UAV swarm, anticollision - faa - detect-and-avoid

Since UAV activity is largely constrained by the see-and-avoid issues;

I though it would be appropriate to propose a solution which is compatible for every form of flight from gnat-weight to jumbojets. I've worked this out is a simulator - but here is the jist:

This requires only a single frequency and very short blips.

1. Every plane determines it's location and vector by GPS.
2. Then it transmits this information using one short blip every second or so.
a. The blip timing is based on current GPS location, so that the blips cannot interfere, and their location in Timespace tells us where they are coming from. Since GPS provides a very accurate, shared time base. So let t in microseconds = latitude\1 + longitude\1 * 100 + Alt in Km *1000 .
b. Odd seconds communicate vector (ie destination), Even seconds communicate Location.

3. There is a third variable required - which I call "Density". Each plane calculates the perceived Density of their airspace and sends that as well. Your density is your passenger count divided by the distance between you and other planes multiplied by their perceived density.

4. For manned aircraft nothing further is required - this beacon signal will ward off all unmanned vehicles.

5. For Autopilot or UAV, it is possible to chart a new safe vector by trying random vector changes and calculating their future density based on the vectors and densities of nearby airplanes. The vector which optimizes progress toward destination with lowest density is the vector chosen.

simple calculation requirements (ie Arduino), cheap transmitter/receiver requirements, and low power requirements. cheap unit cost, and no ground control.

Such a system could be demonstrated by coordinating a swarm of Ardu-Planes.


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I think it's not so bad; but I think that Rationale people must begin to realize that the FAA is a log, not a frog king (see aesop on this metaphor). It is inert and incapable of action (change). So improvements must occur organically. There is nothing wrong with this model.

Organic opportunities include for example Insurance carriers taking a more attentive role in encouraging the adoption of safety technology. Also, we should hold the FAA's feet to the fire on accidents like these, by pointing to their backwardness, and the availability of better practices.

The problem with "Public Oversight" is that the public is left out. Who - for example is speaking on behalf of the 2,000 desk workers who were hit by a "man-in-the-loop" aircraft on 911? Who speaks for the victims of high speed chases which might be avoided if Police could use UAV to track escape vehicles?

It seems the "process" is always to listen to GA Pilots and commercial airlines. And the answer is always the same: We the Doctors, Lawyers, and Pilots want fewer doctors, lawyers, and pilots, so we make more money. It all looks like protectionism over safety from where I sit.

It’s is not only the FAA and manned aviation stakeholders. Many want to move forward but agree that a loss of life type of incident would set the segment back years. Heck, I like this technology and I don’t want a 55 LBS craft buzzing my house at 75 knots.
This idea will work but it can be made even more powerful and useful using the additional technology of CSMA-CD packet radio. All of the components are available as COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) items. All that is required is FAA and FCC certification of a prototype system for evaluation. I have suggested such a system and am currently working with a small group of investors and manufacturers to construct a number of prototypes for testing in small aircraft. We estimate a cost of about $1000 for general aviation devices unless FAA certification and product liability insurance drives the costs higher. The following is a general description of the system we are considering.


Proposed is a low cost collision avoidance system utilizing GPS and RF CSMA-CD (IEEE 802 type protocol) packet transmission and reception that can be easily installed in any private aircraft as well as large commercial aircraft. No ground based infrastructure is required but can be used to provide augmented information such as weather, airport conditions, etc. The system uses GPS to constantly determine aircraft position, altitude, speed, and course vector. This information is packetized along with Aircraft ID, type, and other essential information. These packets are transmitted to the surrounding area on a single allocated frequency. The packets are received by other aircraft in the area and the position and possible collision parameters are computed and displayed on a screen visible to the pilot. Instructions would be provided to the pilot regarding collision avoidance maneuvers. All aircraft equipped with this device will be able to "see" all other aircraft in the area. The information may also be used to augment air traffic control information for use by air and ground controllers. Automated insitu winds aloft and weather and "PIREPS" (Pilot Reports) can also be accommodated. The device uses COTS components and can be manufactured and sold for a cost under $1,000.00. The device will be about the same size as a hand held GPS receiver. Power requirements would be on the order of one to two watts. Connections to the aircraft navigation and auto pilot system could improve utility and safety. Adoption of this system would require the assignment of a dedicated radio frequency or set of frequencies.


If we can get FAA and FCC approval we will build at least ten prototype systems for tests on various kinds of aircraft including small general aviation and business jets. Anyone interested in the project can email me with an inquiry at
I will prepare an email mailing list and send out new information as it becomes available.

Chuck Ivie
Email sent
I haven't followed the whole thread but what you are proposing is something very similar to AIS which is a marine collision avoidance system.

Automatic Identification System

Transmitters are mandatory for larger vessels, and everyone should have a receiver.
After further reflection, I would be somewhat cautious of broadcasting the GPS coords of manned airplanes. It doesn't take a genius to realize the vulnerabilities of such a system...

Instead - a working system may broadcast merely a "reservation" for a future loosely-defined airspace. collisions are avoided by avoiding reserved airspaces, rather than finite locations.

Also - it doesn't seem as though this system undertakes navigation - does it endeavor to guide airplanes in the case of congested airspace? If so has this guidance been stress tested?


Hi Ben

I have read your suggestions for a anti collision system and it sounds like the existing FLARM system...

FLARM is a voluntarily carried, GPS based warning system and very popular in Europe, since it also includes ground based obstecals for example. It is, however, not officially certified as an anti-collision solution, because this would multiply the price point and make changes very difficult. You can, however combine the system with ADS-B via serial input.

There is a small, lightweight device called the FlarmMouse available which sells for around 600$ and is only about 40g. It outputs via RS232 serial and uses the NMEA-0183 protocoll. See here:

I think I'm going to buy one and start experimenting to integrate this in my longer range fpv eqipment... However the price is still a killer for cheaper systems. 

But there might be another option, there is a FLARM module available as an option for certain paragliding computers at approx. 100$:

In the last few days have asked both FLARM and the producer of the module, flytec if they could sell these components individually. But FLARM is a sole software company nowadays and flytec, who produces the modules in licence is not willing to do so either. But after some talking with the development manger of FLARM I got the statement that if there is enough interest so that a company - like 3DR would produce the module for the integration in autopilots they would be willing to let them manufacture a custom module based on their licence. Which would mean we could have their core system for maybe 1/5th of the price of a regular system and we can modify certain details (power supply, connectors, GPS interface, etc) which would be nice too...



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