Category Archives: Episodes

UAV194 Drones for Public Safety Agencies

The CEO of SkyFire Consulting explains the use of drones by public safety agencies, such as law enforcement, firefighting, and first responders.

Matt Sloane, CEO of SkyFire Consulting, providing drone services for public safety agencies.

Matt Sloane, CEO of SkyFire Consulting

Matt Sloane is the CEO of SkyFire Consulting, a consulting company focused on the use of drones by public safety agencies. Started by four public safety professionals and a commercial pilot, SkyFire delivers professional level training, FAA consulting, and equipment sales and consultation. This provides departments with a one-stop-shop for starting drone programs.

Matt describes how and why public safety agencies, like law enforcement and firefighting, are using drones. We talk about regulatory requirements, the drones and sensors being employed, as well as privacy and rights issues. Matt also offers some good advice for drone owners who want to assist public safety agencies.

SkyFire offers training for agencies that want to include drones in their arsenal of tools, and Matt describes what they offer. We also note that the SkyFire Public Safety UAV Symposium will be held June 21-23, 2017, at the Hilton Fort Collins, in Fort Collins, Colorado. That event will bring together experts in drones, thermal imaging, public safety UAV operations, lawmakers, and public safety professionals to provide training on the latest information.

Matt is an FAA-certified manned aircraft pilot as well as an accomplished drone pilot. He also serves on the National Fire Protection Association’s committee on UAVs, which is working to establish the first real UAV guidelines for the fire service.

You can find SkyFire Consulting on the web at SkyFireConsulting.com, on Twitter at @SkyfireDrones, and on their Facebook page.

UAV193 Flying Drones Over People

The impact of drones striking people, geo-restrictions in war zones, monitoring volcanic ash, structure inspections using UAVs and artificial intelligence, keeping wildlife away from crops, waste management with drones, swarming tactics, Project Wing update, and drone weaponization for law enforcement.

A UAS crash test dummy in a study of flying drones over people.

A UAS crash test dummy provided data for a UAS ground collision severity study.

UAV News

FAA Issues Study on UAS Human Collision Hazards

In order to create regulations for flying drones over people, the FAA needs to know what happens when a UAV strikes a human. A consortium of universities has been studying this, and their report identifies dominant injury types applicable to small drones. See: FAA and Assure Announce Results of Ground Collision Study.

DJI Mysteriously Turned Vast Swaths of Iraq and Syria Into Drone No-Fly Zones

Without much fanfare, DJI created no-fly zones over large areas of Iraq and Syria. Some speculate this was a move to thwart ISIS from using their drones.

CNN journalist evades DJI GEO restrictions in Iraq

A CNN reporter proved the no-fly zone could be defeated by covering the GPS on his DJI Mavic with tinfoil. Without GPS, the no-fly zones are disabled.

NASA Selects Black Swift Technologies’ sUAS for Volcano Ash Monitoring

NASA has awarded a contract to Black Swift Technologies to develop and deliver a sUAS solution to explore volcanoes. Black Swift will provide an airframe, avionics, and sensors to measure gases, temperature, pressure, humidity, and winds, as well as particle sizes and trace gases. All this for improved air traffic management systems and more accurate measurements of ashfall.

AT&T Labs working to combine drone video footage with artificial intelligence monitoring

AT&T Labs is studying how they can use artificial intelligence (AI) and video footage of cell towers taken by a drone. AT&T wants to eliminate the labor for physical inspections and video analysis.

Drones keep elephants away from people in Tanzania

In Tanzania, elephants sometimes graze on crops and destroy them, presenting a huge problem for the people trying to grow food. The U.S.-based nonprofit Resolve is testing the use of drones to drive the animals away.

Drones-The Latest High Tech Tool For Las Cruces Waste Management

A quadcopter is being used to map a regional landfill and provide volumetrics to the landfill management company. This information about the amount of air space remaining in existing landfill cells is critical for future development plans.

Service Academies Swarm Challenge: Controlling drone swarms

DARPA created the Service Academies Swarm Challenge where U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Air Force academy teams compete and go from “zero to swarm in 8 months.” The research effort is an experiment where students develop offensive and defensive tactics for swarms of small UAVs.

