UAV214 Autonomous Air Taxi Takes Flight

An Autonomous Air Taxi test flight over Dubai, the SpiderMAV perching drone, Flirtey plans for delivery of emergency defibrillators by drone, using the Insitu ScanEagle to fight wildfires, the Zenmuse X7 professional camera, and drones for traffic management studies.

The Autonomous Air Taxi (AAT) Over Dubai

The Autonomous Air Taxi (AAT) Over Dubai. Courtesy Volocopter.

UAV News

Volocopter Completes Test Flight Over Dubai

The German-designed Volocopter (recently renamed the Autonomous Air Taxi or AAT) performed a test flight over Dubai on September 25. Dubai wants a fleet of autonomous vehicles to handle 25% of all passenger transport by 2030. The 18-rotor AAT flew unmanned and testing is expected to take five years before regular AAT begins. See the video: First ever public demonstration of an autonomous urban air taxi in a mega city by volocopter

SpiderMAV Drone Shoots Webs for Perching and Stabilization

Researchers from Imperial College London’s Aerial Robotics Laboratory have developed the SpiderMAV. This perching drone is based on a DJI Matrice 100 drone with a customized perching module mounted on top and a stabilizing module at the bottom.

Flirtey Partners with Pioneering Ambulance Service to Launch First Emergency Drone Delivery Program in United States

Drone delivery company Flirtey and the Regional Emergency Medical Services Authority (REMSA) announced a partnership to launch the first automated defibrillator drone delivery service in the United States.

Insitu Demonstrates Revolutionary UAV Integrated with GIS for Fighting Wildfires

Insitu successfully completed flight tests at the Warm Springs (Oregon) FAA UAS Test Range of a system that supports firefighting efforts. A week later, Insitu deployed its INEXA teams to Oregon to help firefighters with the Eagle Creek fire. The ScanEagle was equipped with electro-optical daylight sensors, infrared video for nighttime flights, and mid-wave sensors, and provided near real-time data for firefighters and first responders. Press release: Insitu Demonstrates Revolutionary UAV Integrated with GIS for Fighting Wildfires.

DJI Releases The Zenmuse X7

The Zenmuse X7 is a Super 35 camera designed for professional aerial cinematography. It uses a 24 MP CMOS sensor with 14 stops of dynamic range and offers both 6K CinemaDNG and 5.2K Apple ProRes. The X7 is priced at $2,699 USD and is scheduled to ship in early November 2017. It works with the DJI Inspire 2 drone.

Drones To Conduct Traffic Study On Black Rock Turnpike In Fairfield Today

The Town of Fairfield, Connecticut is using drones to aid in traffic management studies. Seven drones were to be flown simultaneously for approximately 20 to 30 minutes during the evening rush hour. The pilots were to operate the drones from the edge of the road and the Fairfield Police Department’s Traffic Safety Unit was to be on site at the time.

Mentioned

A possible drone strike on an Army Blackhawk helicopter.

Listener Mark’s list of fixed-wing VTOL drones:

 

UAV213 DJI Matrice 200 Series

The DJI Matrice 200 Series for enterprise commercial solutions, drone package delivery to your fingertips, new drone flight restrictions, a hybrid drone that spins around a pole, and Boeing’s acquisition of Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation.

DJI Matrice 200 Series

DJI Matrice 200 Series. Courtesy DJI.

UAV News

The future of drone delivery

Cambridge Consultants has a drone delivery concept where packages are delivered directly into your hands, no matter where you are. It’s called DelivAir and it uses a patent-pending two-stage routing process. First, the drone navigates toward your smartphone using GPS and location updates transmitted during flight. Then, when the drone arrives within visual range, it switches to precision optical tracking and a 3D imaging and ranging system. The recipient is located, authenticated, and the package is lowered into the recipient’s hands using a 30-meter cable and a stabilizing winch.

