Photo by Kaylee Osowski/Peninsula Clarion John Parker, President and COO of Integrated Robotics Imaging Systems in Kenai, received collision avoidance radar for small unmanned aerial vehicles for which he has exclusive patent rights last week.

Advanced radar for drones arrives in Kenai

  • Wednesday, May 14, 2014 5:44pm
  • News

The technology has arrived — all 12.5 ounces of it.

John Parker, president and COO of Integrated Robotics Imaging Systems in Kenai, received collision avoidance radar for small drones last week.

Parker said the radar is his contribution to the Federal Aviation Administration’s goal with unmanned aerial vehicles — to operate them safely in national airspace.

Researchers at the University of Denver began designing the radar specifically for small UAVs or drones in 2008. In early April, Parker acquired exclusive patent rights for the technology.

“Our intention is to be first to market with this radar, and I believe we’ll be able to do that,” Parker said. “And then make it available for everybody that has an interest in this technology.”

No other company in the industry has collision avoidance radar, he said. Right now the UAV industry is working with two types of systems — automatic dependant surveillance broadcast and traffic collision avoidance systems.

“They only interrogate other systems that are like it,” Parker said. “In other words each plane would have to have a TCAS on it or ADSB or regular transponder. So they can’t see any aircraft or anything out there that doesn’t have that on it.”

He said the radar his company now possesses can be used on virtually any small UAV to meet FAA requirements.

“This radar is the solution that all of our companies that are fielding UAVs of this type and size need,” Parker said.

He plans to integrate the radar with an Infotron coaxial rotor UAV. A coaxial rotor UAV has two sets of blades, one stacked on top of the other, that spin in opposite directions. Parker said that type of rotor system makes the UAV more stable than other designs.

“It’s a very stable platform and that’s what we need up here,” Parker said. “Because we’re going to fly in bad weather a lot.”

He said current small UAVs have the rotors on the same plain so the drone is subject to turbulence, which changes video stability. He said compensations are made with programming and changing rotors’ revolutions per minute. However, the additional energy used could be used instead to fly farther and get more data.

The UAV will be battery powered with a one-hour endurance. In the future Parker plans to look into powering the UAV with fuel cells and expects to extend the UAV endurance to 10 hours, if successful.

Parker is working to finalize the shipping of the UAV from Infotron’s headquarters in France. Integrated Robotics, which Parker started in 2011, is also the North American distributors and manufactures representative for Infotron.

During the next six to 10 months Parker will be working on the radar and drone integration. He said the key is “sense and avoid.” The plan is to develop the product so that when an object is detected, data would be transferred to a ground pilot and if the pilot didn’t change the UAV’s course, it would move itself. He will be seeking certification of the product under FAA protocols. If all goes according to plan, Parker said the radar should be finalized for market within 18 months.

While Parker is unsure of how much the radar will cost, he wants to make it affordable for the UAV industry.

“This is the type of technology that I believe that Alaska needs,” Parker said.

A gimbal camera system made by DST Control, a Swedish company, will also become part of the UAV system. He said the camera has been shipped to Infotron to be integrated with the UAV specific to Parker’s operations.

Kaylee Osowski can be reached at

Photo by Kaylee Osowski/Peninsula Clarion Researchers at the University of Denver designed collision avoidance radar for small unmanned aerial vehicles. John Parker of Integrated Robotics Imaging Systems, which holds exclusive patent rights, said no other UAV company has radar like it.

More in News

The Swan Lake Fire can be seen from above on Monday, Aug. 26 on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Alaska Wildland Fire Information)
All burn permits suspended starting May 1

The suspension aims to mitigate some of the challenges firefighting agencies may face this summer.

Beaver Loop to close for construction next week

Beaver Loop Road to be closed 6 a.m. Monday, April 13 until 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 21.

photos by Brian Mazurek / Peninsula Clarion
                                Emergency room technician Angie Sulley (left) and nurse Marcie Duncan put on the personal protective equipment necessary for interacting with patients suspected of having COVID-19 in the ambulance bay outside of the emergency department at Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna on Tuesday.
‘There’s no book for this’

Central Peninsula Hospital preps for new coronavirus

Soldotna United Methodist Church in Soldotna, Alaska, invites worshippers online with a sign seen Tuesday, April 7, 2020. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
State: Drive-in, virtual religious services OK

New health alert offers guidelines to local organizations on safe ways to practice their faith.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks at a press conference on the budget on April 7, 2020, in Juneau, Alaska. He later met with reporters to speak about 22 new COVID-19 cases reported on Tuesday. (Photo by Austin McDaniel/Office of the Governor)
Alaska sees surge in COVID-19 cases

No new deaths or hospitalizations

A RavinAir sign can be seen at a kiosk at the Kenai Airport on Thursday, April 2, 2020. The company announced Thursday they were cutting all service by 90%. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion) (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)(Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Ravn shuts down, files for bankruptcy

25 locals who worked for Ravn in the terminal and in cargo were laid off this week.

Photo courtesy Office of the Governor
                                Gov. Mike Dunleavy (center) speaks with Edward Graham (left) of Samaritan’s Purse, as two other Samaritan’s Purse staff members watch. Dunleavy met the crew and staff of the Samaritan’s Purse DC-8 at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport as they offloaded thousands of pounds of medical supplies bound for rural Alaska.
4th COVID-19 case reported in Soldotna

Over the weekend, there were three deaths of Alaska residents due to COVID-19 reported by the state.

COVID-19. (Courtesy the CDC)
Sixth COVID-19 death reported for Alaska

The latest death is of a 71-year-old Anchorage resident.

Like a number of public buildings, the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District building in Soldotna is closed.
                                Victoria Petersen / Peninsula Clarion
Assembly passes emergency ordinances

The Clerk’s Office set up remote ways for residents to call in and speak on the emergency ordinances.

Most Read