Ground-based UAS airspace situational awareness system performs perfectly in first US test

Insitu, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Boeing company, announced the successful completion of a flight demonstration for its ground-based Unmanned Aerial Systems (UASs) airspace situational awareness system, the company said.

Insitu is tackling one of the toughest challenges for UASs — the ability to detect nearby aircraft flying both within and beyond UAS operators´ line of sight.

Insitu — in collaboration with Boeing Phantom Works International — designed, developed, and tested the airspace situational awareness system in Australia under a program sponsored by the Queensland Government. The system is designed as one of the optional “layers” of safety to enable broad-area, beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) capability for commercial UAS operations by providing airspace situational awareness for UAS operators, specifically to help detect and avoid so called “non-cooperative” traffic. The system incorporates radio over Internet protocol (ROIP) to expand its ability to communicate with air traffic control and local traffic in the operations area.

Currently, UAS ground control operators fly their aircraft only to a point where the UAS is within line-of-sight, as operators are unable to discern the location of other aircraft within the same airspace, potentially creating hazardous flying conditions. Using either mobile or fixed infrastructure, the system combines Airborne Dependent Surveillance Broadcasts (ADS-B) and transponder returns to provide a correlated common operating picture — enabling UAS operators at ground control systems to see real-time information about the local airspace.

Remotely detecting and tracking other airspace users, the system immediately sends the air traffic information back to a ground-control station — assisting operators in safely operating UASs over extended ranges.

Insitu is an industry-leading provider of information for superior decision making. With its headquarters in Bingen, Wash., and offices in the US, UK, and Australia, the company creates and supports unmanned systems and software technology that deliver end-to-end solutions for collecting, processing and understanding sensor data. For more information, visit