Wednesday, October 3, 2012

UAV collision avoidance tested

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- A team of government, a not-for-profit research and development organization and academia completed two weeks of flight testing "sense and avoid" technology that could help unmanned aircraft integrate into the national airspace. The MITRE Corp. and the University of North Dakota developed automatic sense and avoid computer software algorithms that were uploaded onto a NASA Langley Research Center Cirrus SR-22. It flew 147 maneuvers during 39 hours of flight tests. A supporting UND aircraft flew more than 40 hours during the tests. The NASA aircraft demonstrated how technology onboard allowed it to sense and avoid the UND Cessna 172 "intruder" plane flown by a university instructor pilot. The Cirrus, developed to mimic unmanned aircraft systems, had a safety pilot in the cockpit, but researchers say computer programs automatically maneuvered the aircraft to avoid conflicts. More than 100 leaders from academia, industry, government, the military and the general aviation community came to the Grand Forks Airport to observe the test. (Source: PRNewswire, 10/02/12) Gulf Coast note: This region is heavily involved in developing and using unmanned systems.