The Precision Hawk LATAS technology, which works with Pixhawk and APM-based drones to create static and dynamic geofences to respond to "airspace intrusions" around drones, will be field tested with the FAA this week. From Quartz:
The FAA has been working since May with PrecisionHawk, a company that builds commercial drones for aerial surveillance and data gathering, to figure out how to keep the skies safe. The company will carry out the tests in North Carolina using an avoidance system it developed, called LATAS, according to MIT Technology Review. The first test will involve an aircraft—in this case, a rather brave paraglider—being flown near a drone operated by a human pilot to test how quickly the pilot can react to the paraglider getting up in their airspace. A later test will involve the same situation, but will use a drone connected to the LATAS system, which should act as an early-warning detection system for the pilot, and potentially help the drone avoid objects on its own. LATAS uses satellites, location sensors, and Verizon’s cellular network to triangulate itself.
“We want to measure the ability of a person flying the drone looking for airspace hazards visually against letting the drone make some decisions,” Tyler Collins, who leads the LATAS work at Precision Hawk, told MIT Technology Review.
Further down the road—literally—PrecisionHawk and the FAA will test out flying drones using LATAS in situations where the pilot can’t see the drone. Most consumer and small commercial drones have ranges of a few miles—much farther than any human can see. These tests could pave the way to drones being remotely operated by pilots for Amazon or Walmart, or any other company looking to use drones commercially.
More from Technology Review here