Tag Archives: Facebook

UAV161 Exemptions to Part 107 Granted

The FAA quickly grants some Part 107 exemptions, drought-stricken agriculture embraces UAS, the Facebook Aquila drone is meeting with some success, and a robot pilot offers to make existing aircraft unmanned.

 

Photokite Pro

Photokite Pro tethered flying camera system for professional use cases and live broadcasting

News

CNN Wins FAA Waiver To Fly Newsgathering Drones Over People

CNN received a Part 107 waiver from the FAA to fly UAS in the U.S. over people. Previously, CNN had only flown only over unpopulated areas. The newsgathering duties are performed with a small Fotokite Pro tethered quadcopter. Earlier this month CNN announced its Aerial Imagery and Reporting (CNN AIR) unit with two full-time UAS operators.

In a first, FAA allows PrecisionHawk to fly drones where pilots can’t see them

The Federal Aviation Administration has also given PrecisionHawk an exemption to fly in the U.S. beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS). The exemption came on August 29, when Part 107 became effective. PrecisionHawk Executive VP Thomas Haun said, “In agriculture, now that we have an exemption to fly beyond the visual line of sight, we can fly an entire farm, not just one field, efficiently.” The FAA issued 76 waivers on that day, most of them applying to night flying.

Virginia Woman Blasts Drone ‘to Smithereens’ with Shotgun

In June, Jennifer Youngman was at home cleaning her shotguns. Two men arrived nearby and began flying a drone in the area. Ms. Youngman happens to be a neighbor of actor/director Robert Duvall. When the drone ultimately flew over her property at a height of 25 or 30 feet, she discharged one of her newly cleaned shotguns, much to the distress of the drone.

Mark Zuckerberg meets Pope Francis, gives him a drone

On his tour of Italy following the recent earthquake which killed hundreds, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg met with Pope Francis. Zuckerberg presented the Pope with a model of the solar-powered Facebook Aquila drone designed to provide Internet access to regions without connectivity.

Feds turn to space experts NASA for small-drone traffic plan

Actually, NASA also has aeronautics experts, and those are the ones working on the UTM, the UAS Traffic Management project. NASA has two “A”s.

In drought, drones help California farmers save every drop

The severe California drought continues, with dire consequences for farmers growing food. One farmer with a 2,400-acre tomato crop estimates his drones that detect irrigation leaks could save enough water for over 550 families of four for a year. He also started using a thermal camera to show moisture variations in soil, and even established a drone management position at his company. AUVSI (Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International) says about 2,100 companies and individuals have FAA permission to fly drones for farming.

Flight fantastic: Instead of rewiring planes to fly themselves, why not give them android pilots?

Instead of designing new planes to be unmanned aircraft, Shim Hyunchul and his colleagues at KAIST (the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) have a different idea: Put a robot in the pilot’s seat. The PIBOT (short for pilot robot) is a humanoid robot with a head, torso, arms and legs. Cameras act as eyes while arms and legs operate the controls like a human pilot.

Videos of the Week

This is Why Drones and Balloons Don’t Like to Play Together

White helium balloons were released as part of a celebration, but the wind changed and carried the balloons into a DJI Phantom. The string from one balloon caught the propellor and down came the drone.

Facebook Tests Internet-Beaming Plane

Facebook just announced the first flight of its unmanned, high-altitude Aquila unmanned aircraft.

First drone footage of Uluru released: Video

The first drone to operate under permit inside Australia’s Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park captured the spectacular 600 million-year-old monolith.

 

UAV155 Amazon Docking Station for sUAS

The MQ-25 Stingray UAS, Star Wars drones, an Amazon patent for sUAS flight decks, Customs and Border Protection solicitation for small drone studies, how drones might make the future of aviation brighter, an arrest for a drone flight, new geofencing firmware, and Facebook laser drones.

News

Amazon patents special drone housing in the sky

Amazon docking station concept]Amazon was awarded U.S. patent number 9387928 for sUAS docking stations that can be attached to structures such as telephone poles or street lamps. Amazon proposes that these multi-use UAV docking stations can be networked and provide package handling facilities, and act as a final destination or a delivery hub. The docking stations could recharge or refuel UAVs, become navigational aids, and provide routing information from a central control system.

