Method for Drone Traffic Control
Publication Date: 2016-Oct-10
The IP.com Prior Art Database
Disclosed is a computer based fully automated Drone Air Traffic Control system (DATC). Each DATC is assigned a limited airspace in which it monitors and controls air traffic, ensuring that drones remain in compliance with government and commercial regulations and are safely subordinate to non-drone air traffic.
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Method for Drone Traffic Control
Businesses and e-commerce companies use drones for delivering products from the
warehouse to a customer location. As commercial and personal use increases, a system is needed for air traffic control of drones.
The novel contribution is a computer based fully automated Drone Air Traffic Control system (DATC). This system can be implemented on a public, private, or governmental platform, or some combination of those sectors. The DATC registers drones, individuals/users, and companies (agents) that utilize drones for some utilitarian purpose involving transportation or locomotion in airspace, or employs a public sector registration means. The existing infrastructure for air traffic control (ATC), including computer systems, radar systems, communications and command/control systems, etc., is enabling art for the novel DATC system.
Each DATC is assigned a limited airspace (volumetric or aerial region as part of a city, county, state, etc.) in which it controls drone air traffic. The DATC may be centralized or distributed (e.g., 10 or 100 nodes spatially distributed over the regional air traffic control area), wherein each node (i.e., ganglion) owns/monitors/directs drone traffic in that sub-area/ sub-space/region. Command and control functions are localized to nodes. Ownership/monitoring/direction changes from one node to another as drones cross over into other areas.
Each DATC can charge a fee for drones utilizing its air space. The method to charge can be per the number of flights, flight time, weight being transported (tare and net), by valuation of cargo being transported, by class/type or category of product being transported, number of times its boarder is crossed, etc. The fee can be structured in a multitude of ways, the descriptions of which are beyond the scope of this disclosure.
A drone may have on-board identification beacons to alert other drones, Unmanned
Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), or a control tower of its presence.
In one embodiment, the distributed DATC system consists of only a simple transceiver (without radar) and the drones use beacons. In another embodiment, the distributed DATC system employs both a transceiver and radar. A centralized DATC employs
distributed radars and communications transceivers, funneling all communications to a central command and control computer.
In an alternative embodiment of a distributed DATC, each drone is part of the distributed DATC system (Drone Controlled ATC, DCATC). Upon power-up, each drone integrates into the DCATC. Drones active in the system constitute the DCATC system, and all drones monitor nearest neighbors via on-board beacons (i.e., transponders for bilateral communications). Drones navigate to the approved destinations using an overall flight plan and a micro flight plan. The overall flight plan is enabling art. The micro flight plan is a flight plan that tends toward the overall flight plan in sections dynamically defined by the nearest...