Insitu, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Boeing Company, has made strides towards stamping out one of the major challenges facing the UAV industry by completing a successful test of its situational awareness system.
The company managed to carry out a flight demonstration for its ground-based UAV airspace situational awareness system, which is designed to detect nearby aircraft flying both within and beyond UAS operators’ visual line of sight.
The system was designed, developed, and tested by Insitu in collaboration with Boeing Phantom Works International in Australia under a program sponsored by the Queensland Government.
The system is designed as one of the optional layers of safety to enable broad-area, beyond visual line of sight capability for commercial UAS operations by providing airspace situational awareness for UAS operators, specifically to help detect and avoid so called “non-cooperative” traffic.
Currently, UAS ground control operators fly their aircraft only to a point where the UAS is within line-of-sight, as operators are unable to discern the location of other aircraft within the same airspace, potentially creating hazardous flying conditions.
“We now have integrated a significant capability that will dramatically improve airspace safety,” said Dara Albouyeh, chief engineer certification at Insitu.
“This successful demonstration of our ground-based situational awareness system confirmed our ability to achieve deconfliction of the air traffic at the Choctaw County Airport and surrounding areas.”
Mark Bauman, vice president and general manager of Insitu Commercial, added: “We’re developing our ability to fly long distances with our UASs that satisfies the airspace regulators, providing UAS operators with access to information that we previously just couldn’t obtain otherwise.”
“Now, we can prevent conflicts far more reliably, and will be able to access wide areas for commercial purposes. This system shows great promise as one of many solutions or “layers” that we are pursuing to increase safety and allow BVLOS flights in the U.S.”
Insitu conducted a test flight of its BVLOS system at the Mississippi State University (MSU) Raspet Flight Center in November 2017.