UV - Unmanned Vehicles

NASA Ikhana flies with detect and avoid avionics

19th June 2018 - 12:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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General Atomics Aeronautical Systems’ (GA-ASI) Detect and Avoid (DAA) avionics system enabled the flight of NASA’s Ikhana UAS through the National Airspace System (NAS) earlier this month.

NASA’s Ikhana, a Predator B/MQ-9 UAS, took off from southern California on 12 June for the flight test. The DAA system enabled the UAS to meet the FAA’s requirement to see and avoid other aircraft during flight. The DAA system for MQ-9B has been designed to comply with the FAA-designated DO-365, Minimum Operational Performance Standards for Detect and Avoid Systems.

The DAA system combines automatic collision avoidance with the ability for the pilot to remain well clear of other airspace users. Its subsystems include a GA-ASI-developed airborne radar, a TCAS II and DAA tracking capability from Honeywell, automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast IN/OUT and a conflict prediction and display system.

GA-ASI has been working with the FAA, NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center, Honeywell and other industry partners since 2013 to develop, flight test and standardise an airborne DAA system. Flight tests on NASA's Ikhana served as the basis for verification and validation of technical standards for DAA, which were published in May 2017.

David Alexander, president, aircraft systems, GA-ASI, said: ‘Our DAA system is more capable than the collision avoidance systems required on today’s commercial manned aircraft and we believe it far exceeds the average pilot’s ability to ‘see and avoid’. The predictive capabilities our system employs create a safe environment for manned and unmanned aircraft to fly together in the NAS.’

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