The Linux Foundation, a nonprofit technology consortium, plans to host the InterUSS Platform Open Source Project, which is designed to enable “trusted, secure and scalable” interoperability among unmanned aircraft system (UAS) service suppliers (USSs) to advance “safe, equitable and efficient” drone operations, the foundation has announced.

Initial contributors include both industry and regulatory organizations: Wing, AirMap, Uber and the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation.

Similar to the evolution of cities, our skies are becoming busier with traffic, the Linux Foundation explains. In an effort to unleash innovation and ensure safety, aviation regulators around the world are implementing UAS traffic management to support increasing and diverse drone operations. Under UTM, a set of USSs (also known as U-Space Service Providers, or USPs) assists drone operators with conducting safe and compliant operations.

The nonprofit adds that USSs can provide service in overlapping airspace and share data, when required, to support services such as strategic deconfliction of flight plans and remote identification. The industry is developing standards for this data sharing through organizations such as ASTM International, and the InterUSS Project will provide a forum for collaboration and development of standards-compliant, open source implementations that facilitate communication in the UTM environment.

The InterUSS Platform supports a range of UTM services by facilitating communications between USSs and implements the Discovery and Synchronization Service (DSS) defined in the ASTM Remote ID standard. This includes two primary functions: First, it enables a USS to discover other USSs from which it needs to obtain information about flights and constraints in the airspace. Second, it provides mechanisms that require a USS to prove that it is aware of those flights and constraints.

The InterUSS Platform accomplishes these functions without requiring any personally identifiable information and enables the USSs to share data only when necessary. The InterUSS platform was developed by industry in consultation with regulators and standards bodies around the world. It also provides a framework for interoperability in NASA’s UTM demonstrations and the FAA’s UTM pilot program.

“Drones and their interoperability represents one of the most important areas of innovation across the technology industry,” comments Mike Dolan, vice president of strategic programs for the Linux Foundation. “We’re excited to support the InterUSS Platform and global developer community to advance drone operations around the world.”

The foundation will use an open governance model, including a technical advisory council (TAC), comprising a variety of technical stakeholders in the drone space. Project inclusion will be determined by a review and curation process managed by the TAC.

“The InterUSS Platform enables that any drone operator, enterprise or individual can have safe and equitable access to airspace,” says Andreas Lamprecht, AirMap’s chief technology officer. “This open source implementation of the ASTM standard for the Discovery and Synchronization Service represents a huge step forward in nurturing an open, interoperable and diversified market for UAS services.”

“Drone-based deliveries have the potential to get products to people quickly and conveniently,” adds Tom Prevot, director of airspace systems at Uber Elevate. “Rolling out standards-compliant UAS traffic management services intelligently means creating a universal and secure communication protocol that drone operators can use for safely sharing the airspace. We believe this technology should be open. That’s why Uber is proud to join the InterUSS-Platform as a premier member, as we believe this open project will advance the technology to make safe drone operations a standard feature in our lives.”

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