UAV163 The Best Drone Podcasts

The top 14 drone podcasts, FAA’s Huerta delivers InterDrone keynote, using drones to discover ancient geoglyphs, and a college course where students build real UAS business plans.

ProDrone PD6B-AW-ARM

ProDrone PD6B-AW-ARM

News

Top Drone Podcasts

Skytango looked at the available drone podcasts and made a list of the top 14. These are, in order of the number of episodes released so far:

  1. Ask Drone U
  2. The UAV Digest
  3. sUAS News Podcast
  4. DroneVibes Podcast
  5. Drone Radio Show
  6. Drone Law Today Podcast
  7. Let’s Drone Out
  8. Quad Talk FPV Podcast
  9. FPV Podcast
  10. Drone News
  11. Commercial Drones FM
  12. Aerial Insights
  13. Somedrones Podcast
  14. DroneLife Podcast

Industry, Regulators Look Beyond Small UAS Rule

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta delivered the keynote at InterDrone, and provided some interesting statistics:

  • The FAA estimates that as many as 600,000 UAS could be used commercially in the next year.
  • More than 520,000 hobbyists have registered.
  • Section 333 exemptions, which used to take three months to process, are being approved at a rate of several dozen a day.
  • Several Part 107 waivers are being granted per day. The current waiver approval time is around 90 days, but the FAA is trying to shorten that.

Drones will uncover the history of humans in the Amazon

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.

Attrition: Sergeants Who Are Not Allowed To Shoot Back

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.

New UND class puts focus on the business of drones

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.

Videos of the Week

Awesome new ‘drone surfing’ could be the future of rich-kid sports

A video from drone company Freefly features their $18,000 Alta 8 industrial-grade octocopter that is powerful enough to pull you over the water.

Terrifying ‘2-armed’ drone designed for dangerous ops

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.

Dual Robot Arm Large-Format Drone PD6B-AW-ARM

 

 

UAV162 A Call for Harmonized EU Drone Rules

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.

Organizations calling for harmonized EU rules for drones

News

EU aviation groups want all drones to be registered

Ten manned aviation associations issued a Joint call to safely integrate Drones / UAS into Europe’s Airspace [PDF]. They believe the safety risks associated recreational drones are underestimated and they want harmonized rules across the EU. The groups are calling for:

  1. Extensive public awareness campaign
  2. Registration of all drones (Ireland and USA cited as examples)
  3. Mandatory training and certificate/license
  4. Technical Performance Limitations (geofencing)
  5. In-depth research into the impact of collisions between drones and manned aircraft
  6. Integration of recreational drones into national Model Aircraft Flying Regulations
  7. 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).

IAF will select existing UAV for training academy

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, Warsaw U demonstrate UAV fleet command and control

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.

On the Ground at the Commercial UAV Show Asia 2016

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.

Draganfly Innovations Receives Permission to Test ADS-B Communications Technology

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.

Mercedes partners with U.S. startup to push drone delivery forward

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.

Drone forensics boosts UAS defense

Department 13 is offering a commercial service that provides drone forensics to clients such as border patrol, prison security, and law enforcement.

Proposal for drones to fly over crowds in the works, FAA chief says at Las Vegas conference

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.

 

 

UAV161 Exemptions to Part 107 Granted

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

Photokite Pro tethered flying camera system for professional use cases and live broadcasting

News

CNN Wins FAA Waiver To Fly Newsgathering Drones Over People

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.

In a first, FAA allows PrecisionHawk to fly drones where pilots can’t see them

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.

Virginia Woman Blasts Drone ‘to Smithereens’ with Shotgun

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.

Mark Zuckerberg meets Pope Francis, gives him a 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.

Feds turn to space experts NASA for small-drone traffic plan

Actually, NASA also has aeronautics experts, and those are the ones working on the UTM, the UAS Traffic Management project. NASA has two “A”s.

In drought, drones help California farmers save every drop

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.

