UAV173 Counter-UAS Technology

Aerial Information Systems describes counter-UAS technology, the Karma drone recall exposes a larger issue, and some areas to watch in the UAS space in 2017.

GoPro Karma

Karma drone, courtesy GoPro

Interview

Tim Trott from Southern Helicam interviews Larry Friese, Jr., president of Aerial Information Systems Corporation (AIS) at the inaugural Emerald Coast Unmanned Systems Business Expo in Pensacola, November 19, 2016. Larry’s session was Preparing for Counter-UAS Technology and he talks with Tim about playing the aggressor from the Red Team perspective.

Aerial Information Systems Corporation is a minority-woman-owned, full-service Geographic Information Systems (GIS) production and environmental small business. They provide multidisciplinary databases for use in GIS, environmental and urban planning, and facilities management.

Southern Helicam provides aerial photography and video services. Tim is active in the industry and offers commentary on unmanned aircraft issues.

News

GoPro Drone ‘Recall’ Raises Oversight Questions

GoPro pulled all its Karma drones off the market in November because some of them were losing power and falling. GoPro did the right thing and asked consumers to return purchased drones for a full refund. However, it became clear that neither the FAA nor the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) holds jurisdiction to recall drones, leaving a hole in the system.

UAS Crystal Ball 2017 – Four things to watch for in the UAS space next year

xyHt Magazine says the four areas bearing watching in 2017 are regulation, direct georeferencing, UAS-borne lidar, and hybrid fixed-wing/multirotor platforms.

Man Who Flew Weaponized Drones Loses Bid to Return to School

A Superior Court judge dismissed the lawsuit by Austin Haughwout who sued Central Connecticut State University for wrongful expulsion. His lawyer plans to appeal.

Videos of the Week

Intel’s 500 Drone Light Show | Intel

#BreakTheNet Task 4 – My Cape Town Selfie

 

UAV172 Drone World Expo 2016 Review

A report on Drone World Expo, held November 15-16, 2016, in San Jose, California.

Intel Falcon 8+

Intel Falcon 8+ photo courtesy Intel Corporation

Guest

Max Trescott attended Drone World Expo 2016 and brings us his observations from the show.

Max tells us about the makeup of the attendees and the keynote panel. We hear a clip from the keynote where moderator Gretchen West of Hogan Lovells asks Ingo Piroth (IBM North America GTM Lead Partner, IBM Innovation & Emerging Tech, IBM Global Business Services) to offer some examples of the more forward thinking use cases and what people need to be looking out for. Ingo believes observation-based missions will outnumber cargo missions.

Intel showed their Aero Compute Board, the Intel® Atom™ processor-powered developer kit, and the Intel Falcon 8+ drone system. We also hear reflections on agriculture market presentations, including the esri Drone2Map for ArcGIS system and the MicaSense remote sensing solutions for agriculture and other applications.

The conversation touches on unmanned industry consolidation and the DroneHive model for project manpower and outsourcing of UAS services. We also mention the Fruity Chutes parachute recovery systems for drones.

Max Trescott is a flight instructor, author, and publisher. He is a regular co-host on the Airplane Geeks podcast and is an occasional contributor to The UAV Digest. Learn more about Max at G1000book.com.

Video of the Week

6B6 Airport Promo Trailer

This drone video was shot at 6B6, Minuteman Airfield in Stow, Massachusetts, and represents a coordinated effort between the airport owner, the pilots, and the drone operator.

 

 

UAV171 UAS Flights Over Unsheltered People

Rulemaking for sUAS flights over people moves forward, fuel cell-powered UAVs, a drone detection system, a Predator for humanitarian relief, drones flying in formation, and autonomous aircraft collaboration.

H3 Dynamics Hywing

Hywing long endurance fixed-wing UAV demonstrator, courtesy H3 Dynamics

News

Big News: Proposed Small UAS Rule for Flights Over People at White House for Review

Hogan Lovells reports that the FAA sent to the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) the proposed rulemaking for the operation of sUAS over unsheltered people not directly participating in the operation. OIRA reviews draft regulations before they are implemented and any member of the public can request a meeting with the agency to discuss the proposed rule.

UAV Update: Fuel cells, Droneboxes and hostile drones

This article is a round-up of a number of newsworthy drone stories, including:

Singapore energy storage company H3 Dynamics has applied fuel cell technology to its Hywings UAV and claims up to 10 hours flight endurance. The company also created Dronebox that can be used as a remote base station for drones. Dronebox can recharge drone using solar panels, and offers the possibility for stationing drones for autonomous missions, like crop surveys.

