Autonomous Aerial Vehicle (AAV)
Autonomous Aerial Vehicles (AAVs) are those that refer to airborne vehicles that are not remotely controlled or human piloted, neither incorporate human monitored systems. Their activities are conducted without any human interference.
Just like unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), AAVs are also a component of unmanned aerial systems (UAS). In practice, AAVs are fully automated; the activity of AAVs, however, still needs to be monitored to ensure safety and security of other airborne vehicles around and for the safety of passengers in the air and the general public on the ground. An example of this is the EHang 2016 AAV which uses 4G/5G networks as transmission channels to communicate with a command and control centre.
Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) systems are being developed to manage such operations to better integrate UAS and other future flight aircraft into the existing airspace and the airspace of the future. While wide scale implementation of AAVs has not yet started, we can expect to see more frequency in their usage.
AAVs will potentially be conforming to the drones and future flight regulations and standards. These are all currently under development which can also vary from country to country.
Developments in Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) technology makes the mass introduction of AAVs a promising venture. One of the new developments by EHang promises to allow real-time data access and ease of communication and airborne collision avoidance.
Possible uses for AAVs could be for agricultural purposes, spraying pesticide on crops, surveying in construction sites, research and rescue operations in emergencies. As the technology matures further, it has the potential of offering the same benefits as other UAVs and possibly in the future be a part of the Advanced Air Mobility, including Urban Air Mobility, ecosystem.
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