FAA concludes UTM field test, releases final report ‘demonstrating important capabilities’

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has released details of the Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) Field Test conducted at two UAS test sites during 2023, along with the final report.

According to the summary, the FAA, NASA, and industry partners worked to demonstrate important capabilities during UFT, including:

  • Capabilities proposed by standards including strategic coordination.
  • Enhancements to UTM functionalities (e.g., data correlation).
  • Updated security management to secure UTM data exchanges.
  • Concept elements such as authorized historical data queries.

With significant growth in demand for airspace access, the FAA recognizes the continued need to collaborate with industry to improve UAS traffic management (UTM) for both visual line of sight (VLOS) and beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations. To that end, the UTM Field Test (UFT) was conducted in 2023 to validate proposed standards and evaluate new capabilities that support drone operations in the real world.

UFT was conducted in collaboration with two FAA UAS Test Sites:

The FAA and its partners executed flight tests in complex environments including operations over people, at night, and among diverse missions. UFT also examined data correlation using remote identification, an updated cybersecurity framework, and other updates to UTM technology.

Figure 1: Operational view of UTM Field Test with UAS activity during the day

Figure 2: Operational view of UTM Field Test with UAS activity during the night

Figure 3: Operational view of UTM Field Test evaluating data correlation activities

Figure 4: Operational view of UTM Field Test evaluating strategic deconfliction capabilities

UFT focus areas included:

  • Industry services supporting UTM
  • Planning and coordination in complex operating environments
  • Priority status of operational intent
  • Data correlation service enhancements
  • Identity and access management

Through this concept development and engineering and validation activities, the outcomes of UFT will help mature technologies, inform policy development and validation of standards, and lay the groundwork for creating a safe and scalable UTM ecosystem.

(Image: UTM ecosystem)

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