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ASTM SDSP Standard: Expanding the UTM Ecosystem

In a significant step towards managing the growing volume of metrics for low-altitude, autonomous flight, MatrixSpace and INVOLI have jointly led the publication of the first F3623-23 Standard Specification for Surveillance Supplementary Data Service Provider (SDSP) by ASTM International.

SDSPs play a crucial role in supporting Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) operators by supplying air traffic surveillance, weather, terrain, obstacle clearance, and other data specific to the area of operation. This is particularly vital for addressing the challenges at the under-400 feet airspace common to autonomous operations.

Previously, various sensors such as radar, Lidar, optical, Transponder Modes A, C, or S, and ADS-B lacked a common platform to collect and disseminate surveillance data. UAS operators had to establish individual, point-to-point connections to different sensor providers, which was cumbersome and costly.

The newly established global SDSP standard sets benchmark requirements for collecting air traffic surveillance data and then disseminating it to users. SDSPs can now develop data fusion capabilities for a single, fused track, eliminating the complexity and providing a “one-stop shop” for surveillance services.

Akaki Kunchulia, Airspace Regulations Lead at MatrixSpace, emphasized the importance of industry-driven standards. He said, “Industry-driven standards are essential for the UAS industry to ensure requirements are based on practical, real-world implementations. SDSPs play a vital role in expanding the UTM ecosystem and the overall safety of UAS operations. This standard allows them to focus on product development adhering to this standard which in turn ensures a level of integration not previously possible. As radar and other sensing capabilities become more advanced, we can integrate them easily into the wider surveillance service.”

The ASTM International recently published another SDSP standard for weather information. These efforts incentivize the UAS industry to build products that comply with these standards. Regulators worldwide consider compliance with the standards one of the top requirements for operational approvals.

Manu Lubrano, CEO at INVOLI, highlighted the growing need for a standard way to monitor air activities for collision avoidance. He stated, “As low-altitude BVLOS (beyond visual line of sight) autonomous and semi-autonomous flight proliferates, there is a growing need to provide a standard way to monitor air activities for collision avoidance. This is one of the key challenges facing the UAS industry to operate safely and at scale. This standard allows SDSPs to provide complex but streamlined surveillance data to multiple users and, in turn, enable more BVLOS flights.”

MatrixSpace Radar, with its very low SWaP-C (size, weight, power, and cost), provides robust situational awareness of both airborne and ground-based objects, regardless of lighting and weather conditions. This facilitates the long-awaited Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) flight for uncrewed and autonomous aircraft, as well as enhancing safety for general aviation.

Involi provides comprehensive air traffic detection solutions, crucial for safe unmanned operations. Their technology offers real-time information on nearby air traffic, facilitating the integration of drones into busy airspaces.

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