Aerospace

Ground-based DAA surveillance helps drone BVLOS operations

22 April 2022
Casia G provides 360-degree field of view to detect, alert and enable operators to identify co-operative and non-cooperative aircraft. Source: Iris Automation

Iris Automation has unveiled a ground-based version of its detect and avoid (DAA) surveillance solution that provides artificial intelligence and computer vision technology to avoid both co-operative and non-cooperative aircraft.

Called Casia G, the DAA solution provides a 360-degree field of view to detect, alert and enable operators to identify friendly and non-friendly aircraft for safe beyond the visual line of sight (BVLOS) flight.

Casia G creates a perimeter of sanitized, monitored airspace for drones to perform work safely. The ground-based unit could be used as a fixed or temporary deployment, support drone in the box operations and augment or replace human visual observers.

In BVLOS flight, it is challenging for uncrewed aircraft to see and avoid other aircraft.

BVLOS allows drone operators to conduct complex drone operations where the device flies beyond a point where the operator can see it. This could be through a camera attached to the drone or for autonomous flight operations without a pilot.

BVLOS is seen as the next great chapter in drone delivery and drone operations at it will allow these unmanned aerial systems (UAS) to travel further than ever before for both reconnaissance missions for the military or rescue maneuvers and to allow startups to take packages across larger distances to expand last-mile logistics operations.

"A human has sufficient visual acuity to see airborne traffic only within a +/-5-degree field of view around our focal point—we have to scan the sky, and are frankly not very good at it,” Jon Damush, CEO of Iris Automation. “Casia G sees the entire sky, with uniform probability and resolution, 10 times per second – without distractions or breaks. This is a solution for airspace awareness that covers a large majority of small UAS use cases, but at a price point that is economically viable and without complex integration."

Casia G provides airspace awareness including:

  • Allowing operators to fix their costs and enjoy lower per-flight costs as operations scale.
  • Operating multiple, dissimilar types of aircraft within the coverage area, since no direct aircraft integration is required.
  • Reduces difficult and expensive integrations with aircraft systems.
  • Not consuming valuable size, weight and power (SWaP) from the aircraft.
  • Does not need approvals from agencies other than the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Casia G has received a BVLOS waiver for the city of Reno, Nevada, where Iris Automation has been working on BVLOS programs with the FAA for the past year. Iris Automation said it is in the process of getting waivers for additional deployments and concepts of operation with the FAA.

To contact the author of this article, email PBrown@globalspec.com


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