Drone developer building tech to overcome the unexpected

By Luke Geiver | November 16, 2016

Near Earth Autonomy, the same small unmanned aircraft systems developer responsible for creating a system to safely enhance the first and last 50 feet of flight, has received funding to tame a different UAS-related flight challenge: unexpected situations. 

Through a NASA Small Business Innovation Research program, Near Earth will work on technologies capable of helping a UAV deal with wind disturbances, loss of power or engine and sensor failures. The goal is to create an Autonomous Contingency System that can discover and adapt to changes in unpredictable environments, according to Near Earth Autonomy, “while accomplishing the mission goals, with minimal or no human involvement.” 

“As unmanned aircraft are taking on these complex and hazardous conditions in low altitudes, it is essential to have the technology onboard that will identify the contingency, adapt to the situation and make the necessary modifications for a safe and successful mission,” said Sanjiv Singh, CEO of the company. 

The Safe50 technology currently under development by Near Earth Autonomy will involve software module that will allow UAV take-offs and landings without the use of GPS. “Safe50 will accurately guide the UAS from take-off to landing in a fully autonomous manner, outside of the operator’s visual line of sight, without a direct link with a base station, and with intermittent GPS reception,” he said. 

For more on Safe50, click here.