NASA recently got through the final stage of its drone testing program to find the best solution to allow drones to fly in crowded airspace. The testing is in partnership with the FAA and three industry partners to show potential commercial applications using different size drones in various locations and different airspace classes.
Last month Echodyne worked with NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California to test an AiRanger drone from American Aerospace Technologies flying on Echodyne’s compact radar system. While in flight, the drone used Echodyne’s radar to detect and avoid other aircraft in the area that wasn’t cooperating. The radar designed by the company is known as a metamaterial electronically scanned array (MESA) that cuts down costs and outperforms standard electronically scanned array (ESA) radars.
Echodyne’s radar worked with the OneSky Systems drone traffic management system to integrate the vehicle telemetry, radar tracks, automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast, and weather data for improved situational awareness. This also allowed the pilot to see other aircraft in the sky and appropriately avoid them if necessary.