Michigan State proposes developing its own UTM system

The US State of Michigan’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Task Force (UASTF) has released a report of recommendations it presented to Governor Rick Snyder and to the state Legislature regarding drone operations, including the development of a UAS traffic management (UTM) system. The report presents a desire to have a regulatory environment, which respects state and federal areas of authority, but also establishes Michigan as a welcoming location to test, develop, and deploy this technology.

The 27-member task force was established by Public Act 436 of 2016 when it was signed into law by the governor on 3 January, 2017.

Here is a summary of the proposed state of Michigan UASTF recommendations:

  • Establish an Unmanned Aerial System Joint Program Office (UASJPO) to coordinate public agency efforts and provide a unified voice for Michigan’s citizens seeking UAS information.
  • Recognize the Michigan Unmanned Aerial Systems Consortium (MIUASC) or other appropriate entity as the primary association for private entities and universities to collaborate and interface with the UASJPO.
  • Reaffirm the Michigan Aeronautics Commission as the state body responsible for all aeronautical activity in the state with authority to develop rules, regulations, policies, and procedures for the use and integration of UAS in Michigan.
  • Develop an education and outreach strategy to address coordinated educational outreach efforts for local governments, law enforcement and users.
  • Design and distribute recommended guidelines for public agency data sharing and record retention policies for state agency data collected by UAS.
  • Recommend the Legislature enact legislation establishing an extension of self-principle. This means actions that are currently allowed or prohibited by persons would apply to persons using an UAS.
  • Explore deployment of a UAS traffic management (UTM) system in Michigan to explore feasibility of state airspace protections.
  • Enact a state law to prohibit UAS interference with the operation of key and unique facilities. Mackinac Island is a strong example of a unique facility in Michigan.
  • Clarify Michigan Compiled Laws (MCL) Section 259.321, which regulates UAS interference with official duties of police officers, firefighters, paramedics, or search and rescue personnel to ensure other appropriate public safety officials are included.
  • Develop a submission for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) UAS Integration Pilot Program.
  • Coordinate with other state and federal agencies to address current and future regulatory barriers.
  • Identify opportunities to share technological innovations among industry partners.
  • Expand the mission of the American Center for Mobility (ACM) to include Unmanned and Autonomous Aerial Vehicles and Systems.

The full text of the report is available on the MDOT website.

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