NASA's Highway In The Sky For Drones

Dr. Parimal Kopardekar is currently the Principal Investigator of the NASA’s NextGen Airspace Project. One of his current projects is the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Traffic Management System (UTM) - a “highway in the sky.”

Dr. Kopardekar explains:

The UTM construct is based on our research on the operator airspace; Class A,B,C and D. UTM is focused on Class G airspace because all of these operations will be in low altitudes. But the components of air space design – separation management, scheduling, demand capacity imbalance, contingency management [i.e. a 24-esqu hostile takeover], trajectory definition and prediction, wind and weather integration- that we have been working with for commercial carriers and upper airspace will be similar.

We need to make adjustments, for example, to the trajectory definition and prediction because UAS will fly slower and at lower altitude, with different susceptibility to wind etc. We are going to use the lessons learned from the work we have been doing for nearly 20 years and adapt it to UTM.

Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 3.47.13 PMHowever, despite these lessons learned, Class G airspace (generally defined as under 1,200 feet above ground level) is roughly uncharted territory. Plus, human beings live in that airspace. As such, the aerial network will need to be incredibly precise.

So how do we safely accommodate these flying lawnmowers into the airspace above playgrounds and hospitals? By tapping into the so-called internet of things.

In order to accommodate low executed airspace operations we need a system. Right now there is no system. You can imagine how that could be chaos when everybody just starts to fly in the airspace.

It’s just like cars and roads; someone has to make sure that the cars have safety standards, that they won’t stop or turn in the middle of the road on their own. Once you do that, you say “how do I accommodate all the industries and folks who will be driving the cars? You need roads, stop signs; you need lanes -one lane that goes one way and another lane that is coming back the other way. And that’s what we are after.

Science fiction fans have long visualized a "highway in the sky". I first saw it on The Jetson's in the early 1960's.


(Average traffic in the Jetson's view of the future)

More recently, Star Wars fans have been mesmerized by traffic patterns above Coruscant.


(Traffic above Coruscant)

Read Philip K. Dick's description of a traffic jam in the spacelanes in this excerpt from his 1954 short story Sales Pitch:

Commute ships roared on all sides, as Ed Morris made his way wearliy home to Earth at the end of a long hard day at the office. The Ganymede-Terra lanes were choked with exhausted, grim-faced businessmen; Jupiter was in opposition to Earth and the trip was a good two hours. Every few million miles the great flow slowed to a grinding, agonized halt; signal-lights flashed as streams from Mars and Saturn fed into the main traffic-arteries.

Via Dronelife.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 7/20/2014)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Robotics ")

MIT's C-LEARN Helps Robots Transfer Learning To Other Robots
'Talk Between Robots radio...' - Frederik Pohl, 1954.

Bionic Eye-Hand Combo Robot Grasps Objects On Its Own
'The crawling, exploring object was V-Stephen's surgeon-hand, a self-contained robot...' - Philip K. Dick, 1955.

FarmBot, Your Personal Robotic Farmer
'A robot farmer was plowing...' - Philip K. Dick, 1954.

Fukushima Plant Needs Radiation-Proof Scorpion Robots
'...with lead-bodied, radio-remote controlled androids, it's easier.' - Mari Wolf, 1952.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Bat Bot Robotic Flapping-Wing Drone
'The dark birdforms dotted the mountaintops like statues of prehistoric beasts, wings outspread...'

NASA's Astronaut Rescue Ball
'Ball and closely-prisoned man plummeted downward..'

ARM Wants To Build Brain Chips
'Slivers of microsoft, angular fragments of colored silicon...'

Sky Fence - A Drone-Proof Shield Created Over Prison
'There’s still a protective field over the whole thing. It volatilizes anything that tries to get through.'

Geoengineering The Atmosphere For Climate Change
'...a uniform temperature for each degree of latitude the year round.'

Archinaut Orbiting Robotic Factory
'mass-produced only in the orbiting factories...'

Cryonic Preservation - The Last Perk You'll Ever Need
'Is there not also a law providing for voluntary suspension of animation?'

Computers Understand Humans By Watching And Modeling Them
Soon, your computer will be watching you... and judging you.

NASA Asks For Moon To Earth Delivery Ideas
'Authority's 3-g catapult was almost one hundred kilometers long...'

Musk Tunnels Wisely Restrict Drivers
Too many robots.

Robot Swarms Controlled With Augmented Reality
'You're not thinking in enough dimensions...'

MIT's C-LEARN Helps Robots Transfer Learning To Other Robots
'Talk Between Robots radio...'

Mini-Brains In A Dish
'Cultured brains on a slab.'

Rapid Automated Search For Habitable Planets Needed
'I was near enough it now to set my automatic astronomical instruments to searching it for a habitable planet.'

WatchSense Perfect For Fat-Fingered Smartwatch Owners
'Now all you had to do was wave your hand in the general direction of the components...'

Digital Construction Platform Robot 3D Prints A Building
'It extrudes material like a spider.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.