Navy Seeks Collision-Avoidance System For UAVs

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The U.S. Navy published a request for proposals this week with the objective to develop a radar sensor compatible with small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) that would allow them to operate safely and reliably in civilian airspace. The Navy noted that UAV flights currently are "severely restricted" because of concerns they could collide with other aircraft. FAA regulations require that UAVs must demonstrate "an equivalent level of safety" comparable to see-and-avoid for manned aircraft before they can be allowed into the National Airspace System. The Navy is looking for an anti-collision system that would enable small UAVs (those with wingspans under 11 feet) to avoid all other air traffic, whether or not those aircraft are transponder-equipped. The see-and-avoid system shouldn't require any modifications to the air traffic control system, according to the requirements. The Navy is looking for a computer simulation, then a flying prototype that could obtain FAA certification for autonomous flight in civilian airspace. Ultimately the anti-collision system could also be used for civilian applications such as pipeline monitoring, firefighting, traffic surveillance and sky-based communication networks.