A report on Drone World Expo, held November 15-16, 2016, in San Jose, California.
Intel Falcon 8+ photo courtesy Intel Corporation
Max Trescott attended Drone World Expo 2016 and brings us his observations from the show.
Max tells us about the makeup of the attendees and the keynote panel. We hear a clip from the keynote where moderator Gretchen West of Hogan Lovells asks Ingo Piroth (IBM North America GTM Lead Partner, IBM Innovation & Emerging Tech, IBM Global Business Services) to offer some examples of the more forward thinking use cases and what people need to be looking out for. Ingo believes observation-based missions will outnumber cargo missions.
The conversation touches on unmanned industry consolidation and the DroneHive model for project manpower and outsourcing of UAS services. We also mention the Fruity Chutes parachute recovery systems for drones.
Max Trescott is a flight instructor, author, and publisher. He is a regular co-host on the Airplane Geeks podcast and is an occasional contributor to The UAV Digest. Learn more about Max at G1000book.com.
Rulemaking for sUAS flights over people moves forward, fuel cell-powered UAVs, a drone detection system, a Predator for humanitarian relief, drones flying in formation, and autonomous aircraft collaboration.
Hywing long endurance fixed-wing UAV demonstrator, courtesy H3 Dynamics
Hogan Lovells reports that the FAA sent to the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) the proposed rulemaking for the operation of sUAS over unsheltered people not directly participating in the operation. OIRA reviews draft regulations before they are implemented and any member of the public can request a meeting with the agency to discuss the proposed rule.
This article is a round-up of a number of newsworthy drone stories, including:
Singapore energy storage company H3 Dynamics has applied fuel cell technology to its Hywings UAV and claims up to 10 hours flight endurance. The company also created Dronebox that can be used as a remote base station for drones. Dronebox can recharge drone using solar panels, and offers the possibility for stationing drones for autonomous missions, like crop surveys.
Elbit Systems in Israel announced ReDrone which detects, tracks, and takes out drones. The system can determine the direction of the drone and the operator, operates over 360 degrees and provides real-time situational awareness of multiple drones.
General Atomics is offering the Angel One for humanitarian relief missions. Based on the Predator-C Avenger UAV, it can carry up to 8,500 pounds of Humanitarian Daily Ration packets (HDRs) for 3,400 people
AeroVironment is looking to the commercial market with its Quantix vertical takeoff and landing quadrotor drone. Controlled with an Android tablet, data can subsequently be processed within the AeroVironment Decision Support System (AV DSS). Availability is expected by spring 2017.
A drone was observed flying over 300 protesters marching in Philadelphia. Police and news helicopters followed the drone which led them to a man operating the drone from a rooftop. A SWAT team took a 20-year-old man into custody inside the building. He could face various charges, including recklessly endangering another person and risking a catastrophe.
The “Starbright Holidays” in Orlando will feature 300 Intel Shooting Star quadcopters with LED lights. Each weighs a little over half a pound and is constructed of soft materials such as plastics and foam. The drones are assigned light show roles only after each has been queried by the system to assess details like battery level and GPS signal. Then each gets its assignment and an operator deploys them all with the push of a button.
Lockheed Martin conducted a demonstration of firefighting and search-and-rescue capability using four autonomous vehicles. The optionally-piloted Kaman K-MAX, the Sikorsky Autonomy Research Aircraft (SARA), the Indago quadrotor, and a Desert Hawk 3.1 fixed wing UAS worked collaboratively. Indago located hot spots, sent that information to an operator who directed the K-MAX to autonomously retrieve water from a pond and drop it on the fire. Then, the Desert Hawk located the missing person, and the K-MAX and SARA completed the search and rescue mission.
We talk with the founder of a company that provides drones for precision agriculture.
The AgEagle RX60
Bret Chilcott founded AgEagle Aerial Systems in 2013 as a spin-off of a Kansas State University research project. AgEagle provides data acquisition drones for precision agriculture. They are an FAA Section 333 exemption holder, and their drone technology captures aerial images of crop health. Bret is a private pilot and prior to founding the company, he held sales and marketing positions with Cessna Aircraft and Cobalt Boats.
Bret describes how drones can help growers achieve their precision agriculture objectives. He gives us some insight into the state of the market and how farmers view the new technology. We talk about using AgEagle’s drone technology to quickly capture aerial images of crop health, and how the resulting prescription map identifies areas of stress such as disease and pests or improper irrigation. Growers can then utilize their equipment more efficiently, reduce costs, increase crop yields, and minimize environmental impact.
The AgEagle fixed-wing RX60 is a durable, lightweight, professional-grade drone. It’s electric-powered, encased in carbon fiber, with a flight time of about one hour. The RX60 can capture aerial NIR/NDVI maps of 300 acres or more per flight for image acquisition supporting precision agriculture growers and agronomists.