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AWE Automation Open-Source?
In AirborneWindEnergy forum,  Robert Copcutt  wrote:
> . ... I think it is reasonable that tethered craft look out for untethered craft and make sure they get out of the way. ... >
"Sense & Avoid" is a basic pending sUAS requirement sure to prevail for many years. Pending state-of-the-art requires a human VO (visual observer) who will also use hearing to early detect local air traffic. Automated Sense & Avoid systems cannot soon compete with the human eye/ear/brain. Aviation ATC/transponder capability is only a partially open network, but the system is to be overhauled for NextGen.
Ground based radar will probably prove the ideal method for Sense & Avoid. It can serve double duty of monitoring a kite array and local air traffic. GPS on every kite does not have this double function and is subject to jamming, power loss, and other failure-modes. Radar will also operate in fog and at night better than human senses. Development of a radar-based AWE tool is an attractive R&D niche.
Once a sensed event elevates to a hazard, the avoid function is fastest and easiest by use of "kite-killers," with soft kite elements able to fall harmlessly to earth in an incident. 

CoolIP                       ~Dave Santos            April 15, 2011       M3379

Comment and development of this topic will be occurring here.       
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  • There may develop an aviation environment that is more loaded with tethered systems than with untethered systems. Aerial cableways. Free-flight tethered AWECS. Aerial homesteading. Massive tethered kite energy systems performing a myriad of tasks. Cost of avoidance of collision for untethered craft might be miniscule compared to the cost of avoidance performed by tethered systems. Efficient skies and waters might respect the net costs as rules and decisions are made. There maybe tethered systems that take a year or more to deploy with design intent never to be absolutely decommissioned, only maintained; such might transport people and goods around the world by windpower; a single-place ultralight could know where that tethered system is and avoid collision;
    the tethered system would be seen by other aircraft and watercraft through a variety of systems for redundancy. One does not move the Empire State Building to get out of the way of any other user of the airspace.   ~ JoeF  
    • Joe,     Good point but let's take the first steps first. The job of the aviation
      authorities is to protect people and they do it very rigorously because
      mishaps are extremely newsworthy and threaten the whole aviation
      industry. Newcomers like AWE need to prove they have an important need
      and cause no extra danger. Promising to make every effort get out of the
      way will smooth the negotiating path. And why not? It is possible.
      Tackling the issues of your more ambitious proposals need to come later.
      ~  Robert
  • Dave S,
    A combination of ground based radar, infra red cameras and microphones
    would detect aircraft before any human, and pinpoint their position and
    trajectory more accurately. One observation station could serve for many
    AWE systems in a cluster or farm.

    I agree GPS will have limited use. However, it is interesting to compare
    that technology with what AWE needs to achieve. A GPS unit needs to scan
    for suitable satellites and then measure incredibly accurately how long
    the signals take to arrive from each. It then needs to do very complex
    calculations to work out its position based on that of the satellites.
    It then overlays that information onto a detailed map. To think that all
    that functionality can be put into a tiny unit that costs a few hours
    wages is to me a major reassurance that AWE can be automated.

    Kite position can be determined with simpler sensors with faster
    responses. For instance the sensors from a humble computer mouse could
    determine exactly how far the tethers have been released. Other sensors
    would measure the angle of the tether leaving the reel. More would
    measure the tension in the tethers. That information together should
    locate the kite better than GPS, and more quickly. GPS and video can be
    used to confirm the primary measurements and detect faults.

    Rather than letting kite elements fall to the ground where they are
    likely to be damaged would it not be better to reel them into a
    protective docking station.
    ~  Robert.