The NASA Langley Research Center Remote Operations for Autonomous Missions (ROAM) UAS Operations Center facilitates beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) flight operation of small uncrewed aircraft system (sUAS) vehicles using a live, virtual, and constructive (LVC) environment. This facility offers a unique capability to research advanced onboard technologies, explore air-ground technology integration, and perform human-in-the-loop experiments exploring different roles and responsibilities of remote operators managing multiple autonomous vehicles.

This research informs human-autonomy teaming concepts that enables m:N operations (i.e., m operators controlling N vehicles). Use cases tested using the facility focus on sUAS operations (e.g., package and food delivery, emergency response surveillance and reconnaissance) and passenger-carrying operations (e.g., urban air mobility). As beyond visual line of sight operations increase, it’s important to understand how humans can effectively team with autonomy in a manner that supports user business models.

The overarching design considerations for the operations center are to relocate existing field operators to the remote vehicle operation center, produce a shared situational awareness environment for participating personnel, and to provide the ability to pursue advanced vehicle operations and control supporting Advanced Air Mobility and other various research activities. The remote operations center is envisioned to provide a user training environment, flight operations planning and briefing environment, and a research facility for simulated and live operations of sUAS vehicles. A part of flight operation considerations is safety of flight for the vehicle, the local airspace, and people on the ground below and near the vehicle’s flight path. Safety considerations and constraints are driven by project requirements and existing NASA policies, procedures, and regulations. The overall purpose of the ROAM UAS Operations Center and its design is to support the functional transition from Field Control to Operations Center Control of sUAS.

This remote vehicle operations center at NASA Langley Research Center is called the Remote Operations for Autonomous Missions (ROAM) UAS Operations Center, or ROAM for short. The ROAM UAS Operations Center is located within the Air Traffic Operations Laboratory (ATOL) within Building Complex 1268 at NASA Langley Research Center. The ROAM UAS Operations Center will also support live vehicle flight operations on the designated flight range at NASA Langley Research Center called the City Environment for Range Testing Autonomous Integrated Navigation (CERTAIN).

Technical Point of Contact: Bill Buck