NASA is providing a half-million-dollar prize for Phase 1 of a Centennial Challenge that aims to develop technology to help unmanned aircraft operate safely in the national airspace system, the agency has announced. The first phase of the UAS Airspace Operations Challenge will focus on safe airspace operations and robustness to system failures, NASA said. Competitors will need to demonstrate skills including separation from other aircraft using ADS-B, and respond to failures such as unreliable GPS or lost links. The first competition event is expected in May 2014. Phase 2 of the competition will focus on how to detect UAS that are not cooperating with the system
ADS-B is a replacement for (or supplement to) traditional radar based surveillance of aircraft. ADS-B is a major change in surveillance philosophy – instead of using ground based radar to interrogate aircraft and determine their positions, each aircraft will use GPS to find its own position and then automatically report it.