NUAIR reaches new milestone in FAA drone program
NUAIR Chief Operations Officer Tony Basile says reaching the milestone in the FAA drone testing program was no easy task.
“UPP2 was the most complex, technologically advanced project that the New York test site has ever worked on,” Basile said.
In the unmanned aircraft traffic management pilot program, UPP2 is the second phase. Forty people from 12 different organizations worked together to successfully complete the work over a nine-month period.
According to Basile, the drone tests demonstrated a number of technologies for unmanned aircraft to safely operate in the national airspace, including collision avoidance systems.
“The systems give direction to each aircraft on how to avoid. So, it'll say to one aircraft descend and turn right, and the other craft it'll say climb and turn left.”
Basile continued to explain that in order to test these systems more than a dozen of drones and a Piper Cherokee operated in point-two square miles of airspace.
“We're getting great accolades. We actually put more aircraft in the air that was required. They wanted 13. We put 15 drones and the Cherokee in that small piece of airspace, basically in downtown Rome. That just keeps you in the forefront of what's going on in the industry.”
One of the most difficult parts of the entire drone testing program was to make sure that the four drone service suppliers could successfully communicate and interact with each other.
Basile said that unmanned traffic management, or UTM, is essential to reaching what he calls the holy grail of drone operations: beyond vision, line of sight. But Basile says there's still work to do before getting to that point, reports Waer.
“What's going to be required on the drone when you can't see where the drone is. How do you ensure that mission is going to be safe if you lose a motor. If you're Amazon and you're drone is delivering something 6 miles away, you certainly cannot see it. How do you avoid the crane that went up to put up a building that wasn't there yesterday, or somebody else's drone, or that Cherokee that's out there just enjoying the scenery.”
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Photo credit: NUAIR
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