Boulder-based Black Swift Technologies has developed technology for unmanned aircraft that uses machine vision to detect obstacles in its path. (Courtesy Black Swift Technologies.)

Black Swift applies machine vision and AI to unmanned aircraft

BOULDER — Black Swift Technologies LLC, a specialized engineering firm, has completed the first phase of a NASA-funded project using onboard sensors to develop a terrain-following unmanned aircraft system.

The Black Swift Technologies solution for unmanned aircraft uses AI to detect obstacles in a flight path and avoid them. (Courtesy Black Swift Technologies.)

The project combines artificial intelligence and machine learning with a fixed-wing Black Swift A2 unmanned aircraft. The goal is to have autonomous, active navigation around obstacles and over rough terrain, done by the aircraft itself.

“Our state-of-the-art sensor suite and approach to sensor fusion enables a number of capabilities not yet seen for fixed-wing UAS,” Jack Elston, CEO of Black Swift Technologies, said in a prepared statement. “Integration of these developments with our highly capable avionics subsystem can make flying a fixed-wing small UAS significantly safer for operations in difficult terrain or beyond line of sight.”

Using a fixed-wing aircraft was important to the project, Black Swift said in its news release, because they can scan more area than a multi-rotor aircraft. Still, sensing obstacles such as

Prior to Black Swift’s solution, it was difficult for unmanned aircraft to detect obstacles such as trees. Black Swift now has plans to extend its solutions to various types of unmanned aircraft. (Courtesy Black Swift Technologies.)

trees and towers could be difficult, which can cause collisions. Black Swift’s solution fuses machine vision technologies with advanced sensors — including lidar and radar — that allowed the aircraft to operate safely in a variety of conditions.

There are now plans to extend the capabilities to multi-rotor aircraft and other unmanned platforms.

 

BOULDER — Black Swift Technologies LLC, a specialized engineering firm, has completed the first phase of a NASA-funded project using onboard sensors to develop a terrain-following unmanned aircraft system.

The Black Swift Technologies solution for unmanned aircraft uses AI to detect obstacles in a flight path and avoid them. (Courtesy Black Swift Technologies.)

The project combines artificial intelligence and machine learning with a fixed-wing Black Swift A2 unmanned aircraft. The goal is to have autonomous, active navigation around obstacles and over rough terrain, done by the aircraft itself.

“Our state-of-the-art sensor suite and approach to sensor fusion enables a number of capabilities not yet seen for fixed-wing UAS,” Jack Elston, CEO of Black Swift Technologies, said in a prepared statement. “Integration of these developments with our highly capable avionics subsystem can make flying a fixed-wing small UAS significantly safer for operations in difficult terrain or beyond line of sight.”

Using a fixed-wing aircraft was important to the project, Black Swift said in its news release, because they can scan more area than a multi-rotor aircraft. Still, sensing obstacles such as

Prior to Black Swift’s solution, it was difficult for unmanned aircraft to detect obstacles such as trees. Black Swift now has plans to extend its solutions to various types of unmanned aircraft. (Courtesy…