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Drones Will Control Air Traffic Systems By 2019

CALIFORNIA:  Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) “Focus Area Pathfinders” initiative, designed to explore the next steps in unmanned aircraft operations (drones).

According to sources, FAA is planning to set up drones to control air traffic. The goal is to outfit every Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) platform (drone), be that a commercial or hobbyist drone, with technology that sends real-time flight data transmission based on worldwide cellular networks and satellite communications.

The Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) industry will expand from $6.8 billion in 2014 to $19.5 billion in 2020 and 110,000 drones operating by 2020.


In parallel to the Pathfinders project, NASA is working to Unmanned Aerial System Traffic Management (UTM) and once completed, by 2019, have it transferred to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for operational management.

In Europe, LaBRI’s (Laboratoire Bordelais de Recherche en Informatique) project Cooperative Autonomous Reconfigurable UAV Swarm (CARUS) stands out.

The men and women in the tower at your local airport can track about ten manned aircraft at a given time, a relatively small number. A drone air traffic control architecture will handle massive data bandwidth, automatically.

The cornerstone of such a system will be a platform agnostic device capable of capturing and transmitting basic flight data in a reliable way.

M M Alam

M. M. Alam is a Pakistan-based working journalist since 1981. Karachi University faculty gold medalist Alam began his career four decades ago by writing for Dawn, Pakistan’s highest circulating English daily. He has worked for region’s leading publications, global aviation periodicals including Rotors (of USA) and vetted New York Times as permanent employee of daily Express Tribune. Alam regularly covers international aviation and defense-related events including Salon Du Bourget (France), Farnborough (United Kingdom), Dubai (UAE). Alam has reported thousands of events and interviewed hundreds of people in Pakistan, UAE, EU, UK and USA. Being Francophone Alam also coordinates with a number of French publications.