NASA recently successfully demonstrated rural operations of its unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) traffic management (UTM) concept, integrating operator platforms, vehicle performance, and ground infrastructure. The next steps involve further validation through Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) test sites.

UTM is designed to enable safe, low-altitude civilian UAS operations by providing pilots with information needed to maintain separation from other aircraft by reserving areas for specific routes, with consideration of restricted airspace and adverse weather conditions. Engineers at NASA’s Ames Research Center are developing UTM cloud-based software tools for different operational environments that require development of proposed uses, software, procedures, and policies to enable safe operation.