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

NASA’s UAS Integration in the National Airspace (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 make small UAS (sUAS) operations safe. Safety and operations studies under UTM require accurate trajectories for sUASs. However, since the FAA does not permit sUAS flights, no real world trajectory data is available. To address this, IAI and collaborators will extend the UAS Safety Analysis Model (USAM), which IAI has been developing over the last several years as part of a NASA-sponsored effort. USAM computes the probability of collisions between piloted and UAS aircraft and performs a full hazard analysis for a range of possible collisions, resulting in a risk profile for UAS operations in the NAS. 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. The team will develop a safety analysis for evaluating sUAS (SAFE sUAS project) by extending the USAM approach for UAS safety analysis to cover sUAS missions. Additional capabilities to model multi-rotor, fixed-wing and hybrid sUAS trajectories will be developed. The current effort will create high-fidelity models for multi-rotor sUAS and use it to analyze the safety of operating sUAS in the NAS. In addition, SAFE sUAS can be used to integrate high-fidelity sUAS models into a modeling and simulation platform of choice. It can also be used to investigate the safety and efficiency impacts of policy changes on sUAS operations, and to test and validate Minimum Operational Performance (MOP) for sUAS platforms.