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Proceedings Paper

Sense and avoid technology for Global Hawk and Predator UAVs
Author(s): John F. McCalmont; James Utt; Michael Deschenes; Michael J. Taylor
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Paper Abstract

The Sensors Directorate at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) along with Defense Research Associates, Inc. (DRA) conducted a flight demonstration of technology that could potentially satisfy the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) requirement for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to sense and avoid local air traffic sufficient to provide an "...equivalent level of safety, comparable to see-and-avoid requirements for manned aircraft". This FAA requirement must be satisfied for autonomous UAV operation within the national airspace. The real-time on-board system passively detects approaching aircraft, both cooperative and non-cooperative, using imaging sensors operating in the visible/near infrared band and a passive moving target indicator algorithm. Detection range requirements for RQ-4 and MQ-9 UAVs were determined based on analysis of flight geometries, avoidance maneuver timelines, system latencies and human pilot performance. Flight data and UAV operating parameters were provided by the system program offices, prime contractors, and flight-test personnel. Flight demonstrations were conducted using a surrogate UAV (Aero Commander) and an intruder aircraft (Beech Bonanza). The system demonstrated target detection ranges out to 3 nautical miles in nose-to-nose scenarios and marginal visual meteorological conditions. (VMC) This paper will describe the sense and avoid requirements definition process and the system concept (sensors, algorithms, processor, and flight rest results) that has demonstrated the potential to satisfy the FAA sense and avoid requirements.

Paper Details

Date Published: 31 May 2005
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 5783, Infrared Technology and Applications XXXI, (31 May 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.603152
Show Author Affiliations
John F. McCalmont, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
James Utt, Defense Research Associates, Inc. (United States)
Michael Deschenes, Defense Research Associates, Inc. (United States)
Michael J. Taylor, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5783:
Infrared Technology and Applications XXXI
Bjorn F. Andresen; Gabor F. Fulop, Editor(s)

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