UAS Policy and Technology
WPG Principals have been involved in shaping the opportunities for drones in civil and commercial applications for two decades. WPG authored reports and recommendations on UAS airspace access briefed to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), key Congress Members and staff, and federal agencies.
Suzette Matthews and David Schaffer were instrumental in development of the Congressionally mandated UAS Comprehensive National Plan, advising on ATC technology, NAS technology policy and regulatory/legislative analysis. Mr. Schaffer performed a comprehensive legal and regulatory analysis of privacy law and policy as it relates to UAS, and proposed recommendations for legislative initiatives.
As far back as 1989, Karen Robbins brokered the $150 million dollar NASA project (ERAST) that spawned the first civil drones. In 2005, she brokered the $100 million dollar public-private partnership Access 5, that was the first effort to develop airspace regulations for drone access to the domestic airspace. Robbins was also at the forefront of the 2004 UAV National Task Force, an interagency team whose work culminated in a federal report on the impact of UAS operations on the Next Generation Air Transportation System. In 2008, WPG Principals spearheaded the Center for UAS Integration, which brought together UAS and airspace experts and culminated in an analysis of the roadblocks to integrating UAS into the national airspace. The Center's innovative recommendations were largely incorporated into legislation and FAA programs being implemented today.
WPG is presently advocating for a high-level architecture activity for integration of UAS in the NAS, and is partnered with NASA on its effort to develop an air traffic architecture for low altitude small UAS operations.
WPG has also partnered with other aeronautical experts to form a startup company, Air Route Optimizer, Inc., to develop a sophisticated safety risk analysis tool for UAS.
"On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Unpiloted
Aerial Vehicle National Industry Team, we want to thank you for the many years of leadership and support...provided to the UAS industry."
Frank Pace, President, General Atomics Aeronautical System to Karen Robbins
In 2015, Ms. Matthews delivered a comprehensive paper to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle System's national annual conference on the subject of why FAA Section 333 exemptions do not satisfy the regulatory requirements of most commercial UAS operators and cannot organically evolve into full integration of UAS in the NAS (enumerating the technical and policy requirements - including upgrades to NAS infrastructure and other operator avionics-for full UAS integration; and advocating for a new performance-based UAS safety/certification paradigm based on safety cases).
Robbins was an advisor on California Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 18, legislation pending before California lawmakers that advocates the use of drones in agricultural areas for drought management.
Relevant Publications by WPG Principals
An Achievable Path to Integration of UAS in the NAS (2015)
Legislation Needed to Prevent Invasions of Privacy by Unmanned Aircraft: The Law and Some Modest Legislative Proposals (2015)
A Fine Kettle of Fish--Accommodating UAVs Safely, Journal of Air Traffic Control (2015)
UAS Airspace Integration: Flying Without A Pilot (2008)