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FAA UAS Integration Pilot Program Set to Facilitate Amazing Drone Use Cases

Intel Supports Program that Provides Mechanism to Develop and Enforce UAS Regulations

Anil NanduriBy Anil Nanduri

Tuesday marks the deadline for states and localities applying for the Federal Aviation Administration’s Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Integration Pilot Program to submit notice of intent to the FAA. Interest is literally sky high, underscoring the excitement surrounding this area of innovation. Earlier this month Intel applauded the program, which aims to provide a mechanism for state, local, tribal and private sector partners to work with the federal government to develop and enforce UAS regulations.

Thousands of interested parties are already working together to encourage further testing of the integration of UAS technology. In coordination with localities, the program will allow organizations to create strategic partnerships that promote the use of drone technology to benefit communities, test technology solutions that address concerns related to their deployment, and generate critical data to inform smart public policy.

More: Drones at Intel (Press Kit) | The Airborne Revolution (

The program proposals are expected to facilitate amazing drone operations – some we may not yet have even thought of. We do know that this new industry will create global economic opportunities with public safety, commercial and entertainment applications.

We have already seen drones addressing a range of real-world problems by providing safe access to hard-to-reach locations. Some examples include our work in disaster recovery, asset inspection and even tracking polar bear populations in the Arctic. Intel is pushing the boundaries of drone technology with systems that could be valuable in a broader range of testing scenarios:

  • Our ready-to-fly Intel® Aero drone software development platform is a fully assembled and fully functional quadcopter powered by the Intel® Aero Compute Board and equipped with Intel® RealSense™ depth sensing and vision capabilities. It is geared for developers, researchers and educators who desire a fast path to get applications airborne.
  • Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) trials conducted alongside the FAA and NASA are helping to develop and test guidelines for collaborative communications and navigation (C&N) among unmanned aerial systems.
  • Our Intel® Falcon™ 8+ System enables large and complex facilities to be inspected while in operation, helping capture accurate and precise data to better inform business decisions on asset maintenance. A recent inspection of a Scottish gas terminal resulted in more than 1,100 images and 12GB of valuable data, all with minimal interruption to normal operations.
  • The Intel® Sirius Pro System is our fixed-wing UAV designed for endurance and coverage of large areas for applications such as city mapping, survey of large construction areas, agriculture and inspection.
  • The Intel® Shooting Star™ drone fleet set the Guinness World Record in 2016 for the Most Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) airborne simultaneously. Only a single laptop and one pilot are needed to manage a flight by hundreds of beautifully choreographed drones in various light shows to date.

Intel is committed to supporting the drone ecosystem and showcasing how drones can be used in productive and exciting ways, making amazing experiences possible, now and in the future. Intel brings a wide range of technology innovations from the data centers in the cloud to 5G communication platforms, computing on the edge, autonomous vehicles and artificial intelligence. We are excited to join others as the FAA UAS Integration Pilot Program is implemented in states and cities throughout the United States. As UAS technology applications take off, this program and the innovation of the parties involved have the potential to pave the way for American leadership.

Anil Nanduri is vice president of the New Technology Group and general manager of Unmanned Aviation Systems at Intel Corporation.