Time to Build an Australian National Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) System


ACUO LogoThe Association of Certified UAV Operators (ACUO) is calling for the Federal Government to launch a program to design, develop and implement a continent-wide unmanned traffic management (UTM) system as the only viable means of achieving the safe integration of remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) – called drones by the general public – into national airspace.

The proposed UTM system would facilitate transparent and harmonised integration of all forms of RPAS into Australian skies, resolving already significant and growing safety problems posed by unsafe and non-compliant operators.

“A UTM system, operating alongside and fully integrated with the OneSky air traffic management system, is the only way to ensure all RPAS users follow necessary rules and regulations for flight operations” says ACUO President, Joe Urli

“A national UTM system would be an important enabler for growth of the Australian RPAS industry as a whole, as it would open up access to wider flight environments, including facilitating services such as ‘drone delivery’ across the country.”

ACUO’s proposal is detailed in a submission by the Association to the Senate Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport inquiry into Regulatory requirements that impact on the safe use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems, Unmanned Aerial Systems and Associated Systems.

The Senate inquiry was sparked by controversial new regulations for RPAS implemented by CASA in September 2016. ACUO was one of a number of leading national aerospace and aviation sector organisations which sought Senate disallowance of the regulations. The ACUO submission contains 20 recommendations, these seeking to guide Senate Committee understanding of the origins of the September 2016 regulations, the specific problems those regulations pose, and assist in the planning for practical long term solutions.

“Without implementing a comprehensive structural solution to the problem of rogue RPAS operations, no amount of regulatory reform by CASA will achieve a lasting solution to the problem” says Urli.

“The most logical step is to develop a solution which directly transforms regulation into an economic enabler. UTM is precisely that class of solution.

“Australia was once a leader in the development of regulations for commercial RPAS systems. Australia now lags as nations such as Singapore, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates and the United States all explore development of UTM systems as a requisite part of 21st century national infrastructure”.

About ACUO:
ACUO was established as a legal entity in March 2010 to represent the interests of entities holding Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority unmanned aircraft operator certificates.
The association is chartered to promote the growth and the expansion of the commercial unmanned aircraft industry in Australia and to ensure the safe and orderly growth of the sector.

ACUO represents Australia globally as part of the International Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems Coordination Council, the pre-eminent global policy coordination body for this important sunrise industry.

ACUO represents the commercial RPAS sector as a member of the Federal Government’s Aviation Industry Consultative Committee (AICC) under the auspices of the Transport Minister, the Honourable Darren Chester MP.

ACUO is also a member of The Australian Aviation Association Forum (TAAAF), standing with a host of respected manned aviation associations in support of developing and advancing the Australian aviation industry.


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