FAA Restricts Drones over Statue of Liberty, Other Landmarks

At the request of U.S. national security and law enforcement agencies, the FAA has banned drone flights below 400 feet over ten Department of the Interior sites:

  • Statue of Liberty National Monument, New York, NY
  • Boston National Historical Park (U.S.S. Constitution), Boston, MA
  • Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia, PA
  • Folsom Dam; Folsom, CA
  • Glen Canyon Dam; Lake Powell, AZ
  • Grand Coulee Dam; Grand Coulee, WA
  • Hoover Dam; Boulder City, NV
  • Jefferson National Expansion Memorial; St. Louis, MO
  • Mount Rushmore National Memorial; Keystone, SD
  • Shasta Dam; Shasta Lake, CA

Futuristic “Spinning Drone” May One Day Fight Our Battles for Us

BAE Systems and Cranfield University students are designing a UAV that provides both fixed-wing and rotary-wing flight. The body of the “Adaptable UAV” has a central hole which accommodates a special pole used for launching and landing.

Video: Engineers unveil futuristic unmanned aircraft concept that uses both fixed and rotary wing flight.

More at: Engineers unveil futuristic unmanned aircraft concept that uses both fixed and rotary wing flight.

Boeing to Acquire Aurora Flight Sciences to Advance Autonomous Technology Capabilities

Boeing announced that it plans to acquire Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation. Greg Hyslop, chief technology officer and senior vice president of Boeing Engineering, Test & Technology said, “The combined strength and innovation of our teams will advance the development of autonomy for our commercial and military systems. Together, these talented teams will open new markets with transformational technologies.” Aurora will be a subsidiary of Boeing Engineering, Test & Technology known as Aurora Flight Sciences, A Boeing Company. It will retain an independent operating model.

The Big Drone Show

David speaks with Francisco Toro, Technical Marketing Manager, DJI at the Big Drone Show held September 27-28, 2017 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. They talk about the Matrice 200 Series for enterprise commercial solutions.

Mentioned

Unmanned Systems Technology Supplier Directory

 

UAV212 The Big Drone Show

Interviews with The Sky Guys, Defiant Labs, and the Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre at the 2017 Big Drone Show in Toronto, Canada.

The Defiant Labs DX-3 at the 2017 Big Drone Show

The Defiant Labs DX-3 at the 2017 Big Drone Show

UAV News

Ruling gives FAA more power over drones than local governments

Newton, Massachusetts enacted drone rules that included the requirement to register with every municipality you will fly over, and flights over private and city property must be at an altitude of at least 400 feet. Michael Singer filed a lawsuit and US District Judge William G. Young agreed with Singer saying, “Newton’s choice to restrict any drone use below this altitude (400 feet) thus works to eliminate any drone use in the confines of the city, absent prior permission. This thwarts not only the FAA’s objectives, but also those of Congress for the FAA to integrate drones into the national airspace.”

The Big Drone Show

David attended the Big Drone Show September 27-28, 2017 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. He recorded a number of interviews and this episode we bring you three of them:

Adam Sax, President and CEO of The Sky Guys and Defiant Labs, offering integrated UAV-enabled services and aerial technology.

Jeremy Wang, Chief Technology Officer at Defiant Labs, which designs and develops advanced drone technology such as the DX-3 UAV.

Sarah Spry, a UAS Business Manager at Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre, a pilot training facility that offers a comprehensive three-day UAV pilot training course.

UAV211 Matternet Autonomous Drone Network

The Matternet autonomous drone package delivery network, reasons the drone industry job market is hot, studying the risk of injury when drones strike people, drones and transmission line cable construction, actuator servos and the Aerosonde Mk4.7 sUAS, and a webinar for planning your drone program.

The Matternet Station for deliveries by autonomous drone.

The Matternet Station for deliveries by autonomous drone. Courtesy Matternet.

UAV News

The first autonomous drone delivery network will fly above Switzerland starting next month

Matternet announced an autonomous drone network in Switzerland that will fly lab samples between hospitals, clinics, and labs. The permanent network seeks to make deliveries within 30 minutes. Matternet was granted authorization to operate drones over densely populated areas in Switzerland in March 2017. The company unveiled its “Matternet Station” that can be installed on rooftops or on the ground to send and receive packages by drone. Regular service is expected to start in early 2018. Matternet press release. [PDF]

The Matternet Station

3 Reasons Why the Drone Industry Is Hiring Thousands of New Workers

In 2016, about $600 million in venture capital was invested in unmanned aerial tech. So far in 2017, $1.2 billion has been invested. Cited as reasons for a hot job market are: ease of obtaining an operator’s license, the ability of drones to fly in difficult environments, and corporate acquisitions of drone startups.

