Tag Archives: firefighting

UAV194 Drones for Public Safety Agencies

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

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

Matt Sloane, CEO of SkyFire Consulting

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

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

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

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

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

UAV157 Government and Private Sector Initiatives for UAS Integration

Initiatives announced by the U.S. Government and private sector that advance the integration of Unmanned Aircraft Systems into the National Airspace System. Also, a 2.5 ounce ADS-B solution, drones that obstruct fighting wildfires, and drones that help fight wildfires.

uAvionix pingBuddy

The pingBuddy WiFi ADS-B receiver

White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Workshop on Drones and the Future of Aviation

White House Announces New UAS Commitments Made Across the Board

At the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Workshop on Drones and   the Future of Aviation, many steps were announced that advance the integration of UAS into the National Airspace System:

  • The National Science Foundation will receive $35 million to research how UAS can be deployed for applications like infrastructure inspections, disaster response, agricultural, and studying severe storms
  • The U.S. Department of the Interior will use UAS in search-and-rescue operations and to augment manned aircraft operations.
  • UAS industry associations committed to implement educational programs that address privacy best practices.
  • The FAA will charter an Unmanned Aircraft Safety Team (UAST) similar to the existing Commercial Aviation Safety Team. Government and industry stakeholders will “analyze safety data and develop non-regulatory interventions to mitigate potential causes of accidents involving unmanned aircraft.” See FAA Announces Drone Advisory Committee.
  • By winter 2017, the FAA will propose rules for operating sUAS over people, and ask for public comment.
  • NASA will conduct research on detect-and-avoid and command-and-control technologies that lead to standards.
  • NASA and the FAA will launch a data exchange working group under the UAS Traffic Management (UTM) research team to develop common a data format for sharing information between UAS operators and UTM users.
  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will begin collecting gravity measurements with RPVs that improve surface elevation measurements over the United States. NOAA will also investigate how to add UAS observing capabilities to the NOAA fleet of ships.
  • The Department of the Interior (DOI) will share near-real-time fire location information with the public by July 2017. By December 2017, the DOI will augment manned aircraft missions by developing payloads that can be flown by UAS. By October 2018, the DOI will develop and maintain a training program for the use of UAS in Search and Rescue (SAR).
  • The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General will publish new findings and analysis of public opinion on drone deliveries.

In the private sector:

  • Flirtey will focus on humanitarian applications for drone delivery technology.
  • The Commercial Drone Alliance will lead an effort to educate the American public on the integration of UAS into the National Airspace System.
  • Sinclair Broadcast Group, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), and the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), will develop and broadcast drone safety public service announcements.
  • Alphabet’s Project Wing will conduct an operational research study of delivery drones at an FAA UAS Test Site. See Alphabet will begin testing its delivery drones inside the US at test centers. They will also “develop and deploy an open-interface, airspace management solution for safe low-altitude small UAS (sUAS) operations using existing low cost, scalable communication and information technologies.”
  • The Drone Racing League (DRL) will release best practices for the drone racing industry, including event guidelines, organization, and safety measures
  • PrecisionHawk is announcing its Phase I Pathfinder results demonstrating the safety of extended visual line of sight (EVLOS) operations for drones in rural areas.
  • The Women of Commercial Drones organization and the Commercial Drone Alliance announced their collaboration to advance women’s participation in the UAS industry.
  • DJI is supporting 4-H’s National Youth Science Day in October 2016.  This year’s theme is “Drone Discovery,” to inspire kids and young adults to explore science, technology and engineering in more depth.
  • DroneBase and Drones & Good are forming a partnership to provide transitioning military Veterans with training programs and apprenticeships to start a career in the commercial drone industry.

Details of the Workshop initiatives can be found in: FACT SHEET: New Commitments to Accelerate the Safe Integration of Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

News

uAvionix ADS-B Solution Weighs 2.5 Ounces

uAvionix showed its micro ADS-B products at AirVenture and created quite a stir among the experimental and light sport aircraft crowd. The “Ping Chip” micro-circuitry was designed and built by uAvionix for the mass UAV market. The 12-gram pingBuddy is a low-cost receiver with built-in Wi-Fi and ADS-B dual link in.

DJI and uAvionix Collaborate on ADS-B Collision Avoidance Developer Kit

Darren Liccardo, the VP of Engineering for DJI says, “DJI developers will now be able to process ADS-B data and close the loop all within an embedded computer onboard the vehicle.” With a Ping ADS-B receiver, a drone could sense surrounding aircraft and take action if necessary, to avoid a collision. The DJI Onboard Software Development Kit (SDK) allows access to the flight control system of the drone, so developers could create custom applications for collision avoidance rules that are applicable to the specific mission.

