UAV227 Drone Parachute Recovery Systems

Drone parachute systems to protect your UAV, state-level drone legislation, UAS disaster response training, large drone swarms and peeping drones, and a new drone registration class action lawsuit against the FAA.

Harrier Drone Parachute Launcher on Mavic Pro. Courtesy Fruity Chutes.

Harrier Drone Parachute Launcher on Mavic Pro. Courtesy Fruity Chutes.

UAV News

New Harrier Parachute Launcher is Light, Compact, and Easy to Use!

Fruity Chutes announced a new line of drone parachute launchers. The servo-activated Harrier Drone Parachute Launcher was developed for fixed wing and small multicopters. It featured a thin wall carbon fiber canister, lightweight nylon components, and a high energy compression spring. Three models are offered with different weight ratings.

Other companies offering drone parachute recovery systems include ParaZero Drone Safety Solutions from Israel, Skycat from Finland, Mars Parachutes in California, Parachutedrone in France, and UAV Propulsion Tech in Florida.

New Jersey Passes UAV Penalty Bill

New Jersey’s state Assembly Bill 5205 would create fines and prison terms for unsafe or prohibited operation of UAVs. It addresses operating a drone in a manner that could endanger life/property, while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or for the purpose of taking or assisting in the taking of wildlife. Also for operating a drone near a correctional facility or interfering with first responders or lawful hunters.

Florida International University UAS management for disaster response workshop

Florida International University and Airborne Response are providing a 40-hour advanced-level workshop tailored for UAS operators, airspace managers, and emergency management officials. The interactive, hands-on course provides instruction for disaster response UAS operations.

China is making 1,000-UAV drone swarms now

In December 2017, Ehang UAV set a world record for the largest drone swarm ever deployed. 1,180 drones flew in a nine-minute aerial light show at the close of the Global Fortune Forum in Guangzhou. The drones can move autonomously and land if they have a problem. Ehang is saying that its swarms are self-repairing.

Israeli Researchers Use Radio Signals to Detect Peeping Drones

Ben-Gurion University researchers say they can tell if the drone outside your home is spying on you. It works by comparing a “pattern” of the object you want to monitor (like your house) to the radio signals intercepted from a nearby drone. For more details, see the research paper: Game of Drones – Detecting Streamed POI from Encrypted FPV Channel [PDF].

Game of Drones – Detecting Streamed POI from Encrypted FPV Channel

FAA Drone Registry Tops One Million

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao announced that the total number of drones now registered with the FAA has reached one million. 878,000 hobbyists have registered and 122,000 commercial, public, and other drones have been registered.

Robert Taylor v. FAA- 2nd Drone Registration Class Action Lawsuit

A class action lawsuit (of at least 836,796 members) against the FAA is brought by Robert Taylor, the brother of John Taylor who brought the other drone registration lawsuit. In four counts, this suit alleges the FAA collected personal information and money for drone registration and did not delete the registry or refund the money when the registration was ruled illegal. Drone registration refunds and statutory damages are estimated to be almost $841 million.

Scott+Scott, Attorneys at Law, LLP Alerts Investors to Securities Class Actions Against GoPro, Inc. (GPRO)

A shareholder class action lawsuit has been filed against GoPro alleging that the company made false and misleading statements and did not disclose that the demand for Karma drones and other products GoPro products had declined dramatically.

Mentioned

Unmanned Cargo Aircraft Conference

March 20, 2018, at the North Carolina Global TransPark in Kinston, North Carolina. The Conference aims to bring together manufacturers, operators, knowledge institutes, consultants, shippers and government organizations active in the upcoming field of unmanned cargo aircraft.

Cargo Innovation Conference

June 6-7, 2018, De Maaspoort, Venlo, the Netherlands. The conference will address the impact of digitalization of logistics processes on efficiency, profitability, user-friendliness, transparency and more.

UAV Video of the Week

Drone saves two Australian swimmers in world first

Two teenage boys got into difficulties in heavy surf about 2,300 feet off the coast of Lennox Head, New South Wales. Lifesavers instantly sent the Little Ripper UAV to drop an inflatable rescue pod, and the pair made their way safely to shore. The drone took about a minute to reach the boys. It was estimated that lifeguards would have taken three to six minutes.

