FlightAware Discussions

Proximity alarm for UAV pilots

Is anyone aware of a proximity alarm for UAV (drone) pilots? There is a need for drone pilots to be aware of nearby flights that might be getting close enough for a possible conflict. The DJI Mavic Air has a stripped ADSB receiver on the drone that gives a “Manned Aircraft Nearby” alert wtihout speed direction or altitude. A small aircraft icon appears on the full screen map. From a youtube review of DJI MAVIC AIR2 Airsense by user Ocram there are attached screens for aircraft alert in FPV (first person view) mode .


FPV with small map
MAP mode
There a project called ADSB alarm that runs on a Rpi with SDR and LCD display. The ideal would be something accessible on a smartphone, that already has a battery and good display just set the alarm radius and altitude that you want for an alert. There are solutions for pilots like FLARM and EFB but drone pilots would just need the Traffic Alert for nearby flights. There are helicopters in the area that may fly around at 300 ft.

In the near future, many drones will start producing Remote ID https://www.faa.gov/uas/getting_started/remote_id/drone_pilots/

I fly two DJI UAVs for work (Matrice 210, Mavic 2ED) and both have their integrated ADS-B receiver, which they call AirSense. You’re right about it being stripped down - that’s my biggest complaint about it. We’d settle for altitude at minimum and heading would be a bonus.

My PiAware ADS-B receiver has pretty good range, so I connect to it with a VPN and use that to help with situational awareness, especially if operating in an area with a high volume of helicopter traffic.

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Would think an app that allowed you to pick a location then filter out altitude higher than your favorite number like 2000 ft. Then set a radius for alerts if something gets inside the box. Or get fancy with range based on speed to possible box entry in x seconds. They probably don’t want to use drone resources to decode and run collision detect and then send more data to ground. Seems to be a valid thing to complain about. Hope for version 2.

honest question here is it stripped down in what you see from the drone or what other aircraft see.

I would hope that what you see is limited but other can see the drone, Other wise i see the opertunity for a app but i suspect the caviat of people using it for safety is why it doesnt exist…health and safety and then liability

There’s ongoing research on this. Only new models of DJI drone over 250 grams have the Airsense feature that is like adsb-in to allow the drone operator to be aware of approaching manned aircraft and avoid collision. There is no ADSB out or proximity alert for manned aircraft.
Any users of other drones are supposed be aware of their environment enough to yield to approaching manned aircraft.
A study cited by FAA “ADS-B Surveillance System Performance with Small UAS at Low Altitudes” https://www.mitre.org/sites/default/files/publications/16-4497-AIAA-2017-ADS-B.pdf
There’s a very detailed technical report on this that explains there are only 1 million ICAO numbers assigned to US. It would be impossible to assign unique ICAO numbers to drones. The author goes through different possibilities.

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INVESTIGATING COLLISION AVOIDANCE FOR SMALL UAS USING COOPERATIVE SURVEILLANCEAND ACAS X

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Also ongoing research through FAA https://www.faa.gov/uas/research_development/traffic_management/utm_pilot_program/

Also screenshot from review of Airsense drone detecting Manned Aircraft nearby

While ADS-B monitoring/reporting is helpful for drone operators, the obvious point to make is not all aircraft are ADS-B equipped and drone operators can’t treat it as absolute. There can be surprises and nearby aircraft that drone operators don’t get alerted about.

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There doesn’t appear to be a good adsb monitoring app with useful features for drone operators.
ADSB proximity alert could be a useful aid to drone operators in avoiding adsb equipped aircraft. Low flying aircraft may move faster than they can be heard. No app will remove responsibility from drone operator to be safe.