Chapter 16Automatic Take-off and Landing System1




16.1. Introduction

The recent use of unmanned vehicles in the air traffic domain is requiring the development of new safety functions. In particular, it is necessary to setup dedicated systems to deal with automatic take-off and landing management. These new systems must be able to guarantee safe landing and take-off of unmanned aircrafts, regardless of the environment conditions. Consequently, they must rely on sensors that have the capability to localize the in-flight aircraft with high accuracy, especially when it is very close to the ground. Such sensors must be robust, easy to install, and as cheap as possible.

Considering this issue, Thales has developed a new radar, called “Magic Atols” within the framework of the “Watchkeeper” program.

This radar is using low cost technologies and its design has been optimized in order to keep the electronic functions simple and to minimize the number of components. The selected architecture is combining sparse antenna array, digital waveform generation, solid state transmission and digital reception technologies.

Thanks to the combination of digital beamforming and interferometer techniques, this architecture does not involve the use of expensive radio frequency (RF) nor mechanics components. It also permits fast deployment on the field, and offers high operating robustness, thanks to the redundancy of radar channels.

Finally, the antenna array spatial sampling enables the implementation ...

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