MatrixSpace

Ground-Based Surveillance Systems (GBSS) for BVLOS DFR Operations

By David Cameron, Field Services Engineer, MatrixSpace

A limitation in UAS operations for DFRs (Drone as First Responder) programs is the requirement for visual line-of-sight (VLOS) of the Remote Pilot in Command (RPIC). It limits DFR operations, particularly in urban areas where buildings obstruct the pilot’s line of sight. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) offers waivers to DFR operators to fly UASs beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS), current DFR BVLOS operations require the RPIC and or VO to maintain observation of a 2-mile operational volume around the area of the drone operation and not necessarily the drone itself to maintain situational awareness and ensure safety during the operation.

To remove these burdens and make DFR operations more scalable, alternative methods of collision avoidance are therefore being considered and are starting to be adopted. One is radar technology for Ground-based Surveillance Systems (GBSS).

Solving BVLOS with GBSS
GBSS prevent interference or collisions between UAS and non-cooperative crewed aircraft within the same airspace – UASs must maneuver and maintain well-clear distances when potential conflicts with other aircraft are detected. The GBSS actively surveils the surrounding airspace, scanning for non-cooperative aircraft that may pose a threat to the safety of person and property during a DFR operation.

This allows DFRs to operate UASs safely BVLOS, enabling either the RPIC to take avoidance actions or the UASs to autonomously perform collision avoidance maneuvers and adjust their flight path.

Currently there are three RPIC actions recognized by the FAA:

Automated Maneuver
The UAS reacts autonomously to avoid non-cooperative aircraft. The time penalty recognized by the ASTM DAA performance standard and adopted by the FAA is one second.

Directive Maneuver
The RPIC is alerted of an intruder aircraft and initiates a pre-programmed avoidance maneuver. The time penalty recognized by the ASTM DAA performance standard and adopted by the FAA is five seconds.

Suggestive Descent
It is left to the RPIC to assess the threat and decide the avoidance maneuver and its execution. The time penalty recognized by the ASTM DAA performance standard and adopted by the FAA is 15 seconds.

But first, some terms for clarification:

Surveillance Range/ Volume Distance between radar detection and track established
Declaration Range/ Volume Point at which a track has been established, location and velocity vector are available
Well-Clear Distance Distance to meet ASTM clearance requirements (2000ft/610m horizontal and 100ft vertical), minimum separation distance
Operating Range/ Volume Area at which the DFR operation can be conducted allowing sufficient time to initiate and execute avoidance maneuver and have a WC buffer distance between UAS and intruder.
Safe zone/altitude A portion of airspace in which UAS is considered Well-Clear from intruder crewed aircraft, regardless of horizontal or vertical distance between UAS and intruder.

To strike a balance between allowing RPICs sufficient reaction time for avoidance maneuvers and maintaining a safe distance from non-cooperative crewed aircraft, Appendix A of the RTCA DO-381 [1] standard has been used for the worst-case scenario calculations. It grants RPICs adequate reaction time to execute avoidance maneuvers while ensuring a well-clear distance from non-cooperative crewed aircraft. By adhering to the Appendix A calculations, DFRs can assess the real-time operating airspace for each UAS flight, considering factors such as the UAS’s speed, descent rate, the speed of non-cooperative aircraft, and reaction times of the RPIC. Through this standardized approach, DFRs can ascertain a safe detection volume for the radar-based GBSS, allowing it to scan and detect non-cooperative aircraft effectively.

operational volume

Figure 1 – Operational Volume and Well-Clear Buffer

The further the radar system can scan, the larger the DFR operating volume becomes, allowing more time for critical avoidance maneuvers. Thus, achieving an optimal range extension while still maintaining commercially viable GBSS is of high importance in the DFR community.

Optimizing DFR Operational Volume
The main concern of DFR customers and integrators is: “What is the radius/area of my DFR Operational Volume?” How large is my Operational Volume? How much time does the UAS have to get to a safe altitude after an intruder aircraft has been detected (the radar started tracking).

Optimizing the Operational Volume (OV) for DFR operations is essential for successful adoption and deployment.

To estimate that time (which translates into distances), we can use the following example:

What distance has the intruder aircraft traveled by the time the UAS has descended to a safe altitude?

Add to that distance the airspace safety clearance requirement of 2000ft/610m.

Now add #1 and #2 and subtract from the distance the intruder aircraft was when the radar started a track.

radar tracking

Figure 2 – Overview of distances driving DFR Operating Volume

Consider the worst-case scenario at which the intruder aircraft is the shortest time/distance from a collision with a UAS at the outer edge of the operating volume. The operating radius is calculated as follows.

  • Decision & Descent Distance traveled.
  • Intruder distance traveled before decision.
  • Intruder velocity [m/s] * time [s] to initiate the avoidance maneuver.
  • Intruder distance traveled while executing the avoidance maneuver.
  • UAS descent rate[m/s] * descent distance [m] to safe altitude

speed distributionAs an example:

The intruder aircraft travels at 56m/s

The RPIC takes 5s to initiate the avoidance maneuver (Directive Descent – see above)

The system takes 0.1s to react to the RPIC input.

