uAvionix, Kongsberg Geospatial Join Forces to Boost UAV Situational Awareness

In an effort to increase drone safety, Kongsberg Geospatial, an Ottawa, Ontario-based developer of real-time geospatial visualization software, has partnered with uAvionix, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based company that creates lightweight, automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) transponders for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Kongsberg Geospatial’s IRIS UAV airspace situational awareness display with be mated with uAvionix’s PingStation ADS-B receiver.

The companies explain that ADS-B transceivers help track the exact position of aircraft in real time. uAvionix’s tiny ADS-B transceivers can easily be installed in small UAVs, and its PingStation is a rugged, portable, ground-based receiver that tracks the position of ADS-B-equipped aircraft within a range of up to 150 miles.

Kongsberg Geospatial says it has been providing real-time geospatial and spatial awareness technology to support air traffic management, air defense applications and unmanned systems for nearly three decades.

By integrating the PingStation receiver with the IRIS UAS display, the two companies hope to create a portable and inexpensive solution that would dramatically increase the safety of commercial drone operations – especially when operating beyond the visual line of sight.

PingStation, a lightweight antenna, can be erected quickly on a pole mount, while the IRIS UAS software can be operated on a variety of ground control station displays or even a Windows Surface tablet. Now, according to the companies, the combined system allows operators to quickly set up and begin tracking the position of their UAV and any nearby aircraft equipped with ADS-B transceivers.

“PingStation is a great fit for the IRIS display,” says Ranald McGillis, president of Kongsberg Geospatial. “It provides an efficient and cost-effective way of accurately tracking small unmanned systems, and in combination with the airspace visualization that IRIS UAS provides, it will dramatically increase the safety of unmanned flight operations wherever it’s in use.”

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