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Vigilant Aerospace announced today that it has partnered with the NASA Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) research and development program to help in the development of drone management systems for low-altitude flight operations.

Here is the full text of the announcement: Press Announcement – VAS Partners with NASA Ames as a UTM Partner – Aug 4 2016 [PDF]

Vigilant Aerospace partners with NASA on Unmanned Traffic Management

Company to integrate unmanned flight plans and data into its FlightHorizon™ detect-and-avoid software

OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLA. (August 4, 2016) – Vigilant Aerospace Systems announced today that it has become a partner in the development and testing of the UAS Traffic Management (UTM) system being created by NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley.

The partnership allows the company to integrate UTM flight plans and traffic data into it’s FlightHorizon™ avionics software and provides NASA with access to the company’s flight test data and system development advice and feedback. FlightHorizon™ provides UAV operators with air traffic visualization and detect-and-avoid commands for integration into the national airspace and beyond line-of-sight flying. The software is based on technologies the company exclusively licensed from NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center earlier this year.

“Our goal with FlightHorizon™ is to offer our unmanned operators the first seamless, single interface solution for flying in both low-density rural or suburban environments using long-range aircraft transponders and also flying in high-density, urban environments using UTM over cellular networks. FlightHorizon™ will deliver the same user interface and safety assurance, wherever you fly,” said Kraettli L. Epperson, CEO of Vigilant Aerospace.

After meeting on July 18 in Silicon Valley with Parimal H. Kopardekar, manager of NASA’s Safe Autonomous Systems Operations project and leader of NASA’s UTM efforts, Vigilant Aerospace joined the UTM program as an official partner this week. Other partners include Amazon and Google, both of whom are developing commercial drone operations and are contributing test data to the UTM program.

FlightHorizon™ currently provides detect-and-avoid for unmanned aircraft operators along with traffic alerts, 3D synthetic cockpit views, flight and encounter logging, high resolution aerial photography, weather radar, navigational and approach charts, air-traffic control zones and temporary flight restrictions (TFRs). The software is based on US patent 9,405,005, which the company exclusively licensed from NASA earlier this year.

“With the addition of UTM interactions, we can provide a complete end-to-end management environment in a single software package, reducing time, cost and complexity for our users,” said Epperson.

The UAS Traffic Management system is designed to enable safe low-altitude civilian UAS operations by providing operators information needed to maintain separation from other aircraft and by reserving areas for specific routes, with consideration for restricted airspace and adverse weather conditions.

About Vigilant Aerospace Systems

Vigilant Aerospace Systems, Inc. publishes the FlightHorizon™ avionics software for both manned and unmanned aircraft to provide airspace management and detect-and-avoid to integrate UAVs into the national airspace.

FlightHorizon explainer video:


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