Clearing the Skies: The Imperative Shift Towards Autonomous Operations in Future Drone Traffic Management Systems

As drone use scales up in the future, creating an increasingly crowded airspace at altitudes below 400 feet, a recent study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University suggests that increasing the level of autonomous operations help might create a safer air traffic management system.

The study, published in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Computer Magazine, finds that “the best option for achieving airspace safety due to the predicted levels of congestion is likely by replacing the human-in-the-loop operations with autonomy.”

Experts predict that by 2035 there will be 65,000 UAS takeoffs and landings per hour. Currently, the bus­iest U.S. airports can only handle 300 commercial aircraft operations per hour, which means that a new traffic management system must be devised to accommodate the explosive growth in drone traffic.

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