One Idea to Hasten Autonomous Drone Acceptance

I recently asked my research assistant David Heath  to help get me up to speed on the various Sense and Avoid (SAA) technologies available for drone/UAV use (I’m still working on whether to just use the word “drone” from now on).  David gave me some information on the BAE Systems’ AD/DPX-7 Identification Friend-or-Foe (IFF) transponder with Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) receiver; the GA-ASI-developed Due Regard Radar (DRR); and Honeywell’s TPA-100 Traffic Collision Avoidance System or TCAS.

A few days later, I was discussing with attorney and pilot Kate Fletcher about an article we recently read about drones getting too close to commercial aircraft’s airspace.  Clearly, nobody wants drones to interfere with the safe operation of full scale aircraft! We discussed a bit about the systems in place for aircraft to aircraft avoidance. It then occurred to me that what is needed is a technology that prevents a drone from being operated into the path of an airplane.  In other words, no matter what the input of the drone operator, even if they tried to get a drone into prohibited airspace, it just would not work. Likewise, no autonomous drones would be permitted into the impending path, no matter the GPS way points inputted.

I have no idea if this is already being worked on, and it does make me recall the criticisms of President Clinton calling for a “V chip” in televisions to restrict children from viewing inappropriate programming -the technology apparently did not exist at the time it was required by law to be put in place in the future. However, if the drone/UAV industry were to soon demonstrate this technology is bulletproof, just maybe it will help speed up FAA regulations permitting commercial use of drones.

What do you think? Is this already being worked on? Please let us know in the comments.

2 thoughts on “One Idea to Hasten Autonomous Drone Acceptance”

  1. I agree that there should be a means to prevent UAS pilots from exceeding 400 feet. This makes common sense and if the UAS manufacturers are smart by looking forward they will quickly start this procedure. However, some may hesitate for fear it will cost them sales. But someone needs to start.

    In Australia (I think) thare was a near collision between a drone and a medevac at 1000 ft causing the pilot to take evasive action. Here is where UAS manufacturers can use practical wisdom by dispatching an investigator in Australia to help police track this reckless person down. We don’t need pilots like that. Imagine the fallout if an air disaster had taken place and how it would affect this new industry. More important, the lives that might have been lost.

    Pete L

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