Elbit Systems in Israel announced ReDrone which detects, tracks, and takes out drones. The system can determine the direction of the drone and the operator, operates over 360 degrees and provides real-time situational awareness of multiple drones.

General Atomics is offering the Angel One for humanitarian relief missions. Based on the Predator-C Avenger UAV, it can carry up to 8,500 pounds of Humanitarian Daily Ration packets (HDRs) for 3,400 people

AeroVironment is looking to the commercial market with its Quantix vertical takeoff and landing quadrotor drone. Controlled with an Android tablet, data can subsequently be processed within the AeroVironment Decision Support System (AV DSS). Availability is expected by spring 2017.

Drexel University Student Charged After Drone Flies Over Center City Protesters

A drone was observed flying over 300 protesters marching in Philadelphia. Police and news helicopters followed the drone which led them to a man operating the drone from a rooftop. A SWAT team took a 20-year-old man into custody inside the building. He could face various charges,  including recklessly endangering another person and risking a catastrophe.

Disney’s Latest Attraction? 300 Drones Flying in Formation

The “Starbright Holidays” in Orlando will feature 300 Intel Shooting Star quadcopters with LED lights. Each weighs a little over half a pound and is constructed of soft materials such as plastics and foam. The drones are assigned light show roles only after each has been queried by the system to assess details like battery level and GPS signal. Then each gets its assignment and an operator deploys them all with the push of a button.

Human-Machine Teams: Lockheed Martin UAS and Optionally-Piloted Helicopters Validate Firefighting and Search-and-Rescue Capabilities

Lockheed Martin conducted a demonstration of firefighting and search-and-rescue capability using four autonomous vehicles. The optionally-piloted Kaman K-MAX, the Sikorsky Autonomy Research Aircraft (SARA), the Indago quadrotor, and a Desert Hawk 3.1 fixed wing UAS worked collaboratively. Indago located hot spots, sent that information to an operator who directed the K-MAX to autonomously retrieve water from a pond and drop it on the fire. Then, the Desert Hawk located the missing person, and the K-MAX and SARA completed the search and rescue mission.

Video of the Week

Lockheed Martin Autonomous Aircraft Conduct Firefighting, Rescue Mission

 

UAV170 UAS for Precision Agriculture

We talk with the founder of a company that provides drones for precision agriculture.

The AgEagle RX60

The AgEagle RX60

Guest

Bret Chilcott founded AgEagle Aerial Systems in 2013 as a spin-off of a Kansas State University research project. AgEagle provides data acquisition drones for precision agriculture. They are an FAA Section 333 exemption holder, and their drone technology captures aerial images of crop health. Bret is a private pilot and prior to founding the company, he held sales and marketing positions with Cessna Aircraft and Cobalt Boats.

CEO Bret ChilcottBret describes how drones can help growers achieve their precision agriculture objectives. He gives us some insight into the state of the market and how farmers view the new technology. We talk about using AgEagle’s drone technology to quickly capture aerial images of crop health, and how the resulting prescription map identifies areas of stress such as disease and pests or improper irrigation. Growers can then utilize their equipment more efficiently, reduce costs, increase crop yields, and minimize environmental impact.

The AgEagle fixed-wing RX60 is a durable, lightweight, professional-grade drone. It’s electric-powered, encased in carbon fiber, with a flight time of about one hour. The RX60 can capture aerial NIR/NDVI maps of 300 acres or more per flight for image acquisition supporting precision agriculture growers and agronomists.

Find AgEagle Aerial Systems, Inc. at AgEagle.com, be sure to visit them on Facebook, and follow the AgEagle YouTube channel.

108-2 Stinson

Bret’s 108-2 Stinson, “Charlie”

UAV169 The X-37B Space Drone

The X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, Part 107 implications for business, UAS for NOAA, and a drone detecting system.

X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle

X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle. Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force.

News

The Air Force’s space drone has been in orbit for over 500 days — and its mission is classified

The Boeing X-37B looks a little like a baby Space Shuttle, and its purpose is not public.

The Impact of Commercial UAVs on Corporate America Part 1

The author writes about the impact of UAV package delivery on the package delivery industry, and on companies that use that industry to ship products to customers.

