Unmanned Traffic Management, or UTM, is the technological infrastructure that facilitates data exchange and air traffic control for drones. By implementing technologies that will one day be part of a nationwide UTM framework, Kansas is the first U.S. state to take a proactive approach to protecting the privacy, safety and security of state residents while empowering drone entrepreneurship. The KDOT-AirMap partnership will foster a thriving drone economy with the potential to contribute billions in economic impact and create thousands of jobs in the state.
The KDOT-AirMap collaboration will lay the foundation for a statewide UTM infrastructure by deploying technology capable of:
- Delivering safety-critical information from state and local agencies to drones for situational awareness and flight planning
- Facilitating collaboration, communication and data exchange between state and local authorities and drones and their operators
- Fostering public awareness about drone regulations and airspace requirements
- Automating airspace notification and authorization at Kansas airports
- Demonstrating sophisticated solutions that safeguard public safety and personal privacy, including technology for geofencing and remote identification
- Enabling high-scale and complex operations beyond visual line of sight
The initiative will make AirMap’s airspace management dashboard available to every airport in Kansas. Using the AirMap platform, participating airports will be able to accept digital flight notices, communicate with drone operators and prepare for UTM milestones on the horizon, including automating airspace notification and authorization for commercial drone flights.
Government entities and agencies throughout the state will be trained to use the AirMap platform to support their own drone operations and provide safety-critical information to drone operators, including first responder activity, locations of critical infrastructure, local landmarks, community events and more.
State colleges and universities will also receive access to the AirMap platform, including AirMap’s APIs and SDKs for developers, to empower students and faculty to participate in research and development to discover new drone applications.
“Drones are already contributing to the Kansas economy as they start to be employed by farmers, ranchers, realtors, first responders and our public agencies,” said Bob Brock, Director of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and Deputy Director of Aviation at the Kansas Department of Transportation. “By partnering with AirMap, we ensure that the state of Kansas is a perfect place to fly drones and build strong UAS companies. Kansas is open for business.”
“Soon, there will be more drones in our skies than cars on our roads,” said AirMap cofounder Gregory S. McNeal. “The AirMap-KDOT partnership will help Kansas prepare for this next frontier in aviation, creating the digital infrastructure the state will need to safely, securely and efficiently benefit from high-scale drone operations. We’re thrilled to partner with KDOT to open Kansas skies for drones.”
The UTM initiative builds upon Kansas’ long history of aviation innovation, paving the way for the state to mobilize drones for disaster recovery, search and rescue, agriculture, construction, package delivery and other community benefits. Aviation is already the state’s second largest industry, supporting nearly 92,000 jobs and generating an economic output of nearly $20.6 billion. By deploying AirMap airspace management technology across the state – and working with AirMap to demonstrate sophisticated UTM solutions in a series of technical demonstrations – Kansas will be uniquely positioned to capture a significant share of the drone opportunity.
AirMap is the world’s leading airspace management platform for drones. Millions of drones, hundreds of drone manufacturers and developers, and hundreds of airspace managers and stakeholders rely on AirMap’s airspace intelligence and services to fly safely and communicate with others in low-altitude airspace.
About Kansas Department of Transportation – Aviation
Over 700 aerospace and aviation companies live and work together in the Sunflower State. More than 18 years of active UAS research – including one of the first UAS Bachelor’s degree programs in the country – add to Kansas’s industry leadership. The state’s rich aviation history is built on a century of aircraft production. Over 73 percent of the world’s general aviation fleet is manufactured in Kansas.