General Atomics, NASA Demo SkyGuardian RPA; Linden Blue Quoted

General Atomics’ aeronautical systems business has partnered with NASA to demonstrate the MQ-9B SkyGuardian remotely piloted aircraft’s utility and safety capacities for commercial applications.

The platform employed a detect and avoid tool to allow situational awareness of air traffic and inspected various power line, communication, rail and canal infrastructure from Southern California to Arizona through the use of its onboard sensors, the company said Monday.

SkyGuardian also conducted agriculture, wildfire and flood monitoring as well as topological surveys during the flight test.

“Our airborne sensors can see through thick smoke, enabling us to inform ground personnel about the locations of fire lines so they can deploy resources efficiently,” said Linden Blue, CEO at General Atomics’ aeronautical systems unit.

Efforts under the flight test are intended to support NASA’s Systems Integration and Operationalization program, an initiative that seeks to perform flight tests of various unmanned aerial system types within their respective flight environments. The company worked with Collins Aerospace and Honeywell for the demo.

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