To fully realize this vision, NASA researchers are developing tools and techniques to enable m:N operations – where a small number of humans (m) effectively manage many autonomous vehicles (N). This research includes close coordination with the aviation community to understand industry and public needs for these types of operations.
“These collaborations are quite important,” said Kelley Hashemi, the technical lead for autonomous systems at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California. “It’s critical for NASA to gather the community’s input in order to achieve meaningful progress towards this future vision of U.S. aviation.”
Zipline, an instant logistics company that makes deliveries via drone, currently uses m:N operations to transport medical supplies and consumer goods in Northwest Arkansas, Japan, Ghana, and Rwanda. Zipline wants to continue to give back to the aviation community by sharing its lessons learned.
Through this partnership, NASA will use Zipline’s experience to find solutions for broadly implementing m:N operations in the U.S. airspace. In return, Zipline can leverage NASA’s tools and research to determine what is needed to expand its fleet operations in the United States…”