USN carries out MQ-25 aerial refuelling surrogate testing

The UAS that had been called the Carrier Based Aerial Refueling System (CBARS) will be now known as MQ-25 Stingray. Developed from the X-47B, it will use the current Navy refueling pod as its equipment. The system is being tested using a Gulfstream jet as a surrogate and the RFP for the MQ-25 prototypes requests a flyoff in 2017.

Star Wars Drones You Can Battle With

Propel is making X-wing, Millennium Falcon, TIE Interceptor, and Speederbike quadcopters with clear props to give the illusion of flight. The drones are outfitted with lasers that allow game playing similar to laser tag.

Border Patrol calls on Silicon Valley for advice on small drones

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is looking for new ways that Customs and Border Protection could use UAVs and has published an Other Transaction Solicitation (OTS) to fund studies. The OTS Call on Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Word doc) offers grants of $50,000 to $200,000, and describes three objectives:

  • User interfaces for effective communication and enhanced immediacy for reaction.
  • Sensors to improve situational awareness and the ability to track multiple targets.
  • Platform security improvement for UAS self-defense capabilities.

Why Drones May Save Aviation

This opinion piece describes how sUAS might be a pathway to bring people into aviation.

California makes first arrest for drone flight over wildfire

A man charged with hampering firefighting efforts was caught after he posted his videos on YouTube. He faces FAA fines of up to $27,500 and possible jail time.

DJI drones will now get real-time wildfire alerts

New software updates bring geofencing to temporarily restricted areas.

Report claims small UAV ruling places USA ahead of Europe

Aerospace and defense industry researcher Teal Group says the United States is now ahead of Europe after developing sUAS regulations. The U.S. is “putting pressure on Europe to come up with its own set of regulations.”

Facebook wants to use fluorescence to make its laser drones work better

Facebook and Internet.org have been developing the Project Aquila fixed-wing drones to provide internet access to remote locations using lasers to transmit data. However, light sent through the atmosphere can produce an undesirable “twinkling” effect. The Facebook team has a solution that uses a structure covered with wavelength shifting dyes that re-emit the light at a different wavelength and reduce the twinkling effect.

Video of the Week

Drone helps in rescue of stranded boaters near Algona

Listener Todd pointed us to this video that documents a DJI Phantom 4 used to locate a man and his 10-year-old granddaughter who stranded in their boat.

 

UAV121 UAS Registration Update

The Facebook Aquila 1

Aquila 1 courtesy Facebook

“Polivation” policy briefing, UAS registration update, multicopters crash in Seattle, charges of misrepresenting UAS to the US Government, Google and Facebook want to be ISPs, and the tower industry looks ahead to UAS.

Implementing Polivation to Achieve Autonomy: A Path Forward

Hogan Lovells UAS GroupDavid tells us about the policy briefing he attended where panelists addressed issues of “polivation,” the intersection of policy making and innovation. Held at the City Club of Washington (D.C.) on November 12, 2015, the event was moderated by Gloria Story Dittus, chairman of Story Partners, a leading strategic communications firm headquartered in Washington, D.C. The panelists were:

  • John Verdi [PDF], Director of Privacy Initiatives, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S.Department of Commerce
  • Lisa Ellman, Partner, Hogan Lovells and co-chair of the firm’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Group.
  • Gretchen West, Senior Advisor, Hogan Lovells, focusing on innovation and technology and a member of the firm’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Group in Silicon Valley.
  • Travis Mason, Public Policy and Government Relations, Google[x].

UAS Registration Task Force Update

Day 2 Update

“The discussion focused on developing and recommending a registration process, how to prove the UAS is registered and how to mark a UAS. The discussion about the registration process focused on the type of system that should be built and the type of information that should be collected.”

Day 3 Update

“The group focused on reaching a consensus on a recommended process for registration. The discussions included how an operator might prove a UAS is registered, how the aircraft would be marked, and how to use the registration process to encourage or require UAS operators to become educated on basic safety rules. The group also continues to gather data and analyze which types of UAS would need to be registered and which would not. The Task Force will now finalize its recommendations for delivery to the FAA Administrator by November 20.”

News

Drone hits Seattle’s huge Ferris wheel; SPD investigating

A drone struck the Seattle Great Wheel, a 175-foot tall ferris wheel. There were no reports of injury or damage, but police confiscated the drone.