Video: An Overview of DARPA’s Service Academies Swarm Challenge

Alphabet’s Project Wing Cuts Staff Before Progress Update

Reportedly, Google parent Alphabet has significantly cut staff at Project Wing. Yet sources say the program is still alive and a major progress update and demonstration is expected before summer.

Public Safety Committee Grounds Drone Legislation

Legislation proposed in Connecticut would have made that state the first in the U.S. to allow law enforcement to use weaponized drones. However, the legislature’s Public Safety and Security Committee decided to let the legislation die. This was after drone attorney Peter Sachs wrote an email to all members of the Committee asking them to vote against the proposal.

UAV Video of the Week

Amazing Drone Footage – The USS Alabama From The Air – A Very Impressive Battleship

The USS Alabama (BB-60) is a South Dakota Class Battleship, launched on April 16, 1942. It served during World War II in both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. This video was shot using a hexacopter with a GoPro at the USS Alabama Memorial Park.

Mentioned

Drones flown in helicopter flight path at Franz Josef heliport ‘a huge risk’ to safety, police warn

 

 

UAV192 Uber Air Taxi UAV

Drone vulnerability to hacking, the ScanEagle gets fuel cell power, Grand Sky UAS Park adds a major tenant, drone privacy issues in Australia, swarming biobots, and Uber collaborates with Aurora Flight Sciences for an air taxi.

Aurora Flight Sciences air taxi concept

Aurora Flight Sciences Electric VTOL Aircraft

UAV News

Watch A Very Vulnerable $140 Quadcopter Drone Get Hacked Out Of The Sky

Researchers at the Cyber-Physical Systems Security Lab at the University of Texas at Dallas hacked into a small quadcopter and took control. UT Dallas researcher Junia Valente said, “The device contains an open access point not protected by any password and a misconfigured FTP server that allows unauthorized users to read and write to the drone filesystem. One of the attacks we did was precisely to overwrite sensitive system files to gain full root access.”

Five reasons why fuel cell powered UAVs beat internal combustion fuel systems

A ScanEagle UAV manufactured by Boeing subsidiary Insitu has been tested with a Ballard Power Systems’ fuel cell system. Ballard lists five advantages that fuel cell propulsion of UAVs has over internal combustion systems.

North Dakota UAS Park Welcomes Northrop Grumman as Anchor Tenant

The Grand Sky Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Business and Aviation Park, located near Grand Forks, North Dakota has welcomed new tenant Northrop Grumman to a 36,000 square-foot facility. The park has access to Grand Forks Air Force Base, where Northrop Grumman provides systems and technology to the U.S. Air Force, including the RQ-4 Global Hawk.

Backyard skinny-dippers lack effective laws to keep peeping drones at bay

A woman returned to her home in Darwin from an evening gym session, got undressed, and began to enjoy her secluded backyard pool. Soon, a small camera-mounted quadcopter appeared overhead. She doesn’t know who was operating the drone.

In Australia, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) does not prevent drones from flying over private property. Australia lacks a tort of privacy so even if she could find him, the woman couldn’t sue the drone operator for a breach of privacy.

Software allows for use of drones and insect biobots to map disaster areas

North Carolina State University researchers have created the hardware and software to use UAVs and insect cyborgs (or biobots) as a way to map areas like collapsed buildings after a disaster. Biobots could move freely within a defined space and map the area as they go.

UAV Video of the Week

Aurora Flight Sciences’ Electric VTOL Aircraft

Uber selected Aurora Flight Sciences as a partner to develop an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for its Uber Elevate Network. Aurora’s eVTOL concept is derived from its XV-24A X-plane program currently underway for the U.S. Department of Defense and other autonomous aircraft the company has developed over the years.

See also: We just got our first glimpse of Uber’s vision for flying taxis

 

 

 

UAV191 A Mountain Search and Rescue Drone

A drone for high altitude mountain search and rescue, a package delivery plan for Singapore, a “flying cell site” using a long endurance drone, and a growing market for anti-drone products.

The HyDrone 1550 hydrogen powered drone

HyDrone 1550, courtesy MMC.

