Tag Archives: DJI

UAV122 Realtime Flight Restriction Data Coming to UAVs

DJI geofencing systemDJI and 3D Robotics bring real-time airspace restrictions to UAV software, a UAV flagship store is planned to open, ArcadiaSky opens a marketplace for commercial UAV operators, FAA gives a UAV registration warning, and another municipality regulates drone flights.

News

DJI Introduces New GeoFencing System For Its Drones

DJI plans to introduce a dynamic geofencing system that continuously provides updated airspace information to the operator. Data comes from Geospatial Environment Online (GEO). Drone operators will see temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) in real time, including forest fires, major stadium events, VIP travel, and restrictions around prisons, power plants, and other restricted areas such as national parks.

However, operators with verified DJI accounts could temporarily unlock or self-authorize flights in some of those locations, but not in sensitive national-security locations. This to accommodate the authorized applications and provide accountability if the flight is later under investigation.

DJI intends to start this in December, first in North America and Europe via a DJI Go app update, and also a drone firmware update.

GEO is powered by geospatial data from Santa Monica, California-based AirMap, which calls itself “the leading provider of airspace information and services for drones. AirMap’s real-time services are available to manufacturers through an API and through an SDK for application developers.”

Just as we were recording this episode, a video was posted from Drone World Expo titled DJI Technology Policy Announcement by Brendan Schulman, VP of Policy & Legal Affairs.

3DR Collaborates with AirMap to Integrate Flight Safety Zone Software into the Solo App

3D Robotics will also integrate AirMap’s safety information into its Solo smart drone app. CEO and co-founder Chris Anderson says, “…we want to make flying as safe as it is easy. Supplementing the Solo app with AirMap’s robust and reliable real-time airspace information allows us to increase education with a seamless and enjoyable drone experience.”

From the 3DR press release: “If Solo users open their Solo app in a restricted area, they’ll see a warning. Users can then tap the warning to bring up a map that displays any airspace information in the area. This airspace information includes real-time Temporary Flight Restrictions that may be established in the areas around wildfires, major sporting events and other sensitive places. The Solo app will contain basic airspace information: federal guidelines (e.g., five miles from an airport); national parks; airbases, etc.”

The World’s Biggest Commercial Drone Maker is Opening a Flagship Store

In December, DJI plans to open an 8,600 square foot flagship store in Shenzhen, China. A DJI spokesman said, “We want more people to see and touch our products.”

Start-up ArcadiaSky creates marketplace for commercial UAV hire

Australian company ArcadiaSky wants to make it easier to find licenced commercial UAV operators. After two months, they have 180 drone operators in 74 locations in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. They’ve received over 1,300 requests for quotes.

ArcadiaSky describes a free, three-step process:

  1. Define your requirements on a request for quote
  2. Choose your pilot based on your requirements
  3. You are put in contact with the drone operator

FAA: Think Twice about “Drone Registration” Firms

The FAA has issued a statement saying UAV owners should wait for the registration process to be announced before they work with any company that offers to help you with registration.

At least one company is offering this kind of service.

The FAA wants “a streamlined unmanned aircraft registration process that will be simple and easy to complete… The Task Force …is working on recommendations for a system that is similar to registering any newly purchased product with its manufacturer…”

Chicago City Council Approves Ban On Drones

The Chicago City Council approved an ordinance regulating drone use and requiring that drones cannot fly above 400 feet, must be line-of-sight, and cannot fly within five miles of O’Hare and Midway Airports. Also, no flying of drones over schools, churches, hospitals, police stations, and any private property without consent.

Video of the Week

DroneFest, the International Drone Film Festival

This international film and photography competition culminates in a one-night festival dedicated to everything drones. It’s part of the SkyTech 2016 Drone Expo on the 27th January 2016. Submissions are accepted until December 13, 2015.

 

UAV103 Matternet Tests Autonomous Package Delivery

Matternet ONEPackage delivery by autonomous drone, drone company management changes, making interfering with firefighters illegal, drone service on demand, North Dakota innovation hub, drone photography contest results, USAF addresses pilot shortage, and accidents increase in Netherlands.

News

Swiss Postal Service, Air Cargo Carrier Begin Drone Testing

Freight carrier Swiss WorldCargo announced on July 7 that testing had begun using the Matternet ONE drone for small package delivery. The quadcopter operates autonomously and can carry one kilogram up to 10 kilometers on a single battery charge. Matternet says the drone uses “secure routes that adapt to weather, terrain and airspace [and] allow Matternet ONE to fly autonomously beyond line of sight, without the need for a human pilot.” The cloud-based routing system … ”guides the Matternet ONE along a secure route at low altitude – between 50-100 meters above ground – adjusting for inclement weather, avoiding tall buildings, mountains and restricted airspace.”

