Tag Archives: DJI

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

 

 

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.

 

 

 

UAV166 DJI Mavik Hands-On Review

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. 

Guest

DJI formation flight

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.

News

Verizon Forges Ahead with New LTE Drone Project

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.

India sets up ATC towers upgradation committee for UAVs

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.

How Drones Can Save the Flood Control District Thousands of Headaches

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.

Video of the Week

Drone, social media make flood rescue happen in real time

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.”

UAV164 Reflections on InterDrone

DJI Mavic

Guest

Parker Gyokeres

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.

Topics

InterDrone

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.

UAV153 ADS-B Out for Small UAS

Flightradar24 and Skysense collaborate on ADS-B for drones, Boeing establishes the Collaborative Autonomous Systems Laboratory, Kansas chooses an unmanned aircraft director, Eurotunnel employs UAVs, implications of AI, and DJI updates its geofencing capability.

Flightradar 24 and the Skysense BCON1

Flightradar 24 and the Skysense BCON1

News

The Site That Lets You Track Planes In Real-Time Wants to Track Drones Too

Flightradar24 and Skysense are partnering to bring ADS-B solutions to drones. Flightradar24 is investing capital in Skysense, who will use the investment for product development. Skysense has been developing small, lightweight ADS-B OUT boards for small UAS and manned aircraft. They call their BCON1, “the world’s lightest, most energy-efficient and smallest ADS-B OUT device for drones.”

Boeing Opens Collaborative Autonomous Systems Laboratory in Missouri

The new 8,100-square-foot Collaborative Autonomous Systems Laboratory (CASL) will conduct research to test hardware and software that makes autonomous vehicles work together more effectively as a team or unit. The Lab will work with academic institutions, research partners, government agencies.

Kansas names Air Force veteran first unmanned aircraft director

Kansas has chosen Bob Brock to be its first director of unmanned aircraft systems, reporting to the state’s director of aviation. Brock had a 22-year career in the Air Force and held positions in intelligence and special operations units utilizing drones. He’ll help develop drone-related businesses, ensure safe operation of drones by individuals and companies, and developing a plan with the Department of Commerce and the Department of Agriculture to bring jobs to Kansas.

Drones deployed to keep migrants and refugees out of Channel Tunnel amid warnings of post-Brexit surge

Eurotunnel operates the 30-mile tunnel between Britain and France, and they had already been thinking about tracking people seeking asylum. With the Brexit vote, they are even more concerned about migrants passing through the tunnel before it becomes more difficult to get into Britain. To help address this, Eurotunnel has demonstrated using small surveillance drones equipped with thermal imaging cameras if they believe people are in the 18-mile secure zone surrounding the tunnel entrance in France.

Is AI The Worst Mistake In Human History?

This LinkedIn “Pulse” article by John Battelle looks at the possible implications of a world dominated by Artificial Intelligence, also called Machine Learning and Cognitive Computing.

DJI makes it easier to keep your drone out of no-fly zones

DJI is making improvements to the geofencing system employed by its Phantom and Inspire drones. Permanent and temporary flight restrictions are included, as well as a process to unlock the geofence when that is necessary.

Connecticut father, son fight Federal Aviation Administration over gun-firing, flame-throwing drones

A teenager and his father are refusing to comply with subpoenas ordering them to provide information about the videos they posted. They claim the subpoenas violate their constitutional rights, and they question the FAA’s authority to regulate recreational drones. During questioning for an unrelated assault event, police seized the teen’s phone and reportedly found material that could lead to felony charges.

Video of the Week

Salmon Seining

Listener Josh Jarvis is a commercial fisherman in Southeast Alaska who started flying drones in 2013. After receiving encouraging feedback about his video clips on Instagram, he edited this video that shows commercial salmon fishing in Alaska. Josh has a video channel for his other drone video projects, all filmed with a Phantom 2 and a GoPro HERO3+.

Feedback

This X-shaped sensor will alert you to incoming drones, so you can freak out

FAA Part 107 Frequently Asked Questions in Drone Law by Jonathan Rupprecht

US sUAS/Drone Owner Maps

 

 

 

UAV137 Aurora’s LightningStrike Hybrid-electric X-plane

Aurora Flight Sciences LightningStrikeThe Aurora Flight Sciences unmanned VTOL X-plane, shore-to-ship package delivery, Senate FAA reauthorization bill impacts UAS, more proposed local drone legislation, a new DJI Phantom, and high-altitude sUAS flying.

