With Terrain Avoidance Or Alarm Patents (Class 342/65)
  • Patent number: 10495731
    Abstract: Systems, methods, and devices relating to radar and radar-based applications. A number of comparators are coupled in parallel with each comparator comparing an incoming signal and a predetermined value. If the predetermined value is exceeded by the incoming signal, the comparator output is set to trigger a flip flop. The predetermined value changes with each comparator and, with the signal being the radar reflection from a radar pulse, this allows for the detection of the peak value of the incoming signal. The circuit may be extended so that the output of the comparator which is triggered by the highest peak from the incoming signal is latched. Other variants include being able to count the clock cycles before the highest peak is detected within the range cell.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 8, 2016
    Date of Patent: December 3, 2019
    Inventor: James Francis Harvey
  • Patent number: 10353068
    Abstract: A weather radar system can be used as an airborne sensor for providing an image on an electronic display during low visibility offshore IFR operations (e.g. for a helicopter approach to an offshore platform, such as, a petroleum rig or other structure). The weather radar sensed image is representative of the external surroundings of the maritime environment associated with radar returns received by the weather radar system. Beam sharpening technology produces higher angular resolution of the sensed objects in the radar image which reduces the interpreted azimuth errors from the sensed radar image. Accordingly, beam sharpening technology advantageously allows object isolation of closely clustered offshore platforms and nearby objects. With operational credit provided to these capabilities, the minimal distance for obtaining visual reference with the target platform could be reduced, increasing the success rate of completing offshore operations in low visibility IFR conditions.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 28, 2016
    Date of Patent: July 16, 2019
    Assignee: ROCKWELL COLLINS, INC.
    Inventors: Richard D. Jinkins, Richard M. Rademaker
  • Patent number: 10243647
    Abstract: In one embodiment, an apparatus comprises a processing device configured to: obtain sensor data from one or more sensors associated with an aircraft, wherein the one or more sensors are configured to detect information associated with an operating environment of the aircraft; detect an object near the aircraft based on the sensor data; obtain a camera feed from a camera associated with the aircraft, wherein the camera feed comprises a camera view of at least a portion of the aircraft; generate a display output based on the camera feed and the sensor data, wherein the display output comprises a visual perspective of the object relative to the aircraft; and cause the display output to be displayed on a display device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 30, 2017
    Date of Patent: March 26, 2019
    Assignee: BELL HELICOPTER TEXTRON INC.
    Inventors: Michael John Ryan, Joseph Scott Drennan
  • Patent number: 10037706
    Abstract: A value for an aircraft movement limit is received where the aircraft movement limit is associated with a manned aircraft. The aircraft movement limit is automatically set to the value. A pilot instruction is received and a control signal for the aircraft is generated using the pilot instruction and the aircraft movement limit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 26, 2018
    Date of Patent: July 31, 2018
    Assignee: Kitty Hawk Corporation
    Inventors: Mark Johnson Cutler, Alexander David Selwa
  • Patent number: 9696409
    Abstract: A land-based Smart-Sensor System and several system architectures for detection, tracking, and classification of people and vehicles automatically and in real time for border, property, and facility security surveillance is described. The preferred embodiment of the proposed Smart-Sensor System is comprised of (1) a low-cost, non-coherent radar, whose function is to detect and track people, singly or in groups, and various means of transportation, which may include vehicles, animals, or aircraft, singly or in groups, and cue (2) an optical sensor such as a long-wave infrared (LWIR) sensor, whose function is to classify the identified targets and produce movie clips for operator validation and use, and (3) an IBM CELL supercomputer to process the collected data in real-time. The Smart Sensor System can be implemented in a tower-based or a mobile-based or combination system architecture. The radar can also be operated as a stand-alone system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 11, 2015
    Date of Patent: July 4, 2017
    Assignee: Vista Research, Inc.
    Inventors: Phillip A. Fox, Joseph W. Maresca, Jr.
  • Patent number: 9688413
    Abstract: A system and method are provided for controlling the power setting of an aircraft engine when the current height-above-terrain (HAT) value Hc is less then a predetermined minimum H(min). The system includes a ground proximity unit (GPU) for measuring Hc, one or more sensors coupled to the engine for detecting an out-of-range operating condition of the engine, an engine control unit (ECU) coupled to the GPU and the one or more sensors and the engine, for controlling operation of the engine in response to Hc, H(min) and the engine operating values. When the one or more sensors detects an out-of-range operating condition normally curable by reducing the engine power setting, the ECU is prevented from automatically reducing the power setting of the engine if Hc<H(min). No pilot action is required.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 5, 2004
    Date of Patent: June 27, 2017
    Assignee: HONEYWELL INTERNATIONAL INC.
