U.S. FAA releases Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Roadmap

Washington, D.C.-–The first annual Roadmap outlining efforts needed to safely integrate unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into the nation’s airspace has been published by U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The Roadmap addresses current and future policies, regulations, technologies and procedures that will be required as demand moves the country from today’s limited accommodation of UAS operations to the extensive integration of UAS into the planned NextGen aviation system with its satellite-based technologies and new procedures. Photonics technologies such as airborne imaging sensors, laser-based systems such as lidar, and other optical systems are critical technologies carried aboard unmanned aerial vechicles (UAVs) of all sizes and applications.

Related article: Meeting the design challenges for imaging payloads on small UAVs

The Roadmap outlines the FAA’s approach to ensuring that widespread UAS use is safe, from the perspective of accommodation, integration, and evolution. The FAA’s main goal for integration is to establish requirements that UAS operators will have to meet to increase access to airspace over the next five to 10 years. The Roadmap discusses items such as new or revised regulations, policies, procedures, guidance material, training, and understanding of systems and operations to support routine UAS operations.

The FAA plans to select six UAS test sites to begin work on integrating UAS into the airspace. For the next several years, the FAA will continue to use special mitigations and procedures to accommodate limited UAS access to the nation’s airspace on a case-by-case basis.

In addition to the FAA’s Roadmap, the Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO) has developed a comprehensive plan to safely accelerate the integration of civil UAS into the national airspace system.

Download the UAS Roadmap (PDF).

Download the UAS Comprehensive Plan (PDF).

Find information about the test site selection process and final test site privacy policy.

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