60.5 F

UNR to Help with Drone Air Traffic Safety


Assistant professor Richard Kelley, chief engineer and researcher for the Nevada Advanced Autonomous Systems Innovation Center, demonstrates a quadcopter being used to locate hazardous waste at an EPA clean-up site. Photo by Mike Wolterbeek, UNR.

University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) researchers are working on a low-altitude traffic management system to keep drones, or Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAVs) safe as they fly through crowded skies.

“With all of the many uses being developed for unmanned aerial systems, air-traffic nearer to the ground has the potential to become very crowded,” said Warren Rapp, business director for UNR’s Nevada Advanced Autonomous Systems Innovation Center.

UNR is partnering Flirtey, a drone delivery service, and Drone America, a provider of unmanned autonomous vehicles. They will be testing delivery drone platforms at NASA locations this month in Nevada and California.

“We’ll need to devise a system to make vehicles autonomously aware of each other so they can avoid each other, as well as a system to create traffic ‘patterns’ or navigation protocols that would keep aircraft away from each other in the first place,” said Richard Kelley, assistant professor, computer scientist and engineer. “Figuring out how to safely enable low-altitude UAS operations is essential for the future of unmanned flight in the United States.”

The tests will happen at a location where NASA has airspace management authority.


This Is Reno is your source for award-winning independent, online Reno news and events since 2009. We are locally owned and operated.