ANSI Standardization Roadmap highlights key gaps in UTM standards

The American National Standards Institute(ANSI) has released for public review and comment a working draft of the Standardization Roadmap for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Version 1.0) being developed by the Institute’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Standardization Collaborative (UASSC). The draft roadmap identifies published and in-development standards for unmanned aircraft systems, defines where gaps exist, and recommends additional standardization activity to address the gaps – including in the operation of UAS traffic management (UTM) systems (see table below – and edited version highlighting some of the key missing UTM standards).

The draft roadmap and related materials may be downloaded as follows:

– Working Draft Standardization Roadmap for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Version 1.0). Note: the draft includes in-text tracked changes and margin comments resulting from the recent meeting.

– Comment form. For the Roadmap and Comment Form, you may be prompted for credentials; just hit “Cancel” more than once.

– Instructions for Using Comment Form

Issues are addressed across the following areas: airworthiness; flight operations; personnel training, qualifications, and certification; operations for critical infrastructure inspections and commercial services; and public safety operations. Each identified gap – where an existing standard does not address the issue in question – includes a priority level for producing a standard and identifies organizations that can perform the work. The roadmap also includes brief introductions to the UAS activities of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), other U.S. federal government agencies, standards developing organizations (SDOs), and industry.

The roadmap is intended to clarify the current standardization landscape, minimize duplication of effort among SDOs, help inform standards participation decision-making, and ultimately facilitate the growth of the UAS market. The UASSC itself is not developing standards.

“The UASSC has made tremendous progress over the past year to articulate the standards needed to support the civil, commercial, and public safety market for drones,” said ANSI president and CEO S. Joe Bhatia. “We welcome the comments of the broader community to help inform the final roadmap.”

ANSI’s facilitation of the UASSC is supported in part by contributions from the FAA, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science & Technology Directorate, the ASTM International/National Fire Protection Association Joint Working Group, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), and others.

For more information

Title Gap R&D


Recommendation Priority Organization(s)
Safety Gap A2: UAS Safety. Numerous UAS airworthiness standards, appropriate regulations, operational risk assessment (ORA) methodologies, and system safety processes already exist. Any gaps that do exist in standards applicable to specific vehicle classes and weight are being addressed. While the customer or regulatory body ultimately will determine what standard is used, a potential gap is the lack of an aerospace information report (“meta-standard”) in which the various existing airworthiness and safety analyses methods are mapped to the sizes and types of UAS to which they are most relevant. Such a report should address design, production and operational approval safety aspects. No Develop an aerospace information report (“meta-standard”) in which the various existing airworthiness and safety analyses methods are mapped to the sizes and types of UAS to which they are most relevant. Low RTCA, SAE, IEEE, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), ASTM, DOD, NASA, FAA
Avionics and Subsystems Gap A4: Avionics and Subsystems. Existing avionics standards are proven and suitable for UAS. They become unacceptable for the following scenarios:

·   As the size of UAS scales down, airborne equipment designed to existing avionics standards are too heavy and/or too large and/or too power hungry. Therefore, new standards may be necessary to achieve an acceptable level of performance for smaller, lighter, more efficient, more economical systems. For example, it is unclear how to apply some of the major avionics subsystems such as TCAS II, automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) (IN and OUT). This has implications on existing NAS infrastructures (Air Traffic Radar, SATCOM, etc.), ACAS, etc.

·   As the quantity of UAS scales up based on the high demand of UAS operations into the NAS, the new standards are required to handle the traffic congestion.

·   Many UAS introduce new capabilities – new capabilities may not be mature (not statistically proven or widely used) and/or they may be proprietary, therefore industry standards do not exist yet.


Avionics are becoming highly integrated with more automation compared to traditional avionics instruments and equipment we used to find in manned aviation aircrafts a few decades ago. UAS will rely less on human confirmations, human commands, human monitoring, human control settings, and human control inputs. We are approaching a time when the UAS conveys the bare minimum information about its critical systems and mission to the human, that is, a message that says, “Everything is OK.” Standards to get there are different from those that created the cockpits we see today.


Some of the major areas of concern include the reliability and cybersecurity of the command and control data link, use of DOD spectrum (and non-aviation) on civil aircraft operations, and enterprise architecture to enable UTM, swarm operations, autonomous flights, etc.

Yes 1) One approach is to recommend existing standards be revised and include provisions that address the bullet points above. The UAS community should get involved on the committees that write the existing avionics standards. Collaboration around a common technological subject is more beneficial than segregating the workforce by manned vs unmanned occupancy. Let the standards address any differing [manned/unmanned] requirements that may occur.

2) Another approach is to recommend new standards that will enable entirely new capabilities.

3) Complete work on the standards of ICAO, ASTM, SAE, and DOD listed above in the “In-Development Standards” section.

