Autonomous UAS with ADS-B and Artificial Intelligence

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Researchers have developed an integrated communications and control system for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) that utilizes automatic dependent surveillance broadcast (ADS-B) technology. The system addresses safety concerns relating to UAS sharing airspace with traditional manned aircraft. This state-of-the-art system is capable of real-time situational awareness (e.g., air traffic, weather), updates in three-dimensional trajectories, and can be reengineered for specific mission operations and applications, giving the user a customized experience. The ADS-B system detects and tracks intruders; evaluates and prioritizes threats; declares and determines required action, and then communicates the determined action to the UAS pilot. The system’s ability to integrate various components for enhanced communications, command-and-control operations, and efficient sense-and-avoid capabilities addresses many of the technical barriers related to the safety and operation of UAS in the National Airspace System (NAS). In particular, the system employs computer vision (CV) artificial intelligence to confirm ADS-B In data during collision avoidance, so that it is protected against ADS-B spoofing attacks.

Currently, commercial use of UAS is constrained by regulatory issues based on multiple safety concerns. In order to meet these challenges and in response to increasing demand for civilian operation of UAS in the NAS, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is currently developing new policies, procedures, and approval processes. Our system addresses the regulatory changes by providing ADS-B Out capability along with communications and control capabilities that are superior to currently available offerings.

The ADS-B-based sense and avoid system can benefit many areas where UAS are/could be used, including:
-- Military missions and training
-- Law enforcement
-- Scientific research
-- Public safety surveillance and reconnaissance, such as forest fire management or search and rescue
-- Crop data collection
-- Meteorological data collection
-- Aerial photography and mapping
-- Traffic monitoring
-- Communication and broadcasting
-- Civilian general aviation
-- Commercial urban mobility safety
-- Aviation Mishap Exercise using sUAS Investigation Methods and Artificial Intelligence

HOW IT WORKS: The system is built around a ADS-B Ping2020 Transceiver, which is independent of other aircraft avionics and requires only a power feed from the aircraft. The software interface uses the standard ADS-B message protocol, and the system architecture is designed with a lightweight tablet display for general aviation use.

This system allows ground-based UAS operators to receive the ADS-B In signal over their UAS telemetry signal and deliver it to the sense and avoid software, installed on a laptop or tablet situated adjacent to the operator’s typical UAS video and other displays.

The system is compatible at both 978 and 1,090 MHz and projects real-time satellite three- and four-dimensional imagery using Internet network links. The technology is easily reengineered for specific missions and applications.

The system uses a 4k camera for computer vision and artificial intelligence using an edge NVIDIA graphics processor, which is used for both collision avoidance (to defend against ADS-B spoofing attacks) and for object recognition for aviation mishap response and situational awareness.

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  • Name:
    Ricardo Arteaga
  • Type of entry:
    Team members:
    Ricardo Arteaga
    Max Von Hippel
  • Profession:
  • Number of times previously entering contest:
  • Ricardo is inspired by:
    As an inventor, I am completely driven by divine inspired vision and passion. I would say my passion sustains my vision, for without passion you cannot tolerate failures, and if you cannot tolerate failures, you cannot make it from invention to first flight. Part of my vision is solving the major technological roadblocks in operating unmanned aircraft systems safely in the National Airspace, which is a key driver behind my work. This technology represents the results of my efforts to solve the main barrier that currently prevents safe UAS operation in the NAS. I am constantly working to improve on this system, to expand its capabilities with the goal of making it the state-of-the-art system for all UAS users.
  • Software used for this entry:
    Yes, Custom NASA code
  • Patent status: