September 18, 2019
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:
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.