The X47B demonstrates autonomous refueling, 3D Robotics releases the Solo, India weaponizes small drones for crowd control, opinions on how the FAA can do a better job, and Auburn University plans to provide UAS pilot training.
The Navy’s X-47B Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle has successfully demonstrated autonomous aerial refueling, plugging into the aerial refueling basket behind a KC-707 tanker.
3D Robotics released the Solo ready to fly quadcopter. They call it “The Smart Drone” and it includes an onboard 1GHz computer in addition to the Pixhawk 2 flight controller. It has full access to the GoPro camera (not included) and can stream live video. Price is US$1,000, or US$1,400 including a GoPro gimbal mount.
The Senior Superintendent of police in the northern India city of Lucknow says they’ll use small drones with pepper spray to control mobs and unruly crowds. The drones they are using cost between $9,560 and $19,300, and will be fitted with a camera and pepper spray. Lucknow police have already used camera-equipped drones to monitor crowds at a recent religious festival.
This opinion piece argues that rather than issue exemptions one-by-one for sUAS operations, the FAA should issue a blanket exemption.
Auburn University receives nation’s first FAA authorization to operate Unmanned Aircraft Systems Flight School
Auburn University says it has received FAA approval for a new Unmanned Aircraft Systems Flight School as part of its Aviation Center. Bill Hutto, director of the Auburn University Aviation Center said, “We will conduct commercial flight training for operators of unmanned aircraft systems outdoors and untethered. We will have the ability to offer training courses at different locations here and around the state for Auburn students, faculty, members of other public agencies and the general public.”
Amazon had complained that the UAS approved by the FAA in March was already obsolete, due to the length of time it took to get the COA. Amazon has now received a letter from the FAA granting operation of “the Amazon-manufactured multirotor small UAS that has been described to the FAA in a confidential filing.”
UAV Coach asked 33 experts, “If you could only choose one drone accessory, which one would you choose and why?” The site, which seeks to help people fly their quadcopters, “wanted to discover what some of the top industry professionals, drone bloggers, news sites, companies, and pilots would use to enhance their flights if they only had one option.” The group of experts includes past guests Tim Trott and Parker Gyokeres. Oh, and also our own David Vanderhoof.
Video of the Week
This very interesting video documents the relief provided by the 240 foot super motor yacht “Dragonfly” after Tropical Cyclone Pam pummeled the islands of Vanuatu. Much of the video was shot with a quadcopter, and it very clearly illustrates the complete destruction of the island.
DJI has a developer program and SDK which supports the Phantom 2 Vision and Phantom 2 Vision+. Support for the Phantom 3 and Inspire 1 is coming soon. iOS and Android operating systems are supported now, with Windows Phone support coming soon.
Lucasfilm and director J.J. Abrams take you back again to a galaxy far, far away as Star Wars returns to the big screen with “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”