Fully-automated long-range UAV flights

Nice examples of two recent long-range UAV flights across Switzerland using FLARM as the only onboard technology to stay clear of other traffic.

The two independent project – one form ETH Zurich, one from a Locarno-based company – both target a fully autonomous beyond-line-of-sight fixed-wing drone flight in uncontrolled airspace using our FLARM UAV design to detect and avoid manned traffic, to be detectable by manned traffic and to be tracked by professional ground tracking services. FLARM was the only onboard traffic technology, neither ADS-B nor transponders were used.

The Oblivion Aerial project flew in December 2018 over a distance of nearly 100km, crossing the Swiss Alps. For legal reasons, the entire flight was accompanied by a manned aircraft capable of remote controlling the UAV in case required; no approval for the flight was required. Watch the video here.

The ETH Zurich project flew early January 2019, crossed the Lake of Neuchâtel at around 350ft above ground, lasted for a bit more than one hour, ended as planned on a normal airport and had an overall length of about 70km. The flight was unaccompanied. No specific danger zone was established. The flight and operations were approved by the Swiss CAA FOCA according to JARUS SORA standard procedures. Watch an interview here.