Over 50 U.S. airports will be participating in a new pilot program to enable safer UAS. AirMap, a provider of airspace information and services for unmanned aircraft, and the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE), have announced the release of the Digital Notice and Awareness System™ (D-NAS). D-NAS™ allows UAS operators to provide airports with real-time information about the location of their drone flights.
At a time when regulations are struggling to keep up with the adoption of drone use, this initiative is yet another example of how technology can be used to ensure safe flying. DJI recenty incorporated “sense and avoid” functionality in their most recent quadcopter, the Phantom 4. These measures will help address concerns over public safety.
The system enables a UAS operator to securely send a ﬂight notice to an airport’s operations center. Flight information may be submitted through a variety of UAS interfaces, including the flying apps including DJI, Yuneec, and 3DRobotics. This information includes the GPS location of the UAS flight. Participating airports will access this information through the AirMap D-NAS dashboard, which provides a map view of flights in proximity to the airport and the option to contact the UAS operator directly.
“Safety has always been a priority for DJI,” said Brendan Schulman, DJI’s Vice President of Policy and Legal Affairs. “Providing our customers the capability to easily notify nearby airports of their flights is a huge step forward in convenience and functionality. A high-tech notification system complements the safety features DJI builds into every drone, as well as DJI’s close work with policymakers on practical approaches for drone technology.”
Yuneec CEO Tian Yu explained “We are excited to work with AirMap to improve the safety features of our products. As an airplane and helicopter pilot myself, I know first-hand how important it is to keep the national airspace system safe.” Yuneec is the manufacturer of the popular Typhoon and Tornado series of multirotor drones and recently announced a $60M investment from Intel.
More than 50 airports have joined the D-NAS pilot program, including Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental and William P. Hobby airports, Denver International Airport, Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi, and Charlotte-Douglas Airport in North Carolina.
“Participation in the D-NAS pilot was a no-brainer for us. In the face of growing concerns over UAS operations near airports, AirMap has developed an effective and unique solution,” said Steve Runge, Division Manager for the Houston Airport System. “D-NAS is a game changer for how we will manage low altitude air safety.”
D-NAS provides heightened awareness to airports and also makes it easier for drone operators to comply with Section 336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, which requires notice to be given to airports within five miles of a drone’s flight location.
Ben Marcus, CEO of AirMap, said, “everyone involved in aviation sees the promise and potential of unmanned aircraft. However, we can’t reach the potential of this amazing technology unless we ensure that safety critical information keeps pace with innovation. We are focused on building the tools for unmanned aircraft to safely integrate into the national airspace system.”
D-NAS will be demonstrated at the 88th Annual AAAE Conference and Exposition held May 15 – 18, 2016 in Houston, Texas.