Aerotenna, the leader in radar sensing and SoC flight control technologies for UAVs, has won first prize at the Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) Preliminary Drone Sense & Avoid technology competition held on November 9 in Syracuse, NY. The competition was launched by a partnership between UTM Convention and HiddenGenius.com to demonstrate drone sense and avoid technologies in an open competition to build public trust.

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UTM Convention representatives presenting the check for first prize to the Aerotenna team.

UTM Convention 2016 is held November 8-10 at the Oncenter in Syracuse, NY. The annual event brings together aerial technology leaders from around the globe, including experts from the FAA and NASA, to explore the latest technical capabilities and discuss collaboration to rework the global airspace in the next era of aviation. The Drone Sense & Avoid technology competition was held during a Google-sponsored reception in front of leading companies and organizations including Google, Intel, Amazon and NASA, as well as drone industry regulators, investors, and most importantly the public.

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The obstacle course was designed as a mini replica of real-world environments and scenarios.

Sense and avoid is a critical technology that enables safer and wider usage of drones in many applications such as monitoring the safety of bridges, rail lines and other critical infrastructure, delivering packages, and humanitarian missions. The competition obstacle course was designed as a mini replica of environments and scenarios drones would face in the real world, including a miniature bridge, glass obstacle, replica power line, and moving obstacle. More than one thousand in attendance watched as Aerotenna demonstrated its collision avoidance solution based on the μSharp sense-and-avoid radar and the OcPoC SoC FPGA flight controller. Aerotenna successfully completed two collision-free rounds in the fastest time to take home the $12000 first prize.

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Audience watches as Aerotenna’s drone successfully navigates the obstacle course.

The development of sense and avoid technology is also critical for the flight of drones beyond visual line-of-sight and into national airspace. Aerotenna recently announced the release of a new miniaturized collision avoidance radar and SoC flight controller for all drone platforms. Radar’s robustness and reliability in all-weather, all-terrain and all lighting conditions make it an indispensible sensor for autonomous smart drones. Until recently, radar has not been considered a practical sensing solution for small UAVs due to size, weight and cost. With a suite of robust yet affordable and easily integrated sensing and processing solutions for all drone platforms, Aerotenna is positioned to be a key solutions provider in the commercial and consumer drone industries.

“Advancements in drone sensing and processing technologies are making autonomous drones a reality,  and open competitions such as the UTM Drone Sense & Avoid competition are great venues to show the public just how smart drones have become,” said Dr. Zongbo Wang, CEO of Aerotenna. “The capability of Aerotenna’s collision avoidance radar shows the power of radar as a robust, affordable and easily integrated solution for all drone platforms in the new era of aviation.”