Tag Archives: Matternet

UAV211 Matternet Autonomous Drone Network

The Matternet autonomous drone package delivery network, reasons the drone industry job market is hot, studying the risk of injury when drones strike people, drones and transmission line cable construction, actuator servos and the Aerosonde Mk4.7 sUAS, and a webinar for planning your drone program.

The Matternet Station for deliveries by autonomous drone.

The Matternet Station for deliveries by autonomous drone. Courtesy Matternet.

UAV News

The first autonomous drone delivery network will fly above Switzerland starting next month

Matternet announced an autonomous drone network in Switzerland that will fly lab samples between hospitals, clinics, and labs. The permanent network seeks to make deliveries within 30 minutes. Matternet was granted authorization to operate drones over densely populated areas in Switzerland in March 2017. The company unveiled its “Matternet Station” that can be installed on rooftops or on the ground to send and receive packages by drone. Regular service is expected to start in early 2018. Matternet press release. [PDF]

The Matternet Station

3 Reasons Why the Drone Industry Is Hiring Thousands of New Workers

In 2016, about $600 million in venture capital was invested in unmanned aerial tech. So far in 2017, $1.2 billion has been invested. Cited as reasons for a hot job market are: ease of obtaining an operator’s license, the ability of drones to fly in difficult environments, and corporate acquisitions of drone startups.

Risks vary widely in drone-human impacts

The Virginia Tech injury biomechanics group and its UAS test site (operated by the Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership) has released an academic study that quantifies the risk of injury associated with drones colliding with humans. The report, Ranges of Injury Risk Associated with Impact from Unmanned Aircraft Systems, was published in the Annals of Biomedical Engineering and looks at head and neck injury risk in different impact scenarios.

Virginia Tech dummy

Virginia Tech dummy hits

Images courtesy Virginia Tech.

Sharper Shape and SkySkopes Successfully Execute First Transmission Line Cable Construction Mission using Drones

Sharper Shape and SkySkopes have successfully conducted a demonstration of transmission line cable construction using drones. A Sharper Shape A6 UAS was used to string sock lines for a 675 kV line construction project. This would typically be performed with helicopters or workers climbing the towers.

Sock Pulling Sharper Shape

Volz Servos’ DA 15-N Actuators have been Successfully Flying in Aerosonde Mk4.7 SUAS since 2010 Achieving Over 200,000 Flight Hours

Textron Systems Unmanned Systems division has been flying the Aerosonde Mk4.7 Small Unmanned Aircraft System (SUAS) since 2010 in support of U.S. DoD ISR services contracts. Powered by a Lycoming EL-005 engine, the Mk4.7 is designed for expeditionary land- and sea-based operations. Volz Servos’ DA 15-N actuators have performed for over 200,000 flight hours.

The Littlest Lycoming, EL-005

Skyward Webinar: How to Plan and Budget for Your Drone Program

This webinar is designed to get your drone strategy ready for 2018. Skyward and DARTdrones will walk through best practices for building and budgeting for a drone program. Thursday, October 12, 2017, 10 am – 11 am PST.

 

 

 

UAV162 A Call for Harmonized EU Drone Rules

Manned aviation associations want drone safety rules across the EU, Israeli Air Force changes UAV training system strategy, a Lockheed Martin and the Warsaw University partnership, observations from the Commercial UAV Show Asia, Mercedes and Matternet partner on package delivery, and Huerta delivers InterDrone keynote.

Organizations calling for harmonized EU rules for drones

News

EU aviation groups want all drones to be registered

Ten manned aviation associations issued a Joint call to safely integrate Drones / UAS into Europe’s Airspace [PDF]. They believe the safety risks associated recreational drones are underestimated and they want harmonized rules across the EU. The groups are calling for:

  1. Extensive public awareness campaign
  2. Registration of all drones (Ireland and USA cited as examples)
  3. Mandatory training and certificate/license
  4. Technical Performance Limitations (geofencing)
  5. In-depth research into the impact of collisions between drones and manned aircraft
  6. Integration of recreational drones into national Model Aircraft Flying Regulations
  7. Increase in the effectiveness of enforcement.

Signatories are: Airlines for Europe (A4E), Airports Council International Europe (ACI EUROPE), Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO), European Cockpit Association (ECA), European Helicopter Association (EHA), European Regions Airline Association (ERAA), International Air Carrier Association (IACA), International Air Transport Association (IATA), International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA), and International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Associations (IFATCA).

IAF will select existing UAV for training academy

The Israeli Air Force (IAF) had initially planned to ask Israeli UAV manufacturers to develop a dedicated training system for its unmanned air vehicle academy. Instead, the IAF will now select an Israeli off-the-shelf UAV for training.

Lockheed, Warsaw U demonstrate UAV fleet command and control

Lockheed Martin and the Warsaw University of Technology (WUT) are engaged in an advanced applied research program to optimize fleets of manned and unmanned aircraft. They’ve conducted a demonstration where they use advanced math to model the constraints and calculate a “best answer.” The model typically offers a 10 to 20 percent improvement over other methods.

On the Ground at the Commercial UAV Show Asia 2016

The Commercial UAV Show Asia 2016 was held September 1-2, 2016 in Singapore. Netherlands-based Aerialtronics, who specializes in precision agriculture and inspection, showed a gas-sniffer to detect gas leaks in pipelines. Parrot offshoot SenseFly showed applications for agriculture and property mapping. The eBee SQW fixed-wing drone was there, and based around the Parrot Sequoia multispectral camera. Ukrainian-based manned aircraft maker Skyeton recently started manufacturing airframes and avionics systems for third-parties looking to fly their own sensor packages. The Commercial UAV Show next visits the London ExCel center on October 19-20, 2016.

Draganfly Innovations Receives Permission to Test ADS-B Communications Technology

Canada’s Draganfly has become that country’s first UAV manufacturer to receive permission to test an integrated command-and-control system that utilizes automatic dependent surveillance broadcast (ADS-B) avionics with their UAV. Draganfly is partnering with uAvionix.

Mercedes partners with U.S. startup to push drone delivery forward

Daimler AG, the maker of Mercedes-Benz cars and trucks, has acquired a minority stake in Matternet in 5-year, €500 million project to develop drones for networked electric delivery vans. The adVANce initiative will encompass vehicle digitization, automation, robotics and mobility solutions technologies. The Vision Van would have a human driver making deliveries, with the drone simultaneously making additional deliveries.

Drone forensics boosts UAS defense

Department 13 is offering a commercial service that provides drone forensics to clients such as border patrol, prison security, and law enforcement.

Proposal for drones to fly over crowds in the works, FAA chief says at Las Vegas conference

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta delivered the keynote at InterDrone, and confirmed that a proposal to fly over crowds will be released by the end of this year. FAA is working on a proposal for flying beyond visual line of sight.

 

 

UAV138 Blanket Drone Approval for New Section 333 Exemptions

Aerotain Skye droneA significant change for Section 333 holders, a carrier-based aerial-refueling system, mapping with UAVs, a drone that romps in the crowd, using drones for health care, extrapolating birdstrike data to drone strikes, an unmanned underwater vehicle, and a fuel cell-powered drone.

News

UAS: blanket approval granted for 1,120 drones . . . But only going forward

In the past, Section 333 exemption applicants had to list the makes and models of all UAS intended for use. If an exemption holder later wanted to fly a different UAS, an amendment was required. Now, however, newly granted exemptions say there is a:

“… list of Approved Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) under Section 333. The list, which is updated monthly, is posted at www.regulations.gov under docket number FAA-2007-3330. The petitioner is also authorized to operate any UAS on that list, when weighing less than 55 pounds including payload while this exemption is valid.”

The current list dated March 4, 2016 “Approved Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Make/Model under Section 333 – March 4, 2016 (Corrected)” [PDF] has 1,120 UAV makes and models, from the “3D Robotics Aero” to the “Zeta Science Buffalo FX79.”

The FAA says, “It includes UAS readily available for purchase as well as those built by petitioners which are not available for purchase from retailers.”

US Navy descoping stealth requirement for Stingray tanking UAV

The Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) program was originally envisioned to create an unmanned intelligence and strike asset. The Pentagon has now changed the program into the Carrier-Based Aerial-Refueling System (CBARS) to create an unmanned carrier-based aerial tanker called the MQ-25 Stingray.

3D Robotics partners with Sony on a drone that can map the world in 3D

3D Robotics is partnering with Autodesk and Sony on a project that uses a modified Solo drone to scan a location and create a 3D map. The model or map would be uploaded while the drone is in the air, which would then be available to others offsite. The system uses the soon-to-be-released Sony UMC-R10C camera, and will come with a Sony tablet preloaded with Autodesk’s FORGE software. 3D Robotics says it is planning to introduce a multispectral and thermal camera, hardware specialized for scanning agricultural sites, chemical plants, and oil rigs.

Drone meets blimp for crowd-friendly UAV

Aerotain had developed the helium-filled Skye drone to be used safely in crowds of people. The 3-meter diameter sphere has four motors to maneuver it almost like a flying eye. The Skye has a two hour flight time, and the rotor blades are not exposed, making it safe to use in a crowd. Applications include audience engagement at events, advertising, and live event HD video streaming.

Using drones to save lives in Malawi

10,000 children died of HIV-related illnesses in Malawi in 2014. There are only eight labs in the country that can test blood, and since many of the children live in remote villages, the samples are often transported by motorbike over dirt tracks. Now, in partnership with Unicef, a drone from California-based Matternet is being used in an experiment to deliver blood samples quickly and autonomously by air.