Flight fantastic: Instead of rewiring planes to fly themselves, why not give them android pilots?

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.

Videos of the Week

This is Why Drones and Balloons Don’t Like to Play Together

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.

Facebook Tests Internet-Beaming Plane

Facebook just announced the first flight of its unmanned, high-altitude Aquila unmanned aircraft.

First drone footage of Uluru released: Video

The first drone to operate under permit inside Australia’s Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park captured the spectacular 600 million-year-old monolith.

 

UAV160 UAS for Newsgathering

A major news network launches a UAS newsgathering unit, a real-time UAS flight data exchange for a drone traffic management system, and a tethered drone solution for persistent applications.

Elistair tethered drone station

Elistair tethered drone station

News

CNN Launches CNN AIR

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.

University UAS researchers share information network with NASA

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.

Drones do mix with airports, so long as they’re kept on a leash

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.

Man sentenced to federal prison for pointing laser at sheriff’s helicopter

A 35-year-old California was has been sentenced to 15 months in federal prison for pointing a laser pointer at a police helicopter flying over a traffic accident.

Baltimore PD Can Keep Tabs On The Entire City, Thanks To Privately-Donated Aerial Surveillance System

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.

Video of the Week

FlexRC OWL Storm Edition FPV Racer – HeliPal.com

The FlexRC Owl Storm Edition is a compact size box-shape FPV racer specially made for indoor (or outdoor) flying.

Upcoming Conferences

Airborne ISR

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.

Register online at: www.airborne-isr.net/uavdigest. For more information please contact: +44 (0) 207 827 6138 or email: scargan@smi-online.co.uk.

UAV Technology Eastern Europe

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:

  1. Lieutenant Colonel Petr Snajdarek, Reconnaissance and Electronic Warfare Branch, Czech MoD
  2. Colonel (ret) Ryszard Szczepanik, General Director, Polish Air Force Institute Of Technology
  3. Lieutenant Colonel Petr Stodola, Associate Professor, Department of Tactics, University of Defence, Czech Republic
  4. Mr. Marko Gruden, Secretary, Directorate of Logistics, Ministry of Defence, Slovenia
  5. Mr. Janek Mägi, Head of Department, Border Policy Department, Estonian Ministry of the Interior
  6. Dr. Wojciech Komorniczak, Director at WB Group and Vice President at Flytronic, WB Group
  7. Mr. Tomas Pustina, Senior Legal Officer, Department of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Transport, Czech Republic

To view the full speaker line-up and conference program, visit http://www.uav-technology.org/uavdigest.

Mentioned

Drone over Lambeau confiscated by authorities

The operator of a drone flown over a Green Bay Packers football game was tracked down. The FAA is investigating.

Drone accidents mostly caused by technical problems, not operator error, research shows

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.

 

 

 

UAV159 Taking the FAA Online UAS Training Course

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

Flock flight planning tool

Part 107

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.

Guest

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.

News

Why Are Engineers Intentionally Crashing Drones?

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.”

Johns Hopkins Research Finds Drones Vulnerable to Attack

Drones, lasers seen as key aviation terrorism threats

A report by the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism titled, Trends in Aviation Terrorism identified three threats: lasers, radicalized airport employees, and drones. With respect to drone threats, the report notes:

  • Proximity of drones to airliners and airports and the possibility of taking one down
  • Terrorist websites advocating drones with explosives to take down airplanes
  • Reports of terrorists using drones for intelligence gathering in Syria, Iraq and other countries.

New AI program could help drones avoid flying over big crowds

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.”

Canadian drone racer says sport better version of Formula One racing

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.

Recreational drone use prohibited in local parks

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.”

Video of the Week

Get Ready for the New Small Drone Rule!

Mentioned

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.

Santa Cruz County RC Bees – People who enjoy participating in the sport of radio control aircraft modeling.

 

UAV158 Fly Like a Bird

Drones and law enforcement, Disney and Google drone patents, a call for anti-drone systems, and a drone that looks and flys like a drone.

