Accommodating Low Altitude Autonomous UAS Flight Within the National Airspace System



Seitz, Christopher

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This thesis identifies trends in Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) development and examines the status of UAS integration into the National Airspace System of the United States. The current states of Federal Aviation Administration technological initiatives, UAS operational guidelines and airspace regulations are described and explored. A review of academic literature, including scholarly journals and US federal legislation, examines trends in possible UAS applications, beneficial uses of employing UAS, potential risks associated with higher UAS ubiquity, and mitigation techniques to reduce risk. A low altitude aerial network is proposed in order to incorporate unmanned air traffic in a safe manner within the bounds of the selected study area of Fairfax County, Virginia. The results find that a majority of residential structures are capable of being accessed through this network and demonstrates that alternative methods of airspace conceptualization may lead to a reimagining of existing physical space for low altitude unmanned navigation.



UAS, GIS, Aeronautics, Drone, Geography, Autonomous systems