An important step we need to take before really opening up national airspace for commercial drone operation is the development and deployment of a national aircraft collision avoidance system for unmanned aircraft. A system developed by Aviation Communication & Surveillance Systems, Northrop Grumman Corp., NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Lincoln Laboratory and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory successfully completed a test flight in late 2016. Another round of flight tests are now scheduled for this summer.
Phoenix-based Aviation Communication & Surveillance Systems (ACSS) will this summer conduct another round of flight tests with its aircraft collision avoidance system for unmanned aircraft (ACAS Xu) at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
Late in 2016, ACSS—an avionics systems developer—worked with Northrop Grumman Corp., the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Lincoln Laboratory and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory to conduct successful flight tests at the Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, California.
Once in place, the new national aircraft collision avoidance system for unmanned aircraft will change the face of the commercial drone industry.
“I think this is really going to open up a whole new avenue for the industry as far as being able to fly in the national airspace,” he said. “It will start with large UASs and evolve down to smaller UASs as we develop hardware that can be smaller and consume less power. For some of the medium-sized UASs, you’ll see this technology enabled more and more for commercial operations.”
Today, Airbotics is authorized to fly drones beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS). Tomorrow, leveraging a national collision avoidance system, we all will.
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