Panoptes Systems has introduced a sense and avoid capability for recreational unmanned air vehicles that offers protection over the intellectual property of hobbyist users.

In an effort to ensure that every UAV is capable of avoiding collisions, the Aurora Flight Sciences-owned company has developed the eBumper4 obstacle avoidance system, which can be integrated in platforms such as the DJI Phantom 2 and the 3D Robotics Iris+.

The system is designed as a retrofit to existing UAVs, and consists of front, lateral and upward sonar sensors that detect objects from 4.6m (15ft) away and subsequently navigate the aircraft away from it.

It increases both the safety of the system and its ability to operate in narrow spaces, the company says.

Panoptes Systems

Sense and avoid technology is considered the ultimate technological goal for full integration of UAVs into controlled and open airspace, but developments until now have been primarily focused on the large UAV market. Larger systems have a longer endurance and can therefore fly through more airspace, plus they are more of a threat to other aviation, the public and critical infrastructure.

“Commercial drones are no longer just a product for the enterprise or government, but are quickly emerging as a mainstream venture for the everyday consumer,” Panoptes says. “With dozens of options already on the market, finding an affordable drone has become fairly simple, but the cost of replacing one or repairing damaged property from a collision can easily double your investment.”

Panoptes says that before UAVs can be accepted into mainstream use they need to become “substantially safer” to operate, adding that this what the eBumper4 offers.