    Inventor: James MacDougall
  • Patent number: 9250629
    Abstract: A helicopter is provided and includes an air frame formed to accommodate a pilot, flight control elements disposed on the airframe to generate lift and thrust in accordance with control commands issued by the pilot and a current control mode, a sensor disposed on the airframe to sense helicopter proximity to terrain and obstacles and a flight computer configured to change the current control mode based on sensed helicopter proximity to the terrain and the obstacles.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 2, 2014
    Date of Patent: February 2, 2016
    Assignee: SIKORSKY AIRCRAFT CORPORATION
    Inventors: Anthony Litwinowicz, Vineet Sahasrabudhe
  • Patent number: 9075134
    Abstract: A radar system for detecting positions of targets using a high resolution algorithm is presented. The number of incorrect target detections due to incorrect estimation of the number of radar reflections is reduced. A two-dimensional (azimuth and distance) peak having maximum power is detected, and a virtual beam formed centering on that peak. If that two-dimensional peak is buried in the virtual beam it is assumed to be a noise peak and removed. This is repeated for all two-dimensional peaks, thereby removing noise peaks and reducing the number of unnecessary target detections. The system can also correctly detect peaks that are close together at a certain resolution but have a power larger than the virtual beam.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 12, 2012
    Date of Patent: July 7, 2015
    Assignee: DENSO CORPORATION
    Inventors: Yoshihiro Abe, Akiyoshi Mizutani
  • Patent number: 9041587
    Abstract: According to one aspect of the present invention, a radar system is provided which accurately measures the surface profile in a wide sector beneath and forward of a helicopter, to aid low level transit and landing in poor visibility. This uses an electronic beam synthesis technique to form multiple beams directed at the area of interest, each measuring the distance to the first reflected signal received by each beam. These distances represent the profile of the ground and any objects on the ground. A processor then compares the measured profile with the ideal ground profile for safe landing. If the deviations from straight and level exceed the specified requirement for safe landing, or if sufficient rotor clearance is not detected, then a warning is given to the operator. A display will show the measured ground profile highlighting the unsafe regions, allowing the operator to seek a safe region to land.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 19, 2013
    Date of Patent: May 26, 2015
    Assignees: Teledyne Australia PTY LTD, Teledyne Technologies Incorporated
    Inventor: Ian Dennis Longstaff
  • Patent number: 8938359
    Abstract: A handle bar route extension mechanism for creating or modifying a flight route. The handle bar route extension mechanism can allow a user to create or modify a flight route using a destination point. The handle bar route extension mechanism can be automatically rendered in a display in response to a touch input. In some configurations, the handle bar route extension mechanism may be rendered in a display in various directions or various lengths based on different inputs. In further configurations, more than one handle bar route extension mechanism may be rendered in a display.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 1, 2013
    Date of Patent: January 20, 2015
    Assignee: The Boeing Company
    Inventor: Cindy Dorfmann
  • Patent number: 8918280
    Abstract: A method for providing trajectory planning for an aircraft based on constraint processing is disclosed. The method may be performed utilizing a computer or processor onboard the aircraft that is en route, through all phases of flight, to an end location. The trajectory planning method may comprise receiving a set of constraints during the flight of the aircraft; analyzing the set of constraints to determine an optimal trajectory between a current location of the aircraft and the end location, the optimal trajectory is determined based on compliance with the set of constraints; and dynamically adjusting the flight of the aircraft based on the optimal trajectory.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 17, 2011
    Date of Patent: December 23, 2014
    Assignee: Rockwell Collins, Inc.
    Inventor: Richard E. Heinrich
  • Patent number: 8896480
    Abstract: An apparatus is for use with an aircraft radar system having a radar antenna. The apparatus comprises processing electronics configured to provide image data associated with an image associated with radar return data from the radar system. The radar return data is updated at a first frequency. The processing electronics are configured to update the image data at a second frequency greater than the first frequency.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 28, 2011
    Date of Patent: November 25, 2014
    Assignee: Rockwell Collins, Inc.
