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ANRA Technologies, Aurora Partake in UAM Centaur Trials

Optionally-Piloted Aircraft Evaluated in Airspace Management Test

ANRA Technologies lent its expertise to the FAA's Urban Air Mobility Airspace Management Demonstration (UAMD) program's recent live flights in California, drawing lessons that should pay dividends in future airspace management.

During the tests, ANRA provided the "airspace management services" needed for Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences as they put their Centaur testbed through its paces. The Centaur is the latest in a long line of "optionally piloted aircraft", a Diamond DA42 set up for semi-autonomous flight. The Centaur flew a 20-mile corridor between St Martin and Hollister airports in central California, simulating a routine flight as ANRA watched and recorded telemetry needed to improve future traffic flow, demand balancing, and information delivery going forward. While the airspace system has been honed into a high standard of safety and performance today, the inclusion of millions of brand-new, full-sized uncrewed aircraft will undoubtedly throw a wrench into the well oiled machine.

“There have been many meetings, numerous simulations and plenty of tests to ensure the safe operation of real aircraft flying while connected to the ANRA platform in the NAS,” stated David Murphy, UAMD Project Lead for ANRA. “The ANRA PSU, DCB and DSS worked great, but we have much more to learn on how we continue to integrate UAM operations in today’s air traffic system.”

Overall, ANRA felt that the demonstration did well to highlight and validate UAM concepts surrounding airspace management, particularly in the treatment and creation of UAM corridors and architecture. While successful, the Centaur's flight remains fairly limited in scope and variation, with traffic funneled through corridor entry points in order to manage participants. Functional? Yes, but scalable? Unknown, without a lot more study. 



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