AASHTO Journal

FAA Begins Testing Drone Tracking System

​The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is now expanding an automated system that will ultimately provide near real-time processing of airspace authorization requests for unmanned aircraft or "drone" operators nationwide. The agency noted in a statement that this is "an important step" in developing an unmanned aircraft systems traffic management system.

The FAA started phasing in a "nationwide beta test" of the low altitude authorization and notification capability or "LAANC" system for tracking drones on April 30 that will eventually encompass nearly 300 air traffic facilities covering approximately 500 airports; a test that follows what the agency dubbed a "successful evaluation" of a prototype LAANC system last November.

The agency said it is maintaining a list of the facilities participating in this test on its website and expects to have this second-phase of its LAANC system testing fully up and running by Sept. 13.

FAA noted that drone operators using the LAANC system can receive near real-time airspace authorizations, thus decreasing the wait-times experienced when using a manual authorization process. The agency said its LAANC system uses airspace data provided through temporary flight restrictions, notices to airmen (NOTAMs) and drone facility maps that show the maximum altitude ceiling around airports where the FAA may authorize operations.

The agency added that back in mid-April it began "considering agreements" with outside suppliers to provide LAANC services and will be accepting applications until May 16. FAA stressed that these "outside agreements are "not a standard government acquisition; there is no screening information request or request-for-proposal related to this effort."

Questions regarding this article may be directed to editor@aashtojournal.org.

Recommended Stories

Survey: Americans ‘Overwhelming Support’ Public Transit

A survey conducted by the Mineta Transportation Institute for the American Public Transportation Association indicated that 80 percent of those it polled would support using their tax dollars for creating, expanding, and improving public transportation in their community, with a further 74 percent...

July 27, 2018

FRA Puts More Pressure on Railroads to Comply with PTC Requirements

The Federal Railroad Administration is prepared to levy penalties against 13 railroads if they fail to implement positive train control or PTC safety systems by Dec. 31 this year.

July 27, 2018

Study Tracks Growth of Electric Scooters for Urban Mobility

A new study compiled by data platform management firm Populus indicates that the popularity of electric scooters as an urban transportation option continues to increase in major U.S. metropolitan cities.

July 27, 2018

Past Issues

Issue Date: