NASA, AeroVironment SmartC2 work together on UTM technology capability levels

AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV) will team with with SmartC2 NASA on its Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) Technology Capability Levels (TCL) 2 flight demonstration slated for October 2016, the company said.

The demonstration will build on results from UTM TCL1 field testing concluded last August and ongoing operational demonstration and field testing of AeroVironment´s FAA certified Pumaâ„¢ AE small unmanned aircraft system to focus on beyond-visual line-of-sight operations in sparsely populated areas.

Researchers will test technologies that allow dynamic adjustments to availability of airspace and contingency management, such as onboard autopilot 3D geo-fencing, enhanced safety with back-up data link command and control, and ADS-B integration communicating via the SmartC2 VirtualAirBossâ„¢ aviation business management system into NASA´s UTM research platform.

NASA is working with the FAA and others to develop concepts and requirements for a UTM type construct to safely manage diverse UAS operations in the airspace above buildings and below traditional aircraft operations in suburban and urban areas.

The AeroVironment Puma AE (All Environment) small unmanned aircraft system delivers situational awareness directly to its operator in ground, riverine, and maritime operations and is capable of collecting data for terrain modeling, vegetation analysis and infrastructure management. Launched by hand and capable of landing on the ground or in fresh or salt water, Puma empowers its operator with a high degree of portability, 3.5 hours of flight time and operational flexibility for real-world missions in routine and extreme environments. Puma AE remains the only small unmanned aircraft system with FAA restricted type certification for commercial operations over American soil.

VirtualAirBoss is a comprehensive, browser-based, service-oriented-architecture (SOA) solution to help UAS service groups manage their business operations from end to end. The easy-to-use software system provides one central place where operators can schedule, plan, manage and report on their entire fleet and business processes.

The AeroVironment/SmartC2 package supports NASA´s UTM TCL2 research platform for an integrated system capable of safely flying crossing trajectories that are separated by altitude in both line-of-sight and beyond-visual line-of-sight operations over sparsely populated areas with minimal structures on the ground. The VirtualAirBoss solution serves as the bridge between the Puma ground control station and the NASA UTM research server.

During the UTM TCL2 demonstration, position reporting will be required of all UAS operations within the airspace and a public portal will inform general aviation, hobbyists and the public about relevant UAS commercial operations.

AeroVironment designs, develops, produces, supports and operates an advanced portfolio of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and electric transportation solutions. The company´s electric-powered, hand-launched unmanned aircraft systems generate and process data to deliver powerful insight, on demand, to people and enterprises engaged in military, public safety and commercial activities around the world.

SmartC2 is a woman-owned small business offering the VirtualAirBossâ„¢ (VAB), an easy to use, browser-based solution to help aviation service groups manage their business operations from end to end. SmartC2´s VirtualAirBoss software provides one place where operators can schedule, manage and automatically report on their entire fleet and business processes — crews, customers, payloads, maintenance, COA details, analysis, and invoicing (or cost center allocations). Manufacturers use VirtualAirBoss for supply chain management, warranty and repair tracking. Commercial operations and their service providers use VAB to manage UAS.