MIT, Avidyne Get $4M to Study ADS-B Traffic Alerting

Goal is to develop TSO standards for all avionics makers.

The FAA has awarded the Massachusetts Institute of Technology a $4 million grant to study whether ADS-B technology can be used in light airplanes to provide traffic alerts and advisories that will provide an improvement on current-generation traffic sensing technology. MIT has enlisted Avidyne to develop product hardware for the three-year program, called Airborne Traffic Situational Awareness with Alerts (TSAA) for Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast.

The initiative includes prototyping and demonstration of functional hardware, along with the drafting of the industry standards for traffic conflict detection and alerting to be adopted by ADS-B avionics makers.

Through the TSAA program, Avidyne and MIT will define the algorithms for conflict detection, and also for reducing false alerts and nuisance alerts, even when flying, for example, in a busy traffic pattern.

Initial TSAA research, application development, and simulations were completed last year. Flight testing will begin in earnest soon, with new standards and TSO guidance for all avionics makers expected to be defined in the second half of next year.

The program started with a comprehensive two year study on midair collisions. Avidyne has developed dual-link ADS-B receivers that are designed to listen to both 1090-MHz and 978-MHz ADS-B frequencies, and are capable of handling up to 400 targets at once.