AeroVironment, SmartC2 and NASA have forged a partnership to perform a second phase of field tests on the space agency’s unmanned traffic management technology in October.
AeroVironment said Thursday researchers will assess the Puma AE’s onboard autopilot three-dimensional geo-fencing functions, backup data link command-and-control and ADS-B integration into NASA’s UTM research platform.
SmartC2 will deploy its VirtualAirBoss aviation business management system to connect the Puma ground control station and the NASA UTM research server.
Kirk Flittie, vice president and general manager of AeroVironment’s UAS business segment, said the testing project aims to change how agencies manage low-altitude airspace.
“UAS operating beyond-line-of-sight will bring transformational capabilities to utilities, agriculture, oil and gas, railroads and other industries with large areas and long distances to monitor and manage,” Flittie added.
VirtualAirBoss will serve to contain Puma’s asset and operational details and make the information available to authorized users.
The companies aim to build on prior UTM TCL1 field tests conducted in August 2015 and the current operational demonstration for AeroVironment’s FAA certified Puma AE small drone.