Tag Archives: NASA

UAV226 Drones at CES 2018

Drone news from CES 2018, drones and asymmetrical warfare, situational awareness for sense and avoid from Insitu, a Cargo Air Vehicle prototype from Boeing, and GoPro exits the quadcopter market.

The Volocopter 2X autonomous air taxi at CES 2018.

The Volocopter 2X autonomous air taxi at CES 2018.

UAV News

Drones fly over Bellagio fountains during Las Vegas CES

Intel Corp. flew 250 light-emitting Shooting Star drones over the Fountains at Bellagio at CES 2018. Intel plans a drone show at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.

Video: Intel’s drone light show sends 250 drones flying over Las Vegas at CES 2018

Volocopter 2X: An Autonomous Flying Taxi In Flight At CES 2018 In Las Vegas For The First Time

The Volocopter 2X autonomous passenger drone lifted off on the stage at CES 2018. The flight was short and tethered for safety.

Yuneec announces Typhoon H Plus alongside first fixed-wing and racing drones

Yuneec showed three drones at CES 2018: The Typhoon H Plus for pro photographers and videographers, the Firebird FPV fixed-wing drone, and the HD Racer small racing drone.

Images from CES 2018

These photos were provided by junior21 in our Slack listener team:

Law enforcement drone at CES 2018.

Law enforcement drone at CES 2018.

Yamaha Frazer at CES 2018.

Yamaha Frazer at CES 2018.

CES 2018 drone safety booth.

CES 2018 drone safety booth.

Defining Asymmetrical Warfare: Extremists Use Retail Drones to Attack Russian Air Base in Syria

There are reports of insurgents modifying commercially available quadcopters to deliver explosives such as mortar rounds and grenades. Social media photos show the damaged tail of a Sukhoi Su-24 Fencer attack aircraft in Syria. There is speculation the Russians have intercepted the drones with the Pantsir S-2 integrated missile and gun vehicle.

Insitu Demonstrates Broad-area Airspace Situational Awareness System for Unmanned Air Systems

Insitu completed a successful flight demonstration of their real-time, ground-based UAS airspace situational awareness system. The system allows commercial UAS operators to detect and avoid nearby aircraft flying both within and beyond line of sight. The system is specifically designed to help detect and avoid “non-cooperative” traffic. Insitu collaborated with Boeing Phantom Works International in Australia under a program sponsored by the Queensland Government.

Boeing Unveils New Unmanned Cargo Air Vehicle Prototype

The unmanned electric VTOL multi-copter Cargo Air Vehicle (CAV) prototype is designed to carry up to 500 pounds. Boeing will use it to “test and evolve Boeing’s autonomy technology for future aerospace vehicles.” Initial flight tests were successfully completed at Boeing Research & Technology’s Collaborative Autonomous Systems Laboratory in Missouri.

Future of autonomous air travel: Boeing unveils new cargo air vehicle prototype

GoPro Plunges After Announcing Job Cuts, Revenue Miss

GoPro Inc. had a difficult fourth quarter. The company is cutting more than 20 percent of its global workforce and ending its drone business. GoPro says they will sell off the existing inventory of Karma drones but will continue to provide service.

UAV Video of the Week

Brain Controlled UAV

A hacked Star Wars Force Trainer uses the operator’s thoughts to control a small drone in this ARCLab ACE Project.

Feedback

NASA chief historian Bill Barry sets the record straight on the origins of the winglet. It was Richard Whitcomb at NASA that gets credit for the aeronautical innovation, not DARPA.

Dryden Flight Research Center: Winglets

 

 

 

UAV224 UAS Identification and Tracking

An Aviation Rulemaking Committee has released their recommendations for identification and tracking of unmanned aircraft, Airbus looks to incorporate some Formula 1 technology into their Zephyr High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite, a proposal is submitted to send a multirotor drone to one of Saturn’s moons, a drone quickly finds a missing man, and the FAA prohibits drone flights over certain facilities.

Half-scale Dragonfly test-bed vehicle

An autonomous half-scale Dragonfly test-bed vehicle built by the Penn State University Center of Excellence for Vertical Lift.

UAV News

FAA Releases UAS Remote Tracking & ID ARC Report

The Unmanned Aircraft Systems Identification and Tracking Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) submitted its 213 page final report and recommendations: UAS Identification and Tracking (UAS ID) Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC), ARC Recommendations, Final Report. [PDF]

The FAA says, “Overall, the ARC provided the FAA with a substantial amount of useful data, including very detailed technology evaluations and a comprehensive list of law enforcement needs and preferences. The ARC’s recommendations and suggestions… cover issues related to existing and emerging technologies, law enforcement and security, and implementation of remote identification and tracking. Although some recommendations were not unanimous, the group reached general agreement on most.”

FAA Releases UAS Remote ID, Tracking Report; Groups Dissent

The ARC recommended that model aircraft operating under Section 336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 be exempt from identification and tracking requirements. The dissenting opinion was that this recommendation would undermine the value of an ID and tracking requirement.

The dissenting opinion was led by the Commercial Drone Alliance and signed by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, the Aerospace Industries Association, the National Agricultural Aviation Association, X, GE, uAvionix, Ford Motor Co., AirMap, and General Atomics. They “appreciate the extensive efforts of the ARC but strongly disagree on the critical point of who and what UAS should have to comply with ID and tracking requirements.”

The FAA will use the data and recommendations in the ARC report and produce a proposed rule for public comment.

Airbus seeks help from Formula One team to develop high altitude drone

The solar-powered Airbus Zephyr UAS is designed to fly at 65,000 feet, above weather and commercial air traffic. Acting as a “High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS),” it is designed to fly without fuel for months in communications and surveillance roles. Airbus Unmanned Aerial Systems will work with the Williams Motorsports Formula 1 team on battery and lightweight composite materials technology.

Finalists in NASA’s Spacecraft Sweepstakes: A Drone on Titan, and a Comet-Chaser

NASA solicited proposals under the New Frontiers competition for missions to explore the solar system, and they announced two finalists.

The Comet Astrobiology Exploration Sample Return (Caesar) spacecraft would travel to the comet that was previously visited by the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission, and return a sample for study.

The John’s Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) Dragonfly is a Plutonium-powered quadcopter that would be sent to Saturn’s moon Titan. It would take measurements on the surface of Titan, then fly to another location on the moon. Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) is the principal investigator for Dragonfly.

Video: Dragonfly: A Proposal to Explore Titan, Saturn’s Largest Moon, via Quadcopter

After humans fail, drone tracks down lost 92-year-old in 20 minutes

92-year-old Bill McDonnell went hunting in Shenandoah County, Virginia but didn’t come home. Rescuers used helicopters and foot patrols but couldn’t find him. The next morning, the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office team put up their new drone and found McDonnell in 20 minutes. Additionally, though not part of this operation, the drone is one of six in the nation that flies in the Project Lifesaver program designed to locate people with medical conditions such as Alzheimer’s who are wearing a specific wristband.

FAA Expands Restrictions to Include UAV Flights over Department of Energy Facilities

Effective December 29, 2017, drone flights below 400 feet are banned over seven DOE facilities in the interest of national security. Violations can result in tens of thousands of dollars in fines and possible criminal charges with up to one year in jail. The restrictions apply to both hobbyist drones and civil aircraft at these locations:

Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho Falls, ID
Pantex Site, Panhandle, TX
Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM
Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN
Savannah River National Laboratory, Aiken