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Drones need sense-and-avoid systems so that they can safely avoid obstacles. Current drone sense-and-avoid architectures are unable to adequately account for the dynamic and ever-changing nature of real-world contested environments. Innovative technologies are needed to reduce risk and effectively aid and protect both civilian populations and soldiers. 

The US Air Force has awarded an STTR award to VISIMO, in partnership with the University of Cincinnati Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Multi-Agent Systems Technology Research Lab for conducting research on innovative sense-and-avoid architectures for autonomous Orbs and UAVs. 

The research is designed to reduce risk in disaster response, humanitarian aid, and logistics missions for Orbs/UAVs through increased autonomy. 

For the six-month Phase I award, the company will begin the prototyping process, designing a solution with both commercial and military end-users in mind. 

In subsequent phases, the team will build and scale an artificial neural network model, testing the technology at the UAV Lab’s simulation and flight-testing facilities. 

The sense-and-avoid architecture will support the use of UAV technology in a variety of use cases, including air taxi, air ambulance, firefighting, and natural disaster response. The technology will also support cost-effective transportation of goods, mitigate growing traffic congestion, support military and commercial technology readiness, and support public/private partnerships essential for the development of safety standards as Orb/UAV technology advances, according to the company’s announcement.