Detect-and-avoid closed-loop evaluation of noncooperative well clear definitions
July 12, 2020
Four candidate detect-and-avoid well clear definitions for unmanned aircraft systems encountering noncooperative aircraft are evaluated using safety and operational suitability metrics. These candidates were proposed in previous research based on unmitigated collision risk, maneuver initiation ranges, and other considerations. Noncooperative aircraft refer to aircraft without a functioning transponder. One million encounters representative of the assumed operational environment for the detect-and-avoid system are simulated using a benchmark alerting and guidance algorithm as well as a pilot response model. Results demonstrate sensitivity of the safety metrics to the unmanned aircraft’s speed and the detect-and-avoid system's surveillance volume. The only candidate without a horizontal time threshold, named modified tau, outperforms the other three candidates in avoiding losses of detect and avoid well clear. Furthermore, this candidate's alerting timeline lowers the required surveillance range. This can help reduce the barrier of enabling unmanned aircraft systems' operations with low size, weight, and power sensors.