NASA and other organizations have invested heavily in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) research. UAVs can be flown in the National Airspace System (NAS) today, but only with special permission from the Federal Aviation Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Integration into the National Airspace System Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California Administration (FAA) — a process that often takes 60 to 90 days.

Full fruition of UAV technology requires incorporation of UAVs into mainstream air traffic management practices, including traffic flow management (TFM) flow control programs and possible creation of special-use airspace. In this project, a UAV-to-TFM interface was developed. The interface allows traffic managers to anticipate and track UAVs. In turn, this allows UAV operators to understand their impact on commercial air traffic and their involvement in traffic management activities.

The goal of the innovation is to facilitate information exchange between UAV operators (UAV-UAV), and between UAV operators and VFR flights (UAV-VFR), UAV-ATM information exchange, and UAV contingency planning and management.

This work focused on the design and development of prototype software for Aware ness, Integration, and Management of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (AIMUAS). The product is a Web-based interface that allows data and information exchange among UAV operators, manned aircraft operators, and air traffic service providers (e.g., FAA traffic flow managers). The software includes system settings, UAV definitions, mission profile, scheduler, user audit trail, and notifications.

This work was done by Robert Hoffman, Shervin Ahmadbeygi, and Eric Holsinger of Metron Aviation, Inc. for Ames Research Center. NASA invites companies to inquire about partnering opportunities using this technology. Contact the Ames Technology Partnerships Office at 1-855-627-2249 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Refer to ARC-17222-1.

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NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the September, 2015 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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