UAV manufacturer Evolve Dynamics has performed its first fully autonomous drone landing in partnership with Cambridge Sensoriis.
Cambridge Sensoriis’ ARC (Active Radar Cooperating) radar sensor devices have been integrated with Evolve Dynamics’ Sky Mantis UAV to achieve autonomous landing, loitering and zonal position hold without the use of any other sensors. This system is therefore ideally suited to operation in GPS-denied environments.
The partnership sees Cambridge Sensoriis’ ground-based radar beacons communicating with a Sensoriis airside radar mounted in the Sky Mantis aircraft, which passes precision positioning data to the autopilot.
This pioneering technology offers extremely robust positioning autonomy to Evolve Dynamics’ Sky Mantis for operations involving vessel landing, loitering in holding positions both static and moving, and constraining flight to defined corridors or zones. With the use of Sensoriis’ radar, Sky Mantis can launch from, follow, and land on a moving vehicle or boat.
Cambridge Sensoriis’ CEO, Steve Clark, said: “We’ve believed for some time that our radar-based positional information could add value to drone deployments, but it has taken the expertise and support of Evolve Dynamics to see that come to fruition with actual real-world autonomous maneuvering and landing. It’s a first for us. We’re delighted with the collaborative spirit of this partnership, and the opportunity ahead.”
Evolve Dynamics’ Chief Commercial Officer, Laurence Mallinson, commented: “By using radar pods that communicate with each other, our UAVs will be able to land autonomously in any weather, on a moving host platform, or in a GPS-denied environment. The key aspect of the system is that it is not reliant on visual navigation methods such as 2D barcodes or LED’s, and therefore is able to operate in adverse weather conditions and complete invisibility, such as fog or mist.”
Evolve Dynamics’ CEO, Mike Dewhirst, added: “This is a major step forward. To achieve resilient autonomy and positioning without existing infrastructure, such as GPS, is essential. This is critical in defense scenarios, where we already have a strong market presence, as well as for the general scalability of industry drone solutions that will require strong resilience and redundancy.”