UAV News

Hydrogen Drone, HyDrone 1550, Successfully Tested at High Altitudes

The MMC hydrogen-powered HyDrone 1550 has been tested at altitudes over 14,000 feet in cold and mountainous Yunnan Province, China. The HyDrone 1550 can operate in environments where other drones cannot, making it good for mountain search and rescue.

Airbus and Singpost testing last-mile drone package delivery

Singapore Post signed a memorandum of understanding with Airbus Helicopters to conduct research and testing for drone package delivery. SingPost becomes a partner under the Airbus Helicopter Skyways package delivery project for urban environments. A trial at the National University of Singapore (NUS) is planned for early 2018 where autonomous drones will fly in pre-defined routes and drop off packages across the campus. More at the Airbus Future of Urban Mobility webpage.

Verizon Tests New Drone To Deliver 4G LTE Service

Verizon conducted an engineering flight test of Airborne LTE in order to find the size of the wireless coverage area that can be created by a drone. The “flying cell site” was conducted with an American Aerospace RS-20 long endurance drone at Woodbine Municipal Airport in New Jersey.

Anti-Drone Market Analysis By Mitigation Type (Destructive, Non-Destructive), By Defense Type (Detection & Disruption, Detection), By End-Use (Military & Defense, Commercial, Government), By Region And Segment Forecasts, 2014 – 2024

Grand View Research, Inc. reports that they expect the global anti-drone market to reach USD 1.85 billion by 2024. As UAVs are becoming stealthier, faster, smaller, and cheaper, threats and nuisance are expected to increase. Anti-drone technology is receiving a lot of investment in areas such as acoustic signature and visual identification, and electronic countermeasures. The full report is available for purchase.

Why drones could be a better solution than a wall on the US-Mexico border

What is less expensive and more effective, a wall or a lot of drones?

UAV Video of the Week

Lilium shows maiden flight of world’s first working prototype of an electric VTOL jet

Mentioned

Drone targets Singapore Airlines A350

A drone reportedly came within 300 feet of a Singapore Airlines A350.

 

UAV190 The Application of ADS-B to Drones

Putting ADS-B on small drones, faster and more agile drones for the Drone Racing League, speeding up Part 107 approvals at the FAA, and equipping U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents with sUAS.

ping ADS-B transceivers and transponders

ping ADS-B transceivers and transponders shown to scale with a DJI Matrice 100. Courtesy uAvionix.

Interview

Tim Trott, “The Drone Professor,” talks with Ryan Reed from uAvionix at the 2017 Sun ‘n Fun International Fly-In Expo held April 4-9, 2017 in Lakeland, Florida. They discuss the emerging ADS-B options for drones, and how uAvionix is addressing the problems of spectrum congestion and screen clutter.

UAV News

ESPN’s Drone Racing League returns with faster, bigger races

The Drone Racing League is introducing the Racer3 drone for season two. All competing pilots will use the Racer3, which is more powerful and agile than the Racer2. The new drone features 209 LED lights with a built-in LED matrix display, a custom 1,800mA battery, and proprietary internal long range radios for live events and broadcast.

In DRL’s next-gen Racer3 drone combines speed, performance, ESPN quotes DRL founder and CEO Nick Horbaczewski: “It is dramatically more powerful, faster and more agile than the Racer2. The Racer3 can go from zero to 80 miles an hour in less than a second, which means it can basically accelerate on a dime — which makes for really exciting racing and allowed us to create larger courses, more extreme courses.”

Races air on ESPN starting June 20, 2017.

FAA Will Release Maps to Speed up Drone Authorization Applications

The FAA wants to help drone operators improve the quality of their Part 107 airspace authorization requests, and speed up the processing of requests. On April 27, 2017, the FAA plans to release a set of UAS facility maps that show areas and altitudes near airports where UAS may operate safely. These maps will be available at http://www.faa.gov/uas for download in several formats and can be viewed on mobile devices.

Drone pilots can refer to the facility maps and align their applications with altitudes that the maps indicate are likely to be approved for small UAS operations. This simplifies the process and increases the likelihood that the FAA will approve the requests.