The UAS descends by 15m at a rate of 4m/s à 3.8s

That’s 8.9s in which the intruder aircraft has traveled 498m.

Add the Well-Clear Buffer

Now we add the regulatory Well-Clear Buffer of 610m which results in a 1108m separation needed between the point the intruder was first tracked and the outer boundary of the operating volume range.

The MatrixSpace Radar Tracking Distance is the main determining factor in driving the operating volume range.

Let’s assume a Radar Tracking Distance of 2000m, which in turn would result in an operating volume range of:

Radar Tracking Range-Intruder Distance Travelled=Operating Range

2000m – 1108m = 892m

Below is an illustration of this scenario in a real-life situation with a single 360 Degree MatrixSpace Radar Node over San Jose (SJC) airport:

360 Degree MatrixSpace Radar Node

Figure 4 – Declaration and operational range over SCJ (San Jose) Airport – 2000m Radar Tracking Range

The blue area is the Operational Volume, the yellow area the Well-Clear Distance, plus the time traveled by the intruder from RPIC alert until the UAS has reached a safe altitude.

At a tracking range of 2000m the actual DFR Operational Area radius is 892m, resulting in an Operational Volume of 0.3 km^3 (@400ft/122m ceiling).

Empowering GBSS with extended range capabilities, it allows UAS operations to expand BVLOS – a game-changer for not just for DFR operations but a wide range of commercial deployments.

Learn more at MatrixSpace Radar and Public Safety

David Cameron, Field Services Engineer and Lead UAS Pilot, MatrixSpace
David brings 33 years of service with the City of Campbell Police Department, where he held a variety of critical roles, most recently leading the department’s DFR (drone as first responder) operations. He remains a Reserve Officer. As Field Services Engineer and lead UAS Pilot at MatrixSpace he drives the UAS-oriented solutions for this advanced radar company, which is revolutionizing radar applications across diverse industries.
https://www.linkedin.com/in/david-cameron-33a30737/

This article first appeared on Officer.com on November 7, 2023

Learn more about MatrixSpace Radar and request product information

Terms and Conditions of

www.staging-matrixspace.kinsta.cloud

These Terms govern the use of this Application, and, any other related Agreement or legal relationship with the Owner in a legally binding way. Capitalized words are defined in the relevant dedicated section of this document.

The User must read this document carefully

This Application is provided by:
MatrixSpace
141 South Bedford Street
Burlington, MA 01803
Owner contact email: info@matrixspace.com

What the User should know at a glance

TERMS OF USE

Unless otherwise specified, the terms of use detailed in this section apply generally when using this Application.

Single or additional conditions of use or access may apply in specific scenarios and in such cases are additionally indicated within this document.

By using this Application, Users confirm to meet the following requirements:

Content on this Application
Unless where otherwise specified or clearly recognizable, all content available on this Application is owned or provided by the Owner or its licensors.

The Owner undertakes its utmost effort to ensure that the content provided on this Application infringes no applicable legal provisions or third-party rights. However, it may not always be possible to achieve such a result.

In such cases, without prejudice to any legal prerogatives of Users to enforce their rights, Users are kindly asked to preferably report related complaints using the contact details provided in this document.

Access to external resources
Through this Application Users may have access to external resources provided by third parties. Users acknowledge and accept that the Owner has no control over such resources and is therefore not responsible for their content and availability.

Conditions applicable to any resources provided by third parties, including those applicable to any possible grant of rights in content, result from each such third parties’ terms and conditions or, in the absence of those, applicable statutory law.

Acceptable use
This Application and the Service may only be used within the scope of what they are provided for, under these Terms and applicable law.

Users are solely responsible for making sure that their use of this Application and/or the Service violates no applicable law, regulations or third-party rights.

Common provisions

No Waiver
The Owner’s failure to assert any right or provision under these Terms shall not constitute a waiver of any such right or provision. No waiver shall be considered a further or continuing waiver of such term or any other term.

Service interruption
To ensure the best possible service level, the Owner reserves the right to interrupt the Service for maintenance, system updates or any other changes, informing the Users appropriately.
Within the limits of law, the Owner may also decide to suspend or terminate the Service altogether. If the Service is terminated, the Owner will cooperate with Users to enable them to withdraw Personal Data or information in accordance with applicable law.

Additionally, the Service might not be available due to reasons outside the Owner’s reasonable control, such as “force majeure” (eg. labor actions, infrastructural breakdowns or blackouts etc).

Service reselling
Users may not reproduce, duplicate, copy, sell, resell or exploit any portion of this Application and of its Service without the Owner’s express prior written permission, granted either directly or through a legitimate reselling program.

Intellectual property rights
Without prejudice to any more specific provision of these Terms, any intellectual property rights, such as copyrights, trademark rights, patent rights and design rights related to this Application are the exclusive property of the Owner or its licensors and are subject to the protection granted by applicable laws or international treaties relating to intellectual property.

All trademarks — nominal or figurative — and all other marks, trade names, service marks, word marks, illustrations, images, or logos appearing in connection with this Application are, and remain, the exclusive property of the Owner or its licensors and are subject to the protection granted by applicable laws or international treaties related to intellectual property.

