The Kansas Department of Transportation said it is partnering with the private AirMap technology company to deploy the nation’s first statewide aerial drone traffic management system.
KDOT said that using AirMap’s unmanned traffic management technology, “Kansas will implement an airport notification and awareness system for drones. This airspace management system will be made available to airports across the state.”
It added: “Participating airports will be able to accept digital flight notices, communicate with drone operators and prepare for UTM milestones on the horizon, such as automating airspace notification and authorization for commercial drone flights.”
AirMap describes itself as “the world’s leading airspace management platform for drones,” sand says that millions of such units, along with hundreds of drone manufacturers and developers plus other stakeholders use its airspace intelligence and services to fly drones and communicate with others in low-altitude airspace.
Through the initiative, Kansas airports, state agencies and higher-education institutions will receive access to the AirMap platform, KDOT said, and officials will offer training to support local drone operations and provide safety-critical information.
Kansas Transportation Secretary Richard Carlson said the KDOT-AirMap partnership “will support a strong foundation for air traffic safety in Kansas. Together, we will foster an environment that allows unmanned systems to contribute to the state economy.”
Aviation activity accounts for more than $20.6 billion in economic impact for the state, KDOT said, with more than 73 percent of the world’s general aviation fleet manufactured there and more than 700 aerospace and aviation companies located in Kansas.
In its separate press release, AirMap said: “As the drone ecosystem takes off, commercial drone operations will make tremendous contributions worldwide. In Kansas, drones will be mobilized for disaster recovery, search-and-rescue, agriculture, construction, package delivery, and more.
Already, the state is home to a thriving community of commercial drone operators, and forward-thinking Kansas agencies like the Department of Transportation are putting drones to work for infrastructure inspections and other public use cases. This new, first-of-its-kind collaboration will support the state’s ongoing efforts to welcome drones in safe, secure and efficient ways.”