Part 107: What We Got, What We Didn’t, What We Need

The article reviews the major rules in Part 107 and discusses the commercial implications of visual line of sight restrictions, and limits to flying over people.

Waves of Innovation

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) created the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Program in 2008 to evaluate UAS technology for use in NOAA operations.

Cherokee Nation Technologies continues support of NOAA-led program helping forecasters better predict hurricanes

Cherokee Nation Technologies is working with NOAA and NASA in the areas of hurricane forecasting and post-storm damage assessment.

DeDrone provides drone security for presidential debates

Technology from German company Dedrone GmbH has been used to protect U.S. presidential candidates.

Mentioned

70 Drone Blogs to Follow in 2017

 

 

UAV168 Unmanned Aircraft Safety with Dr. Todd Curtis

Aviation safety analyst Dr. Todd Curtis discusses unmanned aircraft safety.

Guest

Dr. Todd Curtis

Dr. Todd Curtis

Dr. Todd Curtis is an aviation safety analyst, author, and publisher. He founded AirSafe.com in 1996 to provide the public with useful information about airline safety, fear of flying, plane crashes, TSA security, and other issues of concern to the traveling public.

Todd was an airline safety engineer at Boeing, and he’s a frequent on-air aviation expert on CNN, CBS, NBC, ABC, MSNBC, Fox News, CBC, BBC, Discovery Channel, NPR, and many other major news media outlets around the world. Follow him on Twitter at @airsafe.

Unmanned Aircraft Safety

We talk with Todd about the safety parallels between manned aviation and unmanned aviation, what unmanned can learn from manned, and how unmanned aviation impacts safety for manned aviation. Also, Todd tells us about the new safety challenges that unmanned aviation creates.

News

Drone startup funding crashes

Funding for drone companies in the third quarter of 2016 was 48% below the second quarter, and down 59% from the third quarter of 2015. Granted, startup funding, in general, is down 39% over the 2015 quarter 3 level, but funding is down even more.

Self-driving truck makes first shipment: 50,000 cans of beer

The first commercial shipment by self-driving vehicle took place on October 20 when Budweiser teamed up with autonomous vehicle company Ottomotors for a 120-mile tractor-trailer trip along a Colorado highway.

Amazon Looks to add Alexa Intelligence Technology to UAS

Amazon sees a future where its patented Alexa intelligence is added to very small drones, for missions like finding lost children, locating your car in a parking lot, and acting as a personal security guard.

Sweden bans cameras on drones

The Supreme Administrative Court of Sweden ruled that cameras mounted to drones are “surveillance cameras,” and thus require an expensive and difficult to obtain permit.

Israel Refuses To Sign US Regulation Of Drone Exports Document

Israel says it will not sign the US document on the regulation of drone exports. They say it could damage Israeli exports.

Hero Uncle Terrorizes Public With Drone-Mounted Angel of Death

With Halloween upon us in the U.S., it’s time again for spooky costumes, and that includes scary flying drones.

The Baywatch Inspired Drone

The Amphibious Joint Lifeguard UAV is a surveillance drone concept that is also a floatation device. First, the drone flies to the victim, then drops onto the water. The victim grabs the drone, which then powers the victim to shore.

 

 

 

 

 

UAV167 UAS as a Subscription Service

A UAS service for public safety agencies, ScanEagle goes to the Smithsonian, testing drone strikes on airliners, NASA tests BVLOS, maritime drone tests, a new sense and avoid sensor, and FAA outreach.

Aeryon SkyRanger UAS

Aeryon SkyRanger UAS

News

Aeryon Introduces Flexible UAS Subscription Solution for Law Enforcement at IACP 2016

Aeryon Labs, Inc. is offering UAS services to qualified public safety agencies on a monthly subscription basis. Announced at the International Association of Chiefs of Police annual conference and exhibition, the service includes the Aeryon SkyRanger UAS, Program Launch and Support Services, Assured Operational Availability, Investment Protection, and Secure, Remote Distribution of Video and Imagery.

Insitu Donates ScanEagle UAS to Smithsonian Air & Space Museum; Ryan Hartman Comments

ScanEagle N202SE will go on display at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia. Boeing subsidiary Insitu donated the ScanEagle that was the first drone operated beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) in a commercial mission in the U.S. National Airspace System.

UK government to test drone safety by deliberating crashing UAVs into passenger aeroplanes

The Department of Transport (DoT), the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) have been ordered to begin tests to learn what happens when a typical consumer quadcopter strikes a commercial passenger jet.

