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FAA awards $1.6 million grant for UTM at drone test site in Rome

By Eric Reinhardt (ereinhardt@cnybj.com)

Date:

ROME, N.Y. — The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently awarded a $1.6 million contract that will advance unmanned traffic management (UTM) at the drone test site at Griffiss International Airport in Rome.

Drones are also known as unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).

The contract is part of the FAA’s efforts to perform “vital” drone integration safety work at the FAA’s federally-designated UAS test sites. The project was awarded after a competitive acquisition process and intended for “qualified companies who can work at FAA UAS testing sites to forward essential integration technologies such as sense and avoid capabilities, geofencing, and unmanned traffic management.”

Beavercreek, Ohio–based CAL Analytics will lead a team of five commercial companies in the development of a single, integrated contingency management platform (CMP) for unmanned aircraft integration, NUAIR said.

Syracuse–based nonprofit NUAIR is short for Northeast UAS Aerospace Integration Research. NUAIR manages operations of the drone test site, formally known as the New York UAS test site.

Together with NUAIR and Oneida County, the companies will integrate and test their CMP technology to address specific safety and risk mitigation concerns for operating UAS in the national airspace at the New York UAS test site.

Cyber-physical systems-of-systems, like UTM, rely on a “multitude” of data from various sources to make decisions, often with “real-world” safety implications. The CMP will offer protection protocols and situational awareness, alerting operators of faults, failures, and severe weather to help ensure the safe flight of all unmanned aircraft.

CAL Analytics will lead system integration which combines monitoring and mitigation software from ResilienX of Syracuse; micro-weather services from TruWeather, also of Syracuse; cybersecurity software provided by Assured Information Security (AIS) of Rome; and situational-awareness display systems from Kongsberg Geospatial of Ottawa, Ontario.

NUAIR will manage validation testing, the organization said. The team will also leverage the state’s 50-mile UAS corridor installed with radars and advanced technologies to facilitate advanced drone operations.

“Having a reliable UTM health and monitoring function is a key element in the safe integration and commercialization of unmanned aircraft,” Andy Thurling, chief technology officer at NUAIR, said in a statement. “CAL, ResilienX, and TruWeather continue to be integral partners of NUAIR and the New York UAS Test Site, and we look forward to advancing routine, commercial UAS operations utilizing this program.”

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