The European Defence Agency has awarded a four-year, €50 million ($69.3 million) contract to a grouping of 13 European industries to demonstrate a mid-air collision avoidance system for unmanned aircraft.
The contract is being sponsored by contributing states France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden.
Finding a cost-effective, reliable collision preventative has been high on the to-do list of UAV proponents for years, as aviation regulators will ultimately require UAVs to have sense-and-avoid capabilities equivalent to manned aircraft before it will be possible to have both types of aircraft flying in the same airspace.
The overall objective of the Midcas system will be to demonstrate sense-and-avoid to fulfil the requirements for traffic separation and mid-air collision avoidance in non-segregated airspace and, in close co-operation with Eurocontrol, Eurocae and EASA, to provide the technical background for them to establish a sense-and-avoid standard, say the companies, which include Saab, Alenia and Finmeccanica.
The group will also co-ordinate with US organisations, including RTCA, seeking to create similar standards.