The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is working with and public stakeholders to develop a site visitors administration system for unmanned plane methods (UAS), often known as drones. The ustraffic administration ecosystem (known as UTM) entails creating a framework of interconnected methods for managing a number of UAS operations. Below UTM, FAA would first set up guidelines for working UAS, and UAS-industry service suppliers and operators would then coordinate the execution of flights.
Operators would doubtless be capable to entry UTM, for instance, by means of good cellphone functions to map routes for UAS flights and test for flight restrictions. FAA started collaborating in 2015 with the Nationwide Aeronautics and House Administration (NASA) to ascertain and implement a framework to analysis, develop, and check more and more complicated UTM ideas and capabilities with stakeholders. For instance, in a single state of affairs examined in Virginia, UAS operators utilizing UTM have been alerted to a rescue helicopter, permitting the operators to keep away from the realm.
To additional develop and implement UTM, FAA performed checks by means of its UTM pilot program, accomplished in November 2020, and is engaged on a UTM implementation plan. Nonetheless, stakeholders stated they want extra info on the following steps, and it’s unsure whether or not FAA’s plan will embody efficiency objectives and measures. FAA has reported that it plans to make use of outcomes from the pilot program to tell its implementation plan, statutorily required one yr after the pilot program concludes. UAS stakeholders usually agreed with FAA’s strategy for transferring UTM towards implementation. Nonetheless, they stated that they face planning challenges as a result of FAA offers restricted info on timing and substance of subsequent steps, reminiscent of areas of UTM expertise that FAA will deal with throughout testing. As well as, FAA has not indicated whether or not the implementation plan will embody efficiency objectives and measures, as a substitute stating that such metrics usually are not statutorily required. Offering extra knowledge to the united statesindustry and public stakeholders within the brief time period and together with objectives and metrics within the plan may assist stakeholders make knowledgeable choices and higher align their actions with FAA plans for UTM testing and implementation.
Why GAO Did This Research
UAS have potential to supply important social and financial advantages within the U.S. FAA is tasked with safely integrating UAS into the nationwide airspace. UTM, as deliberate, might be a site visitors administration system the place UAS operators and repair suppliers are liable for the coordination and administration of operations at low altitudes (under 400 ft), with guidelines established by FAA.
The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 included a provision for GAO to assessment infrastructure necessities for monitoring UAS at low altitude. This report examines, amongst different issues, the actions FAA has taken to develop UTM and extra steps wanted to realize UTM’s implementation.
GAO reviewed related statutes, rules, and company paperwork; assessed FAA’s efforts towards inner controls for speaking high quality info and GAO’s work on results- oriented practices and efficiency measures; and interviewed 19 UAS and public stakeholders chosen to realize a spread of views.
What GAO Recommends
GAO is recommending that FAA: (1) present stakeholders with extra info on the timing and substance of UTM testing and implementation efforts utilizing FAA’s UTM web site or different acceptable means, and (2) develop efficiency objectives and measures for its UTM implementation plan. The Division of Transportation usually concurred with these suggestions.
The total report
For extra info, contact Heather Krause at (202) 512-2834 or [email protected].
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