Sense and avoid for unmanned cargo carriers and single-pilot flight decks
In recent years, D-CODE’s research focus has been on testing new technologies for the safe operation of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) in all airspaces. In the KoKo 2 project, D-CODE was equipped in cooperation with the partner Hensoldt so that, in addition to the sensor technology for the safe detection of cooperative (ADS-B) and non-cooperative aircraft, it can also take evasive action automatically. This is possible because, after sensor data fusion, the data are processed using proven collision avoidance algorithms and transferred to the experimental flight management system. This enables D-CODE’s digital autopilot to initiate a safe collision avoidance manoeuvre without intervention by the DLR test pilots on board. Several test flights by D-CODE, together with a Robin DR400, took place in 2021. In future, the sensor technology for detecting and avoiding potential collisions (‘Sense and Avoid’) could, for the first time, enable the approval and operation of UAS in German airspace. Another application will be to reduce the workload for pilots, a further step towards a single-pilot flight deck.