 

UAV226 Drones at CES 2018

Drone news from CES 2018, drones and asymmetrical warfare, situational awareness for sense and avoid from Insitu, a Cargo Air Vehicle prototype from Boeing, and GoPro exits the quadcopter market.

The Volocopter 2X autonomous air taxi at CES 2018.

The Volocopter 2X autonomous air taxi at CES 2018.

UAV News

Drones fly over Bellagio fountains during Las Vegas CES

Intel Corp. flew 250 light-emitting Shooting Star drones over the Fountains at Bellagio at CES 2018. Intel plans a drone show at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.

Video: Intel’s drone light show sends 250 drones flying over Las Vegas at CES 2018

Volocopter 2X: An Autonomous Flying Taxi In Flight At CES 2018 In Las Vegas For The First Time

The Volocopter 2X autonomous passenger drone lifted off on the stage at CES 2018. The flight was short and tethered for safety.

Yuneec announces Typhoon H Plus alongside first fixed-wing and racing drones

Yuneec showed three drones at CES 2018: The Typhoon H Plus for pro photographers and videographers, the Firebird FPV fixed-wing drone, and the HD Racer small racing drone.

Images from CES 2018

These photos were provided by junior21 in our Slack listener team:

Law enforcement drone at CES 2018.

Law enforcement drone at CES 2018.

Yamaha Frazer at CES 2018.

Yamaha Frazer at CES 2018.

CES 2018 drone safety booth.

CES 2018 drone safety booth.

Defining Asymmetrical Warfare: Extremists Use Retail Drones to Attack Russian Air Base in Syria

There are reports of insurgents modifying commercially available quadcopters to deliver explosives such as mortar rounds and grenades. Social media photos show the damaged tail of a Sukhoi Su-24 Fencer attack aircraft in Syria. There is speculation the Russians have intercepted the drones with the Pantsir S-2 integrated missile and gun vehicle.

Insitu Demonstrates Broad-area Airspace Situational Awareness System for Unmanned Air Systems

Insitu completed a successful flight demonstration of their real-time, ground-based UAS airspace situational awareness system. The system allows commercial UAS operators to detect and avoid nearby aircraft flying both within and beyond line of sight. The system is specifically designed to help detect and avoid “non-cooperative” traffic. Insitu collaborated with Boeing Phantom Works International in Australia under a program sponsored by the Queensland Government.

Boeing Unveils New Unmanned Cargo Air Vehicle Prototype

The unmanned electric VTOL multi-copter Cargo Air Vehicle (CAV) prototype is designed to carry up to 500 pounds. Boeing will use it to “test and evolve Boeing’s autonomy technology for future aerospace vehicles.” Initial flight tests were successfully completed at Boeing Research & Technology’s Collaborative Autonomous Systems Laboratory in Missouri.

Future of autonomous air travel: Boeing unveils new cargo air vehicle prototype

GoPro Plunges After Announcing Job Cuts, Revenue Miss

GoPro Inc. had a difficult fourth quarter. The company is cutting more than 20 percent of its global workforce and ending its drone business. GoPro says they will sell off the existing inventory of Karma drones but will continue to provide service.

UAV Video of the Week

Brain Controlled UAV

A hacked Star Wars Force Trainer uses the operator’s thoughts to control a small drone in this ARCLab ACE Project.

Feedback

NASA chief historian Bill Barry sets the record straight on the origins of the winglet. It was Richard Whitcomb at NASA that gets credit for the aeronautical innovation, not DARPA.

Dryden Flight Research Center: Winglets

 

 

 

UAV225 DARPA Gremlins

DARPA Gremlins advance reusable drone technology, North Carolina plans UAS workshops for public safety agencies, Seaglider underwater drones set to explore Antarctic ice shelves, fuel cell propulsion systems will be integrated into the ScanEagle, and medical package delivery drones are successful in Africa.

DARPA Gremlins launched from a C-130.

DARPA Gremlins launched from a C-130. DARPA image.

UAV News

Air Force Could Test “Flying Aircraft Carriers” as Early as Next Year

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Gremlins program envisions small, reusable drones that can be launched from a C-130 inflight to surveil or attack targets as much as 300 miles away. The Gremlins then return to their flying airbase and are flown back to home base where there are prepared for their next mission.