    Inventors: John G. Wilson, Robert D. Brown, Khai M. Do, Nathaniel S. Kowash
  • Patent number: 8897935
    Abstract: This disclosure relates to a system for preventing collisions with a terrain. The system includes a detecting means for detecting risks of collision with the terrain after a predetermined forecasting delay. The system further includes a determining means for determining, based on a trajectory followed by the aircraft, a possible limit point for success of the vertical terrain avoidance maneuver. The system further includes indication means for giving indications on azimuth clearance sections, around the direction in which the aircraft is moving, suitable for success of the vertical terrain avoidance maneuver. The system further includes means for estimating a free-travel distance in each azimuth clearance sector on a straight distancing trajectory with constant gradient and over a distance correspond to more than one minute of flight, the free-travel distance being free of potential conflicts with the terrain.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 29, 2007
    Date of Patent: November 25, 2014
    Assignee: Thales
    Inventors: Hugues Meunier, Nicolas Marty, Julia Percier
  • Patent number: 8788120
    Abstract: System and methods for managing targets of a vehicle is provided. In some aspects, a system may include a boundary check module configured to receive boundary information from a flight safety system. The boundary information comprises a selected termination boundary of a plurality of termination boundaries confining navigation of the vehicle. Each of the plurality of termination boundaries is associated with a target of a plurality of targets of the vehicle. The system may further include a target modification module configured to select the target associated with the selected termination boundary, and a target guidance module configured to provide the selected target to a guidance and control system of the vehicle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 19, 2011
    Date of Patent: July 22, 2014
    Assignee: Lockheed Martin Corporation
    Inventors: Andrew P. Imbrie, Steven A. Dunn, Andrew A. Myers
  • Patent number: 8773299
    Abstract: An exemplary embodiment relates to an aircraft system for detecting wires. The system includes a processor configured to actively sense a presence of a first object and a second object. The processor determines a location of the first object and the second object. The processor determines a potential location of a wire between the first object and the second object. The processor actively senses the wire by providing electromagnetic energy to the potential location.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 29, 2009
    Date of Patent: July 8, 2014
    Assignee: Rockwell Collins, Inc.
    Inventors: Daniel L. Woodell, Richard D. Jinkins, Richard M. Rademaker
  • Patent number: 8773301
    Abstract: A method of determining an angle within the beam to a target using an airborne radar includes receiving first data associated with first returns associated with a first portion of an antenna. The method further includes receiving second data associated with second returns associated with a second portion of an antenna, wherein the first portion is not identical to the second portion. The method further includes determining the angle within the beam to the target using the first and second data.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 17, 2012
    Date of Patent: July 8, 2014
    Assignee: Rockwell Collins, Inc.
    Inventor: Daniel L. Woodell
  • Patent number: 8755954
    Abstract: A system and methods for generating alerts in a terrain awareness and warning system (“TAWS”) in an aircraft, using data acquired from a forward-looking radar The system comprises a forward-looking imaging device, an airport database, a navigation system, a forward-looking terrain alert (“FLTA”) processor, and a crew alerting system. The FLTA processor determines a measured clearance altitude of a highest cell within an area and compares it with a required minimum clearance altitude; if the measured altitude is equal or less than the required altitude, the crew is alerted. Alternatively, a terrain database may be used. with the FLTA processor for determining if the aircraft descends below the minimum operating altitude or is predicted to do so and then generating an alert. A method is disclosed for generating TAWS alerts using elevation angle measured by the forward-looking radar and terrain data retrieved from a terrain database.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 27, 2007
    Date of Patent: June 17, 2014
    Assignee: Rockwell Collins, Inc.
    Inventors: Patrick D. McCusker, Joel M. Wichgers, Richard D. Jinkins, Richard M. Rademaker, Daniel L. Woodell
  • Patent number: 8742952
    Abstract: Traffic awareness systems and methods include receiving data regarding a first aircraft and determining the location of the first aircraft relative to the location of a second aircraft. An indication of the first aircraft may be provided to a display based on a determination that the relative location of the first aircraft is within a field of view associated with the display.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 14, 2012
    Date of Patent: June 3, 2014
    Assignee: Rockwell Collins, Inc.