4) Review existing and in-development avionics standards for UAS considerations.

5) Create a framework for UAS avionics spanning both airborne and terrestrial based systems.


High For Avionics Issues: RTCA, SAE, IEEE, AIAA, ASTM, DOD, NASA, FAA, ICAO


For Spectrum Issues: FAA, FCC, NTIA, International Telecommunication Union (ITU)

Avionics and Subsystems: Command and Control (C2) Link Gap A5: C2/C3 Link Performance Requirements. Standards setting forth C2/C3 link performance requirements are needed by the telecommunications industry to understand how to modify or create networks to serve UAS. These performance requirements must define the virtual cockpit awareness that networks need to provide to operators. Some definitions that have been adapted from current manned aviation communications standards include availability, continuity, latency, and security. In other words, what is the reliability that you can send a message, how quickly do you need the message, and what security mitigations are necessary to avoid nefarious activity. The industry is ready and willing to support UAS, but the remote nature of UAS requires clarity on what is required to meet aviation safety standards. Yes Complete work on RTCA 228 WG2 MASPS and related standards and documents now in development.   High RTCA, ASTM, JARUS
Avionics and Subsystems: Navigational Systems Gap A6: UAS Navigational Systems. There is a lack of standards specifically for UAS navigation. UAS navigation can leverage many of the same standards used for manned aircraft, but at a smaller scale and lower altitudes. Yes. A specific R&D effort geared towards applying tracking innovations in satellite navigation for UAS is needed. Depending on the operating environment, apply existing navigation standards for manned aviation to UAS navigation and/or develop UAS navigation standards for smaller scale operations and at lower altitudes. Furthermore, existing navigation practices used by connected/automated vehicle technology should be leveraged to develop integrated feature-based/object-oriented navigation standards to orient the UAS platform in GNSS-deficient areas. High SAE, FAA, NASA, DOT
Avionics and Subsystems: Navigational Systems Gap A7: Protection from GNSS Signal Interference Including Spoofing and Jamming. There are standards in place for spoofing and jamming mitigation for manned aircraft, but these standards are being updated to reflect increasing demands on GNSS systems, ongoing efforts to improve mitigation measures/operational needs, and heightened awareness of nefarious activities using spoofing and jamming technologies. Given the fact that manned aircraft standards are being updated/improved, there is a significant gap with how these standards may be applied to UAS platforms. See the command and control section for related discussion. Yes. An evaluation of the specific characteristics of current aircraft navigation equipment is needed including technical, cost, size, availability, etc. Higher performance spoofing/jamming mitigations should be developed. There are likely insignificant differences in navigation system protection measures between manned aircraft and UAS, but it is recommended that this be evaluated and documented. Based on this evaluation, standards and/or policy may be needed to enable UAS platforms to be equipped with appropriate anti-spoofing and jamming technologies. Also, operational mitigations are recommended including updating pilot and traffic control training materials to address interference and spoofing. High SAE, FAA, DOD, NASA, DOT
Avionics and Subsystems: Detect and Avoid (DAA) Systems Gap A8: Detect and Avoid Systems. No published standards have been identified that address DAA systems for UAS that cannot meet the SWAP of the current DAA TSOs (TSO-211, TSO-212 and TSO-213). In addition, a lack of activity in the design, manufacture, and installation of low SWAP DAA systems impairs FAA’s ability to establish a TSO for those DAA systems. Yes 1) Complete the above listed in-development standards.

2) Encourage the development of technologies and standards to address and accommodate DAA systems for UAS that cannot meet the current SWAP requirements. This is a necessary first step toward an eventual publication of a TSO for smaller or limited performance DAA systems and full and complete integration of UAS into the NAS.


