In addition to the nearly 102,000 flights in the air across the United States today, UAVs and drones make up increasing segments of the aviation traffic in this country. The need for methods to integrate these aircraft into the transportation system in an efficient and seamless manner which is easily scalable as UAV traffic increases. Aircraft without ADB-D Out capabilities, including malfunctioning and non-cooperative aircraft will continue to exist within the general airspace and pose navigational hazards and tactical threats to SUAVs. The ability for UAVs to detect, identify, and track these aircraft to ensure safe operation and trajectories in traffic will become of increasing importance. The Hiawatha aircraft anti-collision system will provide a tool for trajectory managements and efficient traffic flow, especially for preventing collisions in case of transmitter failure or non-cooperative traffic. In addition, the Hiawatha aircraft anti-collision system can aid in operations during approach or in dense traffic areas by providing range and bearing of nearby aircraft to maintain spacing during approach. The passive nature of the system allows for the detection of non-cooperative or disabled aircraft, while the low cost and small size of the system allow for integration on various platforms.
The Hiawatha anti-collision system can be applied to a variety of UAV and drone applications in which way-finding or obstacle avoidance is necessary. For drones used in agricultural applications, the system can be adapted to help the aircraft avoid electrical towers and other obstructions near fields. Further applications can use beacons to provide location points for the tracking and way-finding of UAVs on long distance per-mapped routes beyond user control. UAVs operating as part of a swarm or network can use the system to ensure well clear and formation distances are maintained. The system can also be reconfigured as a ground-based detection, identification, and tracking system of UAVs or other platforms, providing information about a region of airspace for space operations such as UAV and balloon launches. UAV tracking is of interest for security concerns of agencies and private corporations including, but not limited to, nuclear power plants, large public venues, sensitive government facilities, and to prevent tampering or corporate espionage, . In addition, the automobile industry is expanding exploration into the development of fully automated vehicles. This technology represents a distinct capability for potential anti-collision avoidance systems that are not reliant upon inter-vehicle communications.