As part of a study for the German procurement authority BAAINBw, Hensoldt and Diehl developed a sensor demonstrator system designed to avoid collisions between aircraft. The partners demonstrated the system, which consists of a radar and a camera, can reliably detect objects in the flight path of UAVs together with the German Aerospace Center (DLR). The recognition of such situations is one of the essential requirements for deploying unmanned aerial vehicles in controlled airspace.
The research is part of the Programme Sense-and-Avoid – national (ProSA-n) project and combined Hensoldt detect-and-avoid radar with Diehl electro-optics. Hensoldt designed and flight tested the radar onboard the DLR test aircraft Do-228 D-CODE in real scenarios. The radar reliably detected flying objects within a range of 220 degrees in front of the UAV at a distance of more than 10 kilometres by day and by night and in all weather conditions. The sensor also assumes all the functions of a weather radar system. Hensoldt’s detect-and-avoid radar uses Active Electronically Scanned Array technology, which allows several detection tasks to be carried out at the same time.
The electro-optical camera module demonstrator developed by Diehl Defence during the research project consists of a series of high-resolution cameras that scan the space directly in front of and to the sides of the aircraft. The flight tests that were carried out showed that the camera module with its advanced real-time signal processing is capable of detecting other aircraft reliably, tracking and evaluating them precisely as well as passing on information on collision candidates for subsequent processing. The camera module works at long distances and in bad light and can therefore replace the pilots’ eyes. Moreover, it can also contribute to improving the UAV pilots’ situational awareness by means of a detailed panoramic image. The module is light, compact and flexible enough to be adapted to the requirements of various aircraft.
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