume BVLOS drone use is essential for the commercial UAS industry to realize the full economic benefit for applications that include: product delivery, precision agriculture, railway and power line inspection, forestry and wildlife management
In 2016 the Griffiss International Airport (Griffiss) UAS Test Site supported a flight test of the NASA UAS Traffic Management (UTM) system. The UTM Technology Capability Level 1 (TCL1) test in April 2016 validated UTM initial standards development, on a path to a joint FAA-NASA 2017 UTM pilot program. Griffiss expects to work on the FAA two-year pilot project in parallel with development of a Rome-to-Syracuse UTM demonstration corridor. In 2017 Griffiss is expects to support NASA with a UAS TCL2 test and is represented on two NASA UTM Research Transition Team working groups, Sense and Avoid Working Group and Communication and Navigation Working group..
Griffiss is currently supporting AX Enterprize, an AFRL Rome Lab Contractor, in a DoD project titled “Collaborative Low Altitude UAS Integration Effort (CLUE).” The CLUE objective is to provide DoD with technical expertise and engineering in order to research and demonstrate potential DoD use of UTM and interaction with UTM. CLUE involves performance of two studies and validation of the results addressing UTM Impact on DoD Manned and Unmanned Aircraft Operations.