DRONELIFE has had the opportunity to meet many of the influencers in the European drone industry this fall, and from Frankfurt to London to Amsterdam, one thing is clear: Europe is ready and willing to take on a leading role in drone regulation, drone integration and unmanned traffic management. Now, US-based ANRA Technologies, an active partner of NASA’s UTM research program, will bring their technology into the UK’s UAS Traffic Management (UTM) program.
Amit Ganjoo and ANRA are frequently our go-to experts on UTM issues. ANRA is a leading provider of both a commercial drone operations platform, the DroneOSS™ Workflow Platform, and the DroneUSS™ UTM Platform. DroneUSS provides an elegant and sophisticated to the problem of integrating drones into the airspace – and created independently, it is designed to be used by any regulatory or enterprise drone program.
ANRA has now won a contract with the UK UAS Traffic Management (UTM) program. “The Program is part of a wider program which is government led and across the public and private sectors, aimed at enabling safe integration of drones into UK airspace,” says the ANRA announcement. The program falls under the Transport Systems Catapult (TSC). ANRA Technologies will work as a UTM service provider (UTMSP) as well as an Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP), along with support from the appropriate UK Government regulatory and other stakeholders.
A robust UTM system will require a well-definded framework which will allow service providers, air traffic control, and other stakeholders to share information. In the absence of clarity, numerous UTM systems are developing independently – which could curb competition or result in uncoordinated low altitude air traffic. This program will focus on developing a clear, flexible, and scalable framework. “The program aims to investigate how and what information may be exchanged between different [Unmanned Traffic Management Service Provers] UTMSPs and the required data sources such that airspace coordination can be attained to achieve the critical safety requirements,” says the ANRA announcement.
“We would like to congratulate ANRA on joining the development of the UTM framework for UK. Having a joined-up approach to UAS traffic management will be a key enabler to wider adoption of this technology and commercialisation of Beyond Line of Sight drone operation. We are sure that ANRA’s experience in this area will support the project in creating an impact for this high growth potential sector.” Said Mark Westwood, Chief Technology Officer, the Transport Systems Catapult.
ANRA explains the program further: “The goal of this program is to develop an independent, self-directed, and scalable system that will manage and monitor drones and their flights. This kind of system will factor inputs from external sources such as obstacle, terrain, weather, airspace, command and control and performance data and make this data available to operators/service providers.”
“The system should also be capable of providing human stakeholders the ability to remotely identify a UAS and make strategic decisions related to mission management whether it is launch, execution, and/or termination of airspace operations. The procedures and interfaces also need to ensure that only authenticated and approved UAS can operate in the given airspace.”
It’s a complex problem, and one that ANRA is uniquely qualified to address. ANRA’s system has been proven in US trials to be able to communicate and deconflict with other aircraft under a wide variety of conditions; and to prioritize flights based on a complex set of factors.
“We are excited to be a part of this pathfinder program and bring our experience in having been involved in similar initiatives elsewhere and look forward to working the government and industry partners over the next few months”, said Amit Ganjoo, CEO of ANRA Technologies.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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