Over the past decade, hobbyist and commercial small Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS) operations in the United States have greatly expanded, and forecasts predict that the trend will continue into the foreseeable future. With this expansion has come conflict with traditional manned aircraft. Already, and within the last five years, there have been several mid-air collisions, near-miss incidents, and other accidents involving sUASs. This proliferation of unmanned aircraft operations raises serious safety concerns for manned aircraft. To confront this present and growing danger, pilots need a robust, system-wide alerting system to increase situational awareness (SA) of nearby sUAS activity.
In this proposal, Mosaic ATM and Drone Traffic outline a plan for a software product that increases pilot SA by warning them of actual and potential sUAS activity in their area. The proposed innovation, the Smart UAS information Network (SUN), will integrate and fuse a wide array of disparate surveillance data, including airborne and terrestrial sensors and crowd-sourced sUAS activity reports, to present timely and user-tailored sUAS safety alerts to pilots. The ultimate vision for the proposed innovation – a Waze for aviation – is as a stand-alone flight application, or as a supplement to existing applications such as ForeFlight, living within a pilot’s electronic flight bag (EFB). At the heart of the innovation is a combination of deep learning techniques for classifying and identifying sUASs and generating their likely trajectories. A rich graphical user interface will provide current flight status, future trajectory information, and SUN’s safety-focused sUAS warning information embedded within 2D and 3D mapping displays.