UAV manufacturer General Atomics says it has successfully tested sense-and-avoid architecture and self-separation functionality that could be the key to keeping piloted aircraft and UAVs apart in the air. The recent test marked the first time the technology has functioned as a true “system of systems” to detect every class of aircraft equipage, and it paves the way for a due regard capability, that ability to avoid aircraft, objects and weather.
The test integrated and synchronized BAE Systems’ identification-friend-or-foe transponder with automatic dependent surveillance broadcast IN equipment, GA-ASI’s Due Regard air-to-air radar (DRR), and Honeywell’s TPA-100 traffic alert collision avoidance system to detect and track cooperative and non-cooperative aircraft. The prototype DRR tracked multiple targets of opportunity, in addition to participating aircraft, throughout 40-plus scripted encounters, including some aircraft not tracked by air traffic control.
Sensor data collected by these systems during the flight test will be used by the FAA and industry participants to develop and further refine their algorithms, which will in turn lead to a proof-of-concept sense-and-avoid system, including collision avoidance.