Assessing C2 communications for UAS traffic management
2018 Integrated Communications, Navigation, Surveillance Conference (ICNS)
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Traffic Management (UTM) project works to develop tools and technologies essential for safely enabling civilian low-altitude UAS operations. Currently there is no established infrastructure to enable and safely manage the widespread use of lowaltitude airspace and UAS operations, regardless of the type of UAS. The UTM technical challenge will develop comprehensive and validated airspace operations and
... gration requirements to safely enable large-scale persistent access to visual line of sight and autonomous beyond visual line of sight small UAS in low-altitude airspace. Within the UTM project, a number of communications technologies to support UTM command and control (C2) are under investigation. In particular, commercial networked cellular systems are being tested and assessed for their ability to meet the reliability, scalability, cybersecurity and redundancy required. NASA Glenn Research Center is studying some of the aspects of employing such networks for UTM C2 communications. This includes the development of a test platform for sensing and characterizing the airborne C2 communications environment at various altitudes and in various terrains and topologies, measuring such aspects as received signal strength and interference. System performance aspects such as latency in the link, handover performance, packet error loss rate, drop outs, coverage gaps and other aspects impacting UTM operation will also be assessed. In this paper we explore some of the C2 approaches being proposed and demonstrated in the UTM project, the reliability, availability and other general C2 performance requirements, and approaches to evaluating and analyzing UTM C2 links based on commercial cellular networks.