Fielding UTM Capability to Support Civil Operations
Wednesday, October 07, 2020: 1:00 PM - 1:45 PM
DescriptionIt’s time for our UTM ecosystems to move beyond serial demonstrations and toward enabling civil commercial operations. This means creating a validated set of performance requirements for UTM services so that commercially viable use cases can get off the ground! The UTM community must work jointly with regulators to establish and validate the needed performance requirements - building a “foothold in the field” for a viable, fieldable, and “operationalized” UTM ecosystem. With this in mind, eighteen international UTM thought leaders and regulators came together in a pair of workshops held in conjunction with the NY UAS Symposium in September 2019. At these workshops, the team described this “first tranche” of UTM capability. This concept of operations (CONOPs) for “Local BVLOS”, e.g. “drone in a box” remote operations beyond the operator’s line of sight, can be executed today with UTM capabilities already demonstrated. What is lacking for regulatory approvals is a set of minimum operational performance requirements that have been validated and proven to mitigate risks sufficiently. Over the course of the two workshops the team fleshed out the Local BVLOS CONOPs and defined initial requirements for Communications, Navigation, and Surveillance. In a “fielded” UTM ecosystem, operators whose UAS meet the vehicle navigation performance required to enter UTM airspace may subscribe to a UTM service meeting performance requirement for surveillance and communications. Only with regulator-approved performance requirements on both sides (vehicle and UTM service), may an Operator be granted a waiver, or “permit to fly.” This construct creates a sustainable business case for UAS manufacturers, Operators, USS providers, and Surveillance Secondary Data Service Providers (SDSP). The NASA/FAA UTM Research Transition Team (RTT) goals include maturing increasingly complex scenarios and technologies; demonstrating those capabilities; and delivering to the FAA technology-transfer packages that enable NAS service expectations by providing insight and capability requirements for critical services. But, the UAS community cannot consider UTM to be “operationalized” until it achieves FAA approval at a cost point that is affordable to users. This sustainable business case must also incorporate civil BVLOS operations to scale effectively. However, without FAA accepted performance standards defining an “approvable” service, it is impossible to close a business case implementing a commercially viable UTM to support safe BVLOS operations. This panel discussion would involve Communication, Navigation, and Surveillance “champions” from the panel discussions previously mentioned and review the L-BVLOS business case, CONOPs, proposed operational performance requirements, and provide an update on flight test validation activities currently being planned and resourced at the NY UAS Test Site.
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