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Unmanned technology plays a major role not only during disasters but also in the aftermath. The Red Cross unmanned aircraft team was supplied with FlightHorizon systems to provide air safety and situational awareness in support of disaster relief operations after Tropical Storm Harvey hit Houston, Texas.

The system is designed for commercial unmanned aircraft operations requiring beyond visual line-of-sight flight, or fly near airports, at night or over water.

The system provides a complete autonomous collision avoidance solution for both piloted and fully autonomous unmanned aircraft to deliver situational awareness, self-separation commands, and collision avoidance, according to the company’s website.

It is based on an exclusively licensed NASA patent and prototype which has been extensively tested and which provides a unique autonomous “detect-and-avoid” function.

In addition, the software provides unmanned aircraft pilots with a 2D map-based view and 3D synthetic cockpit view of the airspace and full sensor fusion across aviation transponders, radars and online data feeds.

Vigilant Aerospace has joined the Red Cross’ unmanned aircraft response team in Houston, Texas to provide air safety, situational awareness, and detect-and-avoid services for unmanned aircraft operations, according to

The technology can help map out safe routes and work with ground crews in search-and-rescue efforts.

The flight safety system is providing real-time airspace safety and airspace situational awareness. The system’s collision avoidance is helping teams to avoid conflicts with medical evacuation and military aircraft operating in the city.

FlightHorizon software uses data from standard aviation transponders and radar, when available, to provide the view of national airspace and full sensor fusion across aviation transponders, radars and online data feeds.

“The big advantage of the FlightHorizon approach in incident response is that it is highly portable, can be run on a laptop with a small antenna to cover a large operational area and can provide immediate situational awareness for most aircraft. Because it uses existing air traffic control protocols and infrastructure, it requires no coordination or authorization to provide instantaneous integration for unmanned aircraft into the airspace,” said the company’s CEO Kraettli Epperson.