The Bionic Bird

The Bionic Bird

News

Modesto Police Unveil New Crime-Fighting Drones

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.”

Cops get eyes in the sky as N.J. county deputizes drones

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.

1st-ever civilian drone death? Woman killed in police pursuit after UAV spotted over prison

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.

Disney Might Be Building Drones To Use In Its Theme Parks

Disney applied for three drone-related patents:

  1. Aerial Display System with Floating Pixels, which contemplates using drones as floating pixels (or flixels) that could replace fireworks.
  2. Aerial Display System with Floating Projection Screens, which describes drones that can carry a full-sized projector and a screen for images and video.
  3. Aerial Display System with Marionettes Articulated and Supported by Airborne Devices, which explains a swarm of multicopter drones operating marionettes and puppets.

Google wants to have drones buzzing around offices, projecting our faces at meetings

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.

Interior Ministry announces tender for drone-killer system

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.

This Startup Wants to Build a Drone-Proof Fence to Protect Your Property

The founder of Drone Go Home believes that the proliferation of inexpensive consumer drones will lead to the need for electronic perimeter fences around properties, such as prisons, power grids, and backyards. The company has a video, Drone Go Home Proof of Concept Demonstration.

Video of the Week

This drone looks and flies just like a bird

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.

 

UAV157 Government and Private Sector Initiatives for UAS Integration

Initiatives announced by the U.S. Government and private sector that advance the integration of Unmanned Aircraft Systems into the National Airspace System. Also, a 2.5 ounce ADS-B solution, drones that obstruct fighting wildfires, and drones that help fight wildfires.

uAvionix pingBuddy

The pingBuddy WiFi ADS-B receiver

White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Workshop on Drones and the Future of Aviation

White House Announces New UAS Commitments Made Across the Board

At the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Workshop on Drones and   the Future of Aviation, many steps were announced that advance the integration of UAS into the National Airspace System:

  • The National Science Foundation will receive $35 million to research how UAS can be deployed for applications like infrastructure inspections, disaster response, agricultural, and studying severe storms
  • The U.S. Department of the Interior will use UAS in search-and-rescue operations and to augment manned aircraft operations.
  • UAS industry associations committed to implement educational programs that address privacy best practices.
  • The FAA will charter an Unmanned Aircraft Safety Team (UAST) similar to the existing Commercial Aviation Safety Team. Government and industry stakeholders will “analyze safety data and develop non-regulatory interventions to mitigate potential causes of accidents involving unmanned aircraft.” See FAA Announces Drone Advisory Committee.
  • By winter 2017, the FAA will propose rules for operating sUAS over people, and ask for public comment.
  • NASA will conduct research on detect-and-avoid and command-and-control technologies that lead to standards.
  • NASA and the FAA will launch a data exchange working group under the UAS Traffic Management (UTM) research team to develop common a data format for sharing information between UAS operators and UTM users.
  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will begin collecting gravity measurements with RPVs that improve surface elevation measurements over the United States. NOAA will also investigate how to add UAS observing capabilities to the NOAA fleet of ships.
  • The Department of the Interior (DOI) will share near-real-time fire location information with the public by July 2017. By December 2017, the DOI will augment manned aircraft missions by developing payloads that can be flown by UAS. By October 2018, the DOI will develop and maintain a training program for the use of UAS in Search and Rescue (SAR).
  • The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General will publish new findings and analysis of public opinion on drone deliveries.

