UAS Traffic Management (UTM)

Most current manned aviation Air Traffic Management (ATM) and ATC involves voice dialogue between ATC and the pilot in the aircraft.  This is no longer the case with RPAS.  Current ATC takes place on common radio frequencies, so that all pilots in an ATC area can hear and participate in all relevant ATC communications.  There is a need for RPAS to integrate with this environment.  There is a trend towards digital ATC services for all aviation which will not require voice communications and this probably will help to reduce this challenge.

Routine manned aviation altitude limits and classes of airspace differ in different states.  Typically below a certain altitude and in some remote locations, ATC service are not available.  Most (especially small) RPA are required by most states to operate below the minimum altitude permitted for others types of aviation (apart from take off and landing locations).  Many small RPAS are specifically designed to work at low altitudes because that is most suitable for their applications (eg delivery, high structure inspection, real estate photography).  While this might be less of a problem in remote areas, with the huge increase in the use of small RPAS (cf ‘drones’) both for recreational use and aerail work, there is a growing need for UTM.  A good deal of work is underway in this area, especially with the interest in ‘Urban Air Mobiliy’ (UAM).

Further Reading

Enabling Unmanned Aircraft Traffic Managament in the UK.  The report provides a summary of the developed open-access UTM framework and defines the future direction around which industry and regulators can openly engage with each other to explore how UTM may be trialled, de-risked and matured. This will support the development of both UTM technologies and the application of UTM but also places the industry in a leading position. 

This link leads to the relevant Catapult web page:  Enabling Unmanned Aircraft Traffic Management in the UK Report (  The referenced report can be found at: 01296_Open-Access-UTM-Report-V4.pdf (

The Legal Framework of UTM for UAS; Ryan, Al-Rubaye, Braithwaite, Panagiotakopoulos; Cranfield University; is available for download here.

EASA AI Trustworthiness Guidance: paving the way to safety-related AI certification.  Watch the recording of the fourth FLY AI webinar organised by EUROCONTROL and moderated by EASA here.

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