uAvionix and PrecisionHawk to develop new LATAS hardware for drones


US-based automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) unit manufacturer uAvionix has partnered with PrecisionHawk to co-develop new low-altitude tracking and avoidance system (LATAS) hardware for drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).

As part of the collaboration, uAvionix’s Ping ADS-B products will be directly integrated into drones equipped with LATAS chipsets developed by PrecisionHawk.

The integration will enable drones to get alerts from nearby manned aircraft, which are equipped with ADS-B technology.

The partnership aims to test its newly developed concept under PrecisionHawk’s track of the US Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Pathfinder programme by early next year.

In addition, the partnership will explore the use of an integrated surveillance device, which includes ADS -B and LTE networks, to increase safety and reduces the risks of ADS-B spectrum congestion.

“The Ping system can listen for nearby aircraft and only broadcast the drone’s position via ADS-B if a manned aircraft is nearby."

uAvionix business development VP Christian Ramsey said: “With an integrated device, algorithms can determine the best frequency on which to broadcast the drone’s position depending on factors such as the availability of LTE networks or the presence of nearby manned aircraft.

“The Ping system can listen for nearby aircraft and only broadcast the drone’s position via ADS-B if a manned aircraft is nearby. 

“This is an incredibly efficient use of spectrum while being interoperable with existing manned aviation.”

The company noted that its Ping range of products are the smallest and lightest aviation grade ADS-B transceivers, transponders, and GNSS navigation sources in the world.

PrecisionHawk LATAS VP Tyler Collins said: “As LATAS continues to bring critical airspace information, such as ground obstacles and manned aircraft tracking, to drone flyers, regulators and airports, this integration will add an additional layer of risk mitigation.

“This technology will be particularly useful for UAV operators who are using LATAS to fly safely beyond visual line-of-sight.”

The company currently provides various solutions using UAVs for data collection and analysis software tools.


Image: uAvionix’s Ping range of products are the smallest and lightest aviation grade ADS-B transceivers in the world. Photo: courtesy of uAvionix.