Beyond / Extended Visual Line of Sight Gap O3: EVLOS/BVLOS. Although there is a current BVLOS standard with supplemental revisions in the works and a best practice document, robust BVLOS operations will require a comprehensive DAA solution, Remote ID and UTM infrastructure to be completely effective. These standards should be addressed in a collaborative fashion. In addition, pilot competency and training is especially critical for BVLOS operations. It is anticipated that appendices to ASTM F3266-18, Standard Guide for Training Remote Pilots in Command of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Endorsement will be added for BVLOS. Yes Complete work on aforementioned BVLOS standards in development and address future consideration for larger than sUAS and payload. Research is also required but more to the point connectivity is needed to ensure interoperability or compatibility between standards for BVLOS/DAA/Remote ID/UTM. High ASTM
Operations Over People Gap O4: UAS Operations Over People. There are no published standards for UAS OOP. No Complete work on ASTM WK56338, WK52089, WK59171. Medium ASTM
UAS Traffic Management (UTM) Gap O7: UTM Services Performance Standards. No published or in-development UAS standards have been identified for UTM service performance standards.   Yes. Considerable work remains to develop the various USS services listed as well as testing to quantify the level of mitigation they provide. Only after some level of flight test to define the “realm of the possible,” can the community of interest write performance-based standards that are both achievable and effective in mitigating operational risk. There is quite a lot of work for any one SDO. A significant challenge is finding individuals with the technical competence and flight experience needed to fully address the subject. What is needed is direction to adopt the performance standards evolving from the research/flight demonstrations being performed by the research community (e.g., NASA/FAA RTT, FAA UTM Pilot Project, UAS Test Sites, GUTMA, etc.). Given a draft standard developed by the experts in the field (i.e., the ones actively engaged in doing the research), SDOs can apply their expertise in defining testable and relevant performance-based requirements and thus quickly converge to published standards. High NASA, FAA, ASTM, ISO, et al.
Remote ID & Tracking Gap O8: Remote ID and Tracking: Direct Broadcast. Standards are needed for transmitting UAS ID and tracking data with no specific destination or recipient, and not dependent on a communications network to carry the data. Current direct broadcast standards for aviation and telecommunications applications do not specifically address UAS operations, including UAS identification and tracking capabilities, and specifically when UAS operations are conducted outside ATC. Yes 1) Review existing standards relating to the broadcast of ID and tracking data for manned aviation outside ATC to address UAS operations in similar environments and scenarios.

2) Continue development of the Open Drone ID standard which is also addressing how multiple solutions interface with an FAA-approved internet-based database.

3) Continue development of 3GPP specs and ATIS standards to support direct communication broadcast of UAS ID and tracking data with or without the presence of a 4G or 5G cellular network.

High Open Drone ID, ASTM, 3GPP, ATIS
Remote ID & Tracking Gap O9: Remote ID and Tracking: Network Publishing. Standards are needed for UAS ID and tracking data transmitted over a secure communications network (e.g., cellular, satellite, other) to a specific destination or recipient. Current manned aviation standards do not extend to the notion of transmitting UAS ID and tracking data over an established secure communications network to an internet service or group of services, specifically the cellular network and cloud-based services. Nor do they describe how that data is received by and/or accessed from an FAA-approved internet-based database. However, the ASTM F38 Remote ID Workgroup / Open Drone ID project includes a network access API within their scope of work. Yes 1) Continue development and complete ASTM WK65041 and the Open Drone ID project’s efforts to include standards for UAS ID and tracking over established communications networks (such as cellular and satellite), which should also address how multiple solutions (and service providers) interface with an FAA-approved internet-based database.

2) Continue development of 3GPP specs and ATIS standards related to remote identification of UAS and UTM support over cellular.

High Open Drone ID, ASTM, 3GPP, ATIS
Geo-fencing Gap O10: Geo-fence Exchange. Standards exist to define and encode the geometry for a geo-fence. However, a new standard or a profile of an existing standard is needed to exchange geo-fence data. This standard must encode the attributes of a geo-fence necessary for UAS operators or autonomous systems to respond to the proximity of a geo-fence. Minimal. The encoding mechanism should reply upon existing standards. Minimal investigation is needed to identify which attributes should be included to handle geo-fence interaction. A draft conceptual model should be developed that identifies allowed geometries in 2D, 3D, as well as temporal considerations and which articulates the attributes necessary. Critical to this model is a definition of terminology that is consistent with or maps to other UAS operational standards. The model should consider “active” vs. “passive” geo-fences, the former being geo-fences where a third party intervenes in the aircraft operation, and the latter being geo-fences where the UAS or operator is expected to respond to proximity/intersection. The model should also define geo-fences with respect to the aircraft operational limits: either the aircraft operates inside a geo-fence and an action occurs when the aircraft leaves that geo-fence, or an aircraft operates outside a geo-fence and an action occurs when the aircraft intersects the geo-fence boundary. The conceptual model can be used to develop one or more standard encodings so that equipment manufacturers can select the ideal format for their hardware (e.g., XML, JSON, binary). High OGC, ISO / TC 20 / SC 16, EUROCAE
Geo-fencing Gap O11: Geo-fence Provisioning and Handling. There is a need for a best practice document to inform manufacturers of the purpose and handling requirements of geo-fences. Minimal. The proposed geo-fence exchange standard discussed earlier will suffice for the geo-fence content. There are many existing methods to deploy such data to hardware. Create a best practice document on geo-fence provisioning and handling in standards for autonomous and remote pilot behavior. This document should include specific guidance on how an aircraft must behave when approaching or crossing a passive geo-fence boundary based on the attributes contained in the geo-fence data such as: not entering restricted airspace, notifying the operator to turn off a camera, changing flight altitude, etc. For active geo-fences, the document should detail the types of third party interventions. These best practices may not need to be expressed in a separate document, but rather could be provided as content for other documents for control of aircraft operations, such as UTM. Medium OGC, ASTM, RTCA, EUROCAE



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