Man charged for Seattle drone crash that knocked woman out

Recall that in June, a drone crashed into a building and struck a woman in the head. The operator has been charged with reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor charge with a maximum penalty of 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. The Seattle City Attorney’s Office said the charge is not because it was a drone, but because of the actions taken with the drone.

Met wants a drone register to manage the UAV menace

Drones were a topic at the Web Summit show in Dublin. Chief inspector Nick Aldworth of the Metropolitan Police and Ralph James of the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) agreed that Ireland needs a drone registry for security and privacy protection reasons.

Drone Company Misled Military into Buying UAVs that Were Basically Toys: Lawsuit

A motion has been filed in civil court alleging that Florida company Prioria Robotics misrepresented its Maveric UAS, a bird-like, portable, fixed-wing UAV that can be launched by a single-person. According to Prioria, the Maveric is capable of autonomous operation, weighs 2.6 pounds, with a 45-60 minute endurance. The Prioria website describes military, public safety, and commercial applications.

Prioria has won contracts with the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, NASA, and other federal agencies. The Defense Logistics Agency paid $240,000 per Maveric system. UAS vendor and Maveric retailer Condor Aerial says the specs are inaccurate and Prioria is charging military-grade prices for what is essentially a hobby drone.

Facebook’s laser drones v Google’s net-beaming balloons

Both Facebook and Google want to provide Internet service to the 57% of the world’s population that isn’t online. Facebook has built the Aquila 1 in England and sent it to an undisclosed location for testing. It’s propeller-driven by four solar-powered motors and made of foam covered with carbon fiber. Google has a drone-based project, but isn’t providing a lot of details. They also have the balloon-based Project Loon.

NATE Unmanned Aerial Systems Committee looks to prevent tragedies

The National Association of Tower Erectors established an Unmanned Aerial Systems Committee to monitor trends, regulatory concerns, and to make recommendations to NATE about best practices for drone use in the tower industry.

In the following video, host Joey Jackson of Cell Tower News talks with founding members of the Unmanned Aerial Systems Committee, Phil Larsen, President of Telecommunications at HAZON Solutions and Jim Goldwater, Senior Vice President at Bob Lawrence & Associates, Inc.

Video of the Week

Watch World’s First Jet-Powered, 3D Printed UAV Top 150 Mph!

Aurora Flight Sciences teamed up with additive manufacturing company Stratasys to create a jet-powered, 3D printed aircraft.

More at: World’s first jet-powered, 3D-printed UAV debuts at Dubai Airshow

UAV088 Conversation with a Section 333 Exemption Holder

Silent FalconWe talk about the recent FAA policy change designed to streamline the process of granting a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) for holders of a Section 333 exemption. Also, we look at solar electric drones in the news, as well as the package delivery testing being done by Amazon in Canada and morphing robotic wings.

Guest

Mark Burns owns Burnz Eye View LLC, a promotion and marketing company specializing in aerial filming. We talked with Mark in Episode 83 after Burnz Eye View became the 16th company in the United States to receive a Section 333 exemption from the FAA. Mark has joined us again to give his observations on the impact of the FCC policy change for COAs on Section 333 exemption holders.

Be sure to follow the Burnz Eye View Blog for posts on topical issues, including Dear FAA, What use are Rules without Enforcement?

Also, note that Mark will be a panelist at the Unmanned Systems Institute Conference September 23-25, 2014 in Las Vegas.

News

First Solar-Electric Drone Enters Production

Silent Falcon UAS Technologies (SFUAS) has begun production of the Silent Falcon solar-electric aircraft. The Silent Falcon is a composite, fixed-wing sUAS with solar cells on its wings.

According to SFUAS, “The patent pending Silent Falcon™ is a solar/electric, all composite, modular small Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS) designed for commercial, public safety, and military applications. With Silent Falcon’s™ solar electric propulsion system, rugged composite structure, and three interchangeable wing configurations, it is the first sUAS capable of meeting long range and long endurance mission profiles.”

Facebook’s UAV Flies, Builds On Developments In Solar Power

Facebook announced the first flight of the Aquila subscale prototype of a solar-powered unmanned aircraft. The stratospheric “atmospheric satellite” is intended to bring the Internet to remote parts of the world. The full scale version is under construction.