The US Border Patrol is trying to build face-reading drones

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is soliciting proposals for small UAS to be used by Border Patrol agents in the field. They are looking for drones that can be carried in a truck, deployed by a single Border Patrol agent in under 5 minutes, include sensors such as infrared cameras and facial-recognition, and distinguish between people, animals, and vehicles. CBP expects to be able to cross-reference drone observations with law enforcement databases.

UAV Video of the Week

Safety Drone?!? Check out the Tracker Drone Bojiang S5C-2 Review – TheRcSaylors

The RcSaylors YouTube channel covers RC, but they frequently provide consumer drone unboxings, reviews, and giveaways.

 

 

UAV189 The LightningStrike XV-24A VTOL UAS

XV-24A VTOL UAS subscale vehicle demonstrator

XV-24A subscale vehicle demonstrator. (Courtesy Aurora Flight Sciences.)

A successful test flight program for a VTOL UAS, an autonomous drone system gets an authorization to fly, the insurance industry advances drone use for structure inspections, UK drone reports increase, and drone weaponization for law enforcement.

UAV News

Aurora’s massive LightningStrike VTOL UAV just got one step closer to reality

The Aurora Flight Sciences LightningStrike XV-24A subscale vehicle demonstrator (SVD) aircraft test flight program was successfully completed at a U.S. military facility. The SVD aircraft is a 325 pound, Lithium battery-powered scale model of the full-size XV-24A. That flight test program is scheduled to begin in late 2018.

The XV-24A is a tilt-wing UAV using the same Rolls-Royce AE 1107C turboshaft engine used on the V-22 Osprey, to drive three Honeywell generators. The generators power 24 variable-pitch ducted fans on the wing and canard.

Press release: LightningStrike XV-24A Demonstrator Successfully Completes Subscale Flight Test Program [PDF]

Airobotics becomes first company granted authorization to fly UAS without a pilot

Tel Aviv-based Airobotics has operated a BVLOS system at Israel Chemicals (ICL) and Intel in Israel, accumulating more than 10,000 flight hours and automated flight cycles. The success of the system led the Civil Aviation Authority of Israel (CAAI) to grant authorization to fly the UAS without a pilot. The Airobotics system consists of the Optimus drone, an Airbase automated base station, and software that lets users control and manage missions.

Next time your roof gets hit by hail, a drone may inspect damage

Farmers Insurance conducted its first roof inspection with a DJI Phantom quadcopter. Inspection by drone is faster than a conventional inspection and eliminates potential damaging foot traffic on the roof.

Drones prompt ‘flood’ of complaints to police

Last year in the UK, police received 3,456 drone reports, while 1,237 reports were recorded in 2015. Reports include invasions of privacy, disputes between neighbours, aircraft near misses, prison smuggling, and burglars using drones to see if a house was occupied. The Department for Transport considering new measures, Including the creation of a criminal offence for drone misuse.

Weaponized Police Drones May Become Reality in Connecticut

After videos by a Connecticut teenager of his weaponized drones went viral, legislation was introduced in the Connecticut State Legislature to ban weaponized drones in the state. However, if enacted, the bill would carve out an exemption for law enforcement. No other state allows lethal drones. North Dakota permits law enforcement to use “less than lethal” weapons, like tear gas and stun guns.

Researchers test drones to spot invasive plants in Minnesota

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and the University of Minnesota Extension are investigating the use of drones to find invasive plants that can be incredibly destructive. Tests are continuing to determine the best sensor to use, the impact of light conditions, and the best flying pattern.

UAV manufacturer senseFly joins April 20 webinar panel

The free UAVs: From Flying Drones to Doing Business webinar is scheduled for Thursday, April 20, 2017, at 1 p.m. EST / 10 a.m. PST / 7 p.m. CET. The webinar will cover a broad range of issues concerning sensor integration aboard a flying platform and in particular their use for commercial purposes. Webinar attendees will have the opportunity to ask direct questions of the speakers, both upon registration and during the live event.

UAV Videos of the Week

Nine Royals 2017 – Racing Drone Edit

This Team BlackSheep video covers the Nine Royals snowboarders and freeskiers event in Italy entirely with FPV racing drones. The video provides views that no spectator could ever experience.

