Concepts for UAS traffic management (UTM) in urban areas, calls for a UTM system in Australia, Flirtey raises capital, a Great Sand Dunes National Park mapping project, and visualizing the airflow around a quadcopter.
If large numbers of drones are ever to provide delivery services in urban areas, UAS traffic management rules need to be created to safely manage the flow. From the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics’ 2017 AIAA SciTech Forum in Grapevine, Texas, we learn about some of the concepts that NASA’s Ames Research Center is looking at for UAS traffic management in urban areas.
There are three basic concepts:
- Sky-lanes: Vehicles must follow the centerline of each lane, and fly in one direction.
- Sky-tubes: Vehicles move inside each tube, and fly only in one direction.
- Sky-corridors: Vehicles can fly in any direction, but the vehicles themselves must maintain safe separation.
The Association of Certified UAV Operators (ACUO) wants the Federal Government to “launch a program to design, develop and implement a continent-wide unmanned traffic management (UTM) system as the only viable means of achieving the safe integration of remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS)… into national airspace.”
ACUO and others wanted the Senate to disallow the recent CASA drone regulations, and ACUO has presented a proposal: ACUO submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport [PDF].
ACUO has three major concerns:
- How comprehensive was the risk assessment and safety case used by CASA as a basis for creating the concept of “Excluded RPA?”
- What is the likely impact of the removal of training and certification for operators of “Excluded RPAS?”
- What is the capacity and integrity of CASA’s own mechanisms and systems for ensuring compliance with the deregulated system.
Flirtey wants to be the world’s premier independent drone delivery service. Now the company has raised $16 million in Series A funding. Crunchbase Pro reports that 95 drone companies raised at least $500,000 in equity funding in 2016. The average funding was $6.8 million. Total invested was $482.8 million.
A Swift Trainer fixed-wing UAS from Black Swift Technologies was used to map a portion of the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in Colorado. The project used precision mapping with high-fidelity remote sensors to measure and monitor the dunes. Participating in the project were UAS Colorado (a non-profit business league), Black Swift Technologies, the National Park Service (NPS), and Wohnrade Civil Engineers, Inc. They plan to take the data they captured and compare it to airborne LiDAR data from the United States Geological Survey.
UAV Video of the Week
This visualization of the airflow around a DJI Phantom 3 demonstrates areas of low pressure, areas of high pressure, and disturbed air. To create the animation, a NASA aerospace engineer and a scientific visualization specialist ran a simulation on 1,024 cores of NASA’s Pleiades supercomputer. It took five days to compute. The results offer design implications for UAV efficiency and noise.