The State of Nevada, City of Reno, Las Vegas, Henderson, Searchlight, NIAS, and Nevada Partners Complete Historic FAA Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) Pilot Program

On January 14, 2019, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary, Elaine L. Chao, announced the FAA’s selection of three FAA-designated UAS Test Sites to partner with the agency in the Unmanned Traffic Management Pilot Program (UPP) to include the State of Nevada and the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS).

On 1 August 2019, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) concluded its Unmanned Traffic Management Pilot Program (UPP) with the State of Nevada, Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS), the FAA-designated UAS Test Site, and UPP partner companies.  The UPP was established in April 2017 – per the FAA Extension, Safety and Security Act of 2016, Sec. 2208 – as an important component for identifying the initial set of industry and FAA capabilities required to support UTM operations.  According to the FAA, as they move forward with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and their new industry partners, their primary goal for the UPP is to develop, demonstrate, and showcase enterprise services, using a cloud service infrastructure, which will support the implementation of expanded UTM operations.  These enterprise services will support the sharing of information that promotes cooperative separation and situational awareness.

During the Nevada FAA UPP, UTM services demonstrated included the sharing of flight intent between operators, the ability for a UAS Service Supplier (USS) to generate a UAS Volume Reservation (UVR) — a capability providing qualified USSs the ability to issue notifications to UAS Operators regarding air or ground activities relevant to their safe operation — and the ability to share UVRs with stakeholders (e.g., other USSs and FIMS).

“The State of Nevada has been a leader in the autonomous systems technology industry by connecting the high-tech industry and higher education institutions to create a collaborative partnership,” said GOED Interim Executive Director Kristopher Sanchez. “High-tech industries are coming to Nevada because our innovative efforts help accelerate development and commercial adoption of autonomous systems. Partnering with leaders in the industry has also led to workforce development that is providing Nevadans with the skills needed by high-tech employers.”

“Congratulations to the FAA, NIAS and all of our UAS partners for their successful completion of this game-changing drone program,” said Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve. “Our city was honored to be a participant in this program, and I’m proud to be the country’s first Mayor to oversee the unmanned and autonomous deployment of aerial commercial drones over an urban area in downtown Reno. We’d like to thank the national and local media who took an interest, as well as our residents and visitors for their patience and cooperation during the testing period. We still invite our residents to visit to learn more and continue to offer input on our UAS programs.”

“This was yet another historic Nevada aviation operation demonstrated with an expert, diverse, and highly resilient cluster of drone businesses.  Effectively and safely integrating drones into the National Airspace System (NAS) is going to be key to getting public support of drones flying in an urban environment and integrating this innovative technology into the daily lives of the public.  The UPP was highly successful through the incredible support of the Reno Mayor’s and City Manager’s Office, the cities of Las Vegas, Henderson, and town of Searchlight, Nevada-based UAS businesses, Nevada Teammates, and the citizen support we had across Nevada.  As Nevada’s designated agency to manage the FAA Nevada UAS Test Site, we are proud to position Nevada as the global leader in Autonomous Systems (AS) deployment,” said Dr. Chris Walach, Executive Director, Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS) and the FAA-designated Nevada UAS Test Site.

“AviSight is excited to be at the forefront of the FAA UTM testing, working side by side with other innovators in the UAS industry. This testing and demonstration showcase a pathway for full integration of Unmanned Systems into the National Airspace for future Beyond Visual Line of Site operations and airspace deconfliction efforts. Many of these testing efforts will transfer directly into our clients’ operations, using drones to increase the safety and efficiency of inspecting Oil, Gas, and Power critical infrastructure”, said J.B. Bernstein, AviSight CEO.

“We applaud FAA and NIAS for their strategic leadership in this project.  The spirit of partnership and collaboration has afforded us collectively the opportunity to make giant leaps in measured steps toward safe, reliable transport technologies we believe will define the future of flight.” said Stas Mozolyuk, CEO of Avision, Inc.

“Switch is proud to be NIAS’ technology infrastructure provider throughout Nevada supporting successful drone integration into the national airspace and is excited to have partnered with NIAS for this incredible initiative on behalf of the FAA – we look forward to future collaboration with NIAS, leading the charge for autonomous systems testing and deployment across the U.S.” said Betsy Fretwell, Senior Vice President of Switch CITIES.

The Nevada UPP delivered a highly successful demonstration of the UTM drone operations, logistics deployment across multiple Nevada cities, and the integration of drone technology to United States Congresswoman Dina Titus with staff from the Congresswoman and Senator Catherine Cortez Masto’s Office, senior level FAA officials, Governor’s Office of Economic Development Executive Director Kris Sanchez, Clark County Commissioner Mike Naft, McCarran International Airport Authority, Nevada Resort Association, Las Vegas Visitors and Convention Authority, and Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce.

The Nevada UPP included partner companies to include Fortune 50 companies and Nevada Teammates/Airspace developers: Switch, Uber Elevate, AiRXOS a GE company, Avisight, Avision Robotics, ANRA Technologies, Praxis Aerospace Concepts, Telesis Communications Services, RelmaTech, the City of Las Vegas, City of Henderson, City of Reno, Town of Searchlight, Nevada State College, and Utah State University.


About the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS):  As Nevada’s designated agency to manage the FAA Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Test Site, the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS) positions Nevada as the global leader in Autonomous Systems (AS) deployment. NIAS is the synergist, clearinghouse, and learning accelerator establishing the premier smart ecosystem for Autonomous Systems which grows the AS Industry while safely integrating AS into the daily lives of the public. Learn more at

About Switch

Switch (NYSE: SWCH), the technology infrastructure company headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada is built on the intelligent and sustainable growth of the Internet. Switch founder and CEO Rob Roy has developed more than 500 issued and pending patent claims covering data center designs that have manifested into the company’s world-renowned data centers and technology solutions.

The Switch PRIMES, located in Las Vegas and Tahoe Reno, Nevada; Grand Rapids, Michigan; and Atlanta, Georgia (opening in Q4 2019) are the world’s most powerful hyperscale data center campus ecosystems with low latency to major U.S. markets. Visit for more information.