Project oDART – onboard Detection and Avoidance Radar Tracking

This project will deliver an ultra-lightweight onboard Detection and Avoidance Radar Tracking avionics system that supports navigation, collision avoidance, and airspace deconfliction, during the critical take-off and landing phases of flight.  oDART leverages micro radar technologies that have been specifically developed for low altitude flight onboard Uncrewed Aerial Systems (UAS) and aims to adapt and introduce these into crewed aircraft.

High frequency radar provides excellent all weather object detection performance but has traditionally been large and expensive.  Cambridge Sensoriis has designed a low Size, Weight, Power, and cost (SWaPc) radar, suitable for object detection. Other current SWaP radar has limited ability to distinguish between low flying small aircraft and ground-based structures like cranes, larger antenna, or electricity pylons.

Few competing micro–Air-To-Air Radar (ATAR) exist, and those that do have been designed for light-aircraft obstacle detection at high altitudes and are ineffective at lower altitudes.

oDART supports reduced crew operation – part of the ATI Advanced Systems stream – by providing greater and relevant situational awareness of flying and ground-based obstructions.  Resilient pilot supporting systems are essential, especially within congested urban airspace.

Project oDART falls within the ATI strategy of supporting cross-cutting technologies that accelerate the introduction of novel aircraft platforms and establishing the UK as the global leader for future sustainable aircraft.

Novel aircraft include battery powered eVTOLs (electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing aircraft) – these are an integral part of the route towards zero carbon aviation which is a further ATI strategic objective. Safe and certified eVTOL flight will require advanced supporting avionics systems, such as those proposed within the oDART program.

Cambridge Sensoriis is the project lead of this 18-month project which launched in June 2023, and they will be supported by other funded project partners, including Across Safety Development and TEKTowr.

Across Safety Development are specialists in safety management and regulatory affairs, providing vast expertise, across all aspects of the aviation industry, and have facilitated CAA approvals for numerous projects in the UK and abroad.  One of their main deliverables will be to develop the route-map towards certification for this ultra-lightweight onboard Detection and Avoidance Radar Tracking avionics system.

TEKTowr is an engineering solutions company bringing innovative products and services to market within safety-critical, security-critical software environments.  The engineers at TEKTowr also have decades experience in high-integrity software engineering and so will be key in the development of the route-map towards certification, safety, and assurance.

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