The FAA just committed nearly $1 million to conduct UTM test research at the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS).

NIAS is an agency designated to manage the state’s drone test site, which was chosen as one of just a handful of FAA Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Test Sites around the nation to study future drone research.

And one of the biggest variables in need of studying is UTM — short for unmanned traffic management, which is essentially air traffic control for drones.

That research just got a big boost. The FAA awarded $848,685 towards an overall Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) contract of $1.79 million, intended “to demonstrate and validate UAS Traffic Management (UTM) technology in coordination with the NIAS test site.”

The contract will be executed by three entities: Switch, ANRA Technologies and the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS).

Switch, a technology infrastructure corporation headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, will be responsible for the technology infrastructure. ANRA, which provides end-to-end drone…

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