Australian unmanned aircraft system (UAS) researchers report that they have developed an onboard system that has enabled an unmanned aircraft to detect another aircraft using vision while in flight.
The research was carried out by Queensland University of Technology's (QUT) Australian Research Centre for Aerospace Automation (ARCAA) in conjunction with Boeing Research and Technology – Australia and UAS provider Insitu Pacific.
During the test flight, QUT says the onboard system provided real-time warnings back to the ground control station, resulting in a successful manual collision avoidance maneuver.
‘Project ResQu, a two-year project funded by the Queensland Government, QUT, CSIRO, [Boeing Research and Technology – Australia] and Insitu Pacific, aims to fast-track the development of smart technologies that will enable unmanned aircraft to fly safely in the civil airspace,’ comments Duncan Campbell, ARCAA director and QUT professor.
Campbell notes that Project ResQu is well on track to deliver technological advancements and make regulatory recommendations to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority by the middle of this year.
‘We have achieved a big step on the road to a viable detect-and-avoid system here,’ he says.
‘The final technical hurdle to [unmanned aircraft] operating in civil airspace is their ability to land safely in an emergency, and our collaborative research is expected to make significant strides towards overcoming this hurdle, too, in the coming months,’ Campbell adds.