In Phase 2, DARPA will review Gremlin prototypes from Dynetics and General Atomics. In Phase 3 DARPA will select one of the two prototypes for a “full-scale technology demonstration system” that will be test-flown in 2019.

North Carolina government plans drone workshops for 2018

The North Carolina Department of Transportation is planning free UAS/Drone workshops for public safety agencies. The purpose of the workshops is to educate agencies on the safe and beneficial uses of drones, provide updates on the latest federal and state regulations, and provide best practices for safe operations and data management. The Operating Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in North Carolina web page contains a downloadable 47-page safety guide [PDF] and an online knowledge test.

Drones Are Diving Under Antarctic Ice to Map Unseen Portions of Our World

The University of Washington in Seattle is planning to use seven underwater robots to explore an Antarctic ice shelf. Three Seaglider self-propelled drones “swim” by adjusting their buoyancy and using mechanic “wings.” The Seaglider Fabrication Center, a division of the School of Oceanography in the College of the Environment, provides Deepgliders™, Seagliders™, operator training, and glider refurbishment. Under a license agreement with Kongsberg Underwater Technologies, Inc. (KUTI), the University can only produce Seagliders for customers inside the University of Washington.

Earth Under Water is a 45 minute National Geographic program that looks at the worldwide rise in sea levels.

Drone Operator Sues Blackhawk Pilot for Destroying Drone over Staten Island

Maybe. The Aviation Acorn treads a bit into the realm of The Onion.

Ballard, Insitu partner on UAS fuel cell propulsion system

Ballard Power Systems is working with Insitu to develop a next-generation fuel cell propulsion system for the ScanEagle UAS. The 1.3-kilowatt system for small unmanned fixed-wing and vertical-take-off-and-landing (VTOL) drones will be integrated into the ScanEagle platform.

‘Uber for blood’: how Rwandan delivery robots are saving lives

As an update to our report in Episode 146 about medical package delivery in Rwanda, we see that the Rwandan health ministry has delivered more than 5,500 units of blood over the past year using Zipline drones. Delivery times to remote regions of Rwanda have been cut from four hours to an average of half an hour. Now Zipline plans to launch what it claims is the world’s largest drone delivery network, working with the government of Tanzania.

UAV Video of the Week

Zipline

This video shows how medical package deliveries with Zipline drones save lives in Rwanda.

 

 

 

UAV224 UAS Identification and Tracking

An Aviation Rulemaking Committee has released their recommendations for identification and tracking of unmanned aircraft, Airbus looks to incorporate some Formula 1 technology into their Zephyr High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite, a proposal is submitted to send a multirotor drone to one of Saturn’s moons, a drone quickly finds a missing man, and the FAA prohibits drone flights over certain facilities.

Half-scale Dragonfly test-bed vehicle

An autonomous half-scale Dragonfly test-bed vehicle built by the Penn State University Center of Excellence for Vertical Lift.

UAV News

FAA Releases UAS Remote Tracking & ID ARC Report

The Unmanned Aircraft Systems Identification and Tracking Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) submitted its 213 page final report and recommendations: UAS Identification and Tracking (UAS ID) Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC), ARC Recommendations, Final Report. [PDF]

The FAA says, “Overall, the ARC provided the FAA with a substantial amount of useful data, including very detailed technology evaluations and a comprehensive list of law enforcement needs and preferences. The ARC’s recommendations and suggestions… cover issues related to existing and emerging technologies, law enforcement and security, and implementation of remote identification and tracking. Although some recommendations were not unanimous, the group reached general agreement on most.”

FAA Releases UAS Remote ID, Tracking Report; Groups Dissent

The ARC recommended that model aircraft operating under Section 336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 be exempt from identification and tracking requirements. The dissenting opinion was that this recommendation would undermine the value of an ID and tracking requirement.

The dissenting opinion was led by the Commercial Drone Alliance and signed by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, the Aerospace Industries Association, the National Agricultural Aviation Association, X, GE, uAvionix, Ford Motor Co., AirMap, and General Atomics. They “appreciate the extensive efforts of the ARC but strongly disagree on the critical point of who and what UAS should have to comply with ID and tracking requirements.”

The FAA will use the data and recommendations in the ARC report and produce a proposed rule for public comment.