    Inventor: Peter Howard Bold
  • Patent number: 8723695
    Abstract: A method for automatically detecting an erroneous height value supplied by a radio altimeter mounted on an aircraft. The method includes measuring, during the aircraft's approach phase with a view to landing, the duration between the times when a first predetermined altitude threshold and a second predetermined altitude threshold are reached. This duration is measured by taking into account current height values supplied by the radio altimeter. The method then includes comparing the measured duration to a predetermined duration reference time, which is lower than a flight duration that would allow the aircraft to descend from the first predetermined altitude threshold to the second predetermined altitude threshold at a maximum vertical speed. An erroneous height value is detected if the measured duration is lower than the predetermined duration reference time.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 15, 2011
    Date of Patent: May 13, 2014
    Assignee: Airbus Operations (SAS)
    Inventors: Thierry Bourret, Pierre-Antoine Lierman
  • Patent number: 8700306
    Abstract: Autonomous collision avoidance systems for unmanned aerial vehicles are disclosed. Systems illustratively include a detect and track module, an inertial navigation system, and an auto avoidance module. The detect and track module senses a potential object of collision and generates a moving object track for the potential object of collision. The inertial navigation system provides information indicative of a position and a velocity of the unmanned aerial vehicle. The auto avoidance module receives the moving object track for the potential object of collision and the information indicative of the position and the velocity of the unmanned aerial vehicle. The auto avoidance module utilizes the information to generate a guidance maneuver that facilitates the unmanned aerial vehicle avoiding the potential object of collision.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 4, 2013
    Date of Patent: April 15, 2014
    Assignee: L-3 Unmanned Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Davis S. Duggan, David A. Felio, Craig S. Askew
  • Patent number: 8633835
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for presenting information to operate an aircraft over terrain. A vertical profile view of the terrain is displayed relative to a location of the aircraft. A number of curves are displayed on the vertical profile view. The number of curves identify a climb capability for the aircraft based on a potential state for the aircraft.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 25, 2011
    Date of Patent: January 21, 2014
    Assignee: The Boeing Company
    Inventor: William F. Spencer, V
  • Patent number: 8576112
    Abstract: A multifunction airborne radar device includes a plurality of transmit antenna modules and/or receive antenna modules that are fixed relative to the aircraft, placed substantially over the surface of the aircraft so as to form transmit and receive beams, enabling targets to be detected for implementing a sense-and-avoid function. The airborne radar device may also comprise processing means for tracking the detected targets and for generating information sent to an air traffic control center and/or to a control device on board the aircraft. The processing device may also receive data relating to the aircraft, enabling the antenna beams to be adjusted and the tracking calculations to be refined.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 31, 2010
    Date of Patent: November 5, 2013
    Assignee: Thales
    Inventors: Patrick Garrec, Pascal Cornic, Stéphane Kemkemian
  • Patent number: 8571728
    Abstract: Present novel and non-trivial systems and methods for embedding aircraft attitude data within a pixel data set and detecting inconsistent aircraft attitude information are disclosed. A pixel data set representative of the scene outside the aircraft is generated based upon the navigation data and the terrain data, attitude-exclusive data is generated based upon orientation data, and attitude-exclusive data is embedded into the pixel data set to form an embedded pixel data set. Attitude-exclusive data is comprised of attitude-exclusive pixel data having first and second pixel locations or attitude-exclusive ancillary data. Attitude-exclusive data is compared against separately-provided reference attitude data for the purpose of detecting inconsistent attitude information.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 18, 2010
    Date of Patent: October 29, 2013
    Assignee: Rockwell Collins, Inc.
    Inventors: Jason C. Wenger, Travis S. VanderKamp
  • Patent number: 8558731
    Abstract: A method of determining an angle within the beam to a target using an airborne radar includes receiving first data associated with first returns associated with a first portion of an antenna. The method further includes receiving second data associated with second returns associated with a second portion of an antenna, wherein the first portion is not identical to the second portion. The method further includes determining the angle within the beam to the target using the first and second data.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 2, 2008
    Date of Patent: October 15, 2013
    Assignee: Rockwell Collins, Inc.
