What is a UAS?
An unmanned aerial-vehicle system (UAS) enables an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to move through airspace. UAS is one of the seven (7) categories of unmanned vehicle systems (UVS) as defined in the DroneSpeak Vocabulary. (Note: Italicized terms are defined terms in the DroneSpeak Vocabulary.)
A UAS includes three major, interacting components:
- one or more UAVs,
- a UAS management system, and
- one or more UAS participants.
The three components are represented by the three oval shapes nearest the center of the diagram below:
A UAS exists in a UAS space and context that includes:
- stated or implied objectives for safety, performance or cost, as may be reflected in UAS requirements;
- the physical operating environment(s): the physical surroundings or conditions in which the UAS is intended to operate;
- the social-legal-political environment: the social, legal or political factors that constrain:
- the acquisition, making, operating or disposal of the UAS, or
- the movement or other functions of the UAV(s), for example: a camera’s position or the position of an actuator;
- external, human-made systems that may interact with, or affect the behavior of a component of the UAS.
- For example, the Global Positioning System (GPS), or a GPS satellite signal interference/jamming device.
What is a UAS instance life cycle?
Each UAS has an instance life cycle. The life cycle is a progression from the initial UAS concept through disposal of the UAS’s components. For example, the life cycle of a UAS typically includes, but is not limited to:
- identifying the key factors and UAS requirements;
- identifying the roles for the UAS participants;
- developing or acquiring of one or more UAVs;
- developing or acquiring a UAS management system.
What is UAS space?
UAS space is the intended physical operating environment for a UAS, including:
- Airspace boundaries, flight obstructions and potential intruders
- Physical factors that constrain the location and operation of a UAS, including movement of a UAV.
- Natural factors
- Physical phenomena that may affect a UAS, for example: temperature, wind, rain, dust, smoke, sunlight.
What are UAS requirements?
UAS requirements are the stated or implied objectives for a functional, successful UAS. Examples can include:
- The UAV must be capable of automatic return-to-home (RTH) after losing a radio frequency (RF) connection with a component of the UAS management system.
- Provide rain protection for all UAS management system components.
- A UAS participant must identify and maintain an unobstructed airspace, and be prepared to guide the UAV in the event of an intrusion into the airspace, or upon receipt of a warning message from an external, human-made system.
What is UAS safety, performance, cost?
Safety, performance and cost factors influence the objectives for a UAS, for example:
- To minimize the risk of collision with manned aircraft, a regulatory authority has published a prohibition or restriction on operation of a UAV in a defined airspace.
- To convince a potential customer, a supplier has published a specification of the performance or other attribute of a component of a UAV.
- To minimize the risk of collision with other UAVs in a specific airspace or ground surface, a civilian organization has published a guide to members of the organization.
- To avoid unfortunate consequences, a budget has been established that limits the amount of financial investment in a UAS.
What is the physical operating environment?
The physical operating environment of a UAS is the physical surroundings or conditions in which components of a UAS are expected to operate, for example:
- the airspace over a coral reef, in a forest, or inside a building;
- on the side of a volcano, or on the edge of a crowd.
What is the social-political-legal environment?
The social-political-legal environment of a UAS includes the social, legal, or political factors that constrain the acquisition, making, operating, or disposal of a UAS. For example, your neighbors are concerned about their safety, or, a law has been established that defines penalties for specific behavior related to operation of a UAS.
What are external, human-made systems?
An external, human-made system may interact with, or affect the intended behavior of components of a UAS. For example, a tower with equipment that is broadcasting or relaying high-power RF signals, or, an incoming mobile phone message that distracts the attention of a UAS participant.
Other interpretations of “UAS”
Currently, UAS is an acronym with multiple interpretations depending on the source. Click here for more information.
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