Airbus seeks help from Formula One team to develop high altitude drone

The solar-powered Airbus Zephyr UAS is designed to fly at 65,000 feet, above weather and commercial air traffic. Acting as a “High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS),” it is designed to fly without fuel for months in communications and surveillance roles. Airbus Unmanned Aerial Systems will work with the Williams Motorsports Formula 1 team on battery and lightweight composite materials technology.

Finalists in NASA’s Spacecraft Sweepstakes: A Drone on Titan, and a Comet-Chaser

NASA solicited proposals under the New Frontiers competition for missions to explore the solar system, and they announced two finalists.

The Comet Astrobiology Exploration Sample Return (Caesar) spacecraft would travel to the comet that was previously visited by the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission, and return a sample for study.

The John’s Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) Dragonfly is a Plutonium-powered quadcopter that would be sent to Saturn’s moon Titan. It would take measurements on the surface of Titan, then fly to another location on the moon. Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) is the principal investigator for Dragonfly.

Video: Dragonfly: A Proposal to Explore Titan, Saturn’s Largest Moon, via Quadcopter

After humans fail, drone tracks down lost 92-year-old in 20 minutes

92-year-old Bill McDonnell went hunting in Shenandoah County, Virginia but didn’t come home. Rescuers used helicopters and foot patrols but couldn’t find him. The next morning, the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office team put up their new drone and found McDonnell in 20 minutes. Additionally, though not part of this operation, the drone is one of six in the nation that flies in the Project Lifesaver program designed to locate people with medical conditions such as Alzheimer’s who are wearing a specific wristband.

FAA Expands Restrictions to Include UAV Flights over Department of Energy Facilities

Effective December 29, 2017, drone flights below 400 feet are banned over seven DOE facilities in the interest of national security. Violations can result in tens of thousands of dollars in fines and possible criminal charges with up to one year in jail. The restrictions apply to both hobbyist drones and civil aircraft at these locations:

Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho Falls, ID
Pantex Site, Panhandle, TX
Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM
Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN
Savannah River National Laboratory, Aiken, SC
Y-12 National Security Site, Oak Ridge, TN

UAV Video of the Week

Santa & the X-MAS drones

 

 

 

 

UAV223 UAV Traffic Management in New Zealand

Airways and AirMap partner on a three-month trial of a UAV traffic management (UTM) platform, NTSB issues Aviation Incident Final Report on drone collision with a helicopter, Singapore tests drone strikes on test dummies, recreational drone registration is signed into law, and using drones for law enforcement.

UAV air traffic management in New Zealand.

Airways and AirMap partner to provide UAV air traffic management in New Zealand.

UAV News

New Zealand to trial drone traffic management system

Airways is New Zealand’s air navigation service provider. They deliver air navigation and air traffic management consultancy and training services throughout New Zealand and in over 65 countries. Airways has now partnered with AirMap to conduct a three-month trial of New Zealand’s first UAV traffic management (UTM) platform. The trial is taking place in the Canterbury and Queenstown regions. Drone users can use AirMap’s free iOS and Android apps to obtain approvals, file flight plans, and access real-time information about other aircraft in the area.

Airways NZ AirMap trial

NTSB Aviation Incident Final Report on collision between Blackhawk helicopter and DJI Phantom

On September 21, 2017, a Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter operated by the U.S. Army collided with a privately owned and operated DJI Phantom 4 at about 300 feet MSL. The helicopter received minor damage while the Phantom was destroyed. The NTSB determined the probable cause(s) of this incident to be: “The failure of the sUAS pilot to see and avoid the helicopter due to his intentional flight beyond visual line of sight. Contributing to the incident was the sUAS pilot’s incomplete knowledge of the regulations and safe operating practices.”

More Than 600 Drones Were Crashed in the Name of UAV Safety Research

In order to better understand the injuries that could occur in a drone collision, Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Air Traffic Management Research Institute, crashed over 600 drones into dummy heads to gather as much data as possible. They found that a small 250 gram drone could kill a person.

NTU researchers test damage from drones on dummy heads

Turns out, you’re going to have to register your small drones with the U.S. government after all

On December 12, 2017, President Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 into law. The FAA rules for drone registration and marking for small unmanned aircraft that were vacated by the court will be restored to effect.

