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BRIEF: Rockwell Collins working on NASA data link to enable unmanned air vehicles in U.S. airspace

This news story was published on December 20, 2011.
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Dave DeWitte – The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, Iowa –

Rockwell Collins is collaborating with NASA on a data link that will enable unmanned aircraft to safely operate in the national airspace.

Rockwell Collins will work closely with NASA engineers and subject matter experts to define the waveform for the control and non-payload communications (CNPC) data link, the company said in a statement released Monday, Dec. 19.

Results of the collaboration will help industry and the Federal Aviation Administration develop the appropriate set of rules and requirements for reliable unmanned flight operations in the national airspace system.

“The reason we were selected is because we’re one of a few companies that have both commercial avionics experience and UAS data links in theater. It’s really the intersection of our core technologies,” said David Vos, senior director of UAS and Control Technologies at Rockwell Collins. “We know the challenges, we know how to certify avionics and we’re experts in military data links and waveform development.”

The project has a three-year time horizon.

Rockwell Collins expanded its technological base in unmanned aerial vehicle control systems in 2008 with the purchase of Athena Technologies, founded and led by Vos.

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