The Defense Advanced Research Program Agency has demonstrated an optical sense-and-avoid system as part of an effort to allow manned and unmanned aircraft to avoid mid-air collisions with other aircraft.
DARPA said Tuesday an unmanned aircraft detected and tracked a Cessna 172G aircraft with the use of the technology during the demonstration for the Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System program.
The collision avoidance system features a single optical camera for imagery, passive ranging features to detect incoming aircraft and collision-avoidance systems.
“This successful flight test is a step toward adding external perception to ALIAS’ toolkit for advancing in-flight automation,” said Dan Patt, an agency program director.
DARPA’s goal for the follow-on research is to reduce the system size, test the ranging and collision-avoidance features and update calculations for optimal aircraft trajectories.
DARPA envisions the system as a line of defense for Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast transponders and ground-based radar systems.