Zipline’s audio aircraft detection app may be used on drones

Zipline has made a name for itself blazing new trails in drone delivery, and has fully revolutionized the way medical supplies are transported across Africa in the process. Now the company is looking to shake up aerial navigation as well with an audio-based aircraft detection and avoidance system as a possible alternative to radar – and one drones might also use.

Creating radar-esque detection system using acoustic sensors

Earlier this summer, the US Patent Office published a filing by Zipline for a system described as “acoustic based detection and avoidance for aircraft.” The abstract in that July 22 notice for the patent application sounds not entirely alien to the ping-and-response functionality of radar and other technologies that aircraft have long used to detect and avoid once another. But this time, Zipline’s approach uses acoustical sensors to act as a vehicle’s ever-peeled situational ears.

“An audio signal received at audio sensors of…