Changes to these Terms
The Owner reserves the right to amend or otherwise modify these Terms at any time. In such cases, the Owner will appropriately inform the User of these changes.

Such changes will only affect the relationship with the User for the future.

The continued use of the Service will signify the User’s acceptance of the revised Terms. If Users do not wish to be bound by the changes, they must stop using the Service. Failure to accept the revised Terms, may entitle either party to terminate the Agreement.

The applicable previous version will govern the relationship prior to the User’s acceptance. The User can obtain any previous version from the Owner.

Assignment of contract
The Owner reserves the right to transfer, assign, dispose of by novation, or subcontract any or all rights or obligations under these Terms, taking the User’s legitimate interests into account. Provisions regarding changes of these Terms will apply accordingly.

Users may not assign or transfer their rights or obligations under these Terms in any way, without the written permission of the Owner.

Contacts
All communications relating to the use of this Application must be sent using the contact information stated in this document.

Severability
Should any provision of these Terms be deemed or become invalid or unenforceable under applicable law, the invalidity or unenforceability of such provision shall not affect the validity of the remaining provisions, which shall remain in full force and effect.

This Application (or this Application)

The property that enables the provision of the Service.

Agreement

Any legally binding or contractual relationship between the Owner and the User, governed by these Terms.

Owner (or We)
Indicates the natural person(s) or legal entity that provides this Application and/or the Service to Users.

Service
The service provided by this Application as described in these Terms and on this Application.

Terms
All provisions applicable to the use of this Application and/or the Service as described in this document, including any other related documents or agreements, and as updated from time to time.

User (or You)
Indicated any natural person or legal entity using this Application.

Latest update: July 20, 2021

Privacy Policy of

www.staging-matrixspace.kinsta.cloud

This Application collects some Personal Data from its Users.

Personal Data collected for the following purposes and using the following services:

 

Advertising:
Google Ad Manager
Personal Data: Tracker; Usage Data

 

Analytics
Google Analytics, WordPress Stats and Google Analytics with anonymized IP
Personal Data: Tracker; Usage Data

Google Analytics for Firebase
Personal Data: geography/region

Google Analytics Advertising Reporting Features
Personal Data: Tracker; unique device identifiers for advertising (Google Advertiser ID or IDFA, for example); various types of Data as specified in the privacy policy of the service

Google Analytics Demographics and Interests reports
Personal Data: Tracker; unique device identifiers for advertising (Google Advertiser ID or IDFA, for example)

Simple Analytics
Personal Data: device information; language; Usage Data

YouTube Analytics and Reporting API
Personal Data: Data communicated in order to use the Service

 

Contacting the User
Contact Form
Personal Data: email address; first name; last name; phone number; physical address; ZIP/Postal code

Mailing list or newsletter
Personal Data: company name; email address; first name; last name

 

Content performance and features testing (A/B testing)
Google Optimize and Google Optimize 360
Personal Data: Tracker; Usage Data

 

Displaying content from external platforms
Google Maps widget
Personal Data: Tracker; Usage Data

 

Managing contacts and sending messages
Mailchimp
Personal Data: email address; first name; last name

 

Platform services and hosting
WordPress.com
Personal Data: Usage Data

 

Registration and authentication
WordPress.com Single Sign On
Personal Data: Tracker; various types of Data as specified in the privacy policy of the service

 

Remarketing and behavioral targeting
Google Ad Manager Audience Extension
Personal Data: Tracker; Usage Data

 

Further information about Personal Data

CCPA Cookie (usprivacy)
CCPA Cookie (usprivacy) is set by the Cookie Solution and stores California consumer opt-out choices in the local domain.

Cookie Solution (consent Cookie)
Consent Cookie (_iub_cs-X) is set by the Cookie Solution and stores User preferences related to Trackers in the local domain.

Preference Cookies.
Preference Cookies store the User preferences detected on this Application in the local domain such as, for example, their timezone and region.

Rights for registered California Users under the age of 18.
California’s “Online Eraser” law, part of California’s Business and Professions Code Sections 22580-22582, requires operators of certain websites and online services targeting minors to allow registered Users who are under the age of 18 and residents of California to request removal of content they post.
If a registered User fits that description and posted content on this Application, they may request removal of such content by contacting the Owner or its privacy policy coordinator at the contact details provided in this document.

In response to this request, the Owner may make content posted by the registered User invisible to other registered Users and the public (rather than deleting it entirely), in which case the content may remain on the Owner’s servers. It may also be publicly available elsewhere if a third party copied and reposted this content.

Selling goods and services online.
The Personal Data collected are used to provide the User with services or to sell goods, including payment and possible delivery.

The Personal Data collected to complete the payment may include the credit card, the bank account used for the transfer, or any other means of payment envisaged. The kind of Data collected by this Application depends on the payment system used.

sessionStorage.
sessionStorage allows this Application to store and access data right in the User’s browser. Data in sessionStorage is deleted automatically when the session ends (in other words, when the browser tab is closed).

 

Contact information

Owner and Data Controller
MatrixSpace
141 South Bedford Street
Burlington, MA 01803

Owner contact email: info@matrixspace.com