Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration announced 10 awardees for the UAS Integration Pilot Program, designed to explore ways to safely enable complex drone operations through state, local, and tribal governments with unmanned aircraft operators and industry partners.

AirMap is the UTM Service Supplier in six out of ten of the UAS IPP awards, specifically:

  • Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
  • City of Reno
  • City of San Diego
  • Kansas Department of Transportation
  • North Carolina Department of Transportation
  • North Dakota Department of Transportation

Over the course of the three-year UAS IPP program, AirMap is working closely with these partners to enable complex commercial drone operations, such as package delivery, emergency response and recovery, public safety, journalism, inspections, and surveying, through AirMap’s UTM technology.

AirMap was selected as the UTM provider for six out of 10 UAS IPP awards, many of which successfully began initial operations last month.

Kansas: Precision Agriculture & Infrastructure Inspection
Kansas is no stranger to drone operations, having been the first U.S. state to roll out statewide UTM services a year ago in partnership with AirMap. Last week, the Kansas Department of Transportation and Salina’s Kansas State University Polytechnic initiated drone operations for two distinct use cases: precision agriculture, using remote sensing technology to improve farm yields, and long-line linear infrastructure inspections, inspecting pipelines, road networks, power lines, pipelines, and railroads for maintenance and repair. As part of the UAS IPP program, the state will also test industrial inspection use cases.

“Kansas has a rich aviation history and the launch of the UAS IPP is another opportunity for our state to grow aviation and drive the advancement of UAS operations in national airspace,” said Lindsey Dreiling, KDOT Deputy Director of Aviation and UAS. “We are honored to partner with aviation leaders, such as AirMap, to enhance flight safety and pioneer the next frontier of aviation.”

Choctaw Nation: Herd Management
Members of the Choctaw Nation have begun UAS IPP initial operations to tackle a pesky problem for Oklahoma farmers: trapping feral hogs that destroy crops and can pollute water sources, causing up to $2 billion in damage annually. Drones drop dried corn into hog traps, saving time and money for farmers who previously had to do it by hand.

“This technology could assist landowners by saving time and effort to keep hog traps filled with bait,” said Mike Komp, technical program manager for the Noble Research Institute, one of the partners on the grant. “However, current regulations limit the distance we can fly to deliver the bait. In order to make these applications more realistic, regulations need to allow for more payload to be delivered over a longer distance.”

North Carolina: Medical Supply Transport
On August 29, North Carolina Department of Transportation partnered with WakeMed, a healthcare provider specializing in heart and vascular emergency, rehab, orthopaedic and surgery care, to begin initial UAS IPP operations for the transport of blood supplies and other medical samples to and from medical labs and hospitals. Drones offer a flexible alternative to ground-based couriers, resulting in faster transportation, increased efficiency in scheduling lab resources and testing, and, ultimately, cost savings.

“This ‘First Flight’ is a major step forward in the worlds of healthcare and unmanned technology,” said Basil Yap, head of NCDOT’s UAS Program. “We’re crossing a new frontier that will bring increased efficiency and lower costs to healthcare providers, and ultimately help save patients’ lives.”

San Diego: Public Safety Response
On August 23, the City of San Diego kicked off UAS IPP operations with a public safety response trial with the Chula Vista Police Department and drone telepresence and data management company Cape. In the simulated scenario, the department received an inbound call for service. In response, the department dispatched a drone to the scene of the emergency from a laptop-based ground control station. The drone provided aerial footage of the simulated emergency area, directing police personnel to its exact location. Sending a drone to assess public safety situations significantly reduces response time for public safety staff, boosts situational awareness in addressing the situation, and provides shared situational awareness for incident command and response center personnel.

Later operations will test UAS operations for cross-border commerce, UAS communication with intelligent infrastructure to develop smart city best practices, and parcel delivery for food as well as medical specimen.

“San Diego is proud to partner with AirMap to ensure our first responders are able to provide rapid response times while maintaining safety, and we look forward to leveraging AirMap technology on other IPP operations,” said Tiffany Vinson, Senior Homeland Security Coordinator for the City of San Diego.

AirMap is supporting these UAS IPP operations with core UAS Traffic Management (UTM) services for safety, compliance, and risk mitigation. The AirMap UTM Platform supports each drone operation with in-flight and pre-flight geo-awareness of airspace advisories and weather conditions; flight planning and compliance briefings to identify low-risk, high-performance flight paths; and traffic deconfliction from other manned and unmanned aircraft in the airspace.

AirMap is the leading global provider of UTM technology. The AirMap UTM Platform provides a real-time, dynamic, and comprehensive picture of the airspace to integrate drones safely into the national airspace system and keep stakeholders and the general public protected.

AirMap works with partners internationally to support the efficient, viable, and safe enablement of drone programs worldwide. To learn more about the AirMap UTM and how its agnostic and powerful system can support your drone use case, contact sales.