News

Aurora Wins Darpa Contract to Build Novel Drone Demonstrator

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) awarded second- and third-phase contract awards to Aurora Flight Sciences for the “LightningStrike” technology demonstrator. Aurora plans to start flight testing the vertical takeoff and landing experimental plane (VTOL X-Plane) in 2018.

The LightningStrike features two large rear wings and two smaller front canards. The same Rolls-Royce AE 1107C turboshaft engine used in V-22 Osprey tiltrotor is mounted in the fuselage and powers three Honeywell generators which drive 24 ducted fans on the wings and canards. The wings and canards rotate to direct the fan thrust for hovering, transition, and forward flight.

Aurora’s LightningStrike VTOL X-Plane

Maersk Tankers Claims First Drone Delivery to Ship at Sea

A French Xamen Technologies drone dropped a small package onto a Maersk tanker in Denmark as a test to see if drones could be used to deliver spare parts, mail, or medicine to a ship. Compared to traditional means of delivery, the potential cost savings is significant.

Bipartisan Senate FAA bill shuns Shuster’s ATC proposal

The U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee has introduced a bipartisan FAA reauthorization bill that does not include any proposal for air traffic control privatization. However, under the Senate bill, the US National Institute of Standards (NIST) and the FAA would “develop risk-based, consensus industry standards on [UAV] aircraft safety.”

“The FAA would also establish a process for the airworthiness approval of small [UAVs] based on the consensus standards, in lieu of the more cumbersome certification process used for the approval of other aircraft. These standards … approved by FAA would ultimately improve safety by prescribing which safety technologies would be built into unmanned aircraft systems sold in the United States.”

Drone-Mounted Handgun, Flamethrower Reignite Lawmaker Debate

Reacting to the well-publicised drone weaponization exploits of a Connecticut teen, state legislators have conducted public hearings and proposed legislation to outlaw certain activity.

One bill would make it a class C felony, punishable by one to ten years in prison, to use a drone to release tear gas or other substances, or to control a deadly weapon or explosive device. Another bill would also limit how law enforcement and state agencies can use drones. But Peter Sachs, author of the Drone Law Journal, says one version of the bill exempts police from the ban on weaponized drones.

Proposed Utah legislation would allow cops to shoot down drones

Utah is not fooling around when it comes to drones. The recently introduced Senate Bill 210 would designate certain drone activity as aerial trespassing, and create guidelines for enforcement, including an option for police to shoot down rogue UAVs. State Senator Wayne Harper wants to address three issues: privacy, non-interference with airports and aircraft, and non-interference with emergency situations.

The bill would ban drones within 500 feet of correctional institutions or within three miles of a wildfire, and make it illegal to use a drone in the surveillance of large crowds or for stalking someone in a voyeuristic way. Violating drones could be neutralized by first responders or law enforcement officers.

DJI’s New Phantom 4 Drone Is Smarter, More Expensive and Available From Apple

DJI introduced the Phantom 4 which can dodge obstacles and track humans. The Phantom 4 features two sensors that allow it to react to and avoid obstacles in its path. The TapFly mode lets you tap on the live view on your smart device screen to direct the Phantom 4 in that direction. Flight time increases to 28 minutes, which is 25% more than the Phantom 3 Professional.

Someone thought it would be a good idea to fly a drone at 11,000 ft—it wasn’t

An anonymous YouTuber claims to have flown a modified DJI Phantom 2 to an altitude of 11,000 feet. Not all drone enthusiasts are impressed.

Video of the Week

African kids see drone for the first time!

Mark Brandon Smith was filming in Uganda when the headmaster of a school there asked him to give the kids a show with the drone. Watch the reaction from the kids as he flew the DJI Phantom 3 Professional for a short flight.

Mentioned

High-tech ‘bazooka’ fires a net to take down drones

The SkyWall 100 from U.K.-based OpenWorks Engineering fires projectiles at drones from a shoulder-mounted compressed air launcher. The Skywall locks on the drone, tracks the drone’s flight path, calculates an intercept trajectory, and fires a cannister with a net.

Watch high tech ‘bazooka’ take down a drone Fox News

Watch This Jet Ski Destroy a Drone, and Catch Some Serious Air

 

 

UAV131 Democratized Technology

Skyward.ioThe CEO of Skyward tells us about software and services for commercial UAS operations. Also, DJI and Lufthansa do a drone deal, open source vs. open architecture autopilots, and taking FPV drone racing to the next level.

