NASA Taps IAI to Continue Developing Safety Analysis for Evaluating Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems

NASA’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration in the NAS project aims to develop new technologies to enable safe operations of UAS in the NAS. Under the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Traffic Management System (UTM) program, NASA is investigating procedures to safely operate small UAS (sUAS) in the NAS. Since the FAA does not permit sUAS flights, no real-world trajectory data is available to reliably and accurately model trajectories for safety and operations studies under UTM. To address this, IAI and collaborators will develop the SAFE sUAS project, which will extend IAI’s UAS Safety Analysis Model (USAM) to cover sUAS missions. The architecture of USAM is well developed, and it has been used to demonstrate the safety and efficiency impacts of integrating large fixed-wing UASs in the NAS. Extending USAM capabilities to sUAS requires additional capability to model multirotor, fixed-wing and hybrid sUAS trajectories. The team will develop high fidelity models for one multirotor sUAS and use the models to analyze operating them in the NAS. SAFE sUAS can provide safety analyses of sUAS flight plans as part of the UTM project, help investigate the safety and efficiency impacts of policy changes on sUAS operations, and test and validate Minimum Operational Performance (MOP) for sUAS platforms. The FAA can use SAFE sUAS to introduce sUAS in existing modeling and simulation platforms, and to test new technologies like geofencing, and study their impact on overall NAS safety metrics. Commercial sUAS operators can also use SAFE sUAS to test the safety of their flight plans before flying them.