In mid 2002 the UAV industry formed a 501(c)(6) nonprofit corporation, the Alliance known as UNITE (UAS National Industry Team), to encourage national action to open the national airspace to High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) UAVs.  In August 2002, UNITE briefed Dr. Jerry Creedon (Associate Administrator for the Office of Aerospace Technology) and requested NASA support of their objectives.  Together with UNITE members, NASA established and funded the Access 5 project under the Vehicle Systems Program to develop and demonstrate technologies required to achieve routine access to the NAS. As part of their commitment, each company provided a minimum of 25% cost share.  The Access 5 project was making good progress, but in 2006 was cancelled by NASA, along with other UAS programs, as they refocused their resources on NASA Space Programs.

Since that decision UNITE has been actively (but “behind the scenes”) collaborating on and coordinating support of RTCA, AIA, and other “UAS in the NAS” efforts for all types of UASs – not just HALE.

Recently the UNITE Board of Directors instructed the UNITE Management Council to increase collaborative activity and to no longer work “behind the scenes”.  This has resulted in what has been “perceived” as a re-emergence of UNITE when, in reality, it is just that UNITE has made a conscious decision to become more visible and more active.


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