Chinese Manufacturer DJI Hires Prominent ‘Drone Lawyer’

Brendan Schulman, who defended Pirker against the FAA, has left law firm Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel where he was head of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems practice. Now Schulman is Vice President of Policy and Legal Affairs at drone maker DJI.

Other movements in the industry include:

  • Amazon hired former Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) counsel Ben Gielow in September as its senior manager of public policy.
  • Amazon appointed Sean Cassidy, a former Alaska Airlines pilot and first vice president of the Air Line Pilots Association, as director of partner relationships in March.
  • Last August, Google hired David Vos, a technology entrepreneur and former Rockwell Collins senior director, to lead its Project Wing effort to deliver packages.
  • In April, Francis “Chip” Sheller, the former Aerospace Industries Association vice president of communications and research, became vice president of communications and public affairs for Aurora Flight Sciences.
  • Former deputy director of the FAA’s flight standards service, John McGraw, acted as a consultant to video production companies applying for an FAA sUAS exemption.

After drone diverts fire-fighting planes, lawmakers want fines and jail time

California representative Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) introduced H.R. 3025 to the House of Representatives, which would make it a criminal offense to interfere with firefighting efforts on federal land.

Fly4Me gets FAA approval, launches ‘Uber for drones’

Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Fly4Me received a Section 333 exemption to “conduct community training workshops, research and development, and aerial inspections of buildings and land within the United States.” Now the company wants to establish a marketplace where customers book flights and pilots bid on projects. Customers are able to interact with the pilot during the flight and stream FPV. A beta version of the platform was released June 17, 2015.

Is the Silicon Valley of Drones in North Dakota?

Grand SkyNorth Dakota wants to be an innovation hub for drones. Grand Sky Development Park is set to open this summer at Grand Forks Air Force Base as a UAS Business and Aviation Park. The facility features 1.2 million square feet of hangar and office space, and a runway for drones. The state invested $5 million in infrastructure and $7.5 million more in grants for runway improvements.

The 2015 Drone Aerial Photography Contest

Dronestagram announced the winners of its second annual photo competition. The contest was judged by National Geographic and Dronestagram CEO and founder Eric Dupin. Nine photographs are depicted from the more than 5,000 entries submitted. Contest sponsors included National Geographic, Kodak, Parrot, Go Pro, Hexo+, Picanova, Hobbico, and Adobe.

AF rolls out details to improve RPA mission

The U.S Air Force has a plan to address the RPA pilot shortage that includes a Critical Skills Retention Bonus for RPA pilots, assignment of about 80 Undergraduate pilot training graduates to RPA squadrons beginning in August, and spending more than $100 million to buy six next-generation ground control stations, training simulators, and contract instructors.

UAS Accidents Rise in Netherlands

According to the Dutch Transport Ministry, inspectors received reports of 8 small unmanned aircraft accidents in 2012, 15 in 2013, and 27 in 2014. Most of the incidents were reported by manned aircraft and professional drone users and eleven of the 2014 incidents involved a crash landing close to people or buildings. New rules governing the use of drones come into effect later this year.

Video of the Week

Feeding Corn in Iowa

A Hagie machine applies liquid fertilizer to miles of corn with Y-Drops. Filmed with an DJI Inspire-1.

Mentioned

Our Real Red Selves

This book contains the work of three authors, including Harry Giles’ Drone, which explores modern warfare and office life. Harry tells us that there will be a performance of the poetry in August at the Edinburgh Festival this year at Summerhall.

 

UAV098 HeliVideo to Provide Footage at U.S. Open

The HeliVideo fleet

HeliVideo to cover U.S. Open, commercial drone market share, China uses drone to catch cheaters, using TV signals to sense aircraft, a Google drone patent, and UAS full type certificates.

News

How FOX Sports will use drones at the U.S. Open, and why the FAA is watching

FOX Sports is using octocopters from Austin-based HeliVideo to cover the golf championship at Chambers Bay. HeliVideo says they provide “FAA approved cinematography for television and film.” The HeliVideo fleet includes a Small Sensor Hexacopter with a Panasonic Lumix GH3, a Full Frame Octocopter sporting a Canon 5D Mark 3, an EPIC 6k Dragon Octocopter, and an EPIC 6k Dragon Single blade helicopter.