Drones That Launch Flaming Balls Are Being Tested To Help Fight Wildfires

Wildfires can sometimes be stopped through controlled burns, which seek to eliminate the fuel for the fire. This can be dangerous and expensive, and now the University of Nebraska is conducting tests where a sUAS is used to deliver flammable balls that initiate a controlled burn.

Drones Are Interfering with Range 12 Firefighting Efforts, Crews Say

“Range 12” refers to a wildfire in southeastern Washington State, where drones continue to interfere with firefighting efforts. Bureau of Land Management spokesman Randall Rishe says, “I have been on the ground with a tool in my hands, where you have a fire coming right at you. You need that helicopter making that drop right in front of you to help it slow down so you can dig that line. And there’s a drone. That helicopter has to leave, and it’s like your saving grace, you watch fly away.”

Video of the Week

Olympic 2016 – Rio de Janeiro

In honor of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games here’s a video showing all the venues.

 

 

 

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.

 

UAV053 Drones on Film

PD-100 Personal Reconnaissance System

Aerial photography in real estate, autonomous lighting for photographs, nano drones for situational awareness, a new UAV market size study, video selfies by quadcopter, a U.S. “no drone zone” map, taking aerial video of wildfires, and university professors speak to the FAA.

The News

NRT bans drone photography in northeastern US

Attorneys for NRT LLC, a large real estate brokerage, sent letters to the presidents of 200 offices telling them not to use drone photography until the FAA issues regulations. Not all real estate professionals are keen to shut down use of drones.

Drone lighting: Autonomous vehicles could automatically assume the right positions for photographic lighting

Researchers at MIT and Cornell University are developing autonomous robots equipped with lights that position themselves for photographers. As a first step, small multi-copters provide specified amounts of “rim lighting” for the subject, even as the photographer or the subject moves about.

Pocket-sized aerial surveillance system under development

A palm-sized unmanned helicopter is being developed by the The U.S. Army and Prox Dynamics  for dismounted troops. Under the Cargo Pocket Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance program, the little UAV would provide a soldier with situational awareness in difficult environments: around a building, in the next room, etc. [Photo above courtesy Prox Dynamics.]

Teal Group Predicts Worldwide UAV Market Will Total $91 Billion in Its 2014 UAV Market Profile and Forecast

Annually, the capable analysts at Teal Group provide a forecast of the UAV market. Industry professionals will want to purchase the report, but Teal Group gives us some information in their report summary. They say, “Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) continue as the most dynamic growth sector of the world aerospace industry this decade.”

The ‘selfie’ is dead. Introducing the ‘dronie’

If you know what a “selfie” is you can figure out what a “dronie” is. These are short videos that capture you and maybe your friends or family, then zoom away to show the environment where you are – in your back yard, at the beach, on a mountainside.

Don’t Fly Drones Here

Zoom into this map of the United States to see major airports, U.S. military bases, and U.S. National Parks. All places to avoid when flying your UAV.

Civilian Drone Interferes with Sands Firefighting Efforts

Firefighters battled the The Sand Fire of El Dorado and Amador County, California for three days. Then a civilian drone taking video appeared. The fire department didn’t like that, identified the pilot, and turned the matter over to the Sheriff. Several press reports describe the situation using words like “interfered” and “hindered,” but provide no information whatsoever as to just what the problem was, making us wonder just who is fanning what fire…

Professors object to FAA restrictions on drone use

University professors are concerned that FAA prohibitions on sUAS operations will have the effect of stifling academic research. Specifically, that they are constrained by last month’s clarification from the FAA on rules for model airplanes operated at low-altitude over private property.

So 30 professors wrote a letter to the FAA saying,

“Under the FAA model aircraft rules, a 10-year-old hobbyist can freely fly model aircraft for recreation, while our nation’s scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs are prohibited from using the same technology in the same types of environments.”

There is a process under which public colleges or universities can obtain a COA, but it does not apply to private schools, like Harvard and Stanford.

Public comments on docket number FAA-2014-0396, Interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft, are being accepted through September 23, 2014 at the Regulations.gov website.

Video of the Week

Mentawai Islands Drone Reconnaissance

The Mentawai Islands are a chain of about seventy islands and islets off the western coast of Sumatra in Indonesia.

Mentioned

Airline Pilot Guy podcast.