The MITRE Corp.’s Universal Access Transceiver (UAT) Beacon Radio has won a 2010 R&D 100 Award from R&D Magazine. The technologies on R&D Magazine’s list are considered the 100 most technologically significant products introduced into the marketplace over the past year. They are selected by the magazine’s editors and an independent judging panel.
In development at MITRE since 2007, the UAT Beacon Radio was designed to enhance cooperative surveillance among low-altitude airspace users, such as small unmanned aircraft vehicles (UAVs) and general aviation aircraft. It is a digital radio system about the size of two decks of cards, portable, and battery-powered, and supports multiple broadcast data services. It is ideal for aircraft without engine-driven electrical systems, company officials said. Potential applications include emergency management operations and search and rescue missions.
“The UAT Beacon Radio was designed to help safely incorporate UAVs into civil airspace through expanded use of cooperative surveillance,” said Dr. Agam Sinha, senior vice president and general manager of the Center for Advanced Aviation System Development, the federally funded research and development center MITRE operates for the FAA. “This is critical, particularly given the rapidly increasing DoD and DHS need for airspace access to train UAV pilots and carry out border protection missions.”
The UAT Beacon Radio transmits aircraft reports in a manner compatible with the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) system being adopted by the FAA and the international civil aviation community. MITRE’s ADS-B-based system has a power source, positioning sensor, and UAT ADS-B transmitter in a self-contained package. If ADS-B is widely accepted by the UAV and general aviation communities, it could help mitigate the difficult challenge of unmanned aircraft autonomously sensing and avoiding other aircraft, manned or unmanned, company officials add.
As a not-for-profit organization, The MITRE Corporation does not manufacture products, but develops technology that it makes available to the research and commercial communities for further development and product manufacture.