Successful Flight of Hirth 4201 EFI Gasoline Engine in MartinUAV V-BAT UAV

Hirth 4201 engine powering the V-BAT VTOL UAS

Hirth 4201 engine

MartinUAV and Hirth Motors have been working together to power the V-BAT transitional VTOL UAS with a Hirth 4201 air-cooled 2-stroke boxer engine. The February 28 test demonstrated hover and the transitioned to horizontal flight.

The 183cc, gasoline-fueled 15hp Hirth 4201 engine communicates with the V-BAT flight computer and captures engine run parameters during flight for later analysis. A  starter/generator allows for remote start and air vehicle electrical power.

The fixed-wing V-BAT features autonomous vertical take-off and landing (VTOL), an 8+ hour flight duration, and a 5+ pound payload. It has a near zero footprint, and hover and stare capability during flight.

Video: V-Bat Long Endurance VTOL UAV

 

 

 

 

 

UAV188 The Inflatable Drone

A drone that inflates and floats, the drone shoot-down lawsuit, a workshop on using UAS as photographic tools, drone privacy legislation returns at the federal level, and drones deployed with a missile launcher.

DIODON Drone Technology

DIODON Drone Technology with inflatable arms.

UAV News

SOFINS: Airvada unveils inflatable UAVs

French company DIODON Drone Technology offers drone solutions for inspection missions and for reconnaissance in hard to reach areas. Their idea is a range of multi-rotor drones that have inflatable arms. This allows for compact carrying, resistance to damage from shocks, and a drone that floats.

Judge rules in favor of “Drone Slayer,” dismisses lawsuit filed by pilot

In 2015, a Kentucky man shot down a drone that he believed was flying over his property. In 2016, the drone owner sued the man in federal court. He wanted the court to determine if his flight constituted trespassing. The argument was that the FAA regulates drones in the air, so federal law applied. He wanted the shooter to pay damages and repair or replace the drone. However, the judge dismissed the case, saying the venue was wrong. Unfortunately, this was not the right legal case to deal with the core issue of flying a drone over private property.

Renowned Drone Photographer Elia Locardi Partners With DJI To Host Aerial Photography Workshop World Tour

DJI is sponsoring a photography workshop with professional travel photographer and videographer Elia Locardi. For his aerial photography, Elia uses DJI Phantom and Inspire drones, with some helicopter shots mixed in. The DJI Drone Photography Workshop world tour starts in Lisbon, Portugal May 19, 2017. Participants will visit beautiful destinations to photograph using DJI drones during the two and a half day workshops. These will also teach drone photography in the field and in post-processing, as well as safe piloting techniques using the DJI quadcopters. For information, see Aerial DJI Drone Photography Workshops with Elia Locardi.

Proposed Drone Bill Threatens to Upend Privacy Standards, Stifle UAS Industry

U.S. Sen. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., and U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt. have reintroduced the “Drone Aircraft Privacy and Transparency Act.” However, the Commercial Drone Alliance (CDA) argues that instead, we should apply existing law to the new technology, and not create new law for the new technology. CDA also points out that the Act would require drone operators to make public their future operations, including location, flight duration, purpose of the flight, and other advance declarations.

New Russian military drone launches directly from missiles

Splav Research and Manufacturing Association (SRMA) has designed a drone that launches from a missile fired by the Smerch launch system. This lets them quickly place the drone where it is needed.

UAV Video of the Week

Drone captures incredible video of rare whale behavior

Rare video from the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary showing a humpback whale off Maui with its tail out of the water, seemingly catching the wind like a sail. See also Whale Of A Headstand: Rare Humpback Sighting At Sea.

Mentioned

Star Wars 7×7

Congratulations on Episode 1000! Star Wars 7×7 covers news about Star Wars movies, books, TV shows, events, games, comics, trivia, and more. It also features analysis, in-depth discussions, reviews, interviews, and connects the pieces of the Star Wars story unfolding across multiple media platforms.

 

 

UAV187 Hydrogen Fuel Cells for Drones

Our guest explains the research on fuel cells as a power source for unmanned aircraft. In the news, an Airobotics drone operates without a human pilot, the USAF uses a drone for aircraft inspections, BVLOS inspections in Canada, an underwater autonomous vehicle, a drone for humanitarian missions, more Amazon UAS patents, and a Patriot missile takes out a small quadcopter.

