The future of drones: NASA and NIAS partner to create better rules, policies

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Executive Director Chris Walach and his esteemed crew at the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS) test their drones at the Henderson Unmanned Vehicle Range every week.

“We’re proofing out the range, doing different types of testing and safety procedures with this range,” said Walach.

Drones have been used at construction sites to conduct surveillance and assess damage. Walach believes that this is just the beginning. 

“All first responders from fire departments, to highway patrol, Las Vegas Metro, they can use these drones to supplement their work,” Walach said. 

He is working with NASA to create better rules and policies for drones. He wants to see the tech tools change the way different departments work. 

“It really extends the ability for humans to be safe. So, it’s very exciting what drones are doing across the industry,” Walach added.

NASA recently selected two organizations to host the final phase of its four-year series of increasingly complicated technical demonstrations involving drones.

The demonstrations will help NASA’s UAS Traffic Management (UTM) system safely and effectively manage drone traffic in an urban area.

“We’ve already been put on the global technology scene both national and global and this will continue to help us be that global leader out in the industry,” said Walach.

The drone flights will take place in and around downtown Reno and Southern Nevada between March and June.

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