NASA Conducts ‘Out of Sight’ Drone Tests in Nevada

As part of NASA’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) traffic management [PDF] (or UTM) research platform, the Agency is testing drones beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS). NASA will now offer the capabilities to all FAA test sites for further validation and assessment.

Maritime drones have a long voyage ahead before they become commonplace

Self-sailing boats experience a complex operating environment. Unmanned water taxis, or “Roboats,” will be tested next year in Amsterdam’s canals.

Canadian Skies Abuzz – The Regulation of Drones and UAVs in Canadian Airspace

In 2015, Transport Canada issued a Notice of Proposed Amendment to its UAV regulations, and the organization it is now finalizing the proposed regulations. Publication for formal comment is expected in Spring 2017.

Quantum film sensor stops delivery drones crashing into things

InVisage Technologies has developed QuantumFilm™ sensors that allow small drones to sense and avoid obstacles. The sensor’s photosensitive layer uses quantum dots and has five times the light sensing capability of conventional CMOS image sensors. The new sensor design “can rapidly detect obstacles up to 20 metres away, using a technique called structured light.” Projected “laser dots… are distorted by any object they strike, allowing the sensor to infer the location and distance of obstacles ahead.”

Education Key to Understanding FAA Drone Regulations

As part of the FAA’s outreach to drone users, an educational webinar was produced in conjunction with the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF).

Video of the Week

UAS Conference – 2 Races – Cape May, NJ

Mentioned

Northern Light Aerial Images from photographer Mark Fink.

Drones being used to zero in on pests in vineyards and orchards

 

 

 

 

 

UAV166 DJI Mavik Hands-On Review

A review of the new DJI Mavik folding quadcopter, Verizon drone tests continue, India looks at ATC towers and civil UAS, drones for flood control, and drones for flood rescue. 

Guest

DJI formation flight

Formation flight (top to bottom): DJI Matrice 600, Inspire 1 Pro, Phantom 4, Mavik Pro. Photo by Brandon Remler.

Parker Gyokeres got his hands on the new DJI Mavik and gives us his observations after flying the quadcopter.

Parker notes that the price, performance, features, light weight, and ultra-compact size makes the Mavik an ideal “gateway drug” to flying drones. The small size, when folded, makes it easy to take with you, and the fast setup time makes it more likely that you’ll actually fly the quadcopter and shoot video.

Parker is the owner of Propellerheads Aerial Photography, LLC, an FAA Part 107 licensed business providing aerial photography and medium/heavy lift cinematography, thermal imaging, NDVI multispectral and 3F photogrammetry.

News

Verizon Forges Ahead with New LTE Drone Project

Verizon Communications wants to outfit drones with 4G LTE and use its ThingSpace IoT platform for industrial surveillance missions and other applications. This is part of their Airborne LTE Operations (ALO) initiative which has been testing since 2014. Verizon brought in American Aerospace Technologies Inc. (AATI) in a test to connect a 17-foot wingspan UAS and their 4G LTE network.

India sets up ATC towers upgradation committee for UAVs

The Indian government has created a government/civil committee to determine infrastructure and technical requirements for air traffic control towers. In the past year, India experienced five near-miss incidents involving commercial aircraft. At least 40 ATC towers need upgrades to mitigate safety and security risks. The Indian government is still working on rules that would allow civil use of UAVs.

How Drones Can Save the Flood Control District Thousands of Headaches

County Flood Control District workers and contractors in Texas currently have to monitor hundreds of miles of bayous and channels, as well as tens of thousands of acres of detention basins. By using drones, they could significantly reduce their inspection costs. So far, in a limited trial with Austin, Texas company HUVR, they’re using a drone to check up on mowing done by contractors.

Video of the Week

Drone, social media make flood rescue happen in real time

Chris Williams and his dog were trapped for 14 hours in their attic. He texted his parents, and they told his brother 1,300 miles away in Texas, who tried but couldn’t get through to authorities.

Meanwhile, Quavas Hart sent his drone out and posted some photos of the flooded area on Instagram, which the brother of the trapped man saw. As a joke, he sent the photo to his brother saying, “at least you’re not this guy.”

Except, that he was that guy. The brother was eventually able to tweet Hart, the drone operator, who “used his drone to attract the attention of a FEMA search-and-rescue boat crew in the neighborhood.” They then rescued the trapped man. “The entire operation was captured by the camera on Hart’s drone.”