For the golf tournament, HeliVideo is bringing a four-man team and more than $1 million in equipment — including the DJI Spreading Wings 1000 drone. HeliVideo received their exemption last September. An authorized, licensed pilot will fly the drones, while a visual observer will keep tabs on the devices at all times.

Forty eight percent of commercial drone platforms in the USA made by DJI

sUAS News reports that DJI has 48.4% of the “commercially licenced platforms” in service. AeroVironment follows with 12.1%, 3DR with 7.6%, and Precision Hawk with 3.9% This is from a total population of 380 platforms.

Authorizations Granted Via Section 333 Exemptions

This list from the FAA shows Petitioners, Grant Issue Date, Operation/Mission, and the Authorizations document.

China Uses a Drone to Curb Cheating on College Placement Exams

The National College Entrance Exams in China are critical to the future success of the 9.5 million students who take the 2-3 day test. This has led to cheating schemes where students send exam questions out to others, who then transmit answers back to the student.

Now Chinese education authorities are fighting back with a drone. It flies over testing centers and scans for signals being sent to devices brought in by students. The drone is reported to be about the size of a gas station pump and cost tens of thousands of dollars.

TV signals a possible alternative to radar

Air traffic control company NATS has been working with Thales and contract R&D company Roke Manor to see if television transmission signals could be used to detect and direct aircraft. In a trial conducted over London, more than 30 aircraft were tracked at altitudes of up to 10,000 feet.

Google Working On Fleet of Drone Ambulances To Save Your Life, Reveals a Newly Granted Patent

Google was granted United States Patent 9,051,043 titled “Providing emergency medical services using unmanned aerial vehicles.” It provides for a fleet of UAVs configured to: identify remote medical situations, determine the target location, select a UAV with the proper configuration, and deploy the UAV to the target location to provide medical support. Sounds a lot like the Amazon drone delivery patent.

FAA Working Eight UAS Full Type Certificates

A type certificate would allow a UAS manufacturer to fly the aircraft throughout U.S. airspace. Larger UASs like the Boeing Insitu ScanEagle and AeroVironment’s Puma fly under type certificates issued in the Restricted category. Experimental type certificates have been issued to other UASs which generally prohibit commercial uses. There are no type certificate requirements for UASs under 55 pounds.

Mentioned

Expert: Drones Causing Major Aviation Disasters Is ‘A Question Of When It’s Going To Happen, Not If’

David provides expert opinion to CBS DC.

UAV090 Dee Jay Eye

X-47B Demonstrates Unmanned Aerial RefuelingThe 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.

News

X-47B Demonstrates Unmanned Aerial Refueling For The First Time

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 takes on DJI with Solo ‘smart drone’

The 3D Robotics Solo may be the smartest drone ever

3D Robotics Solo

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.

Security from the sky: Indian city to use pepper-spray drones for crowd control

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.

FAA Speeds Up Small Drone Exemptions. But Why Not Just Issue Blanket Exemption?

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.”

FAA permits Amazon to test new UAV model

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.”

33 UAV Experts Reveal Favorite Drone Accessory

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

Dragonfly – Vanuatu Disaster Relief 2015

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.

Mentioned

DJI Developer

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.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Official Teaser #2

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.”

UAV089 New Quadcopters from DJI and 3DR

3D RoboticsDJI and 3D Robotics introduce new quadcopters, more FAA exemptions, EASA looking at RPAS regulations, and export control implications for drones.

News

The World’s Largest Drone Company Unveils Newest Product DJI Phantom 3

DJI introduced the Phantom 3 in two models, the Professional at $1259 and the Advanced at $999. The Professional offers a 1080P 4K camera. Both come with the Lightbridge Technology offering real-time HD Video from up to a mile away. The DJI app now includes a flight simulator.

3D Robotics teases stylish drone with pro features

3DR - Dawn

 

3D Robotics released a teaser video for a new quadcopter to be introduced April 13th. It looks like the styling team took a page from the DJI Phantom book. Engadget believes it will have first person view out of the box, a pre-programmable flying route, perhaps follow-me settings, and a new gimbal design.

 

3D Robotics Launches DroneKit, Its API For Building Drone Apps

A few weeks ago, 3D Robotics launched “DroneKit,” an open-source API for writing drone apps. It works with any drone that uses its APM autopilot. With the API, developers can write web-based and mobile apps, as well as apps written in Python that run on the drone itself.