Taking to the Air: Drones and Law Enforcement

Law enforcement agencies in Delaware are utilizing drones for a variety of purposes. Dover, Wilmington, and Ocean View agencies are using drones. So are the Delaware State Police, the Delaware Emergency Management Agency, and the state fire service. The drones are being used to monitor crowds during public events, survey homeless camps, monitor rallys and public exhibitions at schools, for aerial photography of crash scenes, to support court cases, and searching for suspects.

UAV222 Pipeline Inspection with SkyX

SkyX completes a data collection flight of a Mexican gas pipeline, Terra Drone uses the LTE network for unmanned traffic management, Europe moves toward drone standards, Maine law enforcement employs drones, China uses drones for monitoring forest fires, New Jersey tackles droning while drunk, and Airbus expands its investment in unmanned technology companies.

The SkyOne drone for pipeline inspection. Courtesy SkyX Systems Corporation.

The SkyOne. Courtesy SkyX Systems Corporation

UAV News

Canadian drone remotely monitors gas pipeline in Mexico

Canadian company SkyX Systems Corporation offers systems for monitoring long-range assets like oil and gas pipelines. Now they have successfully completed a 100 kilometer robotic data collection flight of a gas pipeline in Mexico. SkyX founder and CEO Didi Horn said, “More than $38 billion is spent annually monitoring oil and gas pipelines using less efficient means, which often identify problems only long after they’ve occurred.” The flight was programmed and monitored by SkyX at their Greater Toronto Area SkyCenter mission control center with a support crew of engineers on the ground in Mexico.

Video: SkyOne: From Concept to Completion

New UTM System Uses Cellular Network to Extend Flights BVLOS

Japanese UAV service provider Terra Drone Inc. and telecommunications operator LG U+ have developed a 4G LTE control system that gives operators the ability to remotely monitor their drones through the LTE network. This provides beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) capability

Terra Drone is also working with UNIFLY on the “Terra UTM” unmanned traffic management system. They want to promote international standardization of the system.

IATA stresses need for UAV operation standards

IATA (the International Air Transport Association) and ICAO (the International Civil Aviation Organization) are working together to develop standards for commercial use of UAVs. ICAO has sent a letter to its member countries asking them to protect manned aircraft operations from drones.

EU reaches initial agreement on UAV rules

The European Parliament and European Council negotiators have agreed to new regulations for civil use of UAVs by the EU member countries. “The design and manufacture of drones will have to comply with EU basic requirements on safety, security and personal data protection. Drones to be covered by the EU safety rules will be those that have an impact force of more than 80 joules if they hit a person.”

Brunswick police could be 1st in U.S. to use drones to spot railroad trespassers

The Brunswick (Maine) Police Department is concerned about trespassers along railroad tracks and they want to use drones to patrol the tracks. Desiree French, a spokeswoman for the Federal Railroad Administration says, “This device will only be used for detection, not enforcement.” They hope to have the program operating by early summer 2018.

The 9 best drones for generating some holiday buzz

New Atlas gives us their “picks for the best unmanned aircraft to get a loved one buzzing come Christmas morning.”

China’s CH-4 to be Deployed for Firefighting

The Chinese manufacturer of the CH-4 unmanned “rainbow drone” has made a deal with the regional forestry authority to monitor forest fires in northeast China. Previously, fire monitoring was performed by visual observation from fixed look-out posts and, occasionally from manned aircraft. The CH-4 is equipped with both visual and infrared sensors to allow it to see day and night and through fog.

New Jersey considers barring operating a drone while drunk

New Jersey lawmakers are working on legislation that would make it illegal to operate a drone while drunk.” The bill also bans using a drone to hunt wildlife and endanger people or property, and criminalizes using drones that endanger safety at correctional facilities as well as interfering with first responders.

Airbus Invests In Maker Of ADS-B For UAVs

Airbus is taking a stake in uAvionix, a Montana-based startup developing miniaturized ADS-B transceivers for detect-and-avoid in UAVs. Airbus previously invested in AirMap, AEye, BestMile, and Cognata.

UAV221 sUAS Collisions with Manned Aircraft

A study examines sUAS collisions with manned aircraft, Amazon patents a self-disintegrating drone, Mercedes completes 100 package deliveries by drone, a race that pitted an autonomous drone against a piloted drone, and marine mammals are disturbed by drones.

Delivery drone above a Mercedes Benz Vito van. Courtesy Daimler AG.

Delivery drone above a Mercedes-Benz Vito van. Courtesy Daimler AG.

