Sunday, April 26, 2015

Google ADS/B

There are reports that Google will be building a UAT that will be low cost. At first one might think, why would google be building something like that for aircraft. Google wants to do drones like Amazon. Maybe for deliveries, maybe something else. To get any aircraft in the Class B or C airspace where the drones would operate, they would need to be ADS/B capable, just like all other aircraft.

The articles specifically mention ADS/B out. This would make sense for selling to other aircraft. For use on a UAS or Drone, the only thing that makes sense if ADS/B in and out. How else will the UAS determine where the other aircraft is. Out will tell the other aircraft (and ATC). In will tell the drone where the other aircraft are.

If someone can put together a low cost ADS/B system it would be Google. They have the engineering teams to do it, and the bank account to fund the development. UAS systems, are smaller than manned aircraft, so the ADS/B radios they will need will need to be small, lightweight and use low power. This could be good.

ADS/B will help aircraft sense and avoid each other. Drones flying in swarms will be possible. Drones avoiding manned aircraft should be easier. Manned aircraft missing drones will be easier also.

There is an old joke about air traffic controllers are there to minimize noise, ever hear the noise when aircraft bump into each other? Aircraft of all sizes will need to help keep the noise down. Drones running into each other can be bad for the people walking down the sidewalk.

These ADS/B radios for the drones could also be used for light aircraft. There are still plenty of aircraft without electrical systems flying. Having the ability to put a small, lightweight, low power UAT in a light aircraft should make them capable of using the class B and C airspace they may be excluded from. I don't know what the FAA is going to do about waivers for the no radio aircraft. They are capable of avoiding each other, and most larger aircraft. It will be difficult to see what the record will be in UAS vs Pilot Eyeballs in the sense and avoid arena without UAT.

I've suggested it before, and hope it comes to fruition. I'd love to test out one of these UAT devices on my airplane.

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