Wing Medium
Sep 18 · 4 min read

Over the past week, Wing participated in two major demonstrations that confirmed the immediate viability and effectiveness of network based remote identification (“remote ID”) for drones. These demonstrations took place in the United States and Switzerland and were based on a draft standard developed through ASTM International. The proposed ASTM Remote ID Standard represents the consensus among 35 industry organizations and regulators, and is currently in the final stages of a ballot process. The proposed ASTM Remote ID standard covers both network and broadcast methods for remote identification.

These demonstrations showed the benefits of remote ID based on the proposed ASTM standard. Network remote ID allows anyone — including public officials, drone users or bystanders — to identify drones operating nearby. The proposed ASTM standard is an important step towards enabling safe, open, and secure airspace. The proposed standard:

  • Enables remote identification today without requiring additional infrastructure or equipment;
  • Supports a diverse range of drone types, including drones connected to the cell network, and a diverse range of drone operators, including both recreational and commercial users; and
  • Provides transparency and privacy by providing third parties with information to identify a drone while ensuring that information is shared only when necessary.

Demonstration in California, USA

On September 12, participants simulated three common scenarios in controlled airspace around San Francisco International Airport. Participants included eight UAS Service Suppliers (USS), Wing, AirMap, AiRXOS, ANRA, Kittyhawk, Skyward, Uber, UASidekick, all of whom had implemented capabilities in accordance with the draft ASTM standard. CNN and Flite Test also participated as operators, representing media and hobbyist operations. As many as seven drones were operating simultaneously in the demonstration area.

Different USS were able to exchange data via the Linux Foundation’s open-source InterUSS Platform™. The InterUSS Platform implemented the Discovery and Synchronization Service (DSS) defined in the proposed ASTM standard. Participants showed the effectiveness of network remote ID in a variety of real-world scenarios:

  • Busy drone airspace: This scenario demonstrated how the ASTM standard for network remote ID supports interoperability between multiple USS providers supporting diverse drones. Participants showed that an observer can reliably identify many different drones operating in close proximity and supported by different USS. As many as six different display applications provided a consistent depiction of nearby drones.
This image shows six different types of drones, all supported by different USS but all visible on different remote ID display apps
  • Calling a third party to identify a drone: Participants simulated a scenario in which a third party observes a drone flying near a facility, and calls security in another location to identify the aircraft. This scenario showed that the ASTM standard for network remote ID supports remote identification even if an observer cannot access a smartphone or USS app by communicating with someone located elsewhere but has access to a remote ID display app. This process also required an address for the remote user to identify the drone. Common examples may include firefighters or paramedics organizing a medical evacuation, or security patrolling an airport or office building.
Person calling a dispatcher to have them identify the drone on a remote ID app
  • Incorporating modelers and hobbyists: Flite Test played the role of a hobbyist flying in controlled airspace. They used a USS app to obtain airspace authorization via LAANC and to declare a flight area that is visible to others via network-based remote ID. This scenario demonstrated how the ASTM standard for network remote ID can support recreational users and hobbyists without requiring complex, costly or infeasible equipage.

Demonstration in Switzerland

On September 16 in Bern, Switzerland, Wing, in partnership with the Swiss U-Space Implementation (SUSI) Member’s Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA), Skyguide, AirMap, ANRA, Involi, and Orbitalize reconfirmed the ASTM remote solution with a different configuration of participants.

A similar busy drone airspace scenario was conducted with drones reliably identified on five different remote ID display applications. The modeler / hobbyist scenario was also repeated, showing how non-equipped drones can still participate and be identified via network remote ID. In addition, the demonstration included a scenario illustrating another valuable capability of ASTM network remote ID:

  • Drones moving quickly out of sight: A fast-moving drone can be out of sight and out of range for broadcast remote ID before a person can open their cell phone and open a remote ID display app. The demonstration showed how network-based remote ID enables users to identify drones that were operating in the area up to 60 seconds ago.

The demonstration also validated key elements of FOCA’s vision for UTM/U-Space, including a competitive industry environment comprising multiple U-Space Service Providers (USPs), all using standardized mechanisms for interoperability, including the ASTM Discovery and Synchronization Service and standards-based protocols for data exchange. The demonstration provided confidence that industry-developed solutions with appropriate regulatory oversight is a viable path forward.

Conclusion

The ASTM standard will enable remote identification of drones today. By supporting a range of drone types and drone operators — from complex commercial operators to hobbyists with home-built aircraft — the ASTM standard will ensure that remote ID is available to all drone users. Wing encourages regulators to implement the ASTM standard swiftly to promote safe, open and secure airspace.

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