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Sense & Avoid Drones Emerging Technology for 2015

In simple terms, a drone is a radio controlled aircraft or ship. Drones can operate autonomously, without human control. Drones are also known as UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) or RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems). A UAV may be as small as a man’s wallet or as large as a full size passenger aircraft. The United States military employ UAVs to gather intelligence and for surveillance and reconnaissance missions to bestow troops with sky vision in precarious conditions. Drones are capable of flying into catastrophic conditions such as earthquakes, hurricanes, nuclear disasters or tsunamis to survey damage.

Generally the drone debate currently focuses on the United States military operating UAVs to pursue terrorists. Many civilians fear drones may exploit individual privacy rights by peeking in windows. The fear of invasion of privacy is averted in the near future for two main reasons. American citizens are not currently willing to consent to common utilization of drones for spying on civilians and the expenditure for commissioning the UAVs for internal spying is too costly at present. Currently, civilians must operate drones within sight vision and no higher than 400 feet without special authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Drone researchers have not currently developed a technology to allow UAV’s to avoid a midair collision with aircraft, buildings or other drones. A major emerging technology for 2015 is expected to be sense and avoid programs for UAV’s. The technology is also known as detect and avoid or collision avoidance software. The goal of researchers is to develop a system that would allow the UAV to detect an obstacle and then maneuver around the obstacle. Researchers are testing Traffic Collision Avoidance Systems (TCAS) and Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) and believe the systems to show promise. Brian J. Scott, an aviator and engineer with Arclarity LLC and Greg Lukins, an engineer, pilot and entrepreneur with Dual Electronic Corporation, are combining efforts to develop sense and avoid technology for UAVs.

 

*Photo courtesy of Drone and Moon by Don McCullough at Flickr’s Creative Commons.

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