In early 2021, the FAA issued a ruling that all UAVs over 250g weight would now have to report their ID, location, and a few other parameters in real time, in a manner that could be received by users on the ground. KalScott aims to develop and demonstrate RemoteID devices to comply with this rule. In this Phase I SBIR project, KalScott developed and demonstrated a network-based RemoteID device (based on LTE), and a Broadcast RemoteID device (based on Bluetooth) during Phase I. Several ground and flight tests were conducted, where the functionality of the devices was tested, and observations were made to enable us to identify gaps, and to refine the design in Phase II. Both the units showed the ability to broadcast the RemoteID message with the required information fields (ID, timestamp, GPS Lat/Long, Barometric Altitude, and Velocity). System message rates, latency, and range were the key parameters that were observed. The devices were demonstrated in real time operation to NASA and non-NASA personnel. In addition, we began development of a security plan, and a certification plan. Based on the results of the Phase I effort, the following are the tasks planned for Phase II: a) Refine and flight test hardware for LTE and BLE-based RemoteID devices, and networked data distribution, b) Develop multi-band chip version, covering LTE, WiFi, Bluetooth, c) Develop and implement data and hardware security protocols, d) Develop certification plan and collect data to support certification applications e) Continue working relationships with NASA, FAA and USAF including porting data into FAA servers and f) Develop a Manufacturing Plan. Personnel from NASA and FAA have also expressed interest in collaboration. An investor group has committed matching funds for Phase II-E and CCRPP follow-on phases for this project (a letter is included in the Capital Commitments section).
This technology can improve the safety of Next Gen airspace operations where manned traffic will mingle with unmanned aircraft and air taxis. NASA is working on several initiatives such as the Advanced Air Mobility (AAM), Aerial Port, and High Density Vertiports (HDV), where this technology may serve as a bridge between several different communications protocols.
Non-NASA applications include equipping autonomous airfield equipment to enable deconfliction with taxying aircraft, operating as an organic air traffic monitoring system in remote areas or in disaster zones, providing interoperability and cross-communications in aerial firefighting, etc. This system can be the aerial node for IoT implementations in emerging Smart Cities programs.