Guest

Jonathan EvansJonathan Evans is the CEO of Skyward, a provider of professional services and software in the form of airspace maps and integrated flight planning tools for commercial UAV operators.

Jonathan was a professional pilot for 18 years with over 3,000 hours of flight time. He holds an airline transport pilot (ATP) license and commercial and flight instructor ratings in airplanes and helicopters.

Jonathan began his career as a UH60 Blackhawk pilot and served as an Aircraft and Air Mission Commander for the 236th Medical company. He was selected to fly for the Army’s 12th Aviation Battalion, an aviation unit charged with protecting the Washington DC area and flying presidential cabinet members, congressmen and top Pentagon officials. During his military service, Jonathan built and managed secure computer networks and databases.
As a commercial pilot in civilian life, Jonathan flew medical crews to trauma scenes and hospitals for air ambulance companies in New Mexico, Alaska, and Oregon. He also flew in support of resource management and development projects in rural Alaska before settling in Oregon. He is now the CEO of Skyward, a drone operations platform.

Skyward webinarThe Skyward Professional Services team is hosting a webinar February 16 at 10 am PST (GMT-8:00) Get expert advice from the Skyward Professional Services team on running a professional drone operation. To register, see Drone Flights Underway? Expert Advice for Running a Professional Operation.

News

Lufthansa swoops on drone market

Lufthansa signs deal with DJI in fledgling drone push

Lufthansa and DJI have signed a partnership deal under which Lufthansa Aerial Services (LAS) would use DJI products and provide services to commercial customers. That might even include operating the drones. Lufthansa says they want to be a “one-stop-shop,” and that they will decide on their level of commitment by the end of the year.

UAV Propulsion Tech Post #15 – The Advantages of Commercial UAV Autopilots over Open Source Alternatives

Bob Schmidt from UAV Propulsion Tech (a sponsor of this show) posted this white paper by Sarah Vallely from MicroPilot. Last week we talked about the Dronecode Project and open source UAV control software. Adding to that discussion, Vallely brings up some interesting considerations for open source software. She argues that open source software is problematic for commercial applications, and open architecture is a better approach.

Video of the Week

There’s now a drone racing league that feels like pod racing from Star Wars

The Drone Racing League (DRL) announced its inaugural season for FPV racing. Spectator FPV racing suffers from a technical problem: The FPV standard definition video feed from the drone is poor quality, and HD video from the drone isn’t fast enough for the pilots. DRL has a solution: Use a low definition camera for the FPV pilots, and an HD camera that the producers can edit later for viewing.

Mentioned

Max was interviewed for an article in Drone Magazine (UK) about drone podcasts. The article, titled Radio Activity, appears in Issue #2, January 2016. Find more about the magazine on their Facebook page.

 

UAV128 Get the App Before You Fly

Tactical Robotics AirMuleRegistration of model aircraft moves to the courts, FAA releases an app and answers more registration questions, a cargo delivery UAV makes a first untethered flight, and a new drone challenge.

News

FAA Sued In Federal Court Over Drone Registration Rules

Attorney and model airplane enthusiast John A. Taylor from Silver Spring, Maryland believes that the FAA requirement for sUAS registration is a violation of Section 336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. Taylor requested an emergency stay of the registration requirement, but that was denied. The lawsuit is proceeding through the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, with a filing deadline of January 27, 2016.

FAA Administrator Huerta Addresses UAS Registration and Integration at CES

Administrator Michael Huerta spoke at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show, praising the work of the Registration Task force and noting that as of January  6, 2016, 181,061 operators had registered their drones.

Huerta was joined by Registration Task Force members:

  • Dave Vos, project lead for Google X’s Project Wing
  • Nancy Egan, 3D Robotics general counsel
  • Brendan Schulman, vice president of policy and legal affairs for DJI
  • Doug Johnson, vice president of technology policy for the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)

Schulman expressed concern about the ability to find an operator’s home address by looking up their registration number. On enforcement, Huerta says the FAA is trying for “voluntary compliance” but also that the FAA works closely with local enforcement.

FAA Releases B4UFLY Smartphone App

B4UFlyAlso at CES, Huerta announced the public release of the B4UFLY app for iOS, and the beta of a version for the Android operating system. The FAA says, “B4UFLY tells users about current or upcoming requirements and restrictions in areas of the National Airspace System (NAS) where they may want to operate their unmanned aircraft system (UAS).”

