Unmanned systems are becoming of more use today than ever. Unmanned systems are becoming more and more sophisticated and advanced with smart technologies such as IOT (Internet of Things) and Artificial Intelligence (machine learning). As Drones fill the airways, new ways to manage these small aircraft are needed. Many Aviation, Aerospace and the FAA forecast that by the year 2022, there will be 2.85 million small drones flooding the sky. Whether these Drones are being used for commercial or private uses, new airspace will have to be designated to accommodate these small machines. One solution that is currently being explored is a UTMS (Unmanned Traffic Management System). This would signify a significant change to the way current airspace traffic management systems operate.

Developing an Unmanned Traffic Management System will consist of either integrating a new UTMS into the current air traffic management system or completely redesigning the system entirely, to include both manned and unmanned air traffic that can manage airplanes, drones and other aircraft. Developing a new UTMS will be a daunting and complex endeavor that may take some time to reach its full potential. Integrating the current system or developing a new one, will allow for a better way to manage and control aircrafts and Drones. When designing this type of system many high-level design elements will have to be considered such as corridors, obstacle detection and collision avoidance features with route and re-routing planning. This system will have to not only consist of new airspace designations but advanced congestion management technology.

Before implementing this great idea of a new Unmanned Traffic Management System, there is unfortunately another element that needs to be considered. Taking into consideration the current laws and regulations that are being developed by the FAA for the Unmanned Airspace System, the need to combine these laws and regulations will be critical. Many of these laws and regulations may differ but they will have a few similarities and will need to be combined. Laws and regulations that govern where these drones will land and dock, what altitude will they be allowed to operate at within the airspaces, aside from the current 400ft limitation and what airspace are they allowed to operate in and if and what these drones can carry at one time. These are laws and regulations that govern current airspace operations and will need to be considered for drones operating within a new Unmanned Traffic Management System.

In the end developing and implementing this type of advanced system will open the doors for new technology designs of the future. This type of technology will allow for full autonomy by using smart software and hardware components such as Deep Learning, and IOT (Internet of Things) software and hardware. A new Unmanned Traffic Management System will allow for complete autonomy with very minimal interaction by humans except for well-trained air traffic controllers. While the saying goes that “Space is the final frontier”, but with new technological advances happening every day, the idea itself is just the beginning.

Tiarra Barton
Aaceses Ihmire Industries
Founder & CEO

“Expert Insight” is the independent views and opinions of the submitting named author of this article.

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