In the private sector:

  • Flirtey will focus on humanitarian applications for drone delivery technology.
  • The Commercial Drone Alliance will lead an effort to educate the American public on the integration of UAS into the National Airspace System.
  • Sinclair Broadcast Group, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), and the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), will develop and broadcast drone safety public service announcements.
  • Alphabet’s Project Wing will conduct an operational research study of delivery drones at an FAA UAS Test Site. See Alphabet will begin testing its delivery drones inside the US at test centers. They will also “develop and deploy an open-interface, airspace management solution for safe low-altitude small UAS (sUAS) operations using existing low cost, scalable communication and information technologies.”
  • The Drone Racing League (DRL) will release best practices for the drone racing industry, including event guidelines, organization, and safety measures
  • PrecisionHawk is announcing its Phase I Pathfinder results demonstrating the safety of extended visual line of sight (EVLOS) operations for drones in rural areas.
  • The Women of Commercial Drones organization and the Commercial Drone Alliance announced their collaboration to advance women’s participation in the UAS industry.
  • DJI is supporting 4-H’s National Youth Science Day in October 2016.  This year’s theme is “Drone Discovery,” to inspire kids and young adults to explore science, technology and engineering in more depth.
  • DroneBase and Drones & Good are forming a partnership to provide transitioning military Veterans with training programs and apprenticeships to start a career in the commercial drone industry.

Details of the Workshop initiatives can be found in: FACT SHEET: New Commitments to Accelerate the Safe Integration of Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

News

uAvionix ADS-B Solution Weighs 2.5 Ounces

uAvionix showed its micro ADS-B products at AirVenture and created quite a stir among the experimental and light sport aircraft crowd. The “Ping Chip” micro-circuitry was designed and built by uAvionix for the mass UAV market. The 12-gram pingBuddy is a low-cost receiver with built-in Wi-Fi and ADS-B dual link in.

DJI and uAvionix Collaborate on ADS-B Collision Avoidance Developer Kit

Darren Liccardo, the VP of Engineering for DJI says, “DJI developers will now be able to process ADS-B data and close the loop all within an embedded computer onboard the vehicle.” With a Ping ADS-B receiver, a drone could sense surrounding aircraft and take action if necessary, to avoid a collision. The DJI Onboard Software Development Kit (SDK) allows access to the flight control system of the drone, so developers could create custom applications for collision avoidance rules that are applicable to the specific mission.

Drones That Launch Flaming Balls Are Being Tested To Help Fight Wildfires

Wildfires can sometimes be stopped through controlled burns, which seek to eliminate the fuel for the fire. This can be dangerous and expensive, and now the University of Nebraska is conducting tests where a sUAS is used to deliver flammable balls that initiate a controlled burn.

Drones Are Interfering with Range 12 Firefighting Efforts, Crews Say

“Range 12” refers to a wildfire in southeastern Washington State, where drones continue to interfere with firefighting efforts. Bureau of Land Management spokesman Randall Rishe says, “I have been on the ground with a tool in my hands, where you have a fire coming right at you. You need that helicopter making that drop right in front of you to help it slow down so you can dig that line. And there’s a drone. That helicopter has to leave, and it’s like your saving grace, you watch fly away.”

Video of the Week

Olympic 2016 – Rio de Janeiro

In honor of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games here’s a video showing all the venues.

 

 

 

UAV156 AT&T Using Drones to Benefit Customers

Cell coverage provided by drones, sUAS conflicting with aerial applicators, controlling swarms with your mind, another package delivery milestone by Flirtey, a drone pilot is arrested, and using drones to find old land mines.

A Bird’s Eye View of AT&T’s Drone Inspection Program

A Bird’s Eye View of AT&T’s Drone Inspection Program

News

Better cell service for responders when COWs fly

AT&T uses Cell On Wheels (COW) equipment to temporarily add cell capacity for large events, or bring coverage to disaster scenes. Now the company is looking at a new kind of COW that used drones: Cell On Wings. In the company blog, Drones Taking Our Network to New Heights, AT&T says, “We’re researching how in-flight drones can use our LTE network to send large amounts of data in real-time. This capability may benefit areas such as insurance, farming, facility and asset inspections, and even delivery service companies.” AT&T is already using drones to perform cell tower inspections. (Video above.)

