Virginia launches drone information exchange service

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The Virginia Department of Transportation is one of the key stakeholders in a new project to enable sharing of information about unmanned aerial systems, to address key safety and policy concerns while keeping the airspace open, secure, and integrated within Federal Aviation Administration control.

Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) are an increasingly important tool for transportation departments, which are already putting them to use in asset surveys, as well as investigating their possible use for wider traffic management. However, safety concerns often hold back pushing the technology to its limits, which is where the new Virginia Flight Information Exchange should help.

The Virginia Flight Information Exchange is a platform for state and local government agencies to publish and share advisory information with each other, UAS Service Suppliers (USS), unmanned system operators, and the public to promote transparency and public safety. The pilot program will evaluate the benefits of information sharing, inform thoughtful regulation, and demonstrate a state-supported approach to UAS communications and coordination.

“Innovation plays a critical role in the continuous evolution of Virginia’s multimodal transportation network,” says Virginia secretary of transportation Shannon Valentine. “The development of the Virginia Flight Information Exchange demonstrates Virginia’s commitment to collaborative solutions and the future of the emerging UAS industry sector.”

The Virginia Flight Information Exchange will be the first state-sponsored authoritative Supplemental Data Service Provider (SDSP) to exist in the FAA’s UAS Traffic Management (UTM), which is an ecosystem of infrastructure and protocols enabling the management of low- altitude drone operations.

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Ben has worked all of his career as a journalist and now editor, covering almost all aspects of technology, engineering and industry. In the last 20 years he has written on subjects from nuclear submarines and autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies and commercial aviation. Latterly editor of a leading engineering magazine, he brings an eye for a great story and lots of experience to the team.

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