Risks vary widely in drone-human impacts

The Virginia Tech injury biomechanics group and its UAS test site (operated by the Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership) has released an academic study that quantifies the risk of injury associated with drones colliding with humans. The report, Ranges of Injury Risk Associated with Impact from Unmanned Aircraft Systems, was published in the Annals of Biomedical Engineering and looks at head and neck injury risk in different impact scenarios.

Virginia Tech dummy

Virginia Tech dummy hits

Images courtesy Virginia Tech.

Sharper Shape and SkySkopes Successfully Execute First Transmission Line Cable Construction Mission using Drones

Sharper Shape and SkySkopes have successfully conducted a demonstration of transmission line cable construction using drones. A Sharper Shape A6 UAS was used to string sock lines for a 675 kV line construction project. This would typically be performed with helicopters or workers climbing the towers.

Sock Pulling Sharper Shape

Volz Servos’ DA 15-N Actuators have been Successfully Flying in Aerosonde Mk4.7 SUAS since 2010 Achieving Over 200,000 Flight Hours

Textron Systems Unmanned Systems division has been flying the Aerosonde Mk4.7 Small Unmanned Aircraft System (SUAS) since 2010 in support of U.S. DoD ISR services contracts. Powered by a Lycoming EL-005 engine, the Mk4.7 is designed for expeditionary land- and sea-based operations. Volz Servos’ DA 15-N actuators have performed for over 200,000 flight hours.

The Littlest Lycoming, EL-005

Skyward Webinar: How to Plan and Budget for Your Drone Program

This webinar is designed to get your drone strategy ready for 2018. Skyward and DARTdrones will walk through best practices for building and budgeting for a drone program. Thursday, October 12, 2017, 10 am – 11 am PST.

 

 

 

UAV210 A Global Drone Registry

ICAO proposes a global drone registry, a multi-rotor endurance record, a major change at Drone360 magazine, tracking drones with cellular networks, drone support following Hurricane Irma, and more swarming technology.

The Skyfront Tailwind hybrid-electric drone.

The Skyfront Tailwind hybrid-electric drone. Courtesy Skyfront.

UAV News

U.N. aviation agency to call for global drone registry

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) proposed a global database of drone owners. The database would remotely identify and track drones and their operators. More details will be provided at ICAO’s DRONE ENABLE Unmanned Aircraft Systems Industry Symposium September 22-23, 2017 in Montréal, Canada. The Event Guide and Directory [PDF] lists a session where “The ICAO registration system which is under development will be explained including its purpose, intended functionality and interaction with national registration systems.”

Skyfront Boasts Multi-Rotor UAV Flight of More Than 4.5 Hours

Drone builder Skyfront says they have set a new endurance world record for a multi-rotor UAV. Their Tailwind quadcopter flew for 4 hours and 34 minutes. The hybrid-electric drone offers a 3 kg payload and is intended for inspection, surveying, mapping, and agriculture. An internal gasoline engine spins a generator which produces an unregulated direct-current voltage. The power electronics system regulates the voltage and a small battery is available to provide boost and back up power. Watch the time-lapse video: World Record Multirotor Endurance Flight – 4 hours 34 minutes – Skyfront Tailwind.

An Important Message about Drone360

The September-October 2017 issue of Drone360 magazine will be their last publication. Instead, Drone360 returns to Discover magazine, where it started as a blog. The drone360mag.com URL will still be valid.

From cell phones to drones, 5G connectivity is changing the game

Lia Reich, VP of communications and marketing at PrecisionHawk and a member of the Drone360 editorial advisory board, discusses manned and unmanned aircraft integration issues. That includes the idea of using cellular networks for UAS Traffic Management (UTM).

FAA Works with Florida Drone Operators to Speed Hurricane Recovery

As of September 15, 2017, the FAA had issued 137 airspace authorizations for drones in Florida in response to Hurricane Irma. The Air National Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Airbus Aerial, the Jacksonville Electric Authority, Florida Power and Light, and others participated in response efforts.

New swarming drone technology could help find lost hikers, study wildlife

University of Colorado, Boulder researchers have developed technology that allows a single operator to control multiple drones. CU Boulder is operating under a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) from the FAA that allows one pilot to fly up to 30 aircraft at a time. The project is an international collaboration with the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.

