uAvionix Developing Dime-Size ADS-B Receiver for UAS

Palo Alto, Calif.-based uAvionix Corp. has developed and tested a dime-size automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) receiver for consumer unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).

Weighing less than 1 gram, the prototype module for drones with transmission power between 0.01 W to 0.25 W could provide visibility to any aircraft equipped with ADS-B “In” avionics from 1 to 10 miles away, the company says.

uAvionix is working with the Federal Aviation Administration and other partners under a collaborative research and development agreement to test the unit, along with other uAvionix products.

The company says a recently published study from the MITRE Corp.’s Center for Advanced Aviation System Development imagined a world of very high densities of drones operating with ADS-B onboard and then sought to understand the implications of that. The study suggests there is a nominal transmission power output between 0.01 W and 0.1 W that, when coupled with limited drone traffic densities, could result in a compatible operation with the system as a whole.

“We developed this product to show the world the art of the possible,” says Paul Beard, CEO of uAvionix. “We can’t yet sell this device because the standards that were developed for ADS-B did not take into account the value of air-to-air ADS-B communications between small drones or between small drones and manned aircraft. It’s literally not legal to transmit at these low power outputs. We aim to lead the discussion and development of those standards and will work with any regulatory body to do so.”

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