FAA Grants 30 New Commercial UAS Exemptions

The FAA approved 30 more commercial UAS exemptions, including exemptions for insurance companies USAA and AIG. In a press release (FAA Approves Drone Petition), USAA says, “The Federal Aviation Administration approved USAA’s petition on April 2 to conduct research and development on its new unmanned aircraft system (UAS) program to better serve members, especially after catastrophes.”

The FAA approved USAA’s use of a PrecisionHawk drone for daytime, line-of-sight flights under 400 feet with a trained pilot. USAA will work with PrecisionHawk to develop best practices, safety and privacy protocols, and procedures for future operational use.

In another press release (It’s Wheels Up with ‘Transformative Technology’) written before the petition was submitted, USAA provides some examples of the applications they have in mind:

“We’re constantly seeking ways to better serve our members, especially during catastrophes, when getting into neighborhoods immediately after can be dangerous to human life, and applying new technologies is one way we can do that,” says Alan Krapf, president, USAA property and casualty insurance group.

USAA has teamed up with Texas A&M University to research and develop how to effectively put UAS to work for its members. This is being conducted with the University’s Roboticists Without Borders and Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue (CRASAR).

Also granted exemptions were AeroVironment for agriculture, aerial survey, and patrol applications, and senseFly for precision agriculture.

The total number of approved exemptions is now 99. The FAA has received 700 applications.

EASA Presents its Vision for the Future of the Aviation Regulatory System

EASA (the European Aviation Safety Agency) published an ‘EASA Opinion’ with proposals for the future of the aviation regulatory system. They include proposals for Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPASs).

As part of implementing a General Aviation Road Map, EASA proposes to amend existing regulations to introduce, “…the necessary flexibility for small, low-risk GA as well as for Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPASs) by introducing provisions which will allow possible deviations from existing requirements, where appropriate.”

US policy on the export of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS): a detailed look and analysis

The U.S. Department of State conducted a UAS policy review and has issued a new policy that governs the export and subsequent use of commercial and military unmanned systems. The new policy could allow export of weaponized UAS to U.S. allies, under certain circumstances and uses.

The policy also could also allow export of more types of commercial UAS to other countries, subject to compliance with U.S. laws and regulations and applicable multilateral commitments.

The U.S. Export Policy for Military Unmanned Aerial Systems fact sheet contains additional information.

In the United States, there are two sets of export regulations that would apply to drones, related components, systems, software, and technology:

U.S. exporters of drones, related systems, and technologies should pay close attention to these regulations.

Video of the Week

3DR – Dawn of the Aerial Age

3D Robotics teaser of their new quadcopter to be unveiled April 13, 2015.

Mentioned

Listener Bill sends in How SDG&E trains drone operators to help restore power.

San Diego Gas & Electric becomes the first utility company approved by the FAA to use unmanned aircraft systems. The company is looking at applications for its 26,000 miles of power lines.

Reminder

Visit http://theUAVdigest.com/nprm and you’ll be redirected to the regulations.gov web page where you can find the NPRM and submit your comments online on or before April 24, 2015.

UAV082 Reaction to the FAA’s NPRM for Commercial sUAS

NBC Exclusive Drone Footage Captures Frozen Niagara Falls

Companies, the press, and other interested parties have looked at the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for small UAS, and the response has been positive, but there is work to be done.

For documents related to the sUAS NPRM, visit regulations.gov and search for Docket FAA-2015-0150. At press time, the Recently Published Rulemaking Documents page still shows the NPRM as pending publication in the Federal Register, but a PDF of the NPRM is available.

News

FAA’s liberal proposed rules win allies in drone business

Jon Resnick, Policy and Marketing Representative in Washington for DJI says, “We are very pleased the FAA is taking a reasonable and practical approach to integrating commercial UAS into the National Air Space. We are very encouraged and stand ready to collaborate with the FAA to implement common-sense proposals as quickly as possible.”

Mark Dombroff, from law firm McKenna Long & Aldridge says, “My concern is that there will be people entering the UAS business who are attracted by the potential economics. This really requires aggressive monitoring and enforcement by the FAA to insure that the rules are observed.”

With new rules, the FAA and drone industry make up

“Drone advocates let out a collective sigh of relief as new commercial drone regulations are more industry-friendly than expected.”

Fortune says, the “FAA … is far more in tune with industry needs than many imagined.”