 

UAS Registration Q&A

The FAA Registration FAQs were updated to further explain the process:

Q52. Who can see the data that I can enter?

A. The FAA will be able to see the data that you enter. The FAA is using a contractor to maintain the website and database, and that contractor also will be able to see the data that you enter. Like the FAA, the contractor is required to comply with strict legal requirements to protect the confidentiality of the personal data you provide. Under certain circumstances, law enforcement officers might also be able to see the data. In the future, the registration database will be searchable by registration number only, but not by name or address. However, it is not searchable at this time.

Q2. Does it cost anything to register?

A. Federal law requires owners to pay $5 to register their aircraft. However, registration is free for the first 30 days to encourage speedy registration of UAS. During the first 30 days, you must pay $5 with a credit card, a pre-paid credit card or a debit card from a major bank. A $5 credit will appear 5-10 days afterwards.

Q9. Does the FAA have two different registration systems? If so, why?

A. Yes, there are two systems. The online system is currently only required for UAS used for hobby or recreational purposes. This new registration process is quick and easy and provides the registrant with a registration certificate immediately. The paper-based system is for manned aircraft and unmanned aircraft that are not solely used for [non-]hobby or recreational purposes or weigh more than 55 lbs. This process takes much longer to complete and the $5 registration fee is non-refundable. The FAA will transition the paper-based system to a web-based tool later in 2016.

Q11. Are non-U.S. citizens visiting the United States on vacation or for drone competitions required to register?

A. Everyone, including foreign nationals and tourists, who operate a UAS for hobby or recreational purposes outdoors in the U.S. must use the FAA’s online registration system. These non-U.S. citizens or non-permanent U.S. residents will receive the same registration certificate as U.S. Citizens or permanent U.S. residents. However, this certificate will function as a “recognition of ownership” document. This document is required by the Department of Transportation for foreign nationals to operate legally in the US.

Q19. I would like to fly my Radio/Remote Controlled (RC) aircraft outdoors, do I have to register it?

A. Yes, RC aircraft are unmanned aircraft and must be registered online if they weigh more than 0.55 lbs. and less than 55 pounds.

AirMule: Autonomous Cargo Delivery, Beyond Line of Sight

Tactical Robotics Ltd announced a successful untethered first flight of the AirMule Vertical TakeOff and Landing UAV. This cargo vehicle with internal lift rotors should be operational in a few years.

Ford Targets Drone-to-Vehicle Technology to Improve Emergency Services, Commercial Business Efficiency

The $100,000 2016 DJI SDK Developer Challenge brings DJI and Ford together to create drone-to-vehicle communications using Ford SYNC®AppLink or OpenXC. This is an opportunity for you to design an unmanned rescue aircraft that can be used for search missions.

“The aircraft must autonomously enter the ‘disaster area’ and gather information on the location of the ‘survivors’, and transmit it back to the computing device in the vehicle. Having captured all necessary information, it must then automatically return and land on the moving vehicle.”

  • Primary Technical Challenge: Automatic landing on a moving vehicle
  • Secondary Technical Challenge: Vision Guided Flight
  • Tertiary Technical Challenge: Object Recognition

Video of the Week

CES 2016: Intel drone dodges ‘falling tree’ on stage

Intel demonstrated a drone at CES that flew an obstacle course and autonomously detected and avoided an object that fell in its path.

Mentioned

AMA Air – January 2016

AMA Government and Regulatory Affairs team members Chad Budreau and Rich Hanson talk about UAS registration.

UAV123 UAS Registration Task Force Recommendations


The UAS Registration Task Force issues its report to the FAA, and industry responds. A free, worldwide UAS course for new users, and package delivery by drone down under.

UAS Registration Task Force

UAS Task Force RecommendationsThe Registration Task Force provided its sUAS registration recommendations [PDF] to the FAA. The FAA will now consider those recommendations, as well as the public comments received, and issue its requirements for registration. If all goes according to the plan, these will come from the FAA this month, in December.

In its final report, the Task Force recommended:

  • Registration for all drones between 250 grams (.55 pounds) and 55 pounds operated outdoors
  • Registration by owner, not by drone. One registration number applies to all your drones.
  • As an alternative, you can instead register by manufacturer serial number.
  • Registration is required by time of flight, not at point of sale.
  • Required information: name and street address.
  • Optional information: email address, phone number.
  • Registration number (or serial number) displayed on each drone.
  • No fee, no citizenship requirement, minimum age 13.
  • Registration should be web-based with the certificate mailed/emailed to registrant.

