OKLAHOMA CITY (OBV) – Vigilant Aerospace Systems, a drone aircraft technology provider located in Oklahoma City, was awarded a contract to develop detect-and-avoid technology for the U.S. Air Force.
The OKC-based company engineers will develop the multi-sensor detect-and-avoid safety systems for uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS) and advanced air mobility (AAM).
The technology will specifically be used for the Air Force’s new long-endurance drone.
The project’s objective is to “integrate a mature detect and avoid capability on an existing long-endurance, Group V UAS platform for increased aircraft and pilot-in-the-loop operational awareness that leverages new and evolving C-SWaP sensors and sensor fusion software,” according to a published project description.
“We are very excited to have been selected to develop this crucial technology for the US Air Force. We know that integration of uncrewed aircraft into the US national airspace and other civil airspace systems is critical to the advancement of the industry for both military and civilian use and that there can be no autonomy without autonomous safety and automatic collision avoidance,” said Kraettli Epperson, CEO of Vigilant Aerospace.
The effort will be a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project sponsored by the Air Force Research Lab. The SBIR program aims to provide the military dual-use technologies, which can help both civilian and military users, “with a focus on high-impact, near-term implementations,” a Vigilant news release states.
The AFRL is the Air Force’s primary scientific research and development center.
Vigilant is utilizing FlightHorizon, its dual-use technology, for the project. It’s based on two NASA patents and uses data from multiple sources to display real-time images of air traffic around a drone and provide automatic avoidance maneuvers to avoid collisions.
“We are especially excited about the intersection of this new project with our existing work for advanced air mobility companies developing safety systems for air taxis and larger cargo drones,” Epperson said. “All of these operations have similar needs for safety and integration and they are turning to Vigilant for solutions. We are able to bring existing technology, experience, patents, algorithms and flight tests to bear on solving the problems that they have in common.”
Vigilant has had contracts with NASA, the FAA, the U.S. Department of Defense and a range of drone development programs.
FlightHorizon won NASA’s Commercial Invention of the Year 2021 award.
Click here to learn more about Vigilant.