I just wanted to let everyone know that early registration is open for the UAS Airspace Operations Challenge. Please take a look at the web site (http://uasaoc.org) to see the deadlines (early registration ends Nov 15), the new Team Agreement, and the revised rules.  You can sign up for the competition mailing list there, as well. The first phase of the competition will be next Spring, with a total prize purse of $500,000.  Feedback is always welcome!


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  • Gary, I think NASA has a pretty good track record for respecting the intellectual property of others, but regardless, you'd want to make sure you have the proper protections in place before you start demonstrating a technology that is proprietary in public.  This is especially important since March of this year, when the U.S transitioned to using "first to file" patent law instead of "first to invent".

  • Brent, there are a lot of different pieces to the ADS-B puzzle.  Wikipedia has a good overview on this page.  Most aircraft in the U.S. will be required to implement "ADS-B Out" by the year 2020.  That means they will be regularly broadcasting information about their current location, speed, and heading to ground controllers and other nearby aircraft.  A lot of commercial aircraft are already doing this and there are a number of smart phone apps that will show you current ADS-B traffic info.  It's fun to see a plane flying overhead and pull out your phone to find out where it is going.  You can even zoom in on airports and watch aircraft taxiing around.  One planned benefit of broadly requiring ADS-B Out is to reduce runway incursions.  There are also web sites like http://planefinder.net that show the same data in your browser. 

    The competitors in Phase 1 of this competition are required to implement an "ADS-B in" receiver (listening to 978 MHz) onboard their aircraft to let them "detect and avoid" nearby aircraft that are broadcasting ADS-B Out. They'll display the local ADS-B traffic data on their ground control station, so they can maintain an appropriate level of situational awareness with regard to the operations of local ADS-B Out equipped aircraft.  It's not a complete answer to safely sharing airspace with manned aircraft, but it will be an important part of the final answer.

  • ADS-B is still ground based and from what I hear pilots will pick up data climbing through 300agl if they are within 30 miles of the tower. How will this be useful on a SUAV?

  • Note that if you miss the November 15 "Early Bird" registration date, the registration fee jumps from $5,000 to $7,000.

  • Hi Garry, 

    Your probably right, but the trouble with this technology is that it has military applications and NDAs relating to the military are always a little suspect.

    I had personal experience 30 years ago relating to a laser vision system for submarines with the Navy.

    You basically have no viable way of verifying their end of an NDA.

    And when they have digested their accumulated knowledge, they just hand it off to their favorite contractor who will do the job the way they want.

    Maybe it's changed.

  • It's not as bad as you think.  I saw a post here, a few months ago, where a clever person had put together a working ADS-B receiver for $30.  We're paying a little less than $3,000 for ours, but they can transmit and receive and they are TSO'd. There is no requirement that the avoidance maneuvers have to be accomplished automatically, by the way.  Also, competitors in NASA Centennial Challenges don't have to give up their intellectual property if they win.  Past competitors have gone on to start successful businesses based upon the proprietary technologies they've developed to compete.

  • From what I can see this is a test for the ADS system which shows a cost for in and out estimated for normal piloted planes in the vicinity of $25,000.00.

    All that we have to do is come up with a completely automatic recognize and response system in addition to a ADS in and out system for a whole lot less money and then we will get a prize and Notrhrup, Grumman or Boeing will make a lot of money from it.

    Maybe I'm just being cynical - - maybe not.

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