Congrats to the Aerotenna team for winning sense and avoid competition!

I love this young and smart team, who came out of University of Kansas and are doing very cool work with FPGAs.  From sUAS News:

Aerotenna, the leader in radar sensing and SoC flight control technologies for UAVs, has won first prize at the Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) Preliminary Drone Sense & Avoid technology competition held on November 9 in Syracuse, NY. The competition was launched by a partnership between UTM Convention and to demonstrate drone sense and avoid technologies in an open competition to build public trust.

UTM Convention 2016 is held November 8-10 at the Oncenter in Syracuse, NY. The annual event brings together aerial technology leaders from around the globe, including experts from the FAA and NASA, to explore the latest technical capabilities and discuss collaboration to rework the global airspace in the next era of aviation. The Drone Sense & Avoid technology competition was held during a Google-sponsored reception in front of leading companies and organizations including Google, Intel, Amazon and NASA, as well as drone industry regulators, investors, and most importantly the public.

Sense and avoid is a critical technology that enables safer and wider usage of drones in many applications such as monitoring the safety of bridges, rail lines and other critical infrastructure, delivering packages, and humanitarian missions. The competition obstacle course was designed as a mini replica of environments and scenarios drones would face in the real world, including a miniature bridge, glass obstacle, replica power line, and moving obstacle. More than one thousand in attendance watched as Aerotenna demonstrated its collision avoidance solution based on the μSharp sense-and-avoid radar and the OcPoC SoC FPGA flight controller. Aerotenna successfully completed two collision-free rounds in the fastest time to take home the $12000 first prize.

The development of sense and avoid technology is also critical for the flight of drones beyond visual line-of-sight and into national airspace. Aerotenna recently announced the release of a new miniaturized collision avoidance radar and SoC flight controller for all drone platforms. Radar’s robustness and reliability in all-weather, all-terrain and all lighting conditions make it an indispensible sensor for autonomous smart drones. Until recently, radar has not been considered a practical sensing solution for small UAVs due to size, weight and cost. With a suite of robust yet affordable and easily integrated sensing and processing solutions for all drone platforms, Aerotenna is positioned to be a key solutions provider in the commercial and consumer drone industries.

“Advancements in drone sensing and processing technologies are making autonomous drones a reality,  and open competitions such as the UTM Drone Sense & Avoid competition are great venues to show the public just how smart drones have become,” said Dr. Zongbo Wang, CEO of Aerotenna. “The capability of Aerotenna’s collision avoidance radar shows the power of radar as a robust, affordable and easily integrated solution for all drone platforms in the new era of aviation.”

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Comment by Auturgy on November 11, 2016 at 2:43pm
Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on November 11, 2016 at 2:49pm

Is it safe to assume this thing was running Ardupilot software?  

Comment by Cool Dude on November 11, 2016 at 3:26pm

Is there any chance that this radar will be available as an accessory to be installed in arducopter?

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on November 11, 2016 at 3:29pm

Well, Randy is already working on object avoidance, using a Lidar sensor.  Not sure if they're using that code, or developed their own.  A little clarity here would be appreciated.

Comment by Francisco Ferreira on November 11, 2016 at 5:00pm

ArduPilot for the win (again)!

They have developed their own code in top of ArduPilot, which is available at

As can be seen by the commits it was easy for them to do it, showing that ArduPilot isn't hard to add hardware or features. I hope they work to integrate support for, at least, their hardware into master.

Comment by Andrew Murphy on November 11, 2016 at 7:40pm

Both teams did pretty well, they both had guys following the path with transmitters so I think it was simple input commands and the quadcopter processed the best path as it went to avoid the obstacles. This is the best picture I could get of both together, the Aerotenna submission had a 3D printed part on top that looked like an upside down Reisigner circle. Not sure what it is for but if they are on the forum I'd be curious to know. 

Comment by Jack Crossfire on November 11, 2016 at 9:43pm

The uSharp senses distance in 8 directions, up to 40m, at 100Hz.  It could be used for indoor mapping.

Comment by sandra on November 11, 2016 at 11:15pm

Great work, very nice machine created. Such creations are very use full in many way.

Comment by Jerry Giant on November 12, 2016 at 2:18am

the leader... leading whom, to where it goes...The leader has already tape out VFPs and bought by intel...

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on November 12, 2016 at 5:58am

So the other team was using a DJI Matrice?  What sensor system were they using?  Optical?  I assume they just had something running with DJI's API?

And so Ardupilot with these radars beat them?  Would love more info on the whole thing.


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