Japan’s Drone Industry, NEDO Lead the Way in ISO Collision Avoidance Standard Revision

juida logojuida logoThis article published in collaboration with JUIDA, the Japan UAS Industrial Development Association.

UAV Collision Avoidance: How Japan’s Drone Industry Collaborated to Establish a New International Standard

On Oct. 6, Japanese-based NEDO (the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization) announced that their proposal for an improved collision avoidance system for UAVs has been adopted as a revision to the standard by ISO, the International Standards Organization based in Geneva, Switzerland. Published as “ISO21384-3 Unmanned aircraft systems―Part 3: Operational procedures”, the new standard has been in development since 2021 by Subaru, Japan Radio, and ACSL as part of NEDO’s “Project to Realize an Energy-Saving Society Where Robots and Drones Are Active.”

ACSL SOTEN, ISO Standards obstacle avoidanceMultiple players from Japan’s drone sector collaborated on the project to push forward standardization in the industry.  Without fully internationalized collision-avoidance procedures, cross-border UAV operations can be difficult or impossible to complete safely. By creating an international standard, the development of collision-avoidance technology can be centralized. The new chapter on CONOPS (concept of operations) includes a new 6-step process UAVs should follow when engaged in collision avoidance, beginning with object detection and recognition and ending with a return to the previous flight path. Subaru drafted the initial standard, and Japan Radio Co. and ACSL helped test and demonstrate the implementation of the collision avoidance system. The international standard for drone development now includes self-guided object avoidance, an important step forward for the industry. 

The process of establishing global frameworks for UAV development and operation have been in development for a long time: in 2018 the ISO announced that new, global standards would be published in response to a request from international air control organizations. Especially as UTM programs become more common internationally (recently, the Israeli government announced that drones could not fly in their airspace unless attached to an approved UTM system), these international standards will become increasingly important to drone manufacturers and software developers. 

Miriam McNabbMiriam McNabb

Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry.  Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.


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