NASA Completes the Most Complex Drone Traffic Test Ever

This is the first test and demonstration on this kind of scale.

4. 27. 16 by June Javelosa
Image by NASA

Traffic Control

The world has yet to solve vehicular traffic in the densest urban areas. But with drone technology already on the rise, anticipating swarms of these machines in the sky is something that’s pretty high on the priority list of NASA and the FAA.

Both agencies just recently worked together to complete the most complex drone traffic test ever conducted—successfully. The test involved 24 drones simultaneously across multiple locations within 3 hours, adding several virtual aircraft into the mix.

FAA test sites fly 24 drones to test air traffic management platform at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, California. Image Credit: NASA / Dominic Hart

Flying Colors

“After so much preparation and practice, it was very rewarding to see all test sites have success with weather, platforms and connectivity,” said Tony Basile, director of operations at NUAIR and New York test site manager.

“It was additionally rewarding to hear from NASA that today’s efforts were successful on their end as well.”


This was the first and largest demonstration of its kind, using a system that separates position awareness to air traffic control or a mission commander for manned and unmanned aircraft, and other solutions that are meant to manage aeronautical challenges that drones may present.

In the future, this system could help take drones mainstream by allowing seamless coordination between different systems in both urban areas and the countryside.

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