    Inventor: Daniel L. Woodell
  • Patent number: 8514105
    Abstract: The advantageous embodiments provide a method and apparatus for presenting information to operate an aircraft over terrain. A vertical profile view of the terrain is displayed relative to a location of the aircraft. A number of curves are displayed on the vertical profile view. The number of curves identifies a number of maximum heights of the terrain that the aircraft can clear based on a current state of the aircraft.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 15, 2010
    Date of Patent: August 20, 2013
    Assignee: The Boeing Company
    Inventors: William F. Spencer, V, John D. Tarbaux
  • Patent number: 8498758
    Abstract: Present novel and non-trivial system, device, and method for generating altitude data and/or height data are disclosed. A processor receives navigation data from an external source such as a global positioning system (“GPS”); receives navigation data from multiple internal sources; receives object data representative of terrain or surface feature elevation; determines an instant measurement of aircraft altitude as a function of these inputs; and generates aircraft altitude data responsive to such determination. In an additional embodiment, the processor receives reference point data representative of the elevation of the stationary reference point (e.g., a landing threshold point); determines an instant measurement of aircraft height as a function of this input and the instant measurement of aircraft altitude; and generates aircraft height data responsive to such determination.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 26, 2012
    Date of Patent: July 30, 2013
    Assignee: Rockwell Collins, Inc.
    Inventors: Douglas A Bell, James H. Doty, Sarah Barber, Felix B. Turcios
  • Patent number: 8477062
    Abstract: A novel and non-trivial radar-based system, module, and method for presenting steering symbology on an aircraft display unit are disclosed. Hazard information acquired from a forward-looking aircraft radar system may be presented as hazard data to a symbology generating processor. A plurality of minimum turn angles may be determined based upon the boundary tangents of the hazard data. Data representative of steering symbology corresponding to a one or more minimum turn angles may be generated, where the symbology may take the form of textual symbology and/or non-textual symbology. Then, the steering symbology data may be provided to a presentation system for depiction of steering symbology on a tactical display unit and/or strategic display unit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 29, 2009
    Date of Patent: July 2, 2013
    Assignee: Rockwell Collins, Inc.
    Inventor: George R. Kanellis
  • Patent number: 8452536
    Abstract: A method of defining a navigation system comprising at least one inertial platform and involving terrain correlation, the estimations of the state vector of a platform being made by a navigation filter which furthermore accesses the data of an onboard map, allows the definition of the parameters relating to, respectively, the inertial platform and at least one terrain sensor allowing Terrain-Aided-Navigation, the definition of the parameters being carried out on the basis of computations carried out with the help of statistical syntheses not involving a modeling of the navigation filter.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 3, 2011
    Date of Patent: May 28, 2013
    Assignee: Thales
    Inventors: Christian Louis, Sébastien Reynaud
  • Patent number: 8427360
    Abstract: According to one aspect of the present invention, there is provided a radar altimeter which utilizes a downward looking MIMO phased array to form multiple beams, covering a relatively wide sector, e.g., +/?60 degrees or thereabouts. The distance to the ground is then measured in each beam allowing the ground profile to be formed. The beams may be tilted forward to cover from about +90 degrees forward (horizontal) to about 30 degrees behind nadir. The provision of such a forward tilt gives a greater degree of coverage in the direction of approach vector to the ground. This additional cover enables the altimeter to more accurately detect other vehicles in the proximity to the current approach vector of the vehicle to the desired landing zone.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 25, 2011
    Date of Patent: April 23, 2013
    Inventor: Dennis Longstaff
  • Patent number: 8380425
    Abstract: Autonomous collision avoidance systems for unmanned aerial vehicles are disclosed. Systems illustratively include a detect and track module, an inertial navigation system, and an auto avoidance module. The detect and track module senses a potential object of collision and generates a moving object track for the potential object of collision. The inertial navigation system provides information indicative of a position and a velocity of the unmanned aerial vehicle. The auto avoidance module receives the moving object track for the potential object of collision and the information indicative of the position and the velocity of the unmanned aerial vehicle. The auto avoidance module utilizes the information to generate a guidance maneuver that facilitates the unmanned aerial vehicle avoiding the potential object of collision.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 13, 2010
    Date of Patent: February 19, 2013
    Assignee: L-3 Unmanned Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: David S. Duggan, David A. Felio, Craig S. Askew
  • Patent number: 8373590
    Abstract: The invention relates to a method of processing an image sensed by an image sensor on board an aircraft fitted with an obstacle-locator system, in which the position and the extent of a zone in the sensed image, referred to as the zone of interest, is determined as a function of obstacle location data delivered by the obstacle-locator system, after which at least one parameter for modifying the brightness of points/pixels in said zone of interest is determined to enable the contrast to be increased in said zone of interest, and as a function of said modification parameter, the brightness of at least a portion of the image is modified.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 21, 2007