Guest

Dr. Benjamin D. Gould is a Chemical Engineer in the Chemistry Division of the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL). He’s an expert in fuel cell power systems and specializes in the development of next-generation power sources for the US Navy.

The Ion Tiger in flight and a 550 W fuel cell

The Ion Tiger in flight and a 550 W fuel cell (insert). Image courtesy of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory.

We talk with Dr. Gould about the research the NRL is conducting with fuel cells and the Ion Tiger unmanned air vehicle. We learn how fuel cells produce electricity, and the reasons fuel cells are attractive for unmanned aircraft. Dr. Gould also explains the application of additive manufacturing to fuel cells, future research projects, and the availability of the hydrogen used as the fuel.

Dr. Gould earned his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan in 2007 and his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines in 2002.  His research interests include additive manufacture of fuel cells, fuel cell recovery processes, bipolar plate design, open cathode fuel cells, and hydrogen safety. He was awarded the prestigious 2013 Delores M. Etter Top Scientists & Engineers of the Year Award for his work on fuel cells.

References:

UAV News

This Airobotics ‘homing’ drone flies and lands without any need for a human

Tel Aviv-based Airobotics wanted to build a drone that required no human operator. One that could take off, fly pre-programmed flights for up to 30 minutes, and then land without human assistance. The company now says they have “developed a platform that is fully automated, industrial grade, on-demand and multi-purpose.” The Airobotics 1 video shows the automated landing box and a robotic arm for automatic payload and battery exchange.

USAF looks at UAS flightline maintenance

A quadcopter has been tested for the maintenance inspection of a C-17 cargo plane at Edwards Air Force Base. The US Air Force’s 412th Test Wing’s Emerging Technologies Combined Test Force (CTF) flew three sorties on the flight line with a 3D Robotics Solo quadcopter. Next, they’ll analyze the video to determine if the resolution is good enough to see small details like structural abnormalities, rivets, and cracks. See also, First use of sUAS to inspect plane lessens load for maintainers.

Canadian UAVs completes first BVLOS pipeline and powerline inspections in Canada

Canadian UAVs Inc. and Lockheed Martin CDL Systems are teaming for BVLOS inspections of pipelines, wellheads, and power lines. Using a Lockheed Martin Indago 2 quadrotor, they demonstrated the capability at the UAV testing facility in Foremost, Alberta.

Canadian UAVs Inc. is a UAV solutions provider. Lockheed Martin CDL Systems specializes in the development and licensing of vehicle control station software for unmanned systems.

British UAV “Boaty” Will Go On First Antarctic Mission

“Boaty McBoatface” is a British UAV, an underwater autonomous vehicle. Researchers plan to use it to collect data about the effects of global warming on the world’s oceans. Boaty is to depart from southern Chile and head towards the Southern Ocean. Follow @BoatyMcBoatface on Twitter.

UK company develops edible drones to feed hungry

Windhorse Aerospace Pouncer

Windhorse Aerospace Pouncer

Windhorse Aerospace is developing a prototype of the Pouncer delta-wing drone. This single-use drone is designed to carry food and supplies on humanitarian missions. Windhorse says it’s “pre-formed shell can be reused to provide shelter, the frame can be burnt safely to cook food, and the payload, which is food and water, provides life-saving nutrition.” Not only that, but the company says, “One day, the airframe may be made of edible components.”

Amazon patents drones with telescoping landing legs and foldable propellers

If a drone lands on a sloping surface, it could fall over. But an Amazon patent contemplates independently telescoping legs that would allow it to stay level. Such legs could also act as a shock absorber, and be tipped with spikes, screws, suction cups, or magnets to grip different surfaces. Another Amazon patent shows adjustable winglets on propeller tips for flight efficiency.

UAV Video of the Week

Someone shot down a $200 drone with a $3M Patriot missile

Gen. David G. Perkins, commander of the US Army Training and Doctrine Command, speaking at the 2017 Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Annual Meeting & Exposition, stated that someone described as a very close U.S. ally “dealing with an adversary flying a small quadcopter,” fired a Patriot surface-to-air missile at the drone. It worked.