Amazon tests delivery drones at secret Canada site after US frustration

The Guardian reports that Amazon is testing package delivery technology at a “secret” site in British Columbia, Canada. Amazon is said to have purchased some land where plain-clothed security guards keep those away who might wander into the area. The company is looking at using the airspace from 200 feet to 500 feet to carry the 5 pound or less packages that represent 86% of all packages they ship.

Morphing Robotic Wing Developed to Help Drones Manage Collisions

Birds can move their wings to help navigate through obstacles like tree branches, but man-made aircraft don’t have that ability. Except now researchers at Stanford University have created mechanisms that can passively morph their wings in ways similar to what birds and bats do.

Mentioned

Drone development in Alaska still on track

The Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration (ACUASI) is one of the six FAA UAS test sites. Funding cuts threatened the program, but a Senate subcommittee has taken action to restore the money.

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.

UAV062 UAVs for Agriculture

Nixie wearable droneAgriculture wants UAVs, the White House seeks drone data transparency, a wearable quadcopter, UAVs fight poachers, and Facebook plans to offer Internet access via drone.

News

FAA’s Sluggish UAV Ruling Slows Ag Research, Group Suggests

Commercial farmers everywhere are eager to apply new technology to their operations. That includes using unmanned aircraft for things like crop and livestock surveys, monitoring irrigation needs, and pest control.

Farmers in Louisiana as well as representatives from Louisiana State University’s AgCenter have formed a 17-member study group headed by a state Senator. They want to make recommendations to the FAA before it issues UAS regulations.

White House plans to require federal agencies to provide details about drones

The Obama Administration is circulating a draft Executive Order that if signed would make government use of drones more transparent.

The Order would apply to federal agencies like the Department of Homeland Security, the Pentagon, the Justice Department, NASA, the Interior Department, and the Commerce Department.

It would require that they provide information about the size of their fleet, how it is used, and what is done with the data collected.

Meet The Finalists Of Intel’s Make It Wearable Challenge

One of the ten finalists in the Intel Make It Wearable Challenge is “Nixie,” a wristband camera that unfolds into a remote-controlled quadcopter.

The idea is that on command, Nixie unfolds, flies up, turns around, takes a picture of you, and returns so you can catch it.

How the Shadowview Foundation uses aerial surveillance to stop poaching

With the help of the Shadowview Foundation, drones are being used to fight illegal poaching in Africa and Asia. Shadowview provides UAS for environmental, conservation, and humanitarian relief operations.

Others are active in this area. The World Wildlife Fund received a $5 million grant for its work in with drones specially designed by drone-maker Falcon UAV.

Facebook Wi-Fi Drone the Size of 747 Could Fly in 2015

Facebook plans to offer WiFi service to the two thirds of the world without Internet access via large, solar powered drones.

Fans are using drones to spy on the ‘Star Wars: episode VII’ set

Former RAF airbase, now public park Greenham Common is located about 50 miles west of London. It’s also the site where scenes for the next Star Wars movie are being filmed.

Someone identified only as “3dlp” flew a drone over the site and posted video on YouTube showing a Millennium Falcon under construction and two X-wing starfighters.

New Jersey Man Accused Of Shooting Down Neighbor’s Remote Control Drone

A man was using a drone to take pictures of a friends house under construction. A neighbor didn’t take kindly to that and took out the drone with a shotgun. He was arrested by police and charged with Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose and Criminal Mischief.

Drone used in Hannah Graham search; cops check for cold case ties

An Aeryon SkyRanger is being used in the search for missing University of Virginia student. The FAA approved the use of the drone, a first in Virginia according to authorities.

John Coggin, chief engineer of the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership, said the drone will be used to take a closer look at objects of interest in areas too difficult to reach by other means.

Video of the Week

“Beautiful Scotland,” A Drone’s-Eye View of the Scenic Beauty of Scotland

Edinburgh-based filmmaker John Duncan used a DJI Phantom 2 quadcopter fitted with a GoPro 3+ camera FPV to shoot stunning aerial footage of Scotland for this his short film.

