NASA: Compact radars will let drones fly in crowded airspace

NASA recently got through the final stage of its drone testing program to find the best solution to allow drones to fly in crowded airspace. The testing is in partnership with the FAA and three industry partners to show potential commercial applications using different size drones in various locations and different airspace classes.

Last month Echodyne worked with NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California to test an AiRanger drone from American Aerospace Technologies flying on Echodyne’s compact radar system.

The drone was used to complete aerial inspections of gas and petroleum pipelines, covering 14.5 miles of the pipeline during the flight. This type of flight was chosen as it mimics what most commercial flights look like.

While in flight, the drone used Echodyne’s radar to detect and avoid other aircraft in the area that wasn’t cooperating. The radar designed by the company is known as a metamaterial electronically scanned array (MESA) that cuts down…