FAA grant supports Embry Riddle research in detect and avoid technology to improve drone safety

Researchers at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University have received a USD371,000 grant from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to study the detection systems of uncrewed aerial systems (UAS), or drones, to improve the safety of their operation.

“The research will inform the development of standards and requirements for the accuracy of detect-and-avoid (DAA) systems, which will improve safety, especially in scenarios where there are multiple UAS operating in the same airspace,” said Dr. Richard Prazenica, principal investigator of the project and associate professor and associate chair of the Department of Aerospace Engineering. “For example, a radar system might detect and track birds, which could be mistakenly identified as another vehicle that poses a collision threat. If too much false information is presented, it can overwhelm a human operator, making it difficult to discern real threats from false ones.”

Dr. Aryslan Malik, a postdoctoral research scholar working on the project who earned his Ph.D. at Embry-Riddle in December, said the inaccurate or misleading information that can be conveyed by UAS sensors creates “a barrier to the widespread implementation of Beyond Visual Line of Sight missions in the National Airspace System.”

The project, which will continue through March of 2024, is a collaboration between Embry-Riddle, Mississippi State University, Ohio State University, University of North Dakota and Cal Analytics.

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