They call it “a promising sign.”

Matthew Bieschke, president of the UAS America Fund says, “I think the FAA has had a tremendously difficult job to do, and I think what they came out with over the weekend was surprising. It was less conservative than a lot of people in the industry thought it would be.”

Lisa Ellman, counsel and co-chair of the UAS Practice Group at the D.C. office of McKenna Long & Aldridge says, “People feared that the new process would look like the Section 333 exemption process up to and including the private pilot’s license requirement … so this is a huge, wonderful thing, this new UAS operator’s certificate. It will be relatively easy to get and will make drones broadly accessible.”

Brendan Schulman, head of the unmanned aircraft systems practice at New York City-based law firm Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel, says there are aspects of the Notice that the FAA got wrong: Limitations on academic research, night flying, and the height limitation.

Regarding drone-based delivery, Schulman says in an email to Fortune, “The proposal considers drone delivery to be air carriage subject to heightened regulatory standards outside the UAS proposal. That’s a legal distinction that made sense in the manned aircraft era but I am not sure why they are holding on to it. It strikes me as a real blow to Amazon and other companies that have been working on drone delivery projects.”

Amazon drone plans shot down by authorities

In the proposed regulations, operators of commercial sUAS must fly under “unaided” line of sight and not over people. This makes package delivery impossible. Amazon vice-president of global public policy Paul Misener told CNBC by email, “The FAA needs to begin and expeditiously complete the formal process to address the needs of our business, and ultimately our customers. We are committed to realizing our vision for Prime Air and are prepared to deploy where we have the regulatory support we need.”

Small UAV Coalition Applauds the FAA’S Release of the Proposed sUAS Rule as a Good First Step for Industry

In its press release, the Small UAV Coalition says, “We applaud the FAA for creating a flexible framework that appears to be risk-based, as we have advocated, and focused on the technological capabilities of UAVs, rather than simply adapting a set of rules from those currently governing manned aircraft.” And, “In particular, we support the FAA’s proposal not to require an airworthiness certificate for small UAVs, and to eliminate any requirement for a pilot to obtain manned aircraft flying experience or a medical exam.”

But the Coalition does have some issues with the proposal concerning line of sight, testing on private property, night flying, the altitude limit, and first person view.

President Obama Calls for Transparency in UAS Privacy Memo

President Barack Obama released a Presidential Memorandum to the heads of Executive Departments and Agencies: Promoting Economic Competitiveness While Safeguarding Privacy, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties in Domestic Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

Video of the Week

NBC Exclusive Drone Footage Captures Frozen Niagara Falls

Capturing the beauty of the frozen falls.

UAV080 UAV Tracking and Avoidance

LATAS (Low Altitude Tracking and Avoidance System)

A new tracking and avoidance system, drones that assist firefighters, a Phantom firmware rollback, drone waiters that bring your meal, a personal No Fly Zone, shooting down those pesky drones, Qualcomm buys KMel Robotics, and California seeks to regulate drones below 400 feet.

News

PrecisionHawk Announces UAV Tracking and Avoidance System

PrecisionHawk released an automated traffic control system for UAVs said to aid with the integration of UAVs into the National Airspace (NAS). The “Low Altitude Tracking and Avoidance System” (LATAS) uses global cellular networks on speeds as low as 2G. to provide real-time flight planning, tracking and avoidance for UAVs.

LATAS is small (3x2x1in) and light and was developed to be plug and play or integrated into a UAV’s circuit during manufacturing.

Micro-flyer drone could help a robot to fight fires on ships

Last November, the US Office of Naval Research conducted a demonstration of its Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot (SAFFiR) along with an autonomous quadcopter drone. The robot/drone combination is intended to assist firefighters aboard naval vessels. This is under the Office of Naval Research’s Damage Control Technologies for the 21st Century (DC-21) project. The quadcopter comes from Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute and Sensible Machines.

This Spherical Rescue Drone Is Straight Out of Star Wars

Flyability has introduced what it calls “the world’s first collision-proof drone.” The “Gimball” search and rescue drone is spherical and bounces off obstacles to keep flying. It has a coaxial twin rotor design inside a rotating protective carbon fiber frame. In Crash-proof UAV takes out US$1 million Drones For Good Competition we learn that the Flyability Gimball took first place in the Drones For Good contest.

Unexpected issues force drone maker DJI to roll back ‘White House’ update

DJI has rolled back the geofencing firmware update for the Phantom — also known as the “White House patch” — because there have been reports of “unanticipated flight behavior.”

