Zipline's Drone microphone based Detect and Avoid solution

I found this article about Zipline’s innovative microphone solution to detecting, and avoiding, manned aircraft fascinating.

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Very interesting read. I can’t imagine how many iterations they went through to get meaningful data - even down to ignoring the throttle changes on the drone that the system is mounted on because I would think that would adjust the “baseline” noise level that it is trying to identify sounds from. Pretty cool work.

Yeah! Amazing!

I have so many questions!

Could it be fitted to GA aircraft to detect other GA aircraft? And if so, could it also detect a drone?

Are gliders invisible to it?

Could the same concept be used in a CUAS system on the ground? (Presumably that would be a damn sight easier, without the onboard motor and wind noise to filter out).

this operates without dependency on other aircraft transmitting ADS-B, which is a bonus.


  • what’s the latest view on when ADS-B will be adopted in UK / Europe?

  • after which time can’t remote pilots use and rely more upon ADS-B receivers?

ADS-B is adopted in the UK and Europe - for GA aircraft.

For the past few years, the DfT has provided funding for a 50% rebate for EC (electronic conspicuity) equipment - upto a maximum of £250 rebate.

This initiative has increased the number of aircraft with ADS-B output for sure. (Often using a Uavonix Sky Echo 2 unit which is a small self-contained device with a built in battery. Price around £500, before the rebate).

There are, however, still plenty of aircraft which are not equipped with any EC.

I don’t know of any plan to mandate ADS-B for GA aircraft.

So, ADS-B receivers are good. But not perfect. Because they won’t see every aircraft.

Zipline’s solution is pretty clever because it appears to only rely on something that every aeroplane has. Noise!

I see there is a new footnote on the Suasnews article now. In which another company, SARA, claim that they invented this technology and are in legal dispute with Zipline.

Their solution is mentioned on their website here: SARA

Thank for the ADS-B update Simon.
Be good to see if/when Zipline products appear, noting the current IPR dispute.