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Civil UAV Team
 
UAVs currently represent a relatively small segment of the aerospace market; however, they constitute one of the more dynamic portions of the industry. Many technology forecasting publications have cited a wide range of applications that include UAVs taking on new missions, and adding a new dimension to existing missions. Examples include:
  • Satellite Augmentation Systems
  • Law Enforcement and Disaster Operations
  • Fire Detection and Firefighting Management
  • Border and Costal Patrol and Monitoring
  • Homeland Security
  • Air Traffic Control Support
  • Digital Mapping and Planning / Land Management
  • Precision Agriculture and Fisheries
  • Communications and Broadcast Services
  • Search and Rescue
  • Environmental Research and Air Quality Management / Control
Although UAV development for civil use is in the early stages, several prerequisites must be satisfied to render the UAV a viable, cost effective and regulated alternative to existing resources. A partial listing of major civil and commercial market barriers include:
  • Liability for Civil Operation
  • Affordability - Price and Customization Issues
  • Sensor Technology and Miniaturization
  • Lack of Secure Non-Military Frequency for Civil Operation
  • Operator Training Issues
  • Recognition and Customer Perception
  • Lack of Airspace Regulation that Covers All Types of UAV Systems (Encompassing Sense and Avoid, Airspace Integration and Airworthiness Issues).
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is leading a significant effort to assess the capabilities of Uninhabited Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for civil use. A key part of this activity is to develop a report that will serve as a roadmap for the development of these a;;applications. The intent of that report, which will complement the Office of the Secretary of Defense UAV Roadmap is four-fold:
  • To discuss the present state of the platform capabilities and required technologies, identifying those in progress, those planned, and those for which no current plans exist.
  • Provide foundations for development of a comprehensive civil UAV roadmap
  • To determine and document technologies necessary to support future missions
  • To determine and document potential future civil missions for UAVs based on user-defined needs
The content of the assessment document will be updated periodically and used to evaluate the feasibility of future missions. In addition, it will help influence funding decisions to develop technologies that are considered enabling or necessary, but are not contained within approved funding plans and guidelines.