Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Aviation Systems

Major Professor

Richard J. Ranaudo

Committee Members

Ralph D. Kimberlin, U. Peter Solies


The growing prevalence of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) brings great potential for public benefit, but in order to fly in civil airspace UAVs must avoid traffic without the benefit of an onboard human. Developing this capability presents many system integration challenges.

This report examines the integration of automated detect, see, and avoid (DSA) systems on aircraft. For context, the need for UAV operations is reviewed. The report then examines how DSA fits into the entire framework for aviation safety. The research, test results, and conclusions that follow provide the necessary information to decide:

• how to test and evaluate new DSA technology;

• what is the necessary performance for installed DSA systems;

• what is currently available and what possibilities are in development.

Finally, after surveying available technologies, recommendations are given for some specific UAV platforms and missions.

This report would be useful for persons engaged in DSA development, acquisition, or testing. It is applicable for all small aircraft because future advances may make DSA technology feasible for the entire aviation community. The emphasis, however, is on enabling safe UAV operation world-wide.

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