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Aurora Flight Sciences and Socionext Develop Collision Detection System for Drones

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Aurora Flight Sciences and Socionext Develop Collision Detection System for Drones


A novel ‘Radar-Enabled Collision Protection Solution for Drones’ is being developed for consumer drones by the joint effort of Aurora Flight Sciences and Socionext Develop Aurora Flight Sciences. Socionext Inc., a top expert in radar sensor technology. Aurora Flight Sciences, a Boeing Company, is a world-leading developer of highly autonomous aircraft. Socionext designs, develops and delivers System-on-Chip products to customers worldwide. The company is focused on imaging, networking and other dynamic technologies that drive today’s leading-edge applications.

The Radar Flight Control Module (RFCM) – not much larger than a US five cent coin – comprises single-chip 24GHz radar with range measurement software. The radar, which is able to respond acutely to its surroundings, can detect multiple objects, objects in open spaces, target distance and speed, and more. The RFCM provides distance, warning and braking signals to the flight controller through a simple interface, allowing for integration on a wide range of drone products. The objective of RFCM is to prevent head-on collisions with everyday obstacles in the drone’s path when installed in a drone.

Radar Flight Control Module (RFCM)

“Aurora’s decades of experience in autonomy and systems integration, paired with Socionext’s engineering expertise, resulted in the joint development of the Radar Flight Control Module,” said John Langford, Aurora CEO. “Preventing collisions is vital for safe drone operation, and this technology is an excellent solution.”

“Socionext, a leading expert in radar sensor technology, and Aurora, a world class system integrator in flight sciences, have joint forces to develop and refine the RFCM for a robust radar collision protection system,” said Tsutomu Nozaki, CMO at Socionext Inc. The RFCM is available in small, lightweight and low-power packages designed specifically to meet the demanding needs of small drones.

Socionext America Inc, will demonstrate its innovative IC technologies for drone applications at the annual International Drone Conference & Exhibition at Paris Hotel in Las Vegas Sep. 7-9.

Socionext’s MB86S27 image processor combines with drone technology developed by FotoNation’s EIS technology to deliver outstanding video image stabilization and dramatically extended drone flight times with far lower power consumption than rival solutions. It includes a single-Chip 24GHz RF Radar,24GHz and a24GHz radar “MN87900”.

The 24GHz radar uses a simple SPI interface for connecting to most digital systems. The 24GHz radar is compatible with a microcontroller to provide application level information on an object’s distance, direction, and relative velocity. The single-chip 24GHz radar comes with a variable-frequency transmitter and an ultra-high sensitivity radio wave receiver. This module has 3 sensing modes (CW, FSKCW, and FMCW mode) for detecting stationary or moving objects and measuring the distance. With the robust 24GHz radar, the range measurement software solution, and time-proven engineering expertise in radar technology, Socionext provides a full solution to drone makers, OEMs and developers. Its key features are-high-performance clutter cancellation function for preventing direct leakage of transmission wave, enabling highly accurate motion sensing and its automatic components and temperature adjustment functions for detecting variation in transmission power, receiver gain, and other parameters.

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Cite this article as: Phillip Smith, "Aurora Flight Sciences and Socionext Develop Collision Detection System for Drones," in, January 31, 2018,

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