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US Department of Transportation thinks blockchain can help the commercial drone industry

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Thu, 30 Apr 2020, 10:43 am UTC

The commercial usage of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) is becoming more and more prevalent. However, there are also safety concerns when it comes to flying commercial drones.

The U.S. Department of Transportation published a report titled “Blockchain for Unmanned Aircraft” detailing the potential challenges in UAS. Based on the report, among the concerns are the safety management of unmanned aerial vehicles, traffic management, and operations near high-risk areas like airports or in any crowded areas.

“Drones can fly over people and property and interfere with the operation of full-size aircraft. They could conceivably carry weapons or dangerous materials to critical locations. At a minimum, drones could take pictures, possibly committing privacy violations. There is also some concern that drones could aid in IT hacking by bringing sensors or disruptive electronics near a possible target,” said Hy Chantz, Associate Partner for Blockchain Solutions at IBM.

But good news, the report also shared how blockchain could potentially help address those problems by tracing and tracking individual use of drones. For instance, according to Amit Ganjoo, Founder and CEO of ANRA Technologies, for drones used in package delivery operations, a blockchain-based repository could log the information about the operations such as time, location, resources, and delivery date and make the data accessible to authenticate users and any other stakeholders along a package’s route.

“Blockchain is poised to transform the way we think about and analyze safety data. This is particularly exciting for unmanned aerial vehicles. Blockchain can be part of the solution to collecting and sharing reliable data about drones. When you combine machine learning with the data blockchain can provide on UAS registration, accountability, and tracking, an entire world becomes available for drone safety analysis, decision making, and even regulation,” said Regina Houston, Chief of the Aviation Safety Management Systems Division, U.S. DOT Volpe National Transportation Systems Center.

Meanwhile, China’s Office of the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission (OCCAC) has approved new 224 distributed ledger technology (DLT) projects for the third batch list of blockchain filings. Approximately 40% of them are from Beijing and one-quarter of the projects approved target the fintech sectors.

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