The drone industry is at a crossroads. The technology is moving rapidly from the realm of blue sky thinking to the sky above our heads, but managing this transition safely without stifling innovation is proving challenging.At present there is no system to manage the widespread use of drones, or Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), in low-altitude airspace below 150m (500ft) where most commercial applications are expected to play out. Traditional air traffic management (ATM) approaches aren’t feasible because they rely on constant communication with human pilots and radar detection, which struggles with small drones.This has led to calls for UAS Traffic Management (UTM) solutions to deal with the safety, security and privacy issues entailed by the predicted explosion in airspace users. The term was coined by NASA, which has taken an undeniable lead in the field by creating a UTM research consortium of government agencies and major tech companies. But the idea is loosely defined and there is considerably uncertainty on what a fully-fledged UTM system would look like.
The Global UTM Association has just celebrated its first anniversary. Within one year, the Association grew from 15 to over 50 members representing 16 countries from all over the world, and started an ambitious journey towards worldwide recognition. Taking into consideration the fact that the UTM industry is still relatively new, it is safe to say that the Association’s membership covers all the required fields of expertise, including air navigation services, telecommunication infrastructure, hardware (drones and components) and software, and various government bodies.
The association has launched three working groups since July 2016 (UTM Architecture, Data Exchange, and Registration-Identification) and it has published two documents: the overall UTM architecture and a flight declaration protocol. The key findings of the working groups, coupled with an international overview and a ‘Next Steps’ session, were presented in front of 90 industry professionals at the Global UTM Conference, hosted by GUTMA on June 26, 2017 in Montreal.*
Many Association members regularly participate in international trade shows and congresses around the world, as exhibitors or speakers. Among other UAS-related expos and conferences, the main UTM events up to June 2017 where GUTMA itself was represented were: the UTM Convention (Syracuse, NY), EASA’s High Level Drone Conference (Warsaw, PL), the World ATM Congress (Madrid, ES), the METI International UTM Seminar (Chiba, JP), and the U-Space Workshop (The Hague, NL). Beyond these public appearances, the Association has been invited to participate in numerous international initiatives.
At its General Assembly held on June 25, 2017 in Montreal, GUTMA elected its Board of Directors for 2017-2018. The Board is composed of nine members: Jonathan Evans (Skyward) as president, Marc Kegelaers (Unifly) as vice president, Lorenzo Murzilli (Swiss FOCA) as treasurer, and members Sebastian Babiarz (Airmap), Samuel Dépraz (SenseFly (Parrot Group)), Kei Ikami (NTT Data), Richard Parker (Altitude Angel), Christian Struwe (DJI), and Mark Watson (NATS).
The new Board will focus on effective international outreach and the agile development of protocols, standards, and guidance for UAS identification and registration in the short-term.
Since there is still a long way to go to achieve a globally interoperable UTM, the Association will dedicate even more effort in 2017-2018 to foster a safe and efficient UAS integration into civil airspace.
* In a proper browser, such as google photo, the feature image could be viewed in 360°.
Global UTM Association Board 2017–2018
- Jonathan Evans, Skyward, President
And in the photo above, from left to right:
- Mark Watson, NATS
- Kei Ikami, NTT Data
- Lorenzo Murzilli, Swiss FOCA, Treasurer
- Christian Struwe, DJI
- Sebastian Babiarz, AirMap
- Marc Kegelaers, Unifly, Vice President
- Samuel Dépraz, SenseFly (Parrot Group)
- Richard Parker, Altitude Angel
Secretary General: Benoit Curdy
UAS Traffic Management (UTM) sets the stage for the next wave of commercial drone applications. Major research and regulatory initiatives have already started to address the needs of UTM all over the world. The conference will set out the road map for implementing interoperable commercial UTM systems by 2019.
The annual event of the Global UTM Association brings together international stakeholders in the UTM field such as air navigation service providers, civil aviation authorities, data and software providers, infrastructure operators, and telecommunication companies.
We are celebrating the publication of our newest documents, the UTM Architecture and the Flight Declaration Protocol. On this special occasion, we offer you to use the discount code “UTM-Architecture” at the Registration to benefit from a 25% discount!
In order to create an atmosphere conducive to collaboration, attendance is limited to 120 participants. Participants are directly contributing to shaping the future of UTM. Ample time is provided for comments and discussions during sessions, as well as for informal interactions during the breaks and at the post-event cocktail.
This is the introduction to an article written by Francis Schubert, chief corporate development and deputy CEO at skyguide, in May 2016. The paper expresses the personal views of the author and does not necessarily reflect the position of his employer or national authorities. The full document is available here.
The Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) sector is evolving quickly. The number of devices, commonly known as “drones”, produced and launched annually is expanding widely, and new applications are constantly being developed. Although it is to be expected that not all such applications will be successful from a business perspective, it is undisputable that these new entrants will have a major effect on the air transportation system.
It is becoming apparent that because of the numbers and the diversity of applications involved, some sort of infrastructure will be required to support the safe operation of drones in those parts of the airspace that are opening to UAS operations. That future infrastructure is coming to be known as UAS Traffic Management (UTM), based on the model under development by NASA.