The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Insitu will jointly research the integration of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into national airspace under a cooperative research development agreement.

Insitu will provide a ScanEagle UAS, and related support hardware and data for the study.

Insitu commercial business development vice-president Paul McDuffee said the FAA had a well-equipped laboratory and resources at the technical centre to allow it to fully evaluate Insitu’s tier II system.

“Through the CRDA, the FAA will have an opportunity to better understand UAS design, construction and functionality,” he said.

“It will also begin determining differences in how an air traffic controller manages an unmanned aircraft versus a manned aircraft by integrating the ScanEagle system with existing FAA air traffic control simulation capabilities.”

As part of the agreement, Insitu will also train FAA pilots and support staff to fly and maintain the system.