Remote Aerial Vehicles for Environment-monitoring II

RAVEN II Project

(Remote Aerial Vehicles for Environment-monitoring II)


Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are anticipated to become an effective tool for real-time airborne surveillance, providing services for both military and civilian applications. One of the main inhibitors of general acceptance of UAVs for commercial applications is the danger of collisions with other aircraft and terrestrial structures. In order to prevent such accidents, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and Transport Canada will require that all UAVs employ onboard sense-and-avoid (SAA) systems that provide an equivalent level of "see-and-avoid" abilities as provided by a pilot in a manned aircraft.

Although a UAV is unmanned, it is still operated by a manned crew from a ground control station (GCS), and, as a result, SAA capabilities will be provided by a combination of an unmanned airborne subsystem on the UAV and a manned ground-based subsystem in the GCS, tied together by a communications link. The airborne SAA system will consist of sensors, signal processing hardware, control decision algorithms and a communications module. The GCS will be enhanced with additional software and hardware to allow the GSC crew to de-conflict traffic as aided by the airborne SAA modules on the UAV. The overall SAA system, including

the airborne and ground-based subsystems to be developed, is referred to as an "autonomous collision avoidance system" or ACAS in short. For clarity, the acronym ACAS refers to the specific SAA system developed under RAVEN II, and SAA refers to the generic technology which is not specific to RAVEN II.


With $1.3 million in earlier funding from the Atlantic Innovation Fund, the Memorial University Faculty of Engineering developed operational expertise in deploying small unmanned aerial vehicle for command, control, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) missions.

RAVEN II will build on this expertise and develop intelligent "sense and avoid" autonomous collision avoidance systems to allow small UAVs to share the same airspace with manned aviation. The objective is to improve flight safety to take advantage of commercial opportunities for UAV surveillance such as monitoring pipelines or icebergs for oil and gas markets; monitoring facilities and transmission lines for electricity and telecommunications utilities; and monitoring wildlife and changes in land and sea conditions for environmental protection.

The RAVEN team will further develop and integrate advanced technologies in digital electro-optical/infrared sensors, radar systems, digital signal and image analysis, embedded systems, radio and satellite communications, and autonomous control. Test flights of these systems will be conducted in Newfoundland and Labrador including Goose Bay.

Funding Agencies

Government of Canada:

Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA);

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC); and

Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC).


Government of Newfoundland and Labrador:

Research and Development Corporation (RDC).


For further information, please contact:

Dr. Siu O'Young - Principal Investigator


Phone: +1 709-864-8345


Mr. Noel Purcell - Project Manager


Phone: +1 709-864-8589


Mailing Address:

Memorial University

Major Research Partnerships

230 Elizabeth Avenue

Bruneau Centre, Room IIC 1001

St. John's, NL Canada A1C 5S7



230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000