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Drones taught to avoid collisions in the air

NASA has been putting its latest drone technology through its paces with a prototype system of its Detect-and-Avoid (DAA) sensors.

The technology allows Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) to safely avoid other aircraft

The DAA sensor on the remotely piloted Ikhana aircraft work in concert with airborne and ground-based computers.

In the trial, Ikhana made 11 flights involving more than 200 scripted encounters with approaching aircraft.

Depending on the specific scenario, either Ikhana detected one or more approaching aircraft and sent an alert to its remote pilot to take action, or Ikhana itself took its own evasive action.

“We recorded some valuable data that will take some time to analyse fully, and we expect we’ll need to make some minor refinements to our algorithms, but from what we saw during the tests, the results look promising,” said Dennis Hines, NASA’s director for programs for Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards, in California.

More on the program here.

Bill Condie

Bill Condie

Bill Condie is a science journalist based in Adelaide, Australia.

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