Integrating Expanded and Non-Segregated UAS Operations into the NAS: Impact on Traffic Trends and Safety

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) tasked its Center of Excellence (COE) for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), ASSURE (Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence), to conduct research to inform the safe integration of sUAS (small UAS) for expanded (e.g., beyond-visual-line-of-sight) and non-segregated UAS operations. The objectives of this research focus on the evaluation of data, projection of demand for UAS operations, and development of a risk-based framework for an SMS (Safety Management System) process that incorporates Probability Risk Assessments (PRAs). Task 1-1 of this project supports the goals by evaluating historical data provided collected by the FAA to develop a data catalog for UAS integration-relevant data analysis. Task 1-2 surveys and describes UAS Concepts of Operations (CONOPS) with a focus on sUAS (small UAS). The CONOPS can be organized according to high-level as: BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight); Operations over People; and Operations over Moving Vehicles. Across these three categories, UAS approval letters were analyzed. Task 1-3 quantitative analysis on data cataloged in Task 1-1 to identify trends, perform qualitative analysis of SMS versus current and proposed Part 107 waivers, and summarizes observed gaps in current data sets and data collection practices impacting the ability to describe, interpret, and predict the impact of rulemaking on UAS integration. Task 1-4 validates the database of visual sighting reports. Utilizing UAS detection and tracking data and manned flight tracks, researchers assess UAS operator adherence to Part 107 rules, the characteristics of sUAS operations in the vicinity of airports, and the comparison of sighting report data with observations from the drone detection data.



Philip Smith
Faculty Emeritus
Integrated Systems Engineering- Baker Systems Engineering
Ohio State University
Phone: 614.292.4120


Participating Schools

Drexel University
Ohio State University
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