New ways of taking to the skies, using flying vehicles such as drones and flying cabs, and new ways of executing operations in the air, have radically changed the management and configuration of airspace, primarily urban and semi-urban.
Thanks to the current possibility of flying without pilot or crew, these aerial operations, which have a system of operations management called Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM), have become essential elements for traffic in cities, both internally and between two or more cities.
What we have today
Some data states that today, every day, at any given time, an average of 1.3 million people stand in an aerial vehicle, either as part of the crew or as a passenger—some people comparable to the population of any city.
Thus, at the pace of new technologies, there are developments of modern types of flying vehicles of various shapes, models, capacities, and utilities, which are rapidly being incorporated into the market, thanks to its ability to fly at low altitude, which makes it suitable for city life.
In this sense, it is already possible to see the use of cargo drones by parcel services or sales portals for distribution. Or, as a better example, the transport of people from one place to another in electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles (eVTOL), quickly and without traffic jams.
Unmanned Traffic Management UTM
Already, many people are wondering about the safety of these aerial vehicles and how they can coexist with traditional aviation, and the potential uses of tomorrow that are not yet contemplated.
With a promising future and with a market already captive from its very genesis, fundamental aspects of the UTM, such as the management system, flight autonomy, and safety, are already defined by those who intend to be protagonists and main users of new flight systems.
In general, the UTM (Unmanned aircraft systems traffic management) is characterized by the fact that it does not depend on a single controlling entity. Still, instead, it is possible to count on multiple UTM management service providers.
Like the air traffic controllers, Unmanned traffic management control agencies are coordinated by government agencies. They are subject to the legal regulations on aviation and flight traffic.
In addition, the traffic agencies must be organized together with others in a networked and gradual manner to improve their services, update their technology, and establish efficient behavior and management parameters based on common operations and objectives for the aviation system in the 21st century.
Basic functions of UTM
Flight authorization and certification
The first function of UTM management will be to authorize flight plans and flight personnel. This would include certifying and logging participating air vehicles and pilot certificates and permits, which would streamline management processes.
This ensures that only pilots with the proper credentials, and suitable vehicles, can operate in the airspace, avoiding damage and harm to third parties. If possible, the manager should be able to suggest alternative flight schedules or routes to pilots.
One of the main functions of the UTM should be to establish a suitable communication system throughout the air system, both internally and externally. The most modern technological tools must support communication for air management.
Internally, The aircraft must maintain communication between the vehicle and the responsible management operator, either pilot to aircraft operator or silently from the aircraft system to the UTM system.
Externally, it is necessary for law enforcement authorities, rescue teams, and citizens to be aware, in real-time, of some anomalies such as infractions or some risks to a particular community.
The UTM manager would also be able to geo-reference an area, creating a kind of virtual fence to prevent overflight in those areas, notifying a potential diversion or landing, as the case may be.
Given the versatility of these aerial vehicles, they can serve to support authorities in case of disasters and emergencies, such as transferring victims, rescue, mobilization of medicines and medical supplies, or serve as a kind of air ambulance in some cases.
Other tasks that the UTM manager is in charge of and that are not foreseen firsthand will be left to his entire discretion. This could include media crews to cover a breaking news story in case of emergencies.
Unmanned aerial systems will change the way we live. Get the help you need from the industry’s forefront expert. Contact us today for a free consultation.
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