In a world first, RMIT University researchers have developed a talking drone that can converse with air traffic controllers just like a normal pilot
The development is a critical step towards the full integration of unmanned aircraft systems – or drones – into civil airspace.
The project, part of a larger research initiative that aims to address safety and efficiency issues related to drones and air traffic management, is the result of a partnership between RMIT, Thales Australia and the company’s Centre for Advanced Studies in Air Traffic Management (CASIA), and UFA Inc.
View the video: http://bit.ly/talkingdrone
Dr Reece Clothier, leader of the RMIT Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Research Team, said drones needed to be able to fly safely alongside other airspace users without causing disruption to air traffic management.
“The majority of air traffic control services are provided to aircraft by voice radio – aircraft controllers speaking directly to pilots,” Dr Clothier said.
“Our project aimed to develop and demonstrate an autonomous capability that would allow a drone to verbally interact with air traffic controllers.
“Using the system we’ve developed, an air traffic controller can talk to, and receive responses from, a drone just like they would with any other aircraft.”
Philippe Bernard-Flattot, Technical Director at Thales Australia, said: “This is a significant project that is important for the future of air traffic control systems.
Read more: Talking drone offers aviation safety boost
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