AMA Reacts to DOT Task Force Recommendations on UAS Registration

The “AMA agrees that registration of UAS makes sense at some level and for flyers operating outside the guidance of a community-based organization or flying for commercial purposes.” But the Academy of Model Aeronautics does not support registration for its membership flying non-commercially.

The organization argues that members operate under a community-based organization: “Adding an additional requirement for AMA members to register at the federal level is contrary to the intent of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. Public Law clearly states that the FAA is prohibited from promulgating any new rules for recreational users operating within the safety guidelines of a community-based organization. Congress by no means intended to grant a free pass for individuals who operate model aircraft. Instead, it clearly intended to leave risk mitigation and the development of appropriate safety guidelines for the operation of these devices by the members of the AMA to the nationwide community-based organization.”

DJI Concludes Participation on FAA Drone-Registration Task Force

“We share the concerns of many of the 4,700 people who filed comments that this process was initiated in response to sensational headlines rather than data-based risk assessments, and contradicts the provisions of several federal statutes. Nonetheless, we undertook in good faith the assignment, which was not to argue the law, but to use our expertise and knowledge as the world’s largest drone manufacturer to recommend to the Administrator a national drone registration system intended to be minimally burdensome to consumers and professionals, and effective at the stated goals.”

5 Things to Know About Mandatory Drone Registration

Lia Reich is Senior Director of Communications at PrecisionHawk, and PrecisionHawk was a member of the task force. In this piece, Lia provides some major points concerning the Task Force recommendations, but she also notes that she was on the “Women in Drones” panel at the Drone World Expo in San Jose. The panel discussed some of the ways that women can better influence outcomes in the commercial drone space.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Worldwide to Offer Free Online UAS Course for New Users

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Worldwide is offering “Unmanned Aerospace Systems (UAS) – Key Concepts for New Users.” The massive open online course (MOOC) runs from Jan. 11 to 24, 2016. Registration opens Dec. 8, 2015.

The MOOC will consist of two 30 to 40-minute pre-recorded presentations, interactive discussion boards, and supporting links and videos. MOOC topics will include:

  • UAS Basics
  • The UAS Operating Environment
  • The National Airspace System (NAS)
  • Understanding the Basic Dos/Don’ts of UAS/Recreational Drone Operations
  • Planning to Fly Safe

Embry-Riddle says, “The primary goal is to educate new UAS users about effective operating procedures that foster safe UAS operations.”

UAV Propulsion Tech Post #13 – UAV’s Spotted at Dubai Airshow 2015

Bob Schmidt, president of UAV Propulsion Tech, attended this year’s Dubai Airshow looking for potential UAV customers for propulsion, servo, autopilot, and rescue/recovery parachute products. Bob’s well-illustrated report describes the UAVs at the airshow, but notes that there weren’t as many UAV exhibitors as he had hoped.  Bob looks forward to the UMEX show (Unmanned Systems Exhibition & Conference) in Abu Dhabi March 6-8, 2016 since this event is focused on UAVs.

Australia Post could soon be delivering packages with drones

Australia Post is trialing package delivery with drones that could be put to use as early as next year. The $10,000 drones will carry 2kg packages up to 25km, although the Post is looking at transporting 10kg packages.

Video of the Week

Flying Drones in rural areas

The Colorado Agricultural Aviation Assoc., Agribotix, UAS Colorado, and Avian conducted a test to see if pilots flying crop-dusting and other low-flying aircraft could see drones flying over the same fields. They could not.

Mentioned

The RoboUniverse Conference and Expo takes place December 14-16, 2015 in San Diego, California. It begins with a half day of interactive tutorials, followed by 2 days of conference sessions and exhibit hall access. Sessions include a drones track and keynote sessions by industry leaders, such as Chris Anderson, CEO of 3D Robotics. Other features include Drone Zone demos, an EZDrone Crash Course, and RoboGameChanger startup competition. If you act fast, you can get 10% off the conference price when you use the discount code “DIGEST.”

David participated in the Drone Laws and Technology / Latest TSA Adjustments conversation on Hong Kong’s Radio 3. You can listen to the panel on the Backchat podcast.