Autonomous UAV Collision Avoidance

Period of Performance: 10/30/2008 - 04/30/2010


Phase 2 STTR

Recipient Firm

Briartek, Inc.
112 E. Del Ray Ave., Suite A
Alexandria, VA 22301
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

Pennsylvania State University
110 Technology Center Building
University Park, PA 16802
Institution POC


For UAVs to share airspace with manned aircraft they must be capable of reacting to collision avoidance situations in a manner indistinguishable from manned aircraft. Additionally since it is unlikely that manned aircraft will willingly adapt new equipment requirements it must further be assumed that UAVs must accomplish this task without requiring manned aircraft to carry anything other than what they are currently equipped with. This effort aims to provide a solution for UAVs to interact with manned aircraft through standard voice radio. Manned aircraft routinely communicate their position and intended maneuvers over voice radios so improve situational awareness of those they share airspace with. Since UAVs cannot understand natural language radio transmissions a new type of radio direction finder will be used to locate aircraft based on short voice radio transmissions. The UAV will be outfitted with a standard radio modified to broadcast the UAVs position and intended maneuvers. Additionally the UAV will broadcast a request for response from nearby aircraft. These responses will allow the UAV to radio locate and if needed track the aircraft in the vicinity. The track information developed by the radio and direction finder will be used to determine required UAV maneuvers.