LiDAR simulation for performance evaluation of UAS detect and avoid

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

12 Citations (Scopus)
114 Downloads (Pure)


The solution to mitigating risks associated with beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations of Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) generally focuses on the use of advanced Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) systems. However, this solution does not take into account other uncooperative objects in the airspace. A more robust approach is to have UTM integrations coupled with onboard machine vision which is tied to automated collision avoidance systems. Future BVLOS regulations in urban situations may require robust embedded software that is capable of detecting air collision hazards in realtime at near and far ranges as uncooperative small aircraft and other unpredictable small objects with fast-changing and unscheduled trajectories pose significant hazards to UAS. This work presents the concept and initial prototyping of a Digital Twin to evaluate the capability of UAS mounted LiDAR to detect small-object air collision risks. A Digital Twin of the Port of Hamburg is augmented with typical port and harbour aerial hazards such as birds, drones, helicopters, and low flying aircraft. The use case scenarios are created in Maya and Unity, with Optix ray tracing of typical LiDAR imaging configurations used to replicate the cause and effect relationship between different LiDAR specifications and their response to small flying objects. Our results demonstrate the inhomogeneous point clouds generated at different spatial-temporal parts of the LiDAR scanning cycle and field of view. These results confirm the challenges of detecting small uncooperative objects by LiDAR.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2021 International Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (ICUAS)
Place of PublicationPiscataway, NJ
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781665415354, 9781665447041
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jul 2021


  • unmanned aerial systems
  • detect and avoid
  • perception
  • data driven simulation


Dive into the research topics of 'LiDAR simulation for performance evaluation of UAS detect and avoid'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this