Drones and ADS-B

DJI Phantom Drone

AvWeb has a very interesting article on possible Google involvement with drones and ADS-B.

For those new to ADS-B, at a high level it is digital beacon that must be installed on all airliners world-wide, and in the USA all airplanes by 2020. The cost is borne by the airplane operator, and ranges from $5,000 for a small plane to $1 million or more for an airliner, including avionics and installation costs.

“ADS-B out” is the digital transmitter, and “ADS-B in” is the digital reception of weather and ATC data.

Since $5,000+ is a lot of money for something that doesn’t make you fly better, if the FAA decides to impose ADS-B on drones, then a big outside player like Google or Amazon will have to design/manufacture low cost versions to make drones cost-effective. Like an order of magnitude cheaper, or even two.

One of the commenters has an interesting question, “Just how many airborne ADS-B devices can the FAA’s ground-bound infrastructure handle at one time? The answer to that question may frame the response that we can expect from the agency… Seriously.”

FAA allows AIG to use drones for insurance inspections
DJI: A Chinese firm has taken the lead in commercial drones

wikipedia: Traffic collision avoidance system

U.S. Military Focuses on ADS-B To Operate in Future Airspace (2012)
Though Airlines [and DOD] Slow to Equip, FAA Plans for Future With ADS-B (2017)

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