UgCS Fly DJI Drone With Sagetech XPS-TR Transponder, Providing ATC Visibility

Published: 20 Jan 2016

UgCS, a developer of software for mission planning and execution for unmanned systems, have integrated a Sagetech Mode S/ADS-B out transponder with an A2 DJI UAV, enabling radar visibility throughout the drone’s flight.

SageTech XPS-TR Transponder flight

A BeagleBone Black computer with CAN bus shield was used to integrate a Sagetech XPS-TR, the world’s smallest transponder, with the A2’s flight controller. The flight controller continuously sent the drone’s location and commands through the CAN bus shield to the BeagleBone, which passed that information to the Sagetech transponder. The transponder was powered by the 6S onboard battery, which also powered the drone itself. The BeagleBone was powered by a separate 2S battery, but with a converter the same 6S battery could have been used for all 3 devices.

With an antenna located about 3m below the UAV, the mission was a complete success, with the drone appearing and remaining visible on throughout the flight.

Video footage of the flight can be found here:

UgCS 2.8 will feature a communications interface with the Sagetech ADS-B transponder, enabling configuration of ICAO ID, Flight ID and Squawk Code parameters through the UgCS system.

Posted by Mike Ball Mike is our resident technical editor here at Unmanned Systems Technology. Combining his passions for teaching, advanced engineering and all things unmanned, Mike keeps a watchful eye over everything related to the unmanned technical sector. With over 10 years’ experience in the unmanned field and a degree in engineering, Mike’s been heading up our technical team here for the last 8 years.

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