NASA has chosen two organisations to host the final phase of its four-year series of technical drone demonstrations.
The Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems in Las Vegas and the Lone Star UAS Center for Excellence & Innovation in Texas will host the demonstrations.
The work will look to confirm that NASA’s UTM system can safely and effectively manage drone traffic in an urban area.
The drone flights will take place in and around downtown Reno, Nevada between March and June, and Corpus Christi during July and August.
Ronald Johnson, NASA’s UTM project manager: “This phase represents the most complicated demonstration of advanced UAS operating in a demanding urban environment that will have been tested to date.”
He added: “We are pleased at the plans by our partners in Nevada and Texas to conduct flight tests in a true urban environment with the support of the City of Reno and the City of Corpus Christi.”
NASA and its partners, including the FAA, are hoping the demonstration can help the commercial drone industry understand the challenges posed by flying in an urban environment.
Results will help inform future rules, policies and traffic management procedures for operating drones safely over populated areas.
Mike Sanders, acting executive director of the Texas organisation, commented: “This series of tests is a critical step in enabling the safe integration of unmanned aircraft systems within an urban environment.”
The UTM project is part of the Airspace Operations and Safety Program in NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate.