Aurora Flight Sciences and PrecisionHawk receive additional funding, some first responders gain permission for BVLOS and night flights, the FCC imposes a civil penalty for communications violations, China is developing a heavy cargo drone, and KFC offers a build-a-drone promotion.
The U.S. Air Force awarded Aurora Flight Sciences a $48 million contract to fund continued development of its Orion Unmanned Aircraft System. This MALE Orion is a twin-engine, fixed wing, heavy fuel propulsion aircraft with “over three times the endurance and range of current ISR platforms.”
PrecisionHawk Inc. announced a $75 million round of funding from a group of venture and strategic investors. This new funding brings the total funding to more than $100 million.
The FAA has issued a waiver to the Danbury Fire Department to conduct flights at night. Without the waiver, such night flights would be prohibited. The Department operates a DJI Matrice 210 and received training through Fire Tech and Safety of New England Inc.
Renfrew County paramedics initially had Transport Canada’s permission to fly drones within line of sight. But they wanted BVLOS and conducted a six-day demonstration in Spring 2017 with Transport Canada, RCMP, Ontario Provincial Police, and InDro Robotics. They then received permission to fly UAVs at night within a four-nautical-mile search area.
Renfrew paramedics use their drone to scan rugged crash sites, locate people lost in the woods, and determine whether snowmobilers fell through ice or made it safely to shore. They have the ability to deliver an automatic external defibrillator, a personal flotation device, and deliver a rope out to a person on the ice.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates interstate communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable. Recently, the FCC imposed a civil penalty of $180,000 against “high-end” FPV supplier Lumenier Holdco LLC. That company provided products operating on frequency bands reserved for federal aviation navigation and communication. Also, some of the Lumenier UAS used unauthorized transmitters exceeding the authorized one-watt power limit for model aircraft. In the consent decree [PDF], Lumenier admitted liability.
Tengoen Technology is developing several drones, including an eight-engine drone with a 137 feet wingspan that can carry a 20-ton payload up to 4,660 miles. The carbon-fiber, double-bodied drone is targeted for a 2020 first flight.
Under a new KFC India limited-time promotion, “Smoky Grilled Wings” orders come with drone parts that can be assembled into a Bluetooth-enabled KFO (Kentucky Flying Object). The drone can be controlled with a smartphone. Watch the promotional video.