    Date of Patent: February 12, 2013
    Assignee: Eurocopter
    Inventor: Richard Edgard Claude Piré
  • Patent number: 8279108
    Abstract: The general field of the invention is that of viewing systems of the synthetic vision type SVS, for a first aircraft, the said system comprising at least one cartographic database of a terrain, position sensors, for the said aircraft, an air traffic detection system calculating the position and the danger rating of at least one second aircraft exhibiting a risk of collision with the said first aircraft on the basis of data originating from sensors or systems such as TCAS or ADS-B, an electronic computer, a man-machine interface means and a display screen, the computer comprising means for processing the various items of information originating from the database, sensors and interface means, the said processing means arranged so as to provide the display screen with a synthetic image of the terrain comprising a representation of the said second aircraft.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 17, 2009
    Date of Patent: October 2, 2012
    Assignee: Thales
    Inventors: Christian Nouvel, Corinne Bacabara, Jean-Noel Perbet
  • Patent number: 8244424
    Abstract: The invention relates to a database and a method of generating a database containing topographical information on obstacles distributed over a geographic area subdivided into cells. The method includes reading topographical data obtained from heterogeneous sources. Topographical data are generated which relate to pointlike obstacles from the information collected from the topographical data. Topographical data are generated which relate to linear obstacles from the information collected from the topographical data. The obstacle database is created. Each cell contains a link to the obstacles whose coordinates in the geographic area covered by the cell are recorded with an uncertainty value. In particular, the invention applies to the generation of a database on board an aircraft.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 6, 2006
    Date of Patent: August 14, 2012
    Assignee: Thales
    Inventors: Michel Subelet, Sylvain Fontaine
  • Patent number: 8234068
    Abstract: A present novel and non-trivial system, module, and method for constructing a flight path used by an avionics system are disclosed. A processor receives flight plan data and object data associated with terrain and obstacles. Free cells are extracted above the objects using a recursive space decomposition technique, and a reference path is formed through traversable free space determined from the availability of free cells. In an additional embodiment, threat data associated with hostile military weaponry and significant meteorological conditions could affect the availability of free cells. A genetic algorithm applying genetic operators which include mutators is employed with aircraft kinematic constraints to refine the reference path used to form a population of best path candidates. When a best path is reached after cycling through a re-generation process of path candidates, flight path data representative of the best path is generated and provided to at least one avionics system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 15, 2009
    Date of Patent: July 31, 2012
    Assignee: Rockwell Collins, Inc.
    Inventors: Shih-Yih Young, Kristen M. Jerome
  • Patent number: 8232910
    Abstract: A system and method for a terrain awareness warning system. The system includes a radar system configured to transmit a first radio frequency wave and receive a second radio frequency wave, a display for receiving a display signal representative of an obstacle source and an obstacle source data circuit. The obstacle source data circuit includes an interface and a display circuit. The interface is coupled to the radar system and the display. The display circuit is configured to determine the obstacle source based on the second radio frequency wave and to transmit the display signal representative of the obstacle source.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 31, 2007
    Date of Patent: July 31, 2012
    Assignee: Rockwell Collins, Inc.
    Inventor: Mark W. Burton
  • Patent number: 8134491
    Abstract: A method is provided for controlling an aircraft-mounted radar system configured to project radar beams and to receive radar returns relating to the projected radar beams. The method includes providing at least one output to the radar system that causes the radar system to sweep the radar beam horizontally to create a horizontal sweep set. The method further includes providing at least one output to the radar system that causes the radar system to conduct two vertical sweeps during the horizontal sweep set, the two vertical sweeps offset from a center horizontal location by at least one beam width, and wherein each of the two vertical sweeps are on opposite sides of the center horizontal location.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 3, 2009
    Date of Patent: March 13, 2012
    Assignee: Rockwell Collins, Inc.
    Inventors: Nathanael A. Meyer, Daniel L. Woodell
  • Patent number: 8120615
    Abstract: A method and system for generating a representation of a terrain. The method of generating a representation of a terrain comprises the steps of selecting a set of colors, the colors comprise at least a plurality of colors, determining a minimum terrain elevation, and determining a maximum terrain elevation. A plurality of terrain bands is computed based in part on the set of colors, the minimum terrain elevation, and the maximum terrain elevation. At least one of the limited set of colors is assigned to each of the plurality of the plurality of terrain bands. The representation of the terrain is generated one of the limited set of colors.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 9, 2007
    Date of Patent: February 21, 2012
    Assignee: Honeywell International Inc.
