Collision & Obstacle Avoidance

Find Drone Collision Avoidance & Obstacle Detection Technology for Unmanned Systems, UAV, USV, UGV & Robotics
Overview Collision & Obstacle Avoidance
By Technology Editor Last updated: October 20th, 2023

Collision Avoidance for Unmanned Systems

Collision avoidance systems are crucial for enabling autonomous operations for unmanned vehicles of all kinds. These systems take in data from various onboard sensors, as well as data from external sources, and calculate the best manoeuvres for the vehicle to make in order to avoid hitting an obstacle or hazard. More advanced systems may use artificial intelligence and computer vision to perform detection and classification of objects picked up by the sensors.

Collision Avoidance Systems

Casia Drone Collision Avoidance System by Iris Automation

Drone Collision Avoidance for BVLOS Flight

Collision avoidance systems for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and drones, often called Sense and Avoid (SAA) or Detect and Avoid (DAA) systems, are important components of the framework that allows these vehicles to integrate into civil airspace and to undertake BVLOS (beyond visual line of sight) operations with a high degree of autonomy. Obstacle detection may use a variety of active or passive sensors, including radar, ultrasound, LiDAR and EO/IR (electro-optical/infrared) sensors, as well as broadcast technologies such as ADS-B (automatic dependent surveillance–broadcast) that provide identity, position and other information.

Maritime Obstacle Detection

Autonomous USVs (unmanned surface vessels) must be equipped with a suitable collision warning system in order to comply with the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, or COLREGS. These systems may take in data from a variety of sensors, including onboard radar, LiDAR and cameras, as well as sources of information such as AIS (automatic ship identification). Sensor fusion can then be employed to provide the most optimal route past other vessels, rocks, and hazards.

Obstacle Avoidance and Detection

Marine AI’s Guardian Autonomy AI software

AUVs (autonomous underwater vehicles) have limited options for sensing due to being submerged in water, where electromagnetic waves are heavily attenuated. AUV collision avoidance systems thus rely heavily on sonar.

Object Detection and Classification

UGVs (unmanned ground vehicles) can utilise many of the same sensors as UAVs for obstacle detection and collision avoidance. They may also be equipped with a small multirotor drone that can gather information for the ground vehicle, providing an “eye in the sky” situational awareness capability with a greater scope than the UGV by itself.

Military UGVs can also use collision avoidance technology as part of a “convoy mode” where they may automatically follow a certain distance behind other vehicles or dismounted troops.

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