The drone operates autonomously when carrying out missions and when doing so follows high level commands set by the system controller. The drone will adapt to the environment in which it is operating, including obstacles, people, other aircraft, weather, the drone state and its performance.
The drone’s Sense and Avoid (SAA) capability utilises a number of sources of data and smart decision making based on the fusion of this sensor data in order to ensure the safe operation of the drone in a wide range of environments. Realtime data feeds of other aircraft locations (ADS-B), preloaded digital terrain/surface maps, location certainty, video imagery, ultrasonic and thermal imaging sensors are all used to enable the drone to operate safely in its environment. Airspace restriction data is also available to the drone.
Redundancy is used throughout the system to mitigate failure. Should a failure of the system occur then the system can automatically switch into a failsafe mode that is designed to bring the drone back to the ground without damage or injury to any party.
Multiple strobe lights are used on the drone to ensure the drone is highly visible to other aircraft and persons on the ground.
The sensors of the drone and the intelligent processing of data from those sensors comprise one of the key benefits of the UAS. They are used to allow the UAS to achieve its mission whether that be providing a realtime video feed to the system controller or detecting, for example, lost individuals in remote areas. The sensors are a key component in sensing the environment in which the UAS is operating, performing its mission and allowing it to be truly autonomous.
The drone’s sensors include: visible light (video and stills), audio, thermal imaging (Thermoteknix MicroCAM 3), passive radar, active radar, laser range-finding, ultrasonic, satellite positioning (GPS, GLONASS, Galileo), miniature mobile base station (UASMobileCell), accelerometers, compass and gyros.
Drone communication capability for realtime data and command and control include:
- Satellite: Iridium SBD; broadband
- Mobile: GSM/GPRS/EDGE/UMTS/HSPA+/LTE
- WLAN: 802.11
- Video downlink
The vehicle can also include a miniature GSM mobile base station (UASMobileCell).
Disclaimer: The UAS is in development at the present time and not all aspects described above may be present in systems produced. Local regulations may prohibit the use of the UAS (unmanned aircraft system) in the way we have described.