UAV209 Drones for Disaster Relief

Using drones for disaster relief, a new marketplace for used drones, a drone park for a Florida county, unmanned aircraft replacing manned helicopters, bright career prospects for drone pilots, and fighting pollution with gas-sniffing drones.

UAV News

Amateur Drones Over Houston Endangering Rescue Choppers, Officials Say

The Texas Military Department representing the Texas Army National Guard, the Texas Air National Guard, and the Texas State Guard tweeted: “#ALERT: We are seeing civilian drones that pose EXTREME risks to our rescue pilots and crews in high need areas.”

Amid Warnings, Drones Respond to Hurricane Harvey Aftermath

FAA: “The FAA warns drone operators that flying an unauthorized drone could interfere with local, state and federal rescue and recovery missions. You could be subject to significant fines if you interfere with emergency response operations”

And, “Flying a drone without authorization in or near the disaster area may violate federal, state, or local laws and ordinances, even if a TFR is not in place. Allow first responders to save lives and property without interference.”

Drones and their pilots get a closer look at havoc caused by Harvey

droneUp matches drone pilots with appropriate agencies for disaster relief.

Drones for disaster relief

People streamed into Texas with drones, trying to help. But how do we safely and effectively integrate drones with disaster relief efforts?

droneUp pulls qualified drone pilots together and coordinates with local authorities. droneUp says they are “about flying. It’s about building a community of enthusiasts who share a passion. droneUp was designed by pilots, for pilots to support our diverse needs and interests. We can scale to provide mission support for hundreds of thousands of pilots responding, reporting and communicating in real time. droneUp facilitates safety, fellowship, emergency assistance, and commerce for a network of pilots of unmanned aerial vehicles using a mobile application connected to cloud servers. You’re joining the central resource and community for drone pilots worldwide.”

To use droneUp, qualified pilots register for an account on a mobile app. When law enforcement or first responders need drone assistance, a mission is created and local pilots are alerted. Pilots acknowledge alerts on their app and take action.

Is DRONEFAX the New Craigslist for UAS?

New start-up DRONEFAX offers a marketplace for buying and selling used drones, as well as inspection and repair services by an FAA-licensed aviation maintenance technician. Discounts on drone insurance are available for drones purchased through the marketplace.

Drone park takes flight

Citrus County has the first designated drone park in Florida. Drone enthusiast and County Commissioner Jimmie T. Smith responded to Lecanto High School student Catherine Schlabach’s request for help get a drone club up and running at the school. The Citrus Drone Racing Club now has 52 members and a place to fly.

Drones edging out helicopter film pilots, videographers

Some videographers are losing their jobs because major motion picture producers are using drones instead of helicopters. Drones are safer and significantly less expensive than helicopters.

UMaine Augusta’s new drone course training aces for a growing industry

Last year, the University of Maine at Augusta began offering Maine’s first university-level UAV course. The seven-week drone course prepares students for the FAA test for remote pilot operators. UMA says graduates are immediately in demand and can earn six figures working for large corporations.

Drones Are Helping a Massive Chinese Factory Town Fight Pollution

With more than 900,000 factories registered in the Chinese city of Dongguan, it is impossible for officials to inspect them all for safety and environmental compliance. Now drones with gas detecting sensors are assisting in the fight against pollution.

Videos of the Week

Drone Funny Footage Fail

My favorite drone fails compilation!

Feedback

Listener Steve captures the flight of an RC airplane with his DJI Mavic:

RC Flying with Richard

A week later the two aircraft met up again but with different results:

RC Flying with Richard – Part 2

 

UAV208 The Bladeless Drone

A bladeless drone wins a design award, women to watch in UAS, drone support for Hurricane Harvey, DJI issues a mandatory firmware update, Customs and Border Protection nabs a drug runner, video gamers as drone pilots, and talking drones from Amazon.

The Edgar Herrera designed bladeless drone concept.

The Edgar Herrera designed bladeless drone concept.

UAV News

The Dyson of Drones

Mexican designer Edgar Herrera has created a concept for a bladeless drone that is a winner in the 2017 Red Dot Design Concept Award. In this design concept, three bladeless air ducts control direction and can rotate 20 degrees. A fourth central duct provides lift. Is it a viable design? Maybe yes, maybe no.