New UAV rules should help farmers, ag businesses

Most groups with an interest in using sUAS commercially are in favor of the Part 107 rules, including the agriculture business. But the National Agricultural Aviation Association thinks “the FAA set the bar a little low” when it comes to safety and certification requirements.

Note: The Small UAS Rule (Part 107), including all pilot and operating rules, will be effective on August 29, 2016. These resources are provided by the FAA:

Control a swarm of drones with your mind

Arizona State University is researching technology that allows human brainwaves to control up to four robot vehicles. Electrodes on a skullcap pick up electrical brain activity, software processes the data, and the drones are controlled via a Bluetooth connection. ASU says that to make the drones move, the operator watches on a monitor, and thinks and pictures the drones performing various tasks.

7-Eleven makes food deliveries with Flirtey UAS

Flirtey 7-Eleven package deliveryFlirtey and 7-Eleven announced they have completed the first fully autonomous, FAA-approved drone delivery to two residential homes in Reno, Nevada. The Flirtey drone delivered a 7-Eleven chicken sandwich, donuts, hot coffee, and Slurpees. The Flirtey drone hovered over the residents’ backyards and lowered the packages. The two companies plan to expand their delivery services in the future.

Drone pilot arrested at JFK Airport

A 52-year old man was arrested for flying a drone within 50 feet laterally of a jet, and 20 feet below it. The drone was spotted by the pilot on approach about 4 miles from the airport.

Afghan brothers launch new mine-hunting drone

Mine Kafon DroneTwo former Afghan refugees are developing technology that would allow a drone to safely sweep an area and destroy old land mines. The UAS would use ground penetrating radar and metal detectors to locate the mines. A small charge could then be placed by the drone and detonated remotely. The brothers are using a Kickstarter campaign to fund the Mine Kafon Drone.

 

Video of the Week

Martin Mars – View From a Drone

The beautiful Martin Mars, originally a four-engined cargo transport seaplane, now used for water drops to fight wildfires. This video shows the airplane at AirVenture Oshkosh 2016.

 

 

UAV155 Amazon Docking Station for sUAS

The MQ-25 Stingray UAS, Star Wars drones, an Amazon patent for sUAS flight decks, Customs and Border Protection solicitation for small drone studies, how drones might make the future of aviation brighter, an arrest for a drone flight, new geofencing firmware, and Facebook laser drones.

News

Amazon patents special drone housing in the sky

Amazon docking station concept]Amazon was awarded U.S. patent number 9387928 for sUAS docking stations that can be attached to structures such as telephone poles or street lamps. Amazon proposes that these multi-use UAV docking stations can be networked and provide package handling facilities, and act as a final destination or a delivery hub. The docking stations could recharge or refuel UAVs, become navigational aids, and provide routing information from a central control system.

USN carries out MQ-25 aerial refuelling surrogate testing

The UAS that had been called the Carrier Based Aerial Refueling System (CBARS) will be now known as MQ-25 Stingray. Developed from the X-47B, it will use the current Navy refueling pod as its equipment. The system is being tested using a Gulfstream jet as a surrogate and the RFP for the MQ-25 prototypes requests a flyoff in 2017.

Star Wars Drones You Can Battle With

Propel is making X-wing, Millennium Falcon, TIE Interceptor, and Speederbike quadcopters with clear props to give the illusion of flight. The drones are outfitted with lasers that allow game playing similar to laser tag.

Border Patrol calls on Silicon Valley for advice on small drones

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is looking for new ways that Customs and Border Protection could use UAVs and has published an Other Transaction Solicitation (OTS) to fund studies. The OTS Call on Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Word doc) offers grants of $50,000 to $200,000, and describes three objectives:

  • User interfaces for effective communication and enhanced immediacy for reaction.
  • Sensors to improve situational awareness and the ability to track multiple targets.
  • Platform security improvement for UAS self-defense capabilities.

Why Drones May Save Aviation

This opinion piece describes how sUAS might be a pathway to bring people into aviation.

