uAvionix, a provider of in communications, navigation, and surveillance avionics for unmanned systems, has patented a concept that aids safe and secure integration of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into National Airspace Systems (NAS). U.S. Patent 10,991,260, titled “Intelligent Non-Disruptive ADS-B Integration for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)” provides the ability for UAS to take advantage of the safety benefits of ADS-B while minimizing spectrum utilization.
The Inert and Alert Concept preserves spectrum by allowing the onboard UAS ADS-B solution to remain “inert” in a non-broadcasting “listen” mode until a safety-critical event such as a C2 lost-link or other aircraft proximity triggers it to begin broadcasting its ADS-B position as an “alert.” Once the conditions are safe again, the system reverts again to its “inert” state.
uAvionix first revealed this concept in a 2018 white paper titled “ADS-B Inert and Alert – A Solution to the ADS-B Spectrum Concerns.”
Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) is a real-time precision, shared situational awareness system benefitting pilots and air traffic controllers alike, and significantly enhancing air safety. ADS-B Out has been mandated since January 2020 by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for all manned aircraft operating in most controlled airspace throughout the United States.
ADS-B is a technology that uses GPS to track aircraft in real time and improve situational awareness. There are both Out and In components for different purposes. ADS-B Out provides an exact latitude-longitude position for an aircraft about every second to Air Traffic Control (ATC). ADS-B In systems give equipped aircraft the ability to receive critical surveillance information on surrounding traffic as well as other information.
ADS-B Out creates a hockey puck-shaped zone around the aircraft, or UAV in this case, that enables other ADS-B Out/In equipped aircraft in the vicinity to pick up its location.
“uAvionix is a firm believer in the benefits of a cooperative airspace for UAS integration,” said Christian Ramsey, President of uAvionix. “Recognizing the concerns of over-use of the spectrum by regulators, Inert and Alert is a means to leverage ADS-B for collision avoidance while significantly reducing those concerns.”