This Small Business Technology Transfer Project is aimed at developing and testing an ADS-B transponder in a fully integrated single chip using Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) process. This transponder is capable of operating both in 978 MHz UAT and 1090 ES modes. This chip-based micro ADS-B unit is aimed at the owners and operators of prosumer and industrial unmanned air vehicles (aka UAVs, drones, UASs), who are currently mandated by the FAA to have ADS-B as a form of sense-and-avoid capability in place by Jan 2020. Over 800,000 of these small UAVs have been registered at the FAA currently in the US, and these are expected to be used in low-altitude, high density, urban operations, where a low powered ADS-B transponder will be sufficient for air traffic reporting and sense-and-avoid. The cost of available light-weight ADS-B units in in the $2000-$8000 range, which is untenable for users of small UAVs. Our proposed chip-based ADS-B unit will provide a 10-100X reduction in pricing, making ADS-B functionality available even to the smallest UAV. The availability of a low size/weight/power/cost ADS-B unit will enable the safe integration of small UAVs into the national airspace, and clear the path for rapid adoption of UAVs into commercial and industrial uses such as package delivery, medical supply chains, mining, telecommunications, agriculture, firefighting and disaster relief, commercial aerial photography, etc.
NASA is currently leading the charge for the UTM, the Unmanned Traffic Management system, with a huge initiative to support high density, low altitude UAV operations of small UAVs. This proposed chip-based ADS-B unit will be of low size, weight, power and cost to enable it to be hosted even on the smallest and least expensive UAV, while enabling full ADS-B In/Out operations.
Commercial and industrial uses of small UAVs such as package delivery, medical supply chains, mining, telecommunications, agriculture, firefighting and disaster relief, commercial aerial photography, etc. Other customers include UAV OEM manufacturers, universities and research firms, and military UAV operators.