Modern Technology Solutions Inc. (MTSI), PrecisionHawk and Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi have completed multi-aircraft testing of PrecisionHawk’s Low Altitude Traffic and Airspace Safety (LATAS) platform at a small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) test site at Port Mansfield, Texas.
The project was funded and managed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate’s borders and maritime security division.
Testing took place over a two-week period and included four unmanned aircraft and two manned aircraft, which demonstrated air traffic management technologies for pilot situational awareness in a total of 38 flown missions.
“Essential to these tests was the employment of cloud-processed cellular 4G-LTE position reports integrated into a single airspace picture with crowd-based ADS-B and airspace and traffic data,” says Paul Evans, MTSI’s senior engineer. “Bringing these data pieces together for situational-awareness purposes in a live, Web-application environment allowed MTSI to assess the potential utility and scalability for future cooperative sUAS and manned aircraft operations. Further, it provided the opportunity to compare LATAS to traditional cooperative position-reporting methods.”
Aircraft position reports (GPS, ADS-B and IFF Mode C) were presented in real time through the LATAS Web application, which alerted the sUAS pilots of approaching air traffic and any risk of entering geo-fenced restricted airspace.
“This technology assessment further validates that there are effective solutions for entities, like the Department of Homeland Security, to safely operate manned and unmanned aircraft in a shared airspace today,” explains Tyler Collins, vice president of LATAS at PrecisionHawk. “We believe that by pulling together and testing multiple layers of technology, we have the foundation for enabling widespread drone integration in a real-world setting in the very near future.”