Springfield, Ohio- On November 10, 2021, multiple members of the Ohio Federal Research Network (OFRN) participated in the first Ohio Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) showcase event held at Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport. The AAM Showcase is a first-of-its-kind event aimed at showcasing the public-flight and cargo carrying capabilities of electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles (eVTOL). The AAM showcase event was a result of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)’s Advanced Air Mobility National Campaign, which included an award to the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) to develop a statewide strategy for community input and local government engagement.
The AAM Showcase brought together leaders in unmanned aerial systems (UAS), aviation, and the AAM industry and was led by the FlyOhio initiative as part of ODOT’s DriveOhio initiative. It included FlyOhio partners, the U.S. Air Force, NASA, JobsOhio, OFRN, Dayton Development Coalition, City of Springfield, and corporate partners from across Ohio.
The AAM Showcase goals aligned with the central focus of UAS industry in the U.S., which is to establish the rules for low-altitude operation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and eVTOL and determine the infrastructure to enable it. This entails the development of an effective system for standardizing and managing immense amount of data and being able to execute data transmission efficiently and safely.
“Ohio and every other state are working on optimizing the use of UAVs that can provide tremendous utility on several fronts, like humanitarian efforts, crime-fighting, and firefighting and other first responder activities by safely integrating them into the state and national airspace system. Part of what we are doing at Parallax Advanced Research is taking some of the OFRN technologies and assembling them to create some of that critical low-altitude airspace infrastructure,” said Bob Tanner, Parallax’s director of aerospace partnerships.
The OFRN cultivates crucial research and academic, business, and government innovation collaborations that result in the development of key and novel AAM technologies and other innovations to improve Ohio’s economy and workforce. The OFRN is a program managed by Parallax Advanced Research in collaboration with the Ohio State University and is funded by the Ohio Department of Higher Education.
Working towards the overall AAM mission, Parallax supports the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Vigilant Spirit Command and Control Station that allows operators to simultaneously control multiple UASs with software development and vehicle-interface expertise, command and control system development, rapid integration of additional vehicle types, and expansion of vehicle control scaling for large fleet control.
One of the participants of the AAM Showcase was CAL Analytics, which OFRN funded to develop a Contingency Management Platform (CMP) and detect and avoid services to reduce risks during drone operations and enable low altitude operations. CAL Analytics technology integration with Vigilant Spirit provided Parallax’s Director of Unmanned Systems Research, Dave Gross, with test cases for the universal translator SkyVision, which resulted in ground-control systems easily connecting to SkyVision.
CAL Analytics’ unmanned traffic management services are integrated with SkyVision, which AFRL and ODOT operate at the Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport. The technology allows for safe, accurate, and effective operation of UASs by detecting and avoiding other aircraft while in flight using radar feeds from airports in Dayton and Columbus, and from the long-range radar at London, Ohio. SkyVision enables UAS operations to meet the Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) 91-113(b) to “see and avoid” other aircraft and other flight path obstacles while being remotely operated by the pilot in command. SkyVision is also connected into the Federal Aviation Administration Air Traffic Control Network.
“Ohio’s UAS, aviation, and AAM industry has taken a systematic engineering-based approach to building out these services and standardizing flight systems and rules, and I think we're starting to see the fruits of that systematic approach to building out this system,” said Sean Calhoun, chief executive officer at CAL Analytics. The approach of Ohio’s UAS and aviation approach to develop AAM has been like democracy building, which is to build the institutions that would be sustainable in the long run.”
Also, CAL Analytics’ CMP technology helps define requirements for a lower altitude surveillance clearinghouse.
“The CMP is an aggregation of information to provide operators and airspace managers a common understanding of everything that's going on in their space and the current health of the ecosystem. Our platform provides situational awareness and monitors the health and status of the system so that we know when it's degraded or failure has occurred, and then we provide the tools and the mechanization for graceful degradation and response to those contingencies, as they occur,” said Calhoun.
The Ohio AAM Showcase was a major step in the direction of realizing the next revolution in air transportation for all Ohioans. Bringing to life AAM will more efficiently carry people and cargo while making the UAS and aviation industries farther-reaching. Specifically, AAM will help increase opportunities for areas underserved by surface transportation or existing air transportation. The sky is the limit for the future of AAM in Ohio, both figuratively and literally.
About Parallax Advanced Research
Parallax Advanced Research is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that tackles global challenges by accelerating innovation and developing technology and solutions through strategic partnerships with government, industry and academia across Ohio and the Nation. Together with academia, Parallax accelerates innovation that leads to new breakthroughs. Together with government, Parallax tackles critical global challenges and delivers new solutions. Together with industry, Parallax develops groundbreaking ideas and speeds them to market.
The OFRN has the mission to stimulate Ohio’s innovation economy by building statewide university/industry research collaborations that meet the requirements of Ohio’s federal laboratories, resulting in the creation of technologies that drive job growth for the State of Ohio. The OFRN is a program managed by Parallax Advanced Research in collaboration with the Ohio State University and is funded by the Ohio Department of Higher Education.
About CAL Analytics
CAL Analytics is a small business focusing on the development of aviation and autonomous systems. Located in Dayton, OH and founded in 2010, CAL Analytics has expertise in navigation systems, remote sensing, signal analysis, and information fusion.