UAV News

Researchers Release Report on Drone Airborne Collisions

A research team from ASSURE {Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence} released a report that looks at sUAS collisions with manned aircraft. Congress directed the FAA in 2014 to establish a UAS Center of Excellence and the FAA selected ASSURE, led by Mississippi State University, in May 2015.

The ASSURE UAS Airborne Collision Severity Evaluation Final Report concludes that drones that collide with large manned aircraft can cause more structural damage than birds of the same weight for a given impact speed. The FAA says they will use the research results to help develop operational and collision risk mitigation requirements for drones.

ASSURE used computer modeling and physical validation testing it its research. The team looked at a 2.7 pound quadcopter, a 4 pound quadcopter, a 4 pound fixed-wing drone, and an 8 pound fixed-wing drone, all striking a single-aisle commercial transport jet and a business jet.

They examined impacts to the wing leading edge, the windshield, and the vertical and horizontal stabilizers. The windshields generally sustained the least damage and the horizontal stabilizers suffered the most serious damage.

The researchers concluded that unmanned aircraft system manufacturers should adopt “detect and avoid” or “geo-fencing” capabilities to reduce the probability of collisions with other aircraft.

The ASSURE team provided an A3 Airborne Collision Presentation, and the report in four volumes:

FAA sUAS COE Task A3 UAS Airborne Collision Hazard Severity Evaluation [PDF]

An FAA press conference presentation explaining why it is necessary to determine the potential severity of sUAS mid-air collisions with aircraft in order to define an Equivalent Level of Safety to manned aviation.

Volume I: UAS Airborne Collision Severity Evaluation: Summary of Structural Evaluation [PDF]

A summary of the entire structural portion of the study that includes a high-level explanation of the project’s scope, technical approach, evaluation and conclusions of the severity of small unmanned aircraft impacts with a commercial transport jet and business jet. This summary report also provides conclusions on the influence of velocity and mass on impact damage, a comparison to bird strikes and concludes with recommendations going forward.

Volume II: UAS Airborne Collision Severity Evaluation: Quadcopter [PDF]

A detailed report the project’s scope and the selection and definition of both the “projectile” Unmanned Aircraft and the “target” commercial transport and business jets. This Volume centers on the quadcopter UAS and its unique characteristics.

Volume III: UAS Airborne Collision Severity Evaluation: Fixed-Wing UAS [PDF]

A similarly detailed report centering on the fixed-wing UAS and its unique characteristics.

Volume IV: UAS Airborne Collision Severity Evaluation: Engine Ingestion [PDF]

An evaluation of the severity of a small UAS collision with propulsion systems. This report helps us to start to understand the effects of parameters of aircraft speed, impact location, fan speed and unmanned aircraft orientation on impact severity to a unique FAA fan-blade-out model.

Amazon delivery drone could self-disintegrate for safety if it falls from sky

Amazon has been granted a patent for Directed fragmentation for unmanned airborne vehicles: “In one embodiment, the UAV includes various components, such one or more motors, batteries, sensors, a housing, casing or shell, and a payload for delivery. Additionally, the UAV includes a flight controller and a fragmentation controller. The flight controller determines a flight path and controls a flight operation of the UAV. During the flight operation, the fragmentation controller develops a fragmentation sequence for one or more of the components based on the flight path, the flight conditions, and terrain topology information, among other factors. The fragmentation controller can also detect a disruption in the flight operation of the UAV and, in response, direct fragmentation of one or more of the components apart from the UAV. In that way, a controlled, directed fragmentation of the UAV can be accomplished upon any disruption to the flight operation of the UAV.”

Mercedes Plans More Drone Deliveries After 100 Perfect Flights

In a 3-week pilot project by Mercedes-Benz Vans, US drone systems developer Matternet, and Swiss online marketplace siroop, 100 package delivery flights were successfully completed in Zurich. Customers placed orders for items like ground coffee and cellphones. The drones flew as far as 17 kilometers (11 miles) to four fixed points in the city where they landed on roofs of special Mercedes-Benz Vito vans. The vans then delivered the packages.

NASA-Built Drone Races FlyingBear, Loses

Professional drone racing pilot Ken “FlyingBear” Loo flew against a NASA autonomous drone. The NASA drone flew more cautiously, smoothly, and consistently over the course. Loo’s speeds were higher, and he executed more complex maneuvers, but mental fatigue became a factor. In the end, his times were quicker.