    Inventors: Aaron Gannon, Jeffrey M. Rye
  • Patent number: 8098176
    Abstract: Systems and methods for improving landing gear alerting on a rotary wing aircraft. An example system includes a user interface device that allows a user to set a bug altitude value and a radio altimeter that produces an altitude value, both of which are in communication with a processor. The processor receives a bug altitude setting, generates a landing gear alert altitude value based on the received bug altitude setting and a predefined additive, receives a radio altitude value for the rotary-wing aircraft, and generates a landing gear alert if the radio altitude value is less than the landing gear alert altitude value and the landing gear is not in a landing position. An output device in signal communication with the processor, outputs the generated landing gear alert.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 23, 2010
    Date of Patent: January 17, 2012
    Assignee: Honeywell International Inc.
    Inventors: Yasuo Ishihara, Steve Johnson, Gary Ostrom
  • Patent number: 8098192
    Abstract: A terrain awareness system includes a processor for receiving radar returns and providing terrain and/or obstacle alerts or warnings in response to the radar returns. The processor receives information from a database and the information is used to select the radar transmit function and/or the radar reception function to optimize the performance of the system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 14, 2007
    Date of Patent: January 17, 2012
    Assignee: Rockwell Collins, Inc.
    Inventors: Joel M. Wichgers, Richard D. Jinkins, Richard M. Rademaker, Daniel L. Woodell
  • Patent number: 8094937
    Abstract: A system and method for labeling feature clusters in frames of image data for optical navigation uses distances between feature clusters in a current frame of image data and feature clusters in a previous frame of image data to label the feature clusters in the current frame of image data using identifiers associated with the feature cluster in the previous frame of image data that have been correlated with the feature clusters in the current frame of image data.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 17, 2007
    Date of Patent: January 10, 2012
    Assignee: Avago Technologies ECBU IP (Singapore) Pte. Ltd.
    Inventors: Edward Kah Ching Teoh, Zi Hao Tan
  • Patent number: 7956797
    Abstract: A system for measuring relative distance between a first component on a vehicle and a second component on the vehicle is provided. The system includes a wireless ultra-wideband (UWB) transceiver attached to the first component. The wireless UWB transceiver transmits a UWB measurement pulse toward the second component, and receives a reflected UWB pulse from a reflective surface of the second component. The reflected UWB pulse represents a reflected version of the UWB measurement pulse. The system also includes a processor coupled to the wireless UWB transceiver. The processor derives a relative distance between the first component and the second component, based upon characteristics of the UWB measurement pulse and the reflected UWB pulse. The system further includes a power generating system for the wireless UWB transceiver.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 9, 2009
    Date of Patent: June 7, 2011
    Assignee: GM Global Technology Operations LLC
    Inventors: Timothy J. Talty, Chandra S. Namuduri, Yunjun Li, Nancy McMahon, Robert B. Elliott
  • Patent number: 7889117
    Abstract: A method of determining an angle with a beam to terrain for a terrain avoidance system includes receiving first data associated with first returns associated with a first portion of an antenna. The method further includes receiving second data associated with second returns associated with a second portion of the antenna, wherein the first portion is different than, intersects, or includes the second portion. The method further includes determining the angle to terrain using the first data and second data.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 2, 2008
    Date of Patent: February 15, 2011
    Assignee: Rockwell Collins, Inc.
    Inventors: Daniel L. Woodell, Richard D. Jinkins, Richard M. Rademaker
  • Patent number: 7890248
    Abstract: A device, method and computer program product for locating aircraft with respect to airport runways and taxiways, determining if a conflict exists between an aircraft having operating the invention and another aircraft, and generating and annunciating conflict awareness advisories as a function of determining that a conflict exists.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 25, 2009
    Date of Patent: February 15, 2011
    Assignee: Honeywell International Inc.
    Inventors: John J. Poe, Scott R. Gremmert, Kevin J Conner
  • Patent number: 7872594
    Abstract: The present disclosure is directed to systems and methods for providing attenuation alerts for a radar-based terrain warning. A method for providing radar-based terrain warning attenuation alerts may comprise: (a) receiving a radar return; (b) detecting a region of atmospheric disturbance limiting the range of the radar return; and (c) providing a notification of radar-based terrain awareness warning system attenuation in the region of atmospheric disturbance.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 4, 2008
    Date of Patent: January 18, 2011
    Assignee: Rockwell Collins, Inc.
