NASA and uAvionix have announced a collaborative effort to develop Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) Command and Control (C2) technologies for Unmanned Aerial Systems in urban settings. The partnership entails a Space Act Agreement, under which NASA will collaborate with uAvionix for research and development in commercial UAS C2 systems using internet-based infrastructure and air traffic control frequencies.
Flight testing will be conducted at the UAS Flight Test Range at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. The tests will generate and evaluate data on the uAvionix SkyLine C2 technology within the framework of the High Density Vertiplex (HDV) project.
Jacob Schaefer, HDV Technical Lead, expressed enthusiasm for the collaboration, stating, "C2 technologies are critical to achieve the advanced flight operations envisioned within the future of Advanced Air Mobility (AAM)." He added that the HDV project is excited to partner with uAvionix in support of the AAM mission.
This partnership highlights NASA's ongoing efforts to drive technological innovation in collaboration with industry leaders. The alliance with uAvionix will notably contribute to the development of remotely piloted commercial passenger flight operations, specifically focusing on the performance of certified Control and Non-Payload Communications (CNPC) link systems.
Christian Ramsey, uAvionix Managing Director, also commented on the partnership, noting the importance of NASA's collaboration in advancing the operational application of uAvionix's skyLink5060 radios. He emphasized that the partnership is a vital step to facilitate AAM, particularly in relation to passenger-carrying vehicles and vertiports requiring certification.
Several manufacturers and operators are currently testing the performance and operational standards of these technologies, exploring use cases that range from Urban Air Mobility to long-range cargo delivery.
The planned flight tests, scheduled to take place between the summer of 2023 and summer of 2024, will focus on technologies that enable advanced BVLOS operations. The collaboration between NASA and uAvionix underscores a shared commitment to advancing aerial technologies that may shape the future of urban transportation.