Unmanned helicopter demo puts detect and avoid to the test

By Luke Geiver | February 11, 2016

Schiebel Group’s unmanned helicopter has proven how to navigate using a detect and avoid system thanks to the help of the Netherland’s Coastguard. The Vienna-based UAV maker recently held a demo with the Royal Netherlands Air Force and the country’s Coast Guard.

An intruder aircraft provided by the government of the Netherlands attempted to intercept the company’s trademarked Camcopter S-100. “Several scenarios were successfully executed where the Camcopter S-100 unexpectedly encountered an intruder aircraft,” the company said. “The system then determined in real time the corrective action to ensure the necessary separation from the intruder aircraft.”

“This demonstration is another positive step towards unmanned aircraft systems gaining access to a broader range of airspace,” said Chris Day, head of capability engineering at Schiebel.

Head of operations for the Netherlands Coast Guard, Edwin van der Pol, said that in the future the entity hopes to use unmanned systems search and rescue operations. “These trials are important to achieve for bringing remotely piloted aircraft into non-segragated airspace.”

Earlier this year, Schiebel performed a demonstration off the coast of South Africa. Working with the South African Navy at False Bay, Western Cape, South Africa, Schiebel flew its trademarked Camcopter S-100 off the deck of a deep-ocean hydrographic survey vessel. During the test flights, crosswinds reached 25 knots and the deck size on the ship was limited. According to Schiebel, the unmanned helicopter “effortlessly conducted automatic takeoffs and landings and all other required maneuvers, thanks to its integrated GPS-independent positioning system, enabling pinpoint precision at a high dynamic range.”

The test included the use of an electronic support system used to detect, identify and geo-locate radio frequency sources. The system could be used for maritime surveillance missions or anti-piracy operations that the South African Navy may be interested in, Schiebel said.