    Inventor: Andrew M. Vesel
  • Patent number: 7859448
    Abstract: An aircraft weather radar system can be used with a terrain avoidance system to provide a terrain database. The weather radar system includes a processor and/or other electronics coupled to an antenna. The processor determines terrain data based on weather radar returns received from the antenna. The processor can utilize a variety of techniques for determining terrain data or estimates.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 6, 2007
    Date of Patent: December 28, 2010
    Assignee: Rockwell Collins, Inc.
    Inventors: Daniel L. Woodell, Richard D. Jinkins, Nathanael A. Meyer, Richard M. Rademaker, Charles J. Dickerson
  • Patent number: 7859449
    Abstract: An aircraft weather radar system can be used with a terrain avoidance system. The aircraft weather radar system is coupled to an antenna. A processor receives radar returns received by the antenna. The processor determines terrain elevation estimates for use with the terrain avoidance system from the radar returns. The terrain elevation estimates are compared to stored terrain elevation data used with the terrain avoidance system to verify position or to check the integrity of the stored elevation data. The processor can be part of a terrain avoidance system, a weather radar system, a navigation system, or can be a standalone system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 6, 2007
    Date of Patent: December 28, 2010
    Assignee: Rockwell Collins, Inc.
    Inventors: Daniel L. Woodell, Richard D. Jinkins, Nathanael A. Meyer, Richard M. Rademaker, Charles J. Dickerson
  • Patent number: 7843380
    Abstract: A system and method for sensing elevation terrain using an airborne weather radar. Method techniques include sampling first and second radar returns from a weather radar at two portions of an antenna. First radar returns are removed from second radar returns to generate third radar returns for a third portion of the antenna. The third portion of the antenna is included in the second portion but not the first portion. Changes in the third radar return are analyzed to sense elevation of the terrain.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 27, 2007
    Date of Patent: November 30, 2010
    Assignee: Rockwell Collins, Inc.
    Inventor: Daniel L. Woodell
  • Patent number: 7839322
    Abstract: A method of detecting obstacles on board an aircraft while in the vicinity (44) of a touchdown point (27, 42), includes the following operations: selecting/determining a path (41) to be followed by the aircraft overflying the touchdown point; the aircraft overflying the touchdown point following the overflight path, and during the overflight recording signals/data delivered by an on-board rangefinder observing a portion of space extending below the aircraft; analyzing the rangefinder data to detect the presence of obstacles and to determine their positions in a terrestrial frame of reference, where appropriate to determine their dimensions; and recording the detected obstacle position data, and dimensions, if any, in a memory.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 20, 2007
    Date of Patent: November 23, 2010
    Assignee: Eurocopter
    Inventors: François-Xavier Filias, Jean Sequeira
  • Patent number: 7818127
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for at least semi-autonomously controlling a vehicle so as to avoid collisions are provided. A sensor is utilized to scan an area proximate the vehicle for a potential object of collision. The apparatus calculates navigational states of the potential object of collision relative to the vehicle to determine that the vehicle is on a course to enter within a predetermined miss distance relative to the potential object of collision. The apparatus alters the course of the vehicle based on the calculated navigational states.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 18, 2004
    Date of Patent: October 19, 2010
    Assignee: Geneva Aerospace, Inc.
    Inventors: David S. Duggan, David A. Felio, Craig S. Askew
  • Patent number: 7818115
    Abstract: A navigation solution of a navigation system with a Terrain Navigation Module is determined by a procedure including determining a supported position solution and the relative covered path between two height measurements, ascertaining a quality of each active supported position from each active supported position by way of a first quality function, and creating a search area and predetermined positions for each position inside the search area and each relatively stored covered path. The procedure further includes ascertaining a quality of each relatively stored terrain height measurement, and a quality of each reference height, and determining the quality of the position support by a function of all minimum probabilities of all used positions in the search area and supporting the navigation solution ascertained in the Strap Down Module by the navigation filter with the aid of the determined position support and the determined quality of the position support.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 21, 2006
    Date of Patent: October 19, 2010
    Assignee: EADS Deutschland GmbH
    Inventors: Peter Kreutz, Juergen Metzger, Bernd Taddiken