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Thales signs agreement with NASA for unmanned systems control technologies

27/03/2018

Thales
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Thales signs agreement with NASA for unmanned systems control technologies
A pilot launches his drone on a planned maneuver at New York’s FAA/NASA UAS test site. Credit: NASA Ames, NUAIR Alliance / Eric Miller

Today, Thales announces that it has reached formal agreement with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for a Space Act Agreement to support their unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) traffic management (UTM) activity. With the ongoing support of federal, state and local government officials, and economic development organizations, Thales will be creating jobs in New York through this agreement.
  • Thales completes a Space Act Agreement (SAA) to facilitate coordination with NASA to support the development of UTM concepts.
  • This agreement will allow Thales to engage with NASA to refine the UTM concept architecture supporting drone integration into the U.S. NAS.
  • Thales is collaborating with other SAA parties to support NASA’s vision for UAS integration.
Commenting on this agreement, members of the United States Congress said:

“Attracting global companies like Thales to the Mohawk Valley was exactly what we envisioned when we sought and secured the FAA Test Site in Rome. NUAIR, Griffiss Airport and their private partners like Thales are national leaders in helping the federal government safely and efficiently integrate UAS into the national airspace. This agreement with help the Test Site continue its important work – and keep the Mohawk Valley at the forefront of the emerging UAS industry.”
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer

“It’s been a privilege to partner with NASA and Thales to secure an agreement that will bring high-tech jobs here to the Mohawk Valley,Thales’ presence in our area will further secure our standing as a vital player in developing defense technology and unmanned aerial capabilities. The Mohawk Valley has the talent and workforce ready to fill these positions. I look forward to continuing to work alongside Thales and NASA as they continue to innovate and lead in defense technology.”
Congresswoman Claudia Tenney

This framework agreement allows Thales to engage with NASA on a technical and program level to continue to establish UTM in the United States, and allows Thales to leverage its global expertise in UTM. Thales will support NASA’s goal to develop a UTM concept that can be transferred to the FAA in 2019 for deployment in the national airspace system (NAS). 

Under this agreement, Thales will collaborate with NASA for the research, development, testing and evaluation of low-altitude airspace control of UAS operating at or below 400 feet. To support NASA’s milestones for developing UTM, Thales will engage with industry and government stakeholders to share expertise, concepts and perspectives on the integration of unmanned systems. The agreement also includes further cooperation with existing Technology Capability Level activities being conducted by NASA. 

Thales is already working with other NASA partners at the FAA’s New York Test Site at Griffiss International Airport in Rome, NY, and will be deploying technologies in support of NASA initiatives. Through existing agreements with Syracuse University, Griffiss International Airport, CenterState CEO, Empire State Development and the NUAIR Alliance, Thales is supporting the development of UTM in New York including integration and monitoring of the FAA’s System Wide Information Management (SWIM) capabilities. Thales also continues to work with the FAA on the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) program for small unmanned aerial system integration. 

Thales is a global leader in air traffic management solutions and is developing a secure and flexible UTM solution based on the ECOsystem digital aviation platform. ECOsystem leverages Thales capabilities in big data, cyber security, artificial intelligence and connectivity to provide decision support for air traffic management stakeholders for manned and unmanned operations. 

Thales intends to leverage this preexisting expertise of UTM throughout its engagement with NASA and its network of UTM partners. 

With a focus on digital transformation concepts across New York, Thales has brought many other innovative solutions to the state including innovative rail signaling, airport security, airline operations and passenger experience solutions. 

“NASA, the FAA, and its partners including Thales, are working to extend the beneficial and innovative applications of small UAS, while respecting long-standing traditions of safety. Thales supports technology innovation and this agreement enables us to further leverage our strengths in air traffic management to advance a UTM concept for NASA and bring high-technology jobs to central New York.” 
Alan Pellegrini, CEO, Thales USA