Case Study

LIDAR-based Rotor Proximity Warning System (R-PWS) Development

Rotor Blades Collision Avoidance System for US Helicopter Manufacturer

Accuracy in all weather conditions


Cost Reduction through Reusability


In the aviation industry, Lidar technology is crucial for collision avoidance, particularly in helicopter operations, that often require landing and take-off in challenging environments without helipads.

Addressing this, Tata Elxsi collaborated with a leading helicopter manufacturer in the USA to create a Lidar-based solution that ensures safe landings by detecting potential obstructions. This innovative  system provides vital alerts to pilots (both visual and audio), enhancing safety during critical missions such as calamities, medical emergencies, and evacuations, where rotor downwash and nearby hazards pose significant risks.


Navigating through the complexities of advanced algorithms and the need for real-time Lidar point cloud data processing presented significant challenges.

The intuitive solution required the detection of any object over three feet as an obstacle, factoring in the helicopter's pitch, roll, and yaw to avoid false alarms. Additionally, ensuring consistent performance across various weather conditions added another layer of complexity to the development process, demanding a robust and versatile obstacle detection system.


Tata Elxsi’s developed the Rotor Proximity Warning System (R-PWS) and it represents a critical solution to the complex challenge of helicopter collision avoidance. This system enhances pilot awareness by providing auditory and optional visual alerts of main and tail rotor obstructions. 

Utilizing radar sensors, the R-PWS achieves a 360-degree azimuth coverage, detecting obstacles within a 300-feet radius — crucial during taxiing, departure, hover, and landing. The integration of FPGA technology for Lidar point cloud data processing enables the detection and classification of both static and moving threats. This can help pilots to respond effectively to potential hazards.



Leveraging our expertise in sensor fusion and holistic product design, Tata Elxsi undertook end-to-end ownership, encompassing hardware, software, and validation processes. 

The result? A LIDAR-based proximity warning system boasting unparalleled accuracy, achieving an impressive 95% precision even in adverse weather conditions. 

Furthermore, our innovative approach has led to a remarkable 20% reduction in costs through enhanced reusability, underscoring our commitment to delivering cutting-edge solutions that prioritize safety and cost-effectiveness.


Where are we now

At present, the solution is in production for advanced attack helicopters and various business and commercial models, while the customer is diligently working on integrating the Rotor Proximity Warning System into forthcoming helicopter models as well marking a critical step towards enhancing aviation safety and efficiency.

Services rendered

Tata Elxsi

  • Lidar sensor deployment 
  • Static and moving obstacles detection 
  • Threat Classification based on position, speed and direction
  • Lidar point cloud data processing using FPGAs.
  • Audio, video and graphical alerts

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