As Ocean Drones Proliferate Marine Wildlife are getting a bit annoyed

Drones are violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1992 which makes it illegal to disturb marine mammals, regardless of whether you are in the water, in a boat, or in the air. Marine biologist Alicia Amerson started the AliMoSphere initiative to develop best practices studying marine wildlife with drones.

UAV Video of the Week

Flying Robot international Film Festival

The FRiFF calls itself “the world’s premiere international competitive short film festival focused on drone culture and aerial cinema created from the perspective of drones.”

The 2017 edition of the Festival took place November 16, 2017, at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco. Twenty-five short drone films from a dozen countries were selected for inclusion and nominated for awards in each of seven categories. Watch the winning drone films.

Mentioned

The Drone Racing League (DRL) and MultiGP Drone Racing Announce Simulator Partnership Surrounding the 2018 Swatch DRL Tryouts

 

UAV220 Giving Thanks

David and Max take the week off due to the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday. We want to say “thank you!” to all our listeners around the world, as well as to our sponsors. Special thanks to @dronemama for working so hard to produce quality show notes each week.

All the best,

David and Max

UAV219 Drone Registration: It’s Baaack!

Authority for drone registration would return to the FAA if the National Defense Authorization Act is signed into law. Airbus subsidiary A³ is building full-scale demonstrators of an electric single-seat tilt-rotor VTOL aircraft for a fleet of autonomous self-piloted taxis, LAANC is starting at four airports, AT&T deploys their Cell on Wings, and AOPA holds their first Drone Talk webinar.

UAV News

Congress Poised to Restore Drone Registration Tossed by Court

H.R. 2810: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 contains a measure that would give the FAA authority to bring back drone registration. A committee resolved differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill, and the House approved the committee report. The Senate is expected to vote, and if passed the bill would go to the President for signature.

The legislative language is on page 829 of the National Defense Authorization Act conference report [PDF]:

(d) RESTORATION OF RULES FOR REGISTRATION AND MARKING OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT.—The rules adopted by the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration in the matter of registration and marking requirements for small unmanned aircraft (FAA-2015-7396; published on December 16, 2015) that were vacated by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in Taylor v. Huerta (No. 15-1495; decided on May 19, 2017) shall be restored to effect on the date of enactment of this Act.

Track the progress of the bill at GovTrack.us.

The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) and the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) are in favor of drone registration. The AMA FAQ answers some questions about the resumption of drone registration.

Airbus will test its Vahana electric ‘flying car’ by the end of 2017

Airbus is building two full-scale demonstrators of an electric, single-seat tilt-rotor VTOL aircraft. Their goal is first flight by the end of 2017 at their flight test center in Pendleton, Oregon. Airbus’ A³ subsidiary envisions a fleet of autonomous multi-rotor aircraft acting as self-piloted taxis, with a production-ready version by 2020.

Concept video: Vahana: Airbus entwickelt selbstfliegendes Lufttaxi

FAA Rolls Out Automated Authorizations for Drone Flights

Part 107 commercial drone operators can obtain automated authorization to fly in controlled airspace. This is under the FAA’s Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) program and applies to four U.S. airports: Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International (CVG) Airport, Lincoln Airport (LNK) in Nebraska, Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO) in Nevada, and California’s San Jose International Airport (SJC). AirMap and Skyward will provide the service via smartphone and as many as 49 more airports will be added by 2018.

AT&T deploys first cell site on wings

AT&T is using a COW (cell on wings) in Puerto Rico where connectivity is still out in many areas after Hurricane Maria. They say this is the first time an LTE cell site on a drone has been successfully deployed to connect residents after a disaster. The drone is tethered 200 feet above the ground with the tether providing power and data transmission. The COW can stay airborne for several hours.

AT&T’s First Official Deployment of Cell On Wings In Puerto Rico

First AOPA Drone Talk webinar available

AOPA Director of Regulatory Affairs Justin Barkowski, Senior Director of UAS Programs Kat Swain, and Legal Services Plan attorneys Jared Allen and Chad Mayer offer expert advice for navigating current federal regulations, along with a growing number of state and local rules and regulations that drone pilots should be aware of (or risk fines and penalties) in AOPA’s first Drone Talk webinar, recorded Nov. 10, 2017.

