What would happen, let’s say, if an unmanned drone collided with a civilian passenger aircraft over a major town or city? The devastation could be catastrophic and there would be fingers being pointed in all sorts of directions as to who was to blame. The chain of command for decision making is clearer in manned aircraft than in unmanned systems, but there is still doubt about the situational awareness that a drone can use to prevent such occurrences.
This is where “Sense and Avoid in UAS, Research and Applications” comes in. Edited by Plamen Angelov, this book seeks to provide answers and knowledge to provide UAV operators and designers with the tools to make future flight safer. It is noteworthy that the UK Civil Aviation Authority is currently refusing to licence any unmanned aerial system over 20kg in weight that doesn’t have a sense and avoid capabilty.
The book is organised into four main sections; Introduction, Regulatory Issues and Human Factors, SAA(Sense And Avoid) Methodologies & SAA Applications. Each section contains chapters written by an expert contributor or contributors, delving into the subject down to its fundamentals.
To my mind there are two key aspects of Sense And Avoid. One, is the sensor application on the UAV to make the instantaneous flight decisions to avoid collisions, and two, is the regulatory framework built into the system to ensure that these drones are operated successfully and safely.
Both issues are discussed and dealt with in a way that encourages the reader to understand the reasoning that goes on behind the scenes. There are many sensors that can provide the necessary information about the immediate environment, to allow collision prevention, but it is the dissemination and processing that matters. In addition, there are existing flight regulations that cover manned aircraft, which may have use in devising an unmanned code.
This is a book that aims to teach, and it does this well. If the reader is aiming to understand the issues involved in Sense and Avoid, this is a book that will provide solid foundations. As with any subject of this nature, supplied bibliographies allow further investigation and there are plenty in this book. If UAS is your thing, and you are thinking of a career in this expanding industry, then Sense and Avoid by Plamen Angelov is the book to have.