FAA live test flights in California demonstrate UAM concepts in cooperation with industry partners

For the past year, uncrewed traffic management (UTM) company ANRA Technologies has been conducting tests supporting the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Urban Air Mobility (UAM) Airspace Management Demonstration (UAMD) project that recently culminated with live flights in California. In collaboration with other industry partners, ANRA successfully provided airspace management services for Aurora Flight Sciences, a Boeing Company, optionally piloted Centaur aircraft that flew the 20-mile corridor between St Martin and Hollister airports in central California, says the press release.

ANRA supported the test as a Provider of Services for UAM (PSU) and included the development of an Operation Intent Management (OIM) service, a Demand Capacity Balancing (DCB) service, and a Cooperative Flow Management (CFM) gateway for Traffic Flow Management (TFM) informational ingest. In addition, ANRA hosted the project’s Discovery and Synchronization Service (DSS).

The demonstration highlighted and validated UAM concepts to include exhibiting airspace management of UAM corridors and architecture components that support data exchanges in the ecosystem. The actions were performed in a dynamic environment wherein TFM constraints were placed on constrained resources within the operational corridor. In turn, the instantaneous status of the corridor’s resources was exchanged back to TFM, thereby closing the feedback loop of CFM’s response to TFM constraints. ANRA, and industry partners, shared information through standardized message protocols about each other’s hosted aircraft operations, providing demand capacity balancing technology and airspace management services to ensure corridor utilization did not exceed CFM or TFM management capabilities.

The testing included introducing corridor entry points (CEPs) that served as the points the aircraft used to transition to and from corridors enabling TFM and CFM. ANRA was responsible for deconflicting and managing the Centaur aircraft with another participating UAM aircraft provided by Reliable Robotics and simulated traffic. This operation was accomplished using the Federated Service Network that enabled information exchange between PSUs and FAA assets.

Industry technology partners included Reliable Robotics, Aurora Flight Sciences, a Boeing Company, and OneSky. Texas A&M University Corpus Christi Lone Star UAS Center of Excellence & Innovation provided test site operator support and Embry Riddle Aeronautical University was the overall project manager. The FAA was the project sponsor and provided air traffic controller expertise and support from their NexGen Integration and Evaluation Capability laboratory.

“There have been many meetings, numerous simulations and plenty of tests to ensure the safe operation of real aircraft flying while connected to the ANRA platform in the NAS,” stated David Murphy, UAMD Project Lead for ANRA. “The ANRA PSU, DCB and DSS worked great, but we have much more to learn on how we continue to integrate UAM operations in today’s air traffic system.”

(Image: ANRA Technologies, Aurora Flight Sciences, a Boeing Company, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and FAA participants standing in front of the Centaur optionally piloted aircraft used for UAM flight testing in California)

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