FAA outlines LAANC automated drone tool

US aviation authorities could allow drones to be operated within five miles of an airport and in controlled airspace subject to altitude restrictions.

AINonline.com reports that Federal Aviation Administration Air Traffic Organisation chief Teri Bristol told a UAS symposium this week that a prototype of the FAA’s Low Altitude Authorisation and Notification Capability (LAANC) system could be ready by the end of the year.

Under LAANC, the FAA has developed maps with pre-approved flight zones and maximum altitudes for operating drones near airports and automates the granting of waivers and permits to commercial drone operators seeking to fly in controlled airspace.

LAANC will also provide a means for drone hobbyists to notify air traffic control when they plan to fly within five miles of an airport, a requirement expressed by Congress in 2012 FAA reauthorisation legislation.

AIN reports that LAANC is considered a precursor to a UTM (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Traffic Management) system that NASA-led team is developing for transfer to the FAA by 2019.

James Eck, FAA assistant administrator for NextGen, also told the symposium that technologies other than automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) were being considered for the remote identification. China’s drone manufacturer DJI published a white paper at the event proposing a “non-networked, localised ID” system transmitting to ground receivers using existing control or video links in the unlicenced 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz frequency bands.

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