More Dime-sized ADS-B Tech From uAvionix


When complying with the 2020 ADS-B mandate, you’ll still need a fully functional Mode A/C transponder. That means a transponder-based ADS-B solution is often the best choice for aging aircraft that haven’t seen a transponder upgrade since the Reagan era. If the aircraft flies above 18,000 feet, there’s no choice but to go with an ADS-B transponder. Montana-based uAvionix now looks to be aggressively pursuing that competitive market with its new 1090nano, a chipset that it says represents the core technology it will use in certified ADS-B transponders for both the GA and UAS markets.

The new 1090nano single-chip ADS-B solution is similar to the dime-sized 978 MHz T-UAT ADS-B chip that’s used in the company’s skyBeacon and tailBeacon low-cost ADS-B exterior lighting fixtures, but the 1090nano uses 1090ES extended squitter transponder transmissions when connected with an approved WAAS GPS. uAvionix already has that technology, too, with its $500, 27-gram TSO-certified FYXnav miniature GPS position source used in UAS applications.

uAvionix says its new chipset has a place in both the UAS and GA market because it offers a dual-band ADS-B solution when paired with its existing 978 UAT chip. Both chipsets are capable of transmitting ADS-B broadcasts at extremely low power (0.01-0.25 watts), while the dime-sized footprint means the transponder can be mounted remotely. The company’s current ping200Sr Mode C and Mode S ADS-B remote transponder offers a clue as to what the new transponder tech might look like. The device measures roughly 3.5 by 2.24 by 0.66 inches and weighs 76 grams—that’s small enough to mount virtually anyplace in the airframe.

With uAvionix recently earning TSO certification for its bolt-on skyBeacon ADS-B position light, the new 1090nano chipset announcement comes not a month after the industry learned of a patent infringement lawsuit from Garmin, which alleges that uAvionix copied some of its ADS-B technology. Read the news brief here. In its recent 1090nano chipset media announcement, uAvionix mentioned that much of its latest tech was made possible by two major investors— Airbus Ventures and Playground Global. uAvionix was founded in 2015 after it received Series A and Series B investment funding from these firms.

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