L3Harris Technologies has been granted a patent for an autonomous distress tracking system for aircraft. The system includes a transponder to transmit RF emissions, an RF detector to detect emissions, and an alert system to activate a distress radio beacon if no emissions are detected within a set time. GlobalData’s report on L3Harris Technologies gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on L3Harris Technologies, AR/VR head-up displays was a key innovation area identified from patents. L3Harris Technologies's grant share as of January 2024 was 72%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Autonomous distress tracking system for aircraft

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: L3Harris Technologies Inc

A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11885897B2) discloses a system designed to activate a radio beacon on an aircraft in distress. The system includes a device transmitting coded information readable by an RF detector, triggering the activation of the radio beacon based on this information. Additionally, a distress trigger logic monitors aircraft performance to determine distress events, transmitting a distress signal to the RF detector for beacon activation when such events are detected. The system aims to enhance aircraft safety by automatically activating the beacon in critical situations.

Furthermore, the patent details the system's ability to detect abnormal aircraft operations, determine the intentional nature of abnormal events, and activate the locator beacon accordingly. By monitoring transponder status, aircraft operations, and external factors like weather conditions or TCAS events, the system can assess the need for beacon activation. This innovative technology provides a comprehensive approach to ensuring timely distress signal transmission in emergencies, potentially improving search and rescue operations for aircraft in distress.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.