uAvionix, which began as a drone technology producer and later established a foothold in general aviation with low-cost ADS-B solutions, has acquired Iris Automation, another drone-related firm with GA ambition. The deal with Iris, makers of computer vision airspace awareness products, also provided uAvionix with a new CEO: commercial pilot and CFI Jon Damush.
Iris Automation, meanwhile, developed Casia, a computer vision aircraft detection system that enables uncrewed aircraft to automatically detect and maneuver to avoid other aircraft. The ground-based version (Casia G) does the same job, monitoring airspace from one or more fixed locations. Police in Pearland, Texas, used Casia G airspace surveillance to win FAA approval for a drones-as-first-responders program that conducts BVLOS flights without human visual observers, the first such effort authorized by the FAA, in March.
Damush told AOPA in 2020 that Iris Automation has a singular focus, "to make flying safer, period." He envisioned many applications for computer vision on traditional aircraft, from traffic alerting to passenger identification, or GPS-denied navigation.
In an October 24 news release, uAvionix founder and Chief Technology Officer Paul Beard continued that theme: “The combination of Iris Automation’s and uAvionix’s capabilities provides for a multi-layered-safety architecture that supports integration of UAS into the National Airspace System. Through our collective efforts, we are solving the two biggest technical challenges to UAS integration: Command and Control and Detect and Avoid. Solving these problems builds safer airspace for all users.”