Video: AUSA 2017 – GEN David Perkins, Commanding General, U.S. TRADOC

 

 

UAV186 AOPA UAS Programs

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) Senior Director of UAS Programs explains the organization’s strategies for unmanned aircraft.

Guest

Kathleen “Kat” Swain

Kathleen “Kat” Swain, Senior Director for AOPA UAS Programs.

Kathleen “Kat” Swain is Senior Director for AOPA UAS Programs. The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association created the position in 2016, and since then Kat has been working to implement the organization’s strategies for UAS.

Kat was a manned aircraft pilot before she became a remote pilot and has multiple ratings. She is a flight instructor, having instructed both military and civilian pilots. Kat has flown drones for many purposes, including insurance industry support and humanitarian missions.

We discuss the AOPA commitment to unmanned aviation, and how manned and unmanned pilots share the same desire to protect the safety of the airspace. Kat explains the value of AOPA advocacy and the benefits of membership that AOPA offers drone pilots. That includes insurance, legal assistance, pilot protection services, and the new AOPA Drone Pilot biweekly newsletter that covers training and safety, gear, lifestyle, regulation and policy, and drone news.

See:

UAV Video of the Week

Don Toporowski manages the ACE climatic wind tunnel at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. The facility tests drones and can simulate the types of precipitation and clouds that UAVs have to deal with at lower speeds and altitudes. ACE actually creates repeatable water droplets, freezing rain, and clouds. This funny video illustrates the limits of a DJI Phantom 4’s ability to fly in high winds.

A Drone’s Worst Nightmare…

 

UAV185 The DJI Matrice 200 Series of Drones

New DJI Matrice 200 drones created for enterprise users, Parrot also sees a future in the commercial market, an RQ-7 Shadow goes on an unexpected cross-country flight, and swarms of drones may someday map oil spills.

DJI Matrice 210

DJI Matrice 200 series drone

UAV News

DJI’s Matrice 200 UAV line is built for work

DJI showed its new Matrice 200 series of quadcopters at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. It’s a workhorse designed for commercial and industrial applications and comes in three models: the baseline M200 with one gimbal, the M210 with two downward-facing gimbals or one top-mounted gimbal, and the M210 RTK which adds real-time kinematic sensors for precise navigation.

All models use the DJI flight management system, the DJI Pilot app, subject tracking, autonomous circling, and ActiveTrack. Flighthub lets the pilot stream video to a remote station in real-time, and DJI’s Flightsense algorithm lets the M200 drones autonomously avoid obstacles. Significantly, M200s incorporate ADS-B receivers.

Parrot to pursue profits with commercial drones

After failing to meet revenue targets, Parrot says it will return to profitability by 2018 through an expansion of its commercial drone business. The Parrot CFO says, “Professional drones should generate at least 50 to 60 percent gross margin on the long run, where consumer drones cannot generate more than 35 percent of gross margin.”

Questions hover over Army drone’s 630-mile odyssey across western US

An Army Shadow RQ-7Bv2 launched from southern Arizona on January 31 lost the connection with its ground crew. The Shadow was found February 9 in a tree near Denver, 630 miles away.

Coming soon: Oil spill-mapping swarms of flying drones

The University at Buffalo’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences has devised a method to quickly map oil spills with a swarm of off the shelf drones. The drones record if they are over water, over oil, or at the edge of the spill. They then share that information among themselves so they waste time covering an area already observed. When reaching low power, the drones return to the ship for a recharge, while new drones join the swarm already knowing what the others have found. Collision avoidance is accomplished via simple rules taken from nature. See the paper: A Swarm-Intelligence Approach to Oil Spill Mapping using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.

UAV Video of the Week

DJI – Introducing the Matrice 200 Series

Mentioned

The UAV Digest has become a media partner with the ASCEND Conference & Expo, to be held July 19-21, 2017 in Portland Oregon. ASCEND comes from the team behind Drone360 magazine and will focus on the commercial UAS industry with expert speakers and critical analysis. Registration is now open and the coupon code theUAVdigest will get you a $50 discount.