With the exponential increase of drones, the need for managing them has also rocketed. As air traffic generated from drones continues to rise, the requirement of a robust Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management (UTM system) has become more evident. Companies like Unifly are steadily occupying the UTM market worldwide. Therefore, the Department of Homeland Security’s Science (DHS) and Technology Directorate is teaming up with NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in order to manage unmanned aerial vehicle traffic.

The solution to drone traffic and safety

The three giants are working to create a cloud-based infrastructure for the UTM system.  The UTM would then communicate with a required UAS Service Supplier interface on drones.

Anyone flying in the UTM system will need an interface to a UAS Service Supplier (USS) to submit flight intent to other users and receive authorizations for specific access,” S&T specified. “This will allow the drones to communicate with UTM for pre-flight schedules and announce airspace use.”

NASA UTM system

With this system in place, airspace for drones and people will become much safer and strictly controlled. The USS interface will not permit any drone to fly anonymously. This will aid the law enforcement agencies to track any illicit activity. The UTM/USS system will also facilitate FAA’s management of flight plans and help in preventing malicious drones. S&T plans to connect the UTM to its Urban Counter-UAS Operational Prototype (UCOP) USS software it is developing, which will analyze flight information and detect any non-registered drones.

“If you have eleven drones in the air, but UTM only has ten of them registered, we can look further at what the eleventh drone is doing,” said Jeff Randolf, a DHS S&T engineering advisor. “We’ll be able to query who is flying and find out specifics that support the interests of Homeland Security and the rest of the homeland security enterprise.”