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AT&T, NASA Collaborate On Drone Traffic Management System

AT&T and NASA are researching traffic-management solutions for drones.

The goal is an Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management solution that supports the safe and highly secure operation of drones in the national airspace.

AT&T has been working with NASA and other companies to make drone flight path monitoring, flight planning, navigation, surveillance and tracking safer. The company has focused on the role of wireless networking and advanced technologies.

“Working with NASA and others, we are designing the management system for a new frontier in aviation,” said Mike Leff, VP, AT&T global public sector solutions. “Drones are already used in agriculture, public safety, construction, utilities, real estate and TV. This research can help support the commercial and private use of drones nationwide.”

A key element AT&T and NASA are researching is the potential impact of cyber security threats. The vast availability of drones – and their many current and potential uses — could increase their risk of cyber attacks. AT&T advocates cyber security protections designed into the system from the outset.

AT&T will continue to participate in NASA demonstrations, workshops and studies related to airspace operations concepts and technologies.

AT&T has also implemented a national drone program. The company uses drones to inspect cell towers and measure network performance at venues and locations across the country.

Additionally, Chris Penrose, president of AT&T’s Internet of Things solutions, was selected as a member of the FAA’s Drone Advisory Committee earlier this year. The group identifies and advises actions to support the safe introduction of UAS into the national airspace.