Ground to Air Identification and Messaging System

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The current method for aircraft or UAVs to identify people, objects, or positions on the ground is for them to be painted with symbols large enough to see from air. Certain colors or types of paint are used to indicate different information. Other methods include using radio to alert aircraft of a ground position. Problems with these methods include range, for both RF signals and also the visual range of identifying the painted symbols, and power for operating radios.

NSWC Crane has patented an identification and messaging system for use in signaling aircraft from a ground position and providing it with information such as position and friendly person identification. The system includes a radio frequency (RF) reflective structure with resonant panels that are positioned at different angles to detect direct signals and amplify them. The system is passive and does not require power to function. The emitters on an aircraft would send out a RF signal which would be reflected, steered, or resonated off of the panels and back to sensors on the aircraft. The signals can be reflected in different manners including in a sequence, thermal pattern, magnetic pattern, and return signal steering which can provide different types of information to the aircraft.
Utility Patent
United States
Aug 29, 2017
Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization
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