Friday, October 22, 2021

Zipline – Acoustic based detection and avoidance for aircraft patent

Ever pushing Ziplines sense and avoid system uses sound to hear and get out of the way. Love their work.

Conventional aircraft detection systems, such as radar, may be difficult or cost-prohibitive to incorporate into smaller aircraft, such as unmanned aircraft. Further, regulations may require unmanned aircraft to maintain a spherical detection zone, detecting other aircraft in every direction relative to the aircraft. As conventional aircraft detection systems may not be developed for such detection, implementing conventional systems for spherical detection may be technically complex and expensive.

Conventional aircraft, including commercial aircraft and general aviation aircraft, follow established airspace rules to avoid collision with other aircraft. For example, in general, each aircraft is responsible for the airspace in front of the aircraft. In some airspaces, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) may be required to maintain spherical coverage, meaning that the UAV must monitor airspace in each direction for intruding aircraft. Further, UAVs may be responsible for moving out of the way of intruding aircraft, so that other aircraft do not encounter UAVs during flight. Conventional aircraft detection systems, such as radar, may be optimized for monitoring the area in front of an aircraft such that detection may be poor for obstructions or objects close to the ground, such as hills. While such systems may be altered to provide spherical coverage, a system providing such coverage may prohibitively heavy relative to a UAV. Further, conventional detection systems may have difficulty with long-range detection, which gives a UAV less time to detect other aircraft and alter its flight path to avoid other aircraft.


An audio signal received at audio sensors of an aircraft is analyzed to determine directional information for a source of the audio signal. A location of the source of the audio signal is determined based on the directional information.

One or more non-transitory computer-readable media may be encoded with instructions which, when executed by one or more processors of an acoustic aircraft detection system, cause the aircraft detection system to analyze an audio signal received by the acoustic aircraft detection system to determine directional information for a source of the audio signal and generate an estimation for a location of the source of the audio signal based on the directional information.

A multichannel audio signal is received at an acoustic detection system of an aircraft. A determination is made that the multichannel audio signal is associated with an intruding aircraft based on the multichannel audio signal. An initial maneuver is commanded for the aircraft.

An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) includes a plurality of acoustic sensors connected to the UAV and an acoustic detection system comprising one or more processors. The acoustic aircraft detection system analyzes audio signal received by the plurality of acoustic sensors to generate an estimation in a three-dimensional space of an intruding aircraft relative to the UAV.

Additional embodiments and features are set forth in part in the description that follows, and will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon examination of the specification and may be learned by the practice of the disclosed subject matter. A further understanding of the nature and advantages of the present disclosure may be realized by reference to the remaining portions of the specification and the drawings, which form a part of this disclosure. One of skill in the art will understand that each of the various aspects and features of the disclosure may advantageously be used separately in some instances, or in combination with other aspects and features of the disclosure in other instances.

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Gary Mortimer
Founder and Editor of sUAS News | Gary Mortimer has been a commercial balloon pilot for 25 years and also flies full-size helicopters. Prior to that, he made tea and coffee in air traffic control towers across the UK as a member of the Royal Air Force.