Drone waiters to serve patrons in Singapore restaurants

Infinium Robotics specializes “in providing autonomous UAV solutions for commercial applications.” That includes food delivery by drone in some Singapore restaurants. The rotors are completely enclosed to avoid injury and the UAVs utilize sense and avoid technology.

Singapore currently has a shortage of workers in the food industry so this is covering a real need.

NoFlyZone Lets You Establish A No-Fly Zone Over Your Property

NoFlyZone creates a GeoFence around your home after you register your property. Currently,  the service works with UAS manufacturers DroneDeploy, YUNEEC, HEXO+, PixiePath, RCFlyMaps. EHANG, and Horizon Hobby.

Oklahoma bill would allow property owners to shoot down drones without civil liability

The Oklahoma State Senate Judiciary Committee passed Senate Bill 492, giving property owners the right to shoot down drones without fear of civil liability. Backers say that drones are increasingly being used by cattle thieves. This bill would protect property owners should they be sued by thieves over a shot down drone.

Qualcomm Buys Aerial Drone Startup with Advanced Control Technology

Chipmaker Qualcomm has acquired startup KMel Robotics, which specializes in multi-rotor drones. Qualcomm isn’t providing any details other than to point to the KMel Robotics website: “We are extremely excited to become part of the Qualcomm team and look forward to bringing aerial robotics to the next level together.”

KMel Robotics has produced videos demonstrating impressive flight coordination:

California’s No Drone Zones

California bill SB142 bans trespassing by drones flying below 400 feet.

Mentioned

UOIT Controls The Weather At Its Drone Testing Centre

The University of Ontario Institute of Technology has launched the ACE Centre for UAV Research.

Want to fly your drone and make a quick buck? The FAA has 33 rules for you.

UAV079 Volcano!

'GMA' Flies Drone Over Erupting Volcano Live

A drone flies over a volcano for live TV, Alibaba tests drone package delivery, more Section 333 exemptions, drones for real estate, and a poll shows Americans want regulations.

News

‘GMA’ Flies Drone Over Erupting Volcano Live

ABC’s Good Morning America television show flew two quadcopters over the erupting Bardarbunga Volcano in central Iceland. And they broadcast the video live on national TV. Eric Cheng, DJI Director of Aerial Imaging, was on hand to operate the main quadcopter while a chase DJI provided additional coverage.

The live video of the volcano was spectacular. This wasn’t a puff piece – it was a very public demonstration of using a drone for science. With last week’s drone crash on the White House lawn, and now this, public awareness of small drones is increasing.

Alibaba Package Delivery

Alibaba Beats Amazon to Drone Delivery

The Wall Street Journal calls Alibaba, “China’s — and by some measures, the world’s — biggest online commerce company.” With e-commerce activity of $248B, it’s bigger than eBay and Amazon.com combined.

Now Alibaba is conducting a three day package delivery test for customers that are within a one-hour flight by quadcopter from their warehouses in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. They’ve posted a promotional video online.

FAA Grants Eight More UAS Exemptions

Exemptions under Section 333 were issued to Total Safety U.S. Inc. for flare stack inspections, Slugwear, Inc. (dba LikeOnATree Aerial) for aerial photography and surveys. Team 5, LLC;  Shotover Camera Systems LP;  Helinet Aviation Services, LLC;  and Alan D. Purwin were given an exemption for film and television production.  This brings the total number of exemptions to 24.

At the same time, the FAA amended the exemptions previously granted to Pictorvision, Inc. and Aerial MOB, LLC to let the companies fly additional types of small UAS.

As with the last round of exemptions, “the proposed operations do not need an FAA-issued certificate of airworthiness because they do not pose a threat to national airspace users or national security.”

The FAA says they have received 342 requests for exemptions from commercial entities and individuals.

UAV real estate Co. to expand nationwide following FAA exemption

Real estate video and production firm Burnz Eye View received an exemption from the FAA in January. Mark Burns started the company 3 years ago and has a team of 15 in San Diego. With the exemption, he wants to expand to cover the entire U.S. To do that, he needs pilots. Specifically, UAV operators that have private pilot’s licenses or multi-hour experience flying UAVs. An understanding of platform maintenance will also be needed.

Americans OK with police drones – private ownership, not so much: Poll

A Reuters/Ipsos online poll of 2,000 people conducted Jan. 21-27, 2015 showed that 73 percent of the respondents said they want regulations for small drones. Forty-two percent oppose private ownership of drones. They think they should be restricted to officials or other experts. Thirty percent were OK with private drone ownership, and 28 percent were undecided.

