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Safety considerations for operation of different classes of unmanned aerial vehicles in the National Airspace System

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dc.contributor.advisor R. John Hansman, Jr. en_US
dc.contributor.author Weibel, Roland E. (Roland Everett) en_US
dc.contributor.other Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Aeronautics and Astronautics. en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2006-03-21T21:08:42Z
dc.date.available 2006-03-21T21:08:42Z
dc.date.copyright 2005 en_US
dc.date.issued 2005 en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1721.1/30364
dc.description Thesis (S.M.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2005. en_US
dc.description This electronic version was submitted by the student author. The certified thesis is available in the Institute Archives and Special Collections. en_US
dc.description Includes bibliographical references (p. 105-109). en_US
dc.description.abstract There is currently a broad effort underway in the United States and internationally by several organizations to craft regulations enabling the safe operation of UAVs in the NAS. Current federal regulations governing unmanned aircraft are limited in scope, and the lack of regulations is a barrier to achieving the full potential benefit of UAV operations. Safety is a fundamental requirement for operation in the NAS. Maintaining and enhancing safety of UAVs is both the authority and responsibility of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). To inform future FAA regulations, an investigation of the safety considerations for UAV operation in the NAS was performed. Key issues relevant to operations in the NAS, including performance and operating architecture were examined, as well as current rules and regulations governing unmanned aircraft. In integrating UAV operations in the NAS, it will be important to consider the implications of different levels of vehicle control and autonomous capability and the source of traffic surveillance in the system. A system safety analysis was performed according to FAA system safety guidelines for two critical hazards in UAV operation: midair collision and ground impact. Event-based models were developed describing the likelihood of ground fatalities and midair collisions under several assumptions. From the models, a risk analysis was performed calculating the expected level of safety for each hazard without mitigation. The variation of expected level of safety was determined based on vehicle characteristics and population density for the ground impact hazard, and traffic density for midair collisions. en_US
dc.description.abstract (cont.) The results of the safety analysis indicate that it may be possible to operate small UAVs with few operational and size restrictions over the majority of the United States. As UAV mass increases, mitigation measures must be utilized to further reduce both ground impact and midair collision risks to target levels from FAA guidance. It is in the public interest to achieve the full benefits of UAV operations, while still preserving safety through effective mitigation of risks with the least possible restrictions. Therefore, a framework was presented under which several potential mitigation measures were introduced and could be evaluated. It is likely that UAVs will be significant users of the future NAS, and this thesis provides an analytical basis for evaluating future regulatory decisions. en_US
dc.description.statementofresponsibility by Roland E. Weibel. en_US
dc.format.extent 109 p. en_US
dc.format.extent 2275677 bytes
dc.format.extent 2397734 bytes
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.publisher Massachusetts Institute of Technology en_US
dc.rights M.I.T. theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission. See provided URL for inquiries about permission. en_US
dc.rights.uri http://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/7582
dc.subject Aeronautics and Astronautics. en_US
dc.title Safety considerations for operation of different classes of unmanned aerial vehicles in the National Airspace System en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.description.degree S.M. en_US
dc.contributor.department Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Aeronautics and Astronautics. en_US
dc.identifier.oclc 61751476 en_US


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