2017 Women to Watch in UAS

Drone360 magazine and Women and Drones announced the 2017 Women to Watch in UAS List. Nine women were chosen “for their work disrupting, innovating, and shaping the future of the UAS industry.”  The women are:

  • Holly Kasun, COO/CMO and Cofounder of Flybrix based in San Francisco, CA.
  • Mary Wohnrade, Civil engineer, Part 107 operator, and President/Owner of Wohnrade Civil Engineers, based in Broomfield, CO.
  • Karen Joyce, Scientist and Senior Lecturer at James Cook University, Cofounder of She Flies, based in Queensland, Australia.
  • Lexie Janson, FPV drone racer, software developer, drone certification teacher based in Gdynia, Poland.
  • Natalie Cheung, General Manager of Drone Light Shows in the UAV Group at Intel based in Santa Clara, CA.
  • Catherine Ball, Cofounder of World of Drones Congress, Cofounder and Chief Engagement Officer at She Flies, Founder and Publisher of Gumption Trigger, based in Queensland, Australia.
  • Helena Samsioe, Founder and CEO of GLOBHE based in Stockholm, Sweden.
  • Gretchen West, Senior Advisor at Hogan Lovells U.S. LLP, Co-Executive Director at the Commercial Drone Alliance, and Cofounder of Women of Commercial Drones, based in Menlo Park, CA.
  • Leah LaSalla, Technical Founder and CEO at Astral AR based in Austin, TX.

FAA Supports Drone Assessments for Houston Response and Recovery

As of August 31, 2017, the FAA had issued 43 unmanned aircraft system authorizations to drone operators supporting the response and recovery for Hurricane Harvey or covering it as part of the media.

DJI will ground Spark drones on September 1st unless owners install an update

DJI is pushing out a firmware update to fix the problem with some Spark drones falling out of the sky.This is a mandatory firmware update. Your Spark won’t fly without the update. DJI says the problem is related to the battery management system and power supply.

See the DJI press release: DJI Spark Firmware Update Enhances Flight Safety

Border Patrol Spots Meth-Carrying UAV in San Diego

The Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Customs and Border Protection has arrested a 25-year-old man for using a consumer drone to transport several pounds of methamphetamine across the Mexican border.

Would Video Gamers Make Better Unmanned Aircraft Pilots Than Actual Pilots?

Psychologists at the University of Liverpool in the UK conducted a study. “Findings support the idea that VGPs (video game players) could be considered a resource in UAS operation.” The report is published in the journal Cogent Psychology: Unmanned aerial systems (UAS) operators’ accuracy and confidence of decisions: Professional pilots or video game players?

Look for Military Drones to Begin Replacing Police Helicopters by 2025

Defense contractors see a market opportunity for large military-style drones to be used instead of police helicopters. General Atomics is investing in a new version of the Reaper.

Alexa-enabled Amazon drones could talk with customers when delivering packages

An Amazon patent envisions drones that interact with people – live audio and video. This could be used to warn someone standing too close to the landing zone or to have a conversation with customer support.

UAV Video of the Week

RDDC2016: Bladeless Drone

Photos of the Week

Solar Eclipse, Cerulean, KY by Max Flight

Solar Eclipse, Cerulean, KY by Max Flight

Reaper by David Vanderhoof

Reaper by David Vanderhoof

 

 

UAV207 Drone Racing with the Pro Aerial League

A new drone racing league takes shape, an unmanned aircraft vehicle traffic management system is planned for Kansas, Northrop Grumman’s MQ-25 drone tanker testbed was spotted, a Phantom landed on an aircraft carrier, DJI responds to issues over data transmission, and drones assist in a rescue mission.

The RIOT 250R for the PAL drone racing league.

The RIOT 250R Pro racing drone. Courtesy Thrust-UAV.

UAV News

Professional drone racers start new league with six teams and big inaugural event in Everett arena

The Pro Aerial League (PAL) is a new drone racing organization that will feature indoor spectator events with six teams, each with six pilots. Pilots will race RIOT 250R Pro racing drones from Thrust-UAV through multiple types of challenges in order to determine the best team in terms of speed, skill, and strategy. The inaugural event is August 19, 2017, at the Xfinity Arena in Everett, Washington.

Riot 250R Pro by Thrust UAV Commercial

AirMap Takes Flight with Kansas

AirMap announced a partnership with the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) to deploy the AirMap platform across the state. Their goal is “to open more airspace for drone operations, support Kansas’ growing community of drone operators, and ensure that the skies are safer for all.” The AirMap platform will be available to Kansas airports, state colleges and universities, and government agencies.

AirMap is one of the 12 companies assembled by the FAA for LAANC, the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability, providing automated notification for flight in U.S. controlled airspace. A list of the initial 50 airports is available in Coming This Fall: Automated Airspace Authorization at U.S. Airports.

Northrop Grumman MQ-25 Drone Tanker Testbed Emerges At Plant 42 In California

Development contracts were previously awarded to Boeing, Lockheed Martin, General Atomics, and Northrop Grumman for the U.S. Navy’s MQ-25 Stingray drone. The MQ-25 Stingray is a carrier-launched tanker designed to extend the combat range of carrier aircraft. Aviation Week is now showing a low-quality photograph of what it says is Northrop Grumman’s modified X-47B flying test bed as part of its MQ-25 bid.

A drone landed on Britain’s biggest warship and nobody cared

A “Black Isle Images” photographer landed a DJI Phantom on the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier. The landing was unintentional and the Phantom landed itself after sensing high winds. The photographer presented himself to the armed guards, but “no one seemed too concerned.” He also gave the authorities his phone number, but nobody called.

DJI Develops Option For Pilots To Fly Without Internet Data Transfer

DJI announced on August 14, 2017, that it is “developing a new local data mode that stops internet traffic to and from its flight control apps, in order to provide enhanced data privacy assurances for sensitive government and enterprise customers.” In local data mode, DJI apps will stop sending or receiving any data over the internet. That includes relevant local maps and geofencing data, the latest software updates, correct radio frequency and power requirements, and newly-issued flight restrictions.

First drone-assisted rescue in Southside a high-flying success

A logger on the Dan River in Virginia was pinned down by a tree. As the Danville Life Saving Crew traveled to the location, they created a plan that included using their drones. Just last month, they had received training to become certified drone operators, and on arrival at the scene, the drones were deployed to assist in making the operation safer. Danville Life Saving Crew assistant director Bryan Fox said, “We were able to navigate the boats around some circumstances in the water, some debris, rock formations, that [the rescuers] didn’t see from the boat as they were trying to navigate.”

UAV Video of the Week

On Sunday, July 2, 2017, a drone was spotted on the approach path to Gatwick Airport. This is the disruption it caused.

Gatwick drone incident – 2 July

 

UAV206 DJI and Data Security

DJI drones come under attack for data transmissions, the U.S. Army responds, military installations get approval to take down drones, a Navy fighter is forced to take evasive action, automated approval to fly in airport airspace, and thrust-assisted perching.

DJI Phantom 4 Advanced

Phantom 4 Advanced, courtesy DJI.

UAV News

Drone Data Security

sUAS News describes the data they say is collected during the flight of a DJI drone, logged into your DJI Go app, and transmitted back to DJI Servers.

US Army calls for units to discontinue use of DJI equipment

The U.S. Department of the Army issued a “Memorandum for Record” directing military installations to “Cease all use, uninstall all DJI applications, remove all batteries/storage media from devices, and secure equipment for follow on direction.” This is in reaction to U.S. Army Research Lab and U.S. Navy studies that concluded there are operational risks associated with DJI equipment.

A government study found DJI drone, banned by US Army, kept data safe

In October 2016, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) tested a DJI DJI S-1000 using a packet sniffer to monitor transmissions between the drone and the computer. NOAA’s report states that “The majority of transactions to the DJI servers were to login to DJI servers hosted at both Amazon Web Services and Linode to check for software updates. These transactions are quite common for software of this type, and nothing unusual was detected during the experiment.” Further, “There was no evidence whatsoever of any attempt by any software to transfer any data from the aircraft.”

However, one of the authors of the NOAA study observed a different result when he tested personal Phantom 3. The Phantom was sending encrypted data back to DJI servers.

New policy: Military bases can shoot down trespassing drones

In July, a classified policy was sent to the services from the Pentagon. More recently unclassified guidance was sent concerning how to communicate the new policy to local communities. Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said military installations “retain the right of self-defense when it comes to UAVs or drones operating over [them.] The new guidance does afford of the ability to take action to stop these threats and that includes disabling, destroying and tracking.”

Iranian drone forces US jet to take evasive action

A Navy F/A-18 had to make an evasive maneuver while trying to land on the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf. An Iranian QOM-1 drone came within 100 feet below the F/A-18 and 200 feet to the side.

50 Airports Across the U.S. to Adopt Automated Airspace Authorizations for Drones

The FAA Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management (UTM) page says, “The FAA is currently in acquisition for the first step of a UTM system, the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC), which supports air traffic control authorization requirements for UAS operations conducted under the Special Rule for Model Aircraft (part 101e) and the Small UAS Rule (part 107). The current airport notification and airspace authorization processes are manual for the small UAS. LAANC will provide part 101 & 107 UAS operators a streamlined solution to enable real time automated notification and authorization.”

Now fifty airports will start using LAANC in Autumn 2017. UAS operators will be able to apply for automated authorizations to fly in controlled airspace around those airports.

UAV Video of the Week

Innovative Vertical-Landing Drone Can Stick to Walls Like a Fly

Researchers at the University of Sherbrooke in Quebec, Canada have developed the fixed-wing Multimodal Autonomous Drone (S-MAD) that is capable of repeated perching and take-off cycles.

The S-MAD: A Drone Landing on Walls Like a Bird

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UAV205 Smith College Drone Class

Max and @dronemama visit Smith College and talk to the summer drone class, 3DR and DJI join resources, drones assist with invasive snakes, Farmers Insurance expands the use of UAS, and a drone privacy spat on Twitter.

Max speaks with students at the Smith College Drone Class.

Max speaks with students at the Smith College Drone Class.

Drone Class at Smith College

Jon Caris and Max Flight

Jon Caris, Director at Smith College Spatial Analysis Lab (L) and Max.

Max spoke to the SSEP Drone Class at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. The class is part of the College’s Summer Science and Engineering Program (SSEP), a four-week residential program for exceptional young women with strong interests in science, engineering, and medicine. High school students from across the United States and abroad do hands-on research with Smith faculty in the life and physical sciences and in engineering.


The young women are building quadcopters in the Smith College Spatial Analysis Lab where they learn about drone laws and regulations, applications of the technology, flight mechanics and piloting skills, photogrammetry and image processing, and of course drone safety. The students are highly engaged, and this program is a wonderful opportunity for them.

Drone class students at Smith College

Smith College drone class students.

UAV News

America’s top drone company couldn’t beat China’s DJI, so now they’re partners

3D Robotics announced that they are entering into a partnership with DJI and will integrate their Site Scan software with DJI drones. This is an enterprise solution for industries like construction, insurance, surveying & mapping, utilities, and telecom. Sales at 3DR were not up to expectations and the company consumed $100M in venture capital trying to compete. Now, 3DR will focus on software instead of hardware.

3DR Site Scan data capture technology can use 3DR (with Sony R10C) or DJI (Phantom 4 Pro) vehicles and operate in four autonomous flight modes for data capture. Data is uploaded to the cloud and can be processed by Pix4D and Autodesk ReCap. The service includes complimentary drone replacement for accidents and malfunctions.

VolAero Drones Starts Python Tracking Project In Everglades Using Thermal Technology

The population of non-native Burmese pythons in the Florida Everglades has exploded to the point where they are a threat to the small mammal population. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the South Florida Water Management District are now looking to professional drone services company VolAero Drones and drone imaging technologies to help manage the situation.

Farmers Insurance launches drone program with Kespry

Farmers Insurance is expanding their use of UAS for residential property damage assessments. The company is looking for faster inspection times with fewer safety risks for field adjusters. Drones from Kespry will “gather rooftop imagery and data, generate analytic reports, supplement ladder assist capabilities, and resolve more claims with greater efficiency and accuracy.” The FAA-licensed drone operators will be Farmers’ own claims professionals.

Kentucky governor says news station drone invaded privacy

Gov. Matt Bevin tweeted: “The drone that was just flying over my home & filming my children was personally flown by @WDRBNews Director.” WDRB news director Barry Fulmer followed with his own tweet: “.@GovMattBevin WDRB was flying a drone in accordance to the FAA rules to cover news happening at your home. There is NO video of children.”

UAV Video of the Week

Drone captures mesmerizing footage of hundreds of fish on pink salmon run

Video captured by Danny Sanford in Hartney Bay in Cordova, Alaska.