The Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS) and its Nasa unmanned traffic management (UTM) partners have concluded multiple unmanned aerial systems (UAS) testing at the FAA-designated Nevada UAS Test Site at the Reno-Stead Airport in the US.

The technology capability level three (TCL 3) testing of drones, which was carried out for a week-long trial period, focused on airspace management technologies that will support the safe integration of UAS into the national airspace.

“A multi-rotor UAS from Drone America was equipped with a container carrying a packet of blood to be transported via drone.”

A Flight Information Management System (FIMS) research platform offered by Nasa will serve as a future prototype system for the FAA to use to cooperate with unmanned Service Suppliers (USS) operating across the US.

During the testing, focused research areas included UAS ground control interfacing to locally manage operations, communication, navigation, surveillance, human factors, data exchange, network solutions and BVLOS architecture.

A team from the Reno Fire Department simulated an incident during the press day, in which a victim experienced severe blood loss and needed an immediate transfusion. A multi-rotor UAS from Drone America was equipped with a container carrying a packet of blood to be transported via drone across Nevada.

Despite high winds and frigid temperatures, the drone successfully landed in the designated area so that fire-fighters could retrieve the blood packet and start the faux-transfusion.

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The test not only demonstrated drone flight capability but also checked UAS traffic mapping and sensor and radar technology, all of which were linked through a Nasa UAS Service Supplier network to Nasa Ames.

NIAS and the Nevada UAS Test Site senior director Dr Chris Walach said: “Advanced flight and highly technical scenarios like drone detection, surveillance of critical infrastructure, aerial package delivery of critical first responder medical supplies, to the important Nasa data interoperability protocols that will eventually form the backbone of the UTM system, we focused heavily on communications, navigation, and surveillance to produce critical data for the Nasa TCL 3 Campaign.

“Our Nevada Teammates did an amazing job working together to successfully complete the first series of major testing for Nasa’s TCL 3 Campaign.”