GRAND FORKS, N.D., June 12, 2017—NASA has enlisted the services of Botlink and several other U.S. drone companies to help test its Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) traffic management technology currently under development to help commercial drones and manual aircraft share the airspace.
Botlink has been participating in regional tests at the Northern Plains UAS Test Site in Grand Forks, N.D., including test flying a drone equipped with the Botlink XRD cellular-connected device for beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) flight capability.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), 2.6 million commercial drones will be in service by 2020 with 7 million total drones operating, including recreational devices. NASA aims to build a UAS Traffic Management (UTM) system to ensure these drone pilots and manned aircraft can cooperatively share the airspace.
Botlink, a company specializing in safe drone mission planning with autonomous flight control and data capture, began participating in the NASA UTM system testing last summer and is currently performing more test flights.
NASA’s UTM works by collecting flight plans and planned operations from several geographically diverse locations, using various aircraft and software. It then checks for conflicts, approves or rejects the flight plans and notifies users of constraints. NASA plans to turn over its UTM research to the FAA in 2019.
Botlink plans to incorporate information from the UTM into its mission planning and drone control application, enabling its drone pilots to easily request low-altitude airspace, submit flight plans and safely capture aerial imagery with a smartphone or tablet while sharing the skies with other UAS and manned aircraft.
Botlink is a user-friendly control, safety, and data delivery platform that makes integrating drones into workflow simple and affordable, giving customers the real-time insight they need to make business decisions. Botlink integrates with users' existing industry analysis tools, while eliminating the problems that prevent many users from incorporating Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) technology, such as a lack of aviation knowledge, stringent FAA flight guidelines and limited aircraft endurance. The company is based in Fargo, N.D.