UAV165 The Tesla Concept Drone

International agreement on armed UAS import/export, quadcopter power by induction, California allows first responders to take out drones, a droneport concept, drones interrupting airport operations, an underwater UAV launch, and a very different concept for an aerial video platform.

The Tesla Drone

News

White House Rolls Out Armed Drone Declaration

The U.S. State Department calls it the first step toward creating global norms for the import and export of armed unmanned systems. More than 40 countries have agreed to the one-page Joint Declaration for the Export and Subsequent Use of Armed or Strike-Enabled Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). [PDF]

Drone Flies 12 CM on Wireless Power

Is transmitting power wirelessly, through thin air, science fiction? Maybe not. A quadcopter flew a short distance in a proof of concept demo. The Wirelessly Powered Quadrotor video shows a quadrotor being powered completely wirelessly via magnetic induction.

Jerry Brown Lets Emergency Responders Take out Drones

California Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 807, under which “An emergency responder shall not be liable for any damage to an unmanned aircraft or unmanned aircraft system, if that damage was caused while the emergency responder was providing, and the unmanned aircraft or unmanned aircraft system was interfering with, the operation, support, or enabling of the emergency services…”

Droneports for the Future?

Jonathan Daniels, CEO, and founder of Praxis Aerospace Concepts International Inc., wants to partner with the FAA and develop a droneport in Boulder City, Nevada. Initially used to test drone landings and departures without interfering with manned aircraft, the long-term concept is support for high volume drone movements.

UAV activity disrupts Dubai Airport operations

Operations at Dubai International Airport were disrupted for almost an hour due to unauthorized unmanned aerial vehicle activity. This wasn’t the first time, either. United Arab Emirates (UAE) state Abu Dhabi has banned drone sales to the public because of the potential threat they pose to civil aviation.

First Underwater Unmanned Aircraft Launch from an AUV

In a cross-domain command and control event hosted by the U.S. Navy, a small Vector Hawk UAV was launched from a Marlin autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV). At the same time, the Submaran unmanned surface vehicle (USV) developed by Ocean Aero provided surface reconnaissance and surveillance.

Introducing the Tesla Drone

The Tesla Drone is a concept from U.K. based designer, Fraser Leid. Dual propellers can operate horizontally or vertically and provide enough stability that a gimbal is not required. The MagDock acts as a wireless charging station offering a 60 minute flight time from the 10,000 mAh Li-ion Powercell® battery.

Video of the Week

Planes & Drones in Sedona, AZ

Listener Ken recently traveled to Sedona, Arizona in his 1980 Bonanza A36TC and he brought along his 3DR Solo with a GoPro 4 Black. The video is a perfect crossover between The Airplane Geeks podcast and The UAV Digest.

Mentioned

Dronemasters MeetUp #0024

San Francisco, CA at Nightingale Security, October 20, 2016.

 

 

 

UAV164 Reflections on InterDrone

DJI Mavic

Guest

Parker Gyokeres

Parker Gyokeres is the owner of Propellerheads, an FAA Part 107 licensed business providing aerial photography and medium/heavy lift cinematography, thermal imaging, NDVI multispectral and 3F photogrammetry.

Parker is an award-winning U.S. Air Force photojournalist, a freelance author, UAV subject matter expert and photographer. He serves as a member of the board of directors for the Professional Society of Drone Journalists, and he advises national clients on the design, operation, and deployment of advanced aerial systems for use by photographers, surveyors, cinematographers, and military contractors.

Topics

InterDrone

InterDrone 2016, the International Drone Conference and Exposition, was held September 7-9, 2016 in Las Vegas. They had 3,500 attendees from 54 countries, with 155 exhibitors and speakers. Parker tells us how this year’s event was very different from last year’s.

DJI Mavic Pro

DJI’s new Mavic Pro has folding arms and is smaller than the Phantom. Sensors handle obstacle avoidance, tracking of the subject, autonomous landing, and indoor stability. The camera shoots 4K video at 30 fps and full 1080p HD at 96 fps. The Mavic handles live video streaming and even employs gesture control. Parker attended the DJI announcement and tells us all about it.

Lessons from a Shoot

At a shoot, Parker’s drone had a little “encounter” with a barge on the river. The story is humorous but it also contains some good lessons for drone operators.