A state charts its future with drones
The Ohio Department of Transportation released what it calls the nation’s first Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) framework.
An initiative of DriveOhio, the state’s smart mobility center, the framework aims to foster the development of Ohio’s drone industry through research into cargo and cargo delivery, on-demand transportation between neighboring towns and emergency response services.
The framework outlines the existing unmanned aircraft ecosystem, Ohio-specific activities, route planning considerations and recommendations for establishing vertiports, officials said in a news release. It also includes a strategy map to support the emerging drone industry in Ohio.
One of the drone industry’s enabling technologies is a ground-based sense and avoid system that can track drones and prevent them from colliding with each other and aircraft operating at lower altitudes such as medical helicopters or dust collectors.
An unmanned traffic management (UTM) system is being developed by a partnership that includes the Ohio Department of Transportation’s Office of Statewide Planning and Research, Federal Aviation Administration, DriveOhio/FlyOhio, Ohio Unmanned Aircraft Systems Center, Ohio State University and industry participants. .
It leverages advanced signal processing technology, UTM-optimized data, and three ground-based radar locations along the US 33 Smart Mobility Corridor, a 35-mile stretch between Dublin and East Liberty in central Dublin. ‘Ohio. Data streams are integrated with a UAS service provider to plan flights and manage traffic through a traffic operations center, in accordance with the AAM framework.
Essentially, a drone operator would apply for clearance to fly and be allowed to use FAA airspace. Drone pilots and manned aircraft pilots could see each other and share airspace safely.
With UTM, drones will be able to fly safely beyond the operator’s line of sight without observers on the ground, enabling the delivery of packages of medical supplies and consumer goods.
“Last mile package delivery is what the future holds. FedEx, UPS, Amazon – that two-hour delivery that they guarantee – this technology will support that,” said Richard Fox, head of of airspace for the Ohio UAS Center, in an ODOT statement.
“The promise of drone deliveries has been around for a while, but this key infrastructure to support that doesn’t exist,” said Ohio State research team lead scientist Matt McCrink. “ODOT is at the forefront of essentially establishing what this infrastructure looks like, how we can scale it, expand it, and also integrate it with existing manned traffic control systems.”
The system was recently used as part of a multi-jurisdictional first responder training exercise that involved an overturned tractor-trailer. The drones transmitted live video to emergency dispatchers, first responders and the ODOT traffic management center in Columbus. When a medical helicopter was called in to transport a victim to hospital, the system alerted the drone operators so they could clear the airspace.
“As we learn how to perform small operations and manage low-level airspace safely and efficiently for UAS, you’re going to see the industry grow,” said Sean Calhoun of CAL Analytics.
“Efforts to develop the right kind of infrastructure for drone technology through this state-of-the-art system will promote safe practices and innovation in the skies, solidifying Ohio’s place as a leader in space. advanced air mobility,” said Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted, director of InnovateOhio. “Not only does advanced air mobility have tremendous potential to improve the quality of life for Ohioans, but supporting its growth can position us as a leader in an incredibly dynamic and innovative sector of the economy, helping us to to compete and win on the world stage.”