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How Should Drone Traffic be Managed?

The world is currently in the “Wild West” stage of drone integration. Existing laws are not enforceable, drone pilots have unrestricted flight access, and drones are vulnerable to exploitation by bad actors. The rising prospect of such threats underscores the urgent need for a framework to shepherd the graceful integration of drones into the national airspace.



Worldwide drone defense leader, WhiteFox Defense Technologies, Inc., has developed and distributed a whitepaper to top regulatory officials within the U.S. government. This timely paper provides regulators with a set of recommendations that can be used to construct a comprehensive Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Traffic Management (UTM) policy. Ryan Jenkins, WhiteFox’s Director of Policy and Ethics, commented that, “WhiteFox urges the adoption of a solution that is not only commercially attractive and technically viable but ethically informed.” As the use and proliferation of recreational and commercial drones increases, the call for UTM becomes a matter of utmost concern.

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When introducing UAS Traffic Management into the urban landscape, there are three values at stake: security, privacy, and consumer-friendliness. A solution that appropriately balances all three stands the best chance of satisfying the broad array of parties with a stake in drone policy.

Any proposed solution must account for several kinds of drone-related threats to public safety and national security. These threats include aerial vehicle collisions, reckless flying, malicious use, and terrorism.

The FAA reports that it receives upwards of 100 reports per month of “potential encounters” between manned aircraft and drones. This number will continue to rise as drones become increasingly common and their operators more adventurous and reckless. A UTM platform that allows for drone-to-aircraft communication will allow for the safe operation and coexistence of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles.

In addition to posing threats in urban landscapes, drones frequently cause harm in the battlefield. For example, ISIS routinely uses drones for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations to help maximize the damage from suicide attacks (Watson, 2017, January 12. “The Drones of ISIS.”). Introducing a system that eliminates a lawless “wild west” and allows for the safe management of drones through safe counter-UAS technology will protect citizens and give the public confidence that areas of critical infrastructure are secure. Continue reading..

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