Sagetech Avionics Inc., an innovative technology company providing industry-leading avionics solutions for Uncrewed Aerial Systems (UAS), announced that they completed a successful demonstration of Detect and Avoid (DAA) using their low SWAP ACAS X based DAA computer as part of a Phase 1 STTR for the United States Air Force.
“This technology is critical to unlocking the full potential of UAVs and allowing for safe BVLOS [beyond visual line of sight] missions,” stated Matt Hamilton, CTO of Sagetech Avionics. “Safe DAA cannot be achieved with a single sensor; it’s a combination of sensors including validated ADS-B In data feeding the proven ACAS algorithms for collision avoidance calculations and alerts.” Sagetech has been collaborating with the FAA’s TCAS program office to test the future ACAS algorithms (ACAS-sXu and ACAS-Xr) that are yet to be released. Sagetech’s flight testing helps validate the models used to verify the ACAS algorithms to ensure statistical models accurately predict real world performance.
ACAS X is the next generation of airborne collision avoidance and has become an international standard. ACAS X uses advanced algorithmic techniques and probabilistic models to obtain the safest and best possible collision avoidance system for all classes of piloted and unpiloted aircraft.
Sagetech has integrated the ACAS X algorithms on their DAA computer and paired it with their MX transponder to receive ADS-B In track data. The MX transponder, which is available today, is the only micro transponder that includes integrated ADS-B In, a critical sensor input to the ACAS logic.
Data from the test flights were provided to FAA researchers for use in the evaluation of ACAS Xr logic for crewed and uncrewed rotorcraft. “Sagetech’s prototype ACAS Xr device integrated into a UAS demonstrated the receipt of RWC [remain well clear] and CA [collision avoidance] alerts,” explained Neal Suchy of the FAA’s TCAS Program Office. “These results along with their planned testing of omni-directional surveillance will prove useful to the continued development of the ACAS X system for use in rotorcraft.”
Sagetech and UND Aerospace Foundation (UNDAF) chose the Penguin C aircraft built by UAV Factory to flight test this solution due to its flexible payload configuration and cost-effective operations. The system is optimized for gyro-stabilized day and night payloads with weights under 4.5 lb. “The Penguin C aircraft provides simple customized payload integration and has an endurance of up to 20 hours,” according to Josh Brungardt, UAV Factory’s Executive Vice President. “With its maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 50.7 lb, the Penguin C packs significant capabilities into a small and versatile aircraft platform for performing a wide variety of missions. The aircraft uses a sophisticated parachute recovery system, which eliminates the need for bulky landing equipment and can also be deployed for emergency landings. The addition of Sagetech’s DAA solution to the industry-leading Penguin C aircraft, with its proven parachute recovery system creates the world’s best safety case for flying BVLOS missions.”
Sagetech, an industry leader in transponders and detect and avoid solutions, plans to release their DAA computer at the end of the year, and will be working with UAV Factory to fully integrate this capability on the Penguin family of aircraft. The Sagetech DAA computer will complement the MX transponder and provide small UAVs with the first certifiable, true Detect and Avoid solution.