GA-ASI completes first flight tests of SAA onboard Predator B UAV, integrates other sensors

SAN DIEGO, CA. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI) has completed the first test flights of the Sense and Avoid (SAA) architecture and Self Separation functionality onboard a company-owned Predator B, to detect intruder aircraft using sensors.

The flight test took place from November 18-20 and included integrating and synchronizing several other sensors, including GA-ASI’s Due Regard Radar (DRR) air-to-air radar, BAE Systems’ AD/DPX-7 Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) transponder with Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) IN, and Honeywell’s Traffic Alert Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) TPA-100 to detect and track both cooperative and non-cooperative aircraft.

During the flight test of 40+ planned encounters, GA-ASI’s prototype DDR tracked multiple targets, including participating aircraft, some of which not tracked by Air Traffic Control. Sensor data collected during the test will be analyzed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), along with industry participants, to further develop algorithms, which should ultimately lead to a proof-of-concept SAA system, including Collision Avoidance.

A GA-ASI-owned Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) leveraged its SAA system to detect two participating intruder aircraft with all three sensors during the flight test. Tracks were displayed in the ground control station using GA-ASI’s Conflict Prediction and Display System (CPDS), which is designed to aid pilots in staying clear of other traffic.

Frank W. Pace, president of Aircraft Systems Group at GA-ASI, says: “We are working closely with the FAA, NASA, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and our industry alliances to advance the safe and efficient integration of unmanned aircraft systems into domestic and international airspace. Our Sense and Avoid capability is a key part of that goal, and we continue to make ongoing progress towards this end.”

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