While commercial applications for drones are on the rise, most drones today are small and operate in the close vicinity of the human pilot and under direct line of sight. They are restricted to flying low and well clear of airports, urban areas, and airspace used by manned traffic.
This is not good enough. To be feasible, future commercial applications will require large-scale operation in shared airspace, well beyond (visual) line of sight. UAV systems will be highly automated with minimal interaction by human operators. The vehicles will be larger, faster, heavier, and more intelligent, with the capability to resolve complex situations autonomously.
Business models, technology, and regulation all have to evolve under significant pressure. At the same time, traditional airspace users and the general public have significant interests to be taken into account: Safety in the air and on the ground, security and resilience to malicious intents, full accountability for all users of airspace, and affordability by means of a thriving, competitive ecosystem.
For these conflicting interests to meet, UAVs will have to fulfil even stricter standards than we have in manned aviation. Reliable detect-and-avoid is a core technology needed for autonomous UAV operation. Human pilots are not capable of visually identifying even a UAV of reasonable size, thus the latter has to give way, always.
FLARM Technology Ltd has been offering a broad range of solutions for manned and unmanned aviation since 2004, to accommodate the converging needs of the industry. Solutions include electronic conspicuity, secure e-identification, traffic sensors, multi-sensor fusion, autonomous collision avoidance, ground tracking infrastructure and services, data uplink, IFF, and air risk assessment consultancy.
Our technology is used in many manned aircraft and rotorcraft, and works anytime, anywhere and independent of infrastructure. FLARM is the most popular cooperative traffic avoidance solution in the lower airspace. In Europe, over half of all registered aircraft have a combined FLARM OUT and IN product onboard, using fixed installs or portable devices. FLARM offers the smallest integrated transceiver for aviation, native deconfliction for all traffic sources, thus enabling cost-effective collision avoidance.
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The following FLARM ready-to-fly devices are currently available for the UAV market. OEM products are also available for integration:
The following videos show some FLARM-UAS tests: