Discussions are underway between the city of Hilliard in Ohio, Ghostwave and Parallax Advanced Research to incorporate a sensing system with LIFT Aircraft’s HEXA eVTOL, so it can be used as a form of transport for emergency responders.
The system has been developed by Ghostwave, which monitors the locations of multiple aircraft and drones in the air and uses real-time sensor data integrated with the telemetry on board HEXA. Ghostwave radars utilise its patented, pseudo-random radio frequency generator, which reduces the likelihood of a nearby radars utilising the exact same frequency at the exact time.
The Detect-and-Avoid system has been funded by Parallax Advanced Research’s Ohio Federal Research Network program and future plans include a first-of-its-kind live public safety demonstration, scheduled for June 3rd, 2021.
Dean Zody, CEO of GhostWave, said: “Our technology is highly capable of preventing a mid-air collision with closely situated airborne objects, which is vital when it comes to public safety use cases. It will detect and classify obstacles in the vicinity while communicating with the pilot. If we can help first responders safely arrive on scene more quickly, then we will have really done something.”
HEXA was brought to Ohio for continued research and testing in February 2021; an effort made possible through partnerships between the U.S. Air Force’s AFWERX program, the office of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, and JobsOhio.
This vision was first pioneered by Parallax Advanced Research and the Ohio Federal Research Network back in 2017, when both entities were behind a $7 million push to expand drone development and advance science and technology research in support of Ohio’s federal and state missions.
OFRN Executive Director, Bob Tanner, added: “This is what our program has always been about: connecting a network of Ohio innovators at the leading edge of technology to produce revolutionary breakthroughs that transform the way we do business in Ohio.”
Consisting of 18 propellers, motors, and batteries, HEXA is a one-seat piloted ultralight aircraft which weighs only 432 pounds. No pilot’s license or advanced training is required, and the aircraft is cleared to fly over congested areas when operated under public use.
LIFT Aircraft is one of the first of its size to join Agility Prime’s ‘Air Race to Certification’, and has also secured a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract.
Its CEO Matt Chasen performed the first Agility Prime demonstration in front of senior U.S. Air Force officials in August 2020, and Kevin Rustagi, the company’s Director of Business Operations, talked more about HEXA as part of eVTOL Insights’ popular podcast series.
Commenting on these discussions in Ohio, Chasen added: “Our initial market, experiential entertainment, has had an incredible response. As we’ve further developed HEXA, we’ve recognized the power of our aircraft to save lives. This Ohio collaboration will help make that possible.”