NASA Air Traffic Control Coming for UAVs

NASA Air Traffic Control Coming for UAVs

NASA has been heavily involved in the development and proper regulation of UAVs in the United States.

The NY Times reports that NASA has been hosting the UAS Aerospace Operations Challenges at several locations to test the ability of UAVs in particular to operate in a simulated airspace, along with other challenges.

Now, NASA will begin building the fully automated air traffic control system for UAVs. The system is coming as more and more large companies like Amazon are pushing for exemptions to begin operating their drone delivery systems.

Similar to real air traffic control systems, the system would monitor things such as real-time weather conditions, buildings, and of course other aircraft. For a UAV, wind can be a particular hazard. Buildings will always be a hazard as UAVs will still be instructed to fly below 400 feet in altitude. This system could also enforce no fly zones and make prosecution of dangerous UAV flights much easier to enforce.

Unlike traditional air traffic control, this would be an accessible system of algorithms that could be used on home computers pre-flight.

In the long run, this system will be beneficial to everyone in the industry to further standards of UAV flights, creating a real need for UAV professionals and eliminating the sometimes hazardous hobbyist flights that are making news headlines seemingly everyday.