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GPS-based system to help pilots find their feet

Wednesday, 11 January 2012 | By Michelle Hammond

Aviation researchers at Queensland University of Technology are developing an information system to help unmanned aerial vehicles make safer emergency landings.

 

According to Dr Luis Mejias Alvarez, UAVs cannot fly in commercial airspace overpopulated areas because they lack the ability to sense and avoid other air traffic, and have no ability to make a safe landing in an emergency.

 

“We expect the system we’re developing will fit UAVs with a higher level of intelligence,” Alvarez says.

 

“We’re working on a GPS-based system that will incorporate a camera to pinpoint to the pilot any larger, vacant spaces that would provide landing options [in an emergency].”

 

“It will help the pilot navigate away from populated areas and find the safest landing spot.”

 

The project, titled Developing novel concepts for improved safety in aircraft emergency situations, has been awarded $375,000 from the Australian Research Council.

 

What other ingenuities might be developed around aircrafts and other vehicles? For the right entrepreneur, there could be an opportunity to take flight with an equally groundbreaking idea.