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AWARDS
UTM Wins 2020 NASA Government Invention of the Year Award


Ames Research Center was selected by the NASA General Counsel as the Winner of the 2020 NASA Government Invention of the Year (IoY) award for the "Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Traffic Management (UTM) to Enable Civilian Low Altitude Goods and Service Delivery by UAS" technology. The Agency-wide award was made at the recommendation of the NASA Inventions and Contributions Board (ICB). Every year, NASA issues two prestigious Invention of the Year Awards: Government Invention of the Year and Commercial Invention of the Year.

Congratulations to Dr. Parimal Kopardekar for this recognition by the Agency, as well as the Ames UAS/UTM team that has been pushing the boundaries to make UTM a reality. This winning traffic management system allows UAS to maintain safe and efficient operations for goods and services delivery. UTM is essential to enable accelerated applications of UAS. UTM will accommodate and support all types of UAS operations ranging from disposable with minimalistic avionics capabilities to highly capable UAS.

The invention transforms traditional, human-centric air traffic management into a modern, machine-centric, federated approach. In traditional Air Traffic Management there is a centralized authority that provides services to operations to keep the airspace safe and accessible. However, in UTM, the Federal Aviation Administration delegates some of that authority to other entities to provide similar services to directly support operators. In addition, those operators may receive services from different service suppliers. These additional services may include low-altitude weather, congestion management, terrain avoidance, route planning, re-rerouting, separation management, and contingency management to name a few. This novel ecosystem requires a federation of services that are interconnected and communicating via well-defined interfaces and protocols.

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Last Updated: June 29, 2020

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