Aerotenna, a provider of radar sensing and system-on-chip (SoC) flight control technologies for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), and Windhover Labs, a drone software developer, have collaborated on an autonomous flight solution that aims to enable the operation of drones beyond the visual line of sight (BVLOS).
The companies say the goal of the collaboration is to develop a hardware and software flight control solution that ensures drones can be safely integrated into the National Airspace System (NAS).
Windhover Labs is working with Aerotenna to implement its aviation-grade Windhover flight software, based on NASA’s Core Flight Software, onto Aerotenna’s OcPoC, a field-programmable gate array (FPGA), SoC-based flight controller with capabilities for sensor fusion and real-time processing.
In addition to providing an autopilot for basic flight control and stabilization, Windhover flight software increases the UAV’s autonomous decision-making power by providing onboard monitoring of the autopilot, fault detection and response.
Aerotenna’s OcPoC flight controller, based on SoC FPGA technology, has real-time processing power to support the onboard processing requirement of Windhover flight software. In addition, OcPoC’s sensor fusion capability enables the drone to use multiple sensors, including Aerotenna’s microwave radars, to further minimize the risk of airborne collisions and crashes, the companies explain.
“Safety and reliability, the most important concerns for the mass application of UAVs, require technical innovation in both sensors and flight controllers, as well as the regulated procedure of certificating hardware and software,” says Dr. Zongbo Wang, CEO of Aerotenna. “Windhover Labs’ efforts in improving the OS and software robustness have set a new standard for consumer and commercial drones, and Aerotenna will continue to work closely with Windhover Labs to create more end-user benefits.”
Ultimately, Aerotenna and Windhover Labs hope this safety-focused solution will become one of the milestones on the way to mass application of UAVs in the NAS.