Twitter Facebook Google RSS
 
Business & Industry News 

Start-Up Debuts Sense-and-Avoid System for Quadcopters 

2,014 

By Valerie Insinna 



Developing a sense-and-avoid system for any unmanned aircraft is a challenging task, but it’s even more difficult to build one for small vehicles that can’t hold heavy sensor payloads.

Panoptes UAV, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based start-up, has created a system that uses echolocation to help small quadcopters avoid collisions. The product, the eBumper, contains acoustic sensors that work outdoors, indoors and in all weather conditions, said Terrence McKenna, chief executive officer.

Currently, the system is only available for the DJI Phantom, he said. The eBumper is sold as a hard shell with integrated sensors that replaces the top half of the Phantom’s airframe and can easily be plugged into its electronics.

The company plans to manufacture shells for other UAS, McKenna said. The avionics systems are vehicle-agnostic.

“Any kind of quadrotor that’s out there, you can just plug it into the autopilot, and it will work out of the box,” he said.

Acoustic sensors are a good fit for small UAVs because they are inexpensive and work in most environments, McKenna said. Panoptes views the eBumper as a “foundational technology” that will allow an aircraft to sense an obstacle within 10 feet. The company is working on other sense-and-avoid technologies, such as microradar, that will have a longer range.

As the Federal Aviation Administration considers rules to incorporate UAVs in the civilian airspace, safety remains the number one concern, said Jim Williams, manager of its UAS integration office. During a speech in May, Williams played footage of an incident in Virginia where an operator lost control of a drone used to film a bull run. The system toppled into the crowd, injuring several spectators.

McKenna said the eBumper could improve the safety of small quadcopters, which in turn would help enable commercial and civil use.

“We’re working very hard to fill that [need] because there are a lot of people flying UAVs around trying to do commercial applications, but they’re not done very safely and very robustly,” he said.

The eBumper goes on sale this summer. Customers can preorder it online.

Credit: DJI Phantom with eBumper (Panoptes UAV photo)

Submit Your Reader's Comment Below
*Name
 
*eMail
 
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
*Comments
 
 
Refresh
Please enter the text displayed in the image.
The picture contains 6 characters.
*Characters
  
*Legal Notice

NDIA is not responsible for screening, policing, editing, or monitoring your or another user's postings and encourages all of its users to use reasonable discretion and caution in evaluating or reviewing any posting. Moreover, and except as provided below with respect to NDIA's right and ability to delete or remove a posting (or any part thereof), NDIA does not endorse, oppose, or edit any opinion or information provided by you or another user and does not make any representation with respect to, nor does it endorse the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement, or other material displayed, uploaded, or distributed by you or any other user. Nevertheless, NDIA reserves the right to delete or take other action with respect to postings (or parts thereof) that NDIA believes in good faith violate this Legal Notice and/or are potentially harmful or unlawful. If you violate this Legal Notice, NDIA may, in its sole discretion, delete the unacceptable content from your posting, remove or delete the posting in its entirety, issue you a warning, and/or terminate your use of the NDIA site. Moreover, it is a policy of NDIA to take appropriate actions under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and other applicable intellectual property laws. If you become aware of postings that violate these rules regarding acceptable behavior or content, you may contact NDIA at 703.522.1820.

 
 
  Bookmark and Share