California makes first arrest for drone flight over wildfire

A man charged with hampering firefighting efforts was caught after he posted his videos on YouTube. He faces FAA fines of up to $27,500 and possible jail time.

DJI drones will now get real-time wildfire alerts

New software updates bring geofencing to temporarily restricted areas.

Report claims small UAV ruling places USA ahead of Europe

Aerospace and defense industry researcher Teal Group says the United States is now ahead of Europe after developing sUAS regulations. The U.S. is “putting pressure on Europe to come up with its own set of regulations.”

Facebook wants to use fluorescence to make its laser drones work better

Facebook and Internet.org have been developing the Project Aquila fixed-wing drones to provide internet access to remote locations using lasers to transmit data. However, light sent through the atmosphere can produce an undesirable “twinkling” effect. The Facebook team has a solution that uses a structure covered with wavelength shifting dyes that re-emit the light at a different wavelength and reduce the twinkling effect.

Video of the Week

Drone helps in rescue of stranded boaters near Algona

Listener Todd pointed us to this video that documents a DJI Phantom 4 used to locate a man and his 10-year-old granddaughter who stranded in their boat.

 

UAV154 Cargo Drone Challenge Winners

Crowdsourcing designs for cargo drones, UAS for higher education, US Air Force training enlisted RPA operators, NASA detect and avoid tests, delivering vaccine by drone, a woman freed by a Phantom, and drones interfering with wildfires.

ZELATOR

The ZELATOR by Alexey Medvedev from Omsk, Russia

News

Airbus reveals cargo UAV challenge winners

The Airbus Cargo Drone Challenge was created by Local Motors and Airbus Group to crowdsource the design of a commercial-grade package delivery drone for medical supplies and other types of cargo. Local Motors reports in Airbus Cargo Drone Challenge winners announced that 425 submissions were received, and assessed on mission performance, weight and balance, and preliminary flight performance. Video: Winners Revealed in the Airbus Cargo Drone Challenge by Local Motors.

Early Days for Drone Use in Higher Education

Drones in the academic environment offer the opportunity to focus on design and development and also using them for academic instruction and research. The Higher Education UAS Modernization Act would let students and educators operate UAVs without FAA approval if certain conditions are met.

Air Force plans 100 enlisted drone pilots by 2020

The Air Force expects to graduate the first class of enlisted airmen in 2017 for remotely piloted aircraft, specifically unarmed RQ-4 Global Hawks used for high-altitude reconnaissance missions. The graduates would become the first Air Force enlisted pilots since World War II.

NASA Concludes UAS NAS Integration Flight Tests

NASA has completed a two-month series of flight tests at Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California. NASA tested technologies for Detect-and-Avoid (DAA) algorithms developed by NASA, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., Honeywell, and other partners. The tests included more than 260 scripted encounters between the Ikhana UAS and manned “intruder” aircraft. The algorithms successfully alerted the pilot on the ground.

Drones to unleash vaccine-laced pellets in bid to save endangered ferrets

The endangered black-footed ferrets in Montana eat prairie dogs, and both are susceptible to the sylvatic plague transmitted by fleas. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service wants to help the animals by dispensing vaccine-laden pellets from drones.  Note:  The article originally reported that the drones would shoot vaccine-laced M&Ms.

Video shows man use drone to save person trapped in bathroom

A woman in a bathroom was unable to unlock the door from the inside. A DJI Phantom trailing a string was flown over the bathroom window and the woman then tied the door key to the string. With the key in hand, those outside could unlock the door and free the woman.

Authorities in Utah can now legally disable or destroy drones near wildfires

Lawmakers approved a bill that would allow firefighters or law enforcement to shoot down or disable drones interfering with efforts to contain wildfires. The bill also provides for a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $15,000 fine if a drone causes a firefighting aircraft to crash.

Video of the Week

Engineers Hack Pokemon Go by Using a Drone

Thanks to @ProfVanderhoof’s sister Marianne for bringing this to our attention.