On 1 October 2018 the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced nine new partners to its Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) initiative, an innovative collaboration between the FAA and the drone industry that provides near real-time processing of airspace authorizations for Part 107 drone operators nationwide who fly in controlled airspace.
Following the FAA’s successful prototype, the initiative was simultaneously opened to additional air traffic control facilities and to new industry partners. The five-month onboarding process that began in April resulted in nine new LAANC partners – Aeronyde, Airbus, AiRXOS, Altitude Angel, Converge, DJI, KittyHawk, UASidekick and Unifly. The nine join five companies – AirMap, Harris Corp., Project Wing, Skyward and Thales Group – that have already met the technical and legal requirements to provide LAANC Services.
LAANC uses airspace data, including UAS facility maps, which shows the maximum altitude around airports where the FAA may authorize operations under Part 107 in controlled airspace. The program gives drone operators the ability to interact with industry developed applications and obtain near real-time authorization from the FAA. LAANC, a foundation for developing the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management System (UTM),is now available at nearly 300 FAA air traffic facilities across the country, covering approximately 500 airports.
The FAA next year will accept applications from parties interested in becoming LAANC service providers from January 7 to February 8 and from July 8 to August 9. This is not a standard government acquisition; there is no Screening Information Request (SIR) or Request for Proposal (RFP) related to this effort. Interested parties can find information on the application process here.