ICAO requests information on unmanned traffic management systems

June 14, 2017  - By 2 Comments

During AUVSI Xponential 2017, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a specialized agency of the United Nations, announced a Request for Information (RFI) on traffic management systems for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).

The RFI is an opportunity for industry and governments to submit ideas to define the issues so that global solutions can be proposed, debated and agreed on.

As UAS operations become more complex and are increasingly used for both commercial and recreational purposes, UAS traffic management systems, or UTM, are necessary to seamlessly integrate UAS into the airspace and existing air traffic management systems.

An operational UTM will ensure the safe and efficient use of the airspace as UAS operations become more complex, such as with established navigation routes and point-to-point route segments requiring specific equipage requirements. UTM will integrate UAS into the existing airspace infrastructure to ensure the continued safety of the airspace.

Any framework for a UTM will include many components, three of which are fundamental and will therefore be addressed as a matter of priority: ​

  • Registration system from which data is accessible in real time to allow remote identification and tracking of each UA, its operator/owner and location of the remote pilot/control station. To accommodate UA that are increasingly transported from one state to another for either recreational or professional use, this database should allow global access.
  • Communications systems for control of the UA and for tracking all UA within the UTM area. The communications system used for tracking UA must be able to identify when a manned aircraft is entering UTM airspace and provide an acceptable level of protection between it and UA operating in the airspace. Furthermore, it must facilitate detection of potential collisions with other UA and with obstacles such that appropriate avoidance action can be taken.
  • Geofencing-like systems that will support automatic updates by national authorities on the 28-day aeronautical information regulation and control (AIRAC) cycle to prevent UA operation in sensitive security areas and restricted or danger areas such as near aerodromes.

ICAO is soliciting proposals for a global framework for UTM ahead of its Drone Enable UAS Industry Symposium, which will take place in Montreal, Canada, in September.

“ICAO is the natural agency to be gathering together the best and brightest from governments and industry to define the problem so that global solutions can be proposed, debated and agreed on,” said Leslie Cary, ICAO remotely piloted aircraft systems program manager.

“Collaboration between stakeholders is key to addressing complex issues such as UTM,” added Brian Wynne, president and CEO of AUVSI. “AUVSI is pleased ICAO is taking steps to explore solutions for UTM that will allow companies to operate globally under the same standards, reducing barriers to innovation and improving safety and security for all aircraft – both manned and unmanned. We look forward to working with ICAO to draw awareness and facilitate industry engagement in the RFI process.”

For more information about the RFI, visit ICAO’s RFI website. Submissions need to be received no later than July 15.

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