We talked about Matternet in UAV103 Matternet Tests Autonomous Package Delivery, July 2015 when freight carrier Swiss WorldCargo announced that testing had begun using the Matternet ONE drone for small package delivery.

New Research Suggests the FAA Exaggerates the Threat that Drones Pose to Airlines

Two researchers from George Mason University in Fairfax Virginia wanted to find out if drones really pose a risk to the airspace. So the researchers examined 25 years of data from the FAA’s wildlife strike database and published the results of their study in Do Consumer Drones Endanger the National Airspace? Evidence from Wildlife Strike Data.” Their conclusion:

“Although aircraft collide with birds many thousands of times per year, only a tiny fraction of those collisions result in damage to the aircraft, much less human injuries or deaths. The most serious reported incidents typically involved flocks of large birds. Since the addition of UAS to the airspace is similar in many respects to an increase in the bird population, we conclude that the risk to the airspace caused by small drones (for example, weighing up to 2kg, or 4.41 pounds) flying in solitary formation is minimal.”

Boeing Introduces Long-Endurance UUV, Echo Voyager

Boeing’s 51-foot Echo Voyager is an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) that can operate autonomously for months under water. Unlike other UUVs, the Echo Voyager does not require a surface support ship, and it can surface and transmit collected data back to users. Sea trials begin this summer off the California coast.

Video of the Week

Home with my Drone

Watch what happens when a ten-year-old boy is left alone at home and gets a visit from the local law enforcement agency for flying his drone in his own backyard.

Mentioned

Drone flight powered by lightweight hydrogen-producing pellets

A Raptor E1 electric drone made a successful test flight using a fuel cell. Fuel pellets manufactured by Cell Energy are heated to produce hydrogen gas, which runs a fuel cell from by Arcola Energy. For the “makers” out there, Arcola Energy sells 1.5 to 30W Hydrogen Fuel Cell Developer Kits that integrate with the Arduino, mbed, and Raspberry Pi boards.

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.

 

UAV037 UAS Test Site Receives FAA COA

Draganflyer X4-C

A UAS Test Site receives an FAA Certificate of Authorization, Spain bans commercial drone use, a drone tracker kit, drones for burglers, a survey says Americans favor targeting terrorists with drones, and an update on the FAA v. Pirker appeal.

The News:

Press Release – FAA Announces First UAS Test Site Operational

On April 21, the FAA announced that the UAS Test Site operated by the North Dakota Department of Commerce is operational. A Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) was granted to the Northern Plains Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site to begin using a Draganflyer X4ES.

Spain Just Made Itself The Enemy Of Drone Enthusiasts Everywhere

The AESA, Spain’s State Agency for Aerial Security, has banned commercial drone use anywhere in the country. The Agency fears “misunderstandings and possible incidents” with these new UAVs. If that’s not bad enough, what does this mean for two new projects: the Atlas Experimental Flight Centre for testing UAS and the aerodrome project in Doñana National Park?

NextGen Drone Tracker Kit now available

Sagetech Corporation designs and manufacturers electronic subsystems for the unmanned and manned aerial vehicles. Their ADS-B Tracker Kit is a turnkey solution that tracks drones on iPads. For that price, you get a 150 gram Sagetech XPG-TR micro transponder for the drone, a Clarity ADS-B receiver, and an iPad.

Thieves using heat-detecting £60 drones bought from supermarkets to spot cannabis farms – then break in to steal the drugs

If you obtain a relatively inexpensive multi-copter and attach an infrared camera, you can fly around and detect sources of relative heat. Also, someone growing a large number of marijuana plants in an indoor farm is going to be using a lot of grow lights. Put the two together and you have a creative use for drones. Good guys can catch the pot growers, Bad guys know where they can steal a lot of weed.

In U.S., 65% Support Drone Attacks on Terrorists Abroad

A recent Gallup Poll asked about 500 adult Americans “Do you think the U.S. government should or should not use drones to — ?” 65% said yes to launching airstrikes in other countries against suspected terrorists.

FAA Files Appeal Brief In Closely-Watched Drone Pilot Case

Much of this article repeats what we said last episode about FAA v. Pirker, but this was written by John Goglia, a former Board member. At issue is whether or not the small UAS is an aircraft as defined by the FARs, and thus subject Pirker to it’s limitations on careless or reckless operation of an aircraft. After almost ten years on the NTSB, Goglia notes that most (not all) cases go in favor of the FAA. But here he says, “This case appears to me to be one that defies logic.”

Video of the Week:

Matternet, A Ted Talk video about autonomous electric aerial vehicles proposed for a transportation network that brings items (“matter”) to areas of the world without year-round ground transportation roads. Via Michael.

Mentioned:

A Drone Perspective, a map of Small Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS) videos, via Chris.