Watch the webinar: AOPA Drone Talk Series: Drones and the Legal Landscape

See also the AOPA YouTube channel: AOPA | Your Freedom to Fly

Hogan Lovells UAS Regulatory and Policy Developments webinar

Lisa Ellman and Matt Clark from Hogan Lovells were joined by CNN Senior Counsel Emily Avant to talk about Part 107 waivers, the CNN waiver for flights over people, the UAS Integration Pilot Program, LAANC, and a few notable aspects of drone activity in 2017.

UAV218 UAS Integration Pilot Program Details Emerge

Additional details of the FAA UAS Integration Pilot Program have emerged, with webinars held on that topic by the FAA and others. Also, Boeing’s acquisition of Aurora Flight Sciences is complete, NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) is expanding its research scope to include Urban Air Mobility, and drone strikes on manned aircraft.

UAV News

UAS Integration Pilot Program Webinar

UAS Integration Pilot Program

The FAA conducted several one-hour UAS Integration Pilot Program webinar sessions. The Program seeks to achieve BVLOS and other complex operations (flight at night, over people, and operational coordination with manned aircraft), promote innovation, develop regulations that reduce the need for operations by exception. address security concerns, and balance national and local interests.

The 17-minute UAS Integration Pilot Program Webinar video provided an overview of the program, the application process, acceptance criteria, and deadlines.

We recorded the live Q&A session from the November 3, 2017, webinar, which runs about 40 minutes:

To learn more, about the UAS Integration Pilot Program, see these FAA webpages:

UAS Webinar: Regulatory and Policy Developments

Hogan Lovells Unmanned Aircraft Systems is offering a free webinar Thursday, November 16, 2017, 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Eastern to discuss key UAS regulatory and policy developments and provide insight on the Part 107 waiver process. Emily Avant, Senior Counsel for CNN, will be participating to discuss CNN’s new waiver for operations over people, what it means for the broader commercial UAS industry, and tips for making your waiver application a success.

Other webinar topics will include:

  • Status update on Part 107 waivers granted to date
  • The inside scoop on CNN’s precedent-setting waiver for operations over people
  • Developing a safety case for a Part 107 waiver application
  • The Trump Administration’s new UAS Integration Pilot Program
  • Rollout of the FAA’s Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) system
  • Upcoming FAA rulemakings and next steps moving forward

Register for the Hogan Lovells webinar here.

Also, Drones and the Legal Landscape from the AOPA Drone Talk Series will be held November 10, 2017, 8 PM Eastern.

Boeing completes acquisition of Aurora Flight Sciences

Boeing announced the completion of its acquisition of Aurora Flight Sciences. Aurora will operate under Boeing Engineering, Test & Technology as a subsidiary called Aurora Flight Sciences, A Boeing Company. It retains its independent operating model. Boeing first announced the agreement with Aurora on Oct. 5, 2017, pending U.S. government approval.

NASA Embraces Urban Air Mobility (UAM), Calls for Market Study

NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) is expanding its research scope to include Urban Air Mobility or UAM.

UAM is defined in this article as “a safe and efficient system for air passenger and cargo transportation within an urban area, inclusive of small package delivery and other urban Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) services, which supports a mix of onboard/ground-piloted and increasingly autonomous operations.”

NASA’s associate administrator for aeronautics Jaiwon Shin says, “We plan to conduct the research and development, and test the concepts and technologies that establish feasibility and help set the requirements. Those requirements then serve to make using autonomous vehicles, electric propulsion, and high density airspace operations in the urban environment safe, efficient and economically viable.”

ARMD awarded contracts to Booz Allen Hamilton and to Crown Consulting to conduct market studies on the policy, economic, social, environmental, and legal barriers to enabling UAM; and also to estimate how much potential demand there is for UAM.

Here’s How Drones Do (and Don’t) Threaten Passenger Aircraft

Recently, a civilian drone struck a U.S. Army UH-60M Blackhawk helicopter and a drone hit a Beechcraft King Air. Studies have been conducted by the Crashworthiness for Aerospace Structures and Hybrids (CRASH) Lab, the U.K.’s Department for Transport and Military Aviation Authority, and George Mason University, but there is little data on the damage small drones can cause in a collision.