UAV029 Delivering the Internet via UAV

Titan Aerospace

Facebook buys a drone company, having enough communications and data bandwidth, an international UAV test consortium announced, UAV training at Roswell, busting FAA myths about UAVs, FAA authority to regulate UAS questioned, privacy questions flare down under, and Russia building Israeli UAVs.

Breaking news: Commercial Drones Are Completely Legal, a Federal Judge Ruled

The News:

Facebook Follows Amazon, Google Into Drones With $60 Million Purchase

Facebook is reportedly purchasing Titan Aerospace for $60 Million. Titan Aerospace makes high altitude solar-powered UAV’s that they refer to as persistent solar atmospheric satellites.™

Facebook is a partner in Internet.org, along with Samsung, Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera and Qualcomm. Their objective is to bring everyone in the world with a smartphone into the “knowledge economy” by making Internet services 100 times more affordable.

Accomplishing that means reducing the volume of data served by ten times, and reducing the cost to serve that data by ten times. That’s where Titan comes in.

Drones seen driving spectrum sharing technologies

We talk a lot about the UAS regulations the FAA needs to establish, but there is something else that has to be figured out. All those military and commercial UAVs slated to cloud our skies need com links, and that means enough spectrum has to be available.

International Consortium of Aeronautical Test Sites For UAVs Announced In Quebec

An International Consortium of Aeronautical Test Sites has been created to share information on operational safety, flight regulations, and operational experiences.

This is intended to enable development, testing, and certification of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS). The Consortium also looks to support creation of international standards for UAS/RPAS construction. Other centers are expected to join the Consortium.

The Consortium was announced by the UAV test and service centre (CESA) in France, the Oklahoma State University – University Multispectral Laboratories, the National Aeronautical Centre in Wales, and the Unmanned Aerial System Centre of Excellence in Quebec, Canada.

Roswell selected as drone plane training center

Strategic Aerospace International is setting up a drone pilot training center in Roswell, New Mexico, starting with 30 Air Force academy graduates in a three month program. SAI has the curriculum at 48 colleges and universities, but needs the airspace to fly the UAVs. They’ll use the Northrop Grumman SandShark UAS.

Busting Myths about the FAA and Unmanned Aircraft

The FAA wants to dispel some of what they consider to be “misconceptions and misinformation” about UAS regulations. Things like control of airspace, what commercial flights are allowable, and can the FAA police all this? So they’ve published a list of seven myths and the “real” facts.

Myth #1: The FAA doesn’t control airspace below 400 feet
Fact: They do.

Myth #2: Commercial UAS flights are OK if I’m over private property and stay below 400’.
Fact: A 2007 Federal Register notice says no.

Myth #3: Commercial UAS operations are a “gray area” in FAA regulations.
Fact: There is no gray.

Myth #4: There are too many commercial UAS operations for the FAA to stop.
Fact: The FAA is watching and has appropriate enforcement tools

Myth #5: Commercial UAS operations will be OK after September 30, 2015.
Fact: Congress mandated that the FAA come up with a safe integration plan by that date. Regulations, policies, and standards will come incrementally.

Myth #6: The FAA is lagging behind other countries in approving commercial drones.
Fact: The U.S. is not like the rest of the world. We have a very busy airspace and we need to get this right.

Myth #7: The FAA predicts as many as 30,000 drones by 2030.
Fact: That’s an old outdated number. Now the FAA estimates 7,500 sUAS by 2018

Free the Beer Drones: Maybe the FAA doesn’t have the authority to regulate unmanned aerial vehicles.

The author believes the U.S. Code and regulations that give the FAA authority, do not define UAVs, so they have no authority. And even if the FAA does have authority, it has not published the documents required to regulate UAVs. Regulatory and statutory law requires public scrutiny and input, and the FAA hasn’t done that.

AFP using drones to investigate major crime as questions raised over privacy

A parliamentary inquiry is looking at drones and their use by the Australian Federal Police (AFP). The AFP maintains use has been limited, like at crime scenes, and admits that covert surveillance would require a warrant. But the Office of the Privacy Commissioner says it has been getting inquiries from the public about the use of drones.

Warplanes: Russia Builds Israeli UAV

After seven years of negotiations and trials, Russia has begun production under license of the Israeli Searcher 2 UAV.

Video of the Week:

Autonomous drones flock like birds

Mentioned:

Williams Foundation calls for fast-tracked UAVs