FAA Promotes Safe Integration of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) into U.S. National Airspace

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recognizes that unmanned aircraft systems –“UAS,” or more popularly, “drones”—are the fastest growing segment of aviation.  Accordingly, the FAA is dedicated to safely and fully integrating this innovative technology into America’s national airspace. 

Since it began in 2017, the UAS Integration Pilot Program (IPP) has brought state, local, and tribal governments together with private sector entities, such as drone operators and manufacturers, to accelerate safe drone integration. The overarching goal of the IPP is to help the U.S. Department of Transportation and the FAA to craft new rules, policy and guidance that support more complex low-altitude operations. For more information, please see the IPP Fact Sheet posted on March 31, 2020.

As the demand for drone use below 400 feet increases, the FAA – along with NASA and industry partners – is developing a UAS traffic management (UTM) infrastructure to accommodate these operations safely and efficiently.  UTM is the manner in which the FAA will support UAS operations in low altitude airspace. UTM utilizes industry’s ability to supply services under the FAA’s regulatory authority where these capabilities do not currently exist.  For more information, please see the UTM Fact Sheet posted on March 31, 2020.

To collect valuable data necessary for this integration process, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is awarding $2.6 million in research, education, and training grants to universities that comprise the agency’s Air Transportation Center of Excellence (COE) for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) also known as Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE). For more information on these grants, please see this Press Release posted on April 3, 2020.