Video of the Week

Seize Des Moines

This interesting aerial tour of Iowa’s capital city was sent in by listener Bill, who raises some questions about the safety of flying in proximity to buildings and crowded events.

UAV078 Dronegate

Crashed drone photo courtesy of Secret Service

Drone crashes on the White House lawn, actors playing drone pilots, a waterproof drone swims with the fishes, fighting fires with optionally manned helicopters, a record UAS flight, drone regulations around the world, and new FAA exemptions.

White House Incursion

Obama Says US Must Catch up to Ensure Drones Are Safe

Don’t drink and drone: Bozo who crashed drone at White House had been boozing

White House Drone Raises Questions About D.C., Capitol Policy

Man Lost Contact With Drone Before It Sped to White House, Friend Says

DJI to Disable Phantom in No-Fly Zones

A government employee who works for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency lost track of the quadcopter he was flying from inside an apartment, and it landed on the White House lawn. The man, who reportedly had been drinking, turned himself in the next day after hearing about the news reports.

Apparently, the man flew a Phantom in and out of an apartment window. A friend says this quadcopter model has a flaw that causes them to fly away, and so the manufacturer is partially at fault.

DJI has responded with a software update that will disable all of its devices within a 15.5-mile radius of downtown Washington D.C. and around more than 10,000 U.S. airports.

This story has created a lot of attention in the press that raises issues including the lack of regulations and the need for security measures.

News

Anne Hathaway and Ethan Hawke both playing drone pilots—what does it mean?

Story lines with military drones are making their way into various productions. The off-Broadway, one-woman play titled “Grounded” is performed by Oscar-winning actress Anne Hathaway, who portrays an Air Force pilot who is assigned to fly drones. Meanwhile, the movie “Good Kill” stars Ethan Hawke as a drone pilot who questions the ethics of his job.

The New “Mariner” Waterproof Drone Video Collection

Ambient Real Life presents a waterproof quadcopter that can skim along the surface of the water and take video of the sights below.

US Interior Department, Australia eye unmanned helicopters to fight fires

The US Department of the Interior wants to investigate the use of optionally piloted helicopters for forest firefighting. They want to “assess the feasibility of utilizing these types of aircraft for a variety of missions, including, but not limited to fire suppression at night and during low visibility conditions as well as cargo delivery.” Interior is asking interested companies for an initial response.

Some existing helicopters would seem to fit the requirements:

The Kaman and Lockheed Martin K-MAX has operational experience, and on November 5, 2014 a demonstration of eight firefighting scenarios was conducted at Griffiss International Airport in upstate New York where it gathered water and doused fires. Sikorsky’s MATRIX project has tested an S-76 as an optionally manned platform.The Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Fire Scout might be a possibility, but it’s a fully unmanned aircraft.

Orion UAS breaks flight endurance record on 80 hour mission

Aurora Flight Sciences says they have set a world endurance record for an unmanned aircraft system. Their Orion UAS flew for 80 hours, beating the previous official record of 30.5 hours set in 2001 by the RQ-4 Global Hawk.

Thailand mulls jail term for unlicensed drone pilots

Thailand’s Civil Aviation Department is drawing up rules that would:

  • prohibit attaching cameras to drones except for business reasons
  • restrict drones with cameras to use by photographers, film-makers, and journalists
  • set a one hour maximum flight time
  • limit weight and size

The Ministry of Transport would oversee and approve applications to use drones. Violators could face a year in prison and a fine of 40,000 baht (£813; $1,229)

Queensland man first in Australia to be fined for flying a drone

If you fly your drone in a manner not allowed by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), then upload the video to YouTube, your notoriety could land you a fine. In this case, $850.

CASA regulations state that hobbyists who fly for no commercial gain cannot fly their drones:

  • Within 3 nautical miles of an airport;
  • Above 400 feet in controlled airspace (large towns and cities)’
  • Over populous areas;
  • Within 30 meters of people;
  • At night.

Aviation safety: GCAA to issue drone rules

The General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), which regulates civil aviation in the United Arab Emirates, says they are about to release regulations for unmanned aerial systems. Reportedly, the regulations will be based on weight and type of operators and will ban the use of UAVs near airports, residential areas, and public facilities and properties. A permit will be required from the GCAA, as well as coordination with the air traffic authorities.

FAA Grants Two More UAS Exemptions

The agency gave new exemptions to AeroCine, LLC for aerial cinematography, and to Burnz Eye View, Inc. for aerial photography and inspections. FAA-issued certificates of airworthiness are not needed “because they do not pose a threat to national airspace users or national security.”

Videos of the Week

First commercial drone to take flight over downtown Edmonton

Connor Burns of Skymatics flies the first drone approved for operation in downtown Edmonton on Jan. 28, 2015, a DJI Spreading Wings S1000. Video by Bruce Edwards, Edmonton Journal. The octocopter will be used to take video of construction projects for a design and planning firm.

Farmer uses drone to capture bird’s-eye view of ‘cow art’

What can you do with a feed truck, a drone, and a herd of cattle?

UAV076 FAA Enlists Law Enforcement

Trace FLYR1

 

The FAA tells law enforcement what their role is in policing UAS usage, CNN signs an agreement with the FAA to share drone journalism research results, and drones are big at the Consumer Electronics Show.

News

FAA Issues UAS Guidance for Law Enforcement

This isn’t guidance on how law enforcement can use UAS. It’s guidance on how law enforcement plays a vital role in “deterring, detecting and investigating unsafe operations.” Specifically, FAA looks to law enforcement for:

  • Witness Identification and Interviews
  • Identification of Operators
  • Viewing and Recording the Location of the Event
  • Identifying Sensitive Locations, Events, or Activities
  • Notifying FAA of incident, accident or other suspected violation
  • Evidence Collection

The guidance document Law Enforcement Guidance for Suspected Unauthorized UAS Operations is available as a PDF.

CNN strikes drone deal with FAA

In June 2014, CNN and the Georgia Institute of Technology announced they would jointly study how to operate UAVs safely and effectively. At that time, they said they wanted to share the data from the study with the FAA. CNN has now signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the FAA that allows it to share the research data with the FAA.

CNN Senior Vice President David Vigilante said, “Our aim is to get beyond hobby-grade equipment and to establish what options are available and workable to produce high quality video journalism using various types of UAVs and camera setups.”

International Consumer Electronics Show Coverage

The giant, annual International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) gives the industry a chance to display products that are available to buy now, and concepts that you may or may not be able to buy later. As you’d expect, there were a lot of drones at CES:

Drones fly high at CES

The AirDog auto-follow drone is available for pre-order ($1,295) and is envisioned for recording extreme sports.

The GoPro-ready RTF Ghost Drone ($600) can be operated by a Smartphone app.

CES 2015: Unleash the Drones!

In a CES first, there was an Unmanned Systems Marketplace on the show floor with over a dozen companies exhibiting. The FAA was close by promoting “Know before You Fly” and handing out fliers.

The Trace FLYR1 (available for pre-order) is called, “A visually intelligent smart camera that can click in and out of a multitude of self controlled motorized accessories, allowing you to stay in the moment and stream your footage live to the internet.” It can follow you at a fixed distance by tracking a pattern on your shirt.

At one of the keynote speeches, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, shows drones from Ascending Technologies that use a depth-sensing camera from Intel. This technology finds the shortest route from Point A to Point B while avoiding obstacles in the way.

CES 2015: Why the future of drones is up in the air

CCS Insight analyst Ben Wood said, “Drones are arguably the most hyped product at CES.”

There was a pink version of the Ghost Drone at CES, under the belief that the quadcopter would thus be more appealing to the female market.

DJI showed their Drone Stick, a handheld mount when you are not flying your camera. It’s compatible with the DJI Inspire 1 camera and gimbal. DJI also announced the new H4-3D gimbal, which works with the GoPro Hero4 Black camera. It also works with the DJI Phantom 2 and Flamewheel systems.

CES 2015: The drone revolution begins with AirDog, Hexo+ and Nixie

The Hexo+ drone from Squadrone System is another autonomous auto-follow drone getting a lot of attention. They call it a “self-flying camera,” but you supply the GoPro and control it through an app. Available for pre-order at $1,149.

Video of the Week

Racing in a Las Vegas Drone Rodeo — CES 2015

A Drone Rodeo put on by DJI for a day of racing and of fighting drones with the madmen from Game of Drones.

Mentioned

Coit Tower Reopens After Controversial Drone Filming

Geo-matching.com is an independent comparison website for geomatic (including precision agriculture) and hydrographic products. The UAS for Mapping and 3D Modelling category lets you compare different UAVs.