U.S. Authorities Tap Blockchain for Air Traffic and Drones Management
The Volpe Center of the United States Department of Transportation is now leveraging distributed ledger technology (DLT), the building blocks of bitcoin (BTC) and other digital assets, for air traffic management and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) also known as drones, according to a Ledger Insights report on April 28, 2020.
Managing Drones with DLT
Per sources close to the matter, the United States Department of Transporation’s Volpe center is now taking advantage of the immutability and trustless nature of the revolutionary blockchain technology to create a trust layer for the management of air traffic and monitoring the use of drones.
For the military, drones are simply described as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems. These drones are used for a vast array of purposes, especially in situations where manned flight is too risky or seemingly impossible.
Notably, the U.S. Department of Transportation has revealed that it’s now using blockchain technology to enhance the security of UAVs, identity management, flight authorization, air traffic, and UAS conflict management, among other operations.
Fostering Transparency with Blockchain
Drones can be deployed for the transportation of medicines and transplant organs, operating flamethrowers and machine guns during wars or just for recreational purposes. Importantly, due to the versatile nature of these drones, it has become pertinent to establish a trust layer for monitoring the use of these innovative vehicles.
Against that backdrop, authorities have made it mandatory that operators of any UAS weighing over 0.55 pounds but less than 55 pounds must register it using an online Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) system.
While blockchain technology is already changing the face of traditional finance by facilitating superfast and cost-efficient cross border payments, drastically reducing settlement time in trade-finance and fostering transparency in supply chains, a good number of players in the aviation ecosystem are also exploring the potential of DLT.
Reportedly, Red Cat, a firm that provides distributed data storage, analytics, and services for the drone industry, has released the beta version of its blockchain flight black box storage and analytics system.
Also, in January 2019, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced plans to integrate blockchain technology into its Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) system, in a bid to enhance its privacy and make it watertight.
More recently, BTCManager informed on March 7, 2020, that aircraft manufacturing heavyweights, Boeing is now using blockchain technology to track the origin of airplane parts and ensure they are of the highest quality.