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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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 Quadrotorvideo shows a quadrotor being powered completely wirelessly via magnetic induction.
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…”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Listener Kenrecently 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.
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.
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.
The University of Exeter has partnered with the National Institute for Space Research in Brazil to use drones to study the impact of humans on the Amazon rain forest. Fixed-wing drones from Brazilian RPA manufacturer XMobots are fitted with a high quality, survey-grade laser device. These then scan the landscape and create a 3-D map where the landscape has been changed. Those geoglyphs represent candidates for archaeological digs.
The U.S. Air Force has experienced a shortage of drone operators since 2001. The operators they do have (who must be officers for armed UAVs) are thus overworked, and many leave the service. They sometimes find work with civilian contractors performing the same job and earn as much as three times the pay they received in the Air Force. Cash bonus incentives were tried by the USAF, but that proved to be ineffective.
The Entrepreneurship 395 course at the University of North Dakota focuses on unmanned technology applications. Student groups work to develop business concepts which they present as a feasible UAS business plan for their final project.
The six-rotor PD6B-AW-ARM from Japanese company ProDrone has two claw-tipped articulating arms hanging underneath it, ready and willing to perform tasks too dangerous for humans. The UAV has a maximum payload of about 10kg (22lb) and a flight time of up to 30 minutes.
Manned aviation associations want drone safety rules across the EU, Israeli Air Force changes UAV training system strategy, a Lockheed Martin and the Warsaw University partnership, observations from the Commercial UAV Show Asia, Mercedes and Matternet partner on package delivery, and Huerta delivers InterDrone keynote.
Registration of all drones (Ireland and USA cited as examples)
Mandatory training and certificate/license
Technical Performance Limitations (geofencing)
In-depth research into the impact of collisions between drones and manned aircraft
Integration of recreational drones into national Model Aircraft Flying Regulations
Increase in the effectiveness of enforcement.
Signatories are: Airlines for Europe (A4E), Airports Council International Europe (ACI EUROPE), Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO), European Cockpit Association (ECA), European Helicopter Association (EHA), European Regions Airline Association (ERAA), International Air Carrier Association (IACA), International Air Transport Association (IATA), International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA), and International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Associations (IFATCA).
The Israeli Air Force (IAF) had initially planned to ask Israeli UAV manufacturers to develop a dedicated training system for its unmanned air vehicle academy. Instead, the IAF will now select an Israeli off-the-shelf UAV for training.
Lockheed Martin and the Warsaw University of Technology (WUT) are engaged in an advanced applied research program to optimize fleets of manned and unmanned aircraft. They’ve conducted a demonstration where they use advanced math to model the constraints and calculate a “best answer.” The model typically offers a 10 to 20 percent improvement over other methods.
The Commercial UAV Show Asia 2016 was held September 1-2, 2016 in Singapore. Netherlands-based Aerialtronics, who specializes in precision agriculture and inspection, showed a gas-sniffer to detect gas leaks in pipelines. Parrot offshoot SenseFly showed applications for agriculture and property mapping. The eBee SQW fixed-wing drone was there, and based around the Parrot Sequoia multispectral camera. Ukrainian-based manned aircraft maker Skyeton recently started manufacturing airframes and avionics systems for third-parties looking to fly their own sensor packages. The Commercial UAV Show next visits the London ExCel center on October 19-20, 2016.
Canada’s Draganfly has become that country’s first UAV manufacturer to receive permission to test an integrated command-and-control system that utilizes automatic dependent surveillance broadcast (ADS-B) avionics with their UAV. Draganfly is partnering with uAvionix.
Daimler AG, the maker of Mercedes-Benz cars and trucks, has acquired a minority stake in Matternet in 5-year, €500 million project to develop drones for networked electric delivery vans. The adVANce initiative will encompass vehicle digitization, automation, robotics and mobility solutions technologies. The Vision Van would have a human driver making deliveries, with the drone simultaneously making additional deliveries.
FAA Administrator Michael Huerta delivered the keynote at InterDrone, and confirmed that a proposal to fly over crowds will be released by the end of this year. FAA is working on a proposal for flying beyond visual line of sight.
The FAA quickly grants some Part 107 exemptions, drought-stricken agriculture embraces UAS, the Facebook Aquila drone is meeting with some success, and a robot pilot offers to make existing aircraft unmanned.
Photokite Pro tethered flying camera system for professional use cases and live broadcasting
CNN received a Part 107 waiver from the FAA to fly UAS in the U.S. over people. Previously, CNN had only flown only over unpopulated areas. The newsgathering duties are performed with a small Fotokite Pro tethered quadcopter. Earlier this month CNN announced its Aerial Imagery and Reporting (CNN AIR) unit with two full-time UAS operators.
The Federal Aviation Administration has also given PrecisionHawk an exemption to fly in the U.S. beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS). The exemption came on August 29, when Part 107 became effective. PrecisionHawk Executive VP Thomas Haun said, “In agriculture, now that we have an exemption to fly beyond the visual line of sight, we can fly an entire farm, not just one field, efficiently.” The FAA issued 76 waivers on that day, most of them applying to night flying.
In June, Jennifer Youngman was at home cleaning her shotguns. Two men arrived nearby and began flying a drone in the area. Ms. Youngman happens to be a neighbor of actor/director Robert Duvall. When the drone ultimately flew over her property at a height of 25 or 30 feet, she discharged one of her newly cleaned shotguns, much to the distress of the drone.
On his tour of Italy following the recent earthquake which killed hundreds, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg met with Pope Francis. Zuckerberg presented the Pope with a model of the solar-powered Facebook Aquila drone designed to provide Internet access to regions without connectivity.
The severe California drought continues, with dire consequences for farmers growing food. One farmer with a 2,400-acre tomato crop estimates his drones that detect irrigation leaks could save enough water for over 550 families of four for a year. He also started using a thermal camera to show moisture variations in soil, and even established a drone management position at his company. AUVSI (Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International) says about 2,100 companies and individuals have FAA permission to fly drones for farming.
Instead of designing new planes to be unmanned aircraft, Shim Hyunchul and his colleagues at KAIST (the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) have a different idea: Put a robot in the pilot’s seat. The PIBOT (short for pilot robot) is a humanoid robot with a head, torso, arms and legs. Cameras act as eyes while arms and legs operate the controls like a human pilot.
White helium balloons were released as part of a celebration, but the wind changed and carried the balloons into a DJI Phantom. The string from one balloon caught the propellor and down came the drone.
News network CNN has launched a UAS unit called CNN Aerial Imagery and Reporting (CNN AIR) with two full-time UAS operators. They will provide aerial imagery and reporting for the CNN networks, Turner Broadcasting, and Time Warner.
NASA and the Lone Star UAS Center of Excellence and Innovation (at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi) have created an interconnection security agreement that allows university researchers to directly access NASA’s Ames Research Center and exchange real-time UAS flight data. This advances research for a drone traffic management system that is integrated with manned aviation.
French firm Elistair designs and manufactures tethered stations for small civilian drones. According to the company, applications include persistent aerial surveillance, continuous aerial broadcasting, complex industrial inspection, and traffic monitoring. Two tethered ground stations for drones are available, the Safe-T and ruggedized High-T. The ground stations provide constant data transfer, continuous power, unlimited flight duration, and keeps the multicopter from flying where it shouldn’t.
The Baltimore, Maryland Police Department has acquired a wide area surveillance system developed for military use. The Persistent Surveillance Systems 192-million megapixel camera was purchased privately and given to the city. Due to the half-meter resolution, specific individuals cannot be identified, but their movement can be tracked. Program secrecy and privacy implications are causing some concern.
26th – 27th October 2016, Holiday Inn Kensington Forum, London, UK.
In today’s complex and ever-changing operational environment, the demand for increased situational awareness continues to grow. As a decisive and indispensable tool, air based ISTAR is increasingly relied upon to deliver this capability, allowing commanders to understand the situation on the ground and act accordingly.
Covering direction, collection, process and dissemination, Airborne ISR will thoroughly analyse the intelligence chain and deliberate best practice for the enhancement of ISTAR capability. Drawing on respective nations ISTAR structure, operational feedback and training, to explore the doctrine necessary to develop this vital asset.
The conference will also benefit from the guidance of technical leaders from research and industry, whose insight into the latest platforms, systems and sub-systems will provide greater awareness of existing and future capability.
The 2016 expert speaker panel includes: RAF, UK MoD, Joint Forces Command UK, United States Air Force, French Air Force, German Air Force, Royal Netherlands Air Force, Ministry of Defence Spain, Defence Command Denmark, RUSI, NATO, DSTL and many more.
Benefits of Attending:
Hear from those at the heart of air systems operation, development and integration
Deliberate contemporary operational requirements that are shaping capability development
Hear the very latest technological developments from research and industry that are enhancing intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting
Register by 31 August and save £200. By 30 September and save £100.
21-22 September 2016, Angelo by Vienna House, Radlicka 1g, 15000 Prague, Czech Republic.
SMi’s UAV Technology Eastern Europe conference, taking place on 21-22 September 2016 in Prague, will help develop and shape the future capability of Central and Eastern Europe’s UAV and airborne system projects. As many nations are in the early adoption phase of developing Unmanned Aerial Technology and Systems, this is the perfect event for those wishing to get ahead and meet key decision makers for the region’s fastest developing programmes.
With many nations in this region now actively looking for new technologies and solutions to ensure their airspace is both secure and offering vital intelligence to ground operations, you really cannot afford to miss this essential conference.
Register now and join the likes of: Harris, Textron, WB Group, Cybaero, Spacemetric, Ampex Data Systems, Swiss Air Force, German Air Force Command, Swedish Army, US Army, Danish Army, Hungarian National Police, and UAE GHQ.
Expect regional UAV briefings from the following keynote speakers:
Lieutenant Colonel Petr Snajdarek, Reconnaissance and Electronic Warfare Branch, Czech MoD
Colonel (ret) Ryszard Szczepanik, General Director, Polish Air Force Institute Of Technology
Lieutenant Colonel Petr Stodola, Associate Professor, Department of Tactics, University of Defence, Czech Republic
Mr. Marko Gruden, Secretary, Directorate of Logistics, Ministry of Defence, Slovenia
Mr. Janek Mägi, Head of Department, Border Policy Department, Estonian Ministry of the Interior
Dr. Wojciech Komorniczak, Director at WB Group and Vice President at Flytronic, WB Group
Mr. Tomas Pustina, Senior Legal Officer, Department of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Transport, Czech Republic
The Australian RMIT University School of Engineering looked at 150 reported civilian drone-related accidents around the world over the past decade. Technical problems caused 64 percent of the accidents.
We talk with a Part 61 pilot who has successfully completed the FAA UAS online training course. We also look at consumer drone vulnerabilities, the threats that drones represent to aviation, using big data to develop a contextual route-plan for autonomous drones, a globe-trotting drone racer, and flying drones in public parks.
Flock flight planning tool
The new small drone rule for non-hobbyists (also known as Part 107) becomes effective August 29, 2016. The person flying a drone must have a remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating, or be directly supervised by someone with that certificate.
To qualify for the certificate, you must either pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center or have an existing non-student Part 61 pilot certificate.
Those with a Part 61 pilot certificate must have completed a flight review in the previous 24 months and take an FAA UAS online training course.
Max Trescott is a certified flight instructor and co-host on the Airplane Geeks podcast. Max completed the ALC-451, Part 107 Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) online course and tells us about his experience.
At the FAA Safety Team website, pilots can start by clicking the Part 107 image at the top of the page. After completing the course, print the completion certificate or email to yourself. Then, on or after August 29, 2016, sign into IACRA.faa.gov and fill out the application for a Part 107 license. Flight Instructors, pilot examiners, and FAA inspectors can then approve pilot as a commercial drone operator. The materials can be reviewed by clicking the “Part 107 Knowledge Test Prep” button at www.faa,gov/uas.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University’s Whiting School of Engineering have been testing consumer drones for vulnerabilities. They found they could overload the drone’s CPU with wireless connection requests and cause an uncontrolled landing, they could crash the drone by sending it a large data packet and causing a buffer overflow, and the drone made an emergency landing when researchers confused the controller with false data packets.
Lanier A. Watkins, the cybersecurity researcher who supervised the recent drone research, said, “You see it with a lot of new technology. Security is often an afterthought. The value of our work is in showing that the technology in these drones is highly vulnerable to hackers.”
Artificial intelligence company Flock uses “Big Data” to drive a contextual route-planner for drones. Their AI platform “tracks in real time the position of people, vehicles, structures, weather systems and more, calculating the safest possible flight-paths for drones to fly through congested urban environments.” The algorithm “visualises population density and traffic statistics using real-time data streams.”
26-year old Andrew “MayMayDay” Meyer is traveling the world competing in drone races. Places like Canada, the United States, Dubai, and South Korea. He competed at Canada’s Drone Nationals last year, he placed 10th at the U.S. National Drone Racing Championships in New York City this year, he flew at South Korea’s Chuncheon Drone Race World Cup just recently, and he’s entered in the Drone World Championship in Hawaii in October. Find Andrew on Facebook.
The Bay Area District of the State of California Department of Parks and Recreation has banned drones and other unmanned aircraft. Park officials are concerned about “potential disturbances to wildlife, public safety issues, and negative impacts on other park patrons.”
International Drone Expo, December 9-10, 2016 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. IDE draws over 100 international exhibitors and more than 3,500 buyers from around the world. It’s a two-day event that features an exhibit floor displaying a variety of drones, parts, and services for all the commercial applications. A commercial drone conference is also hosted at IDE. New this year will be IDE’s first annual drone racing event.
BayRC.net – A community of R/C enthusiasts and professionals.
The Modesto, California police department has a DJI Phantom painted like a patrol car and recently they used it to track a suspected robber. Three officer pilots will use the drones for official police work only. Fox News reports: “The Modesto Police Department said their drone footage is subject to the same rules as their officers’ body cameras.”
A New Jersey county has an exemption to operate drones for emergency response missions. Initially, there was just one pilot – a police officer with a fixed-wing pilot’s license. But now, other public officials can fly drones after taking an aviation ground school class at a local college. They have used drones to search for a homicide suspect, a missing person, and a berm breach.
Police received a report of a drone flying over Wandsworth prison in England. Officers chased a car seen leaving the scene, which crashed and the driver, a woman in her 20s, was pronounced dead at the scene. She may be the first person to die in a non-military drone-related incident.
Google was awarded a patent (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle for Collaboration) for a small drone fitted with a projector and optionally a small screen that can be used as a mobile telepresence system in an office environment.
Czech police don’t have a way to bring rogue drones down, so the Czech Interior Ministry has announced a public tender for an anti-drone system. It would be used to take down drones in no-fly zones and other restricted areas.
The Bionic Bird is a drone designed to look and fly just like a real bird. The drone can fly up to 12 miles per hour for 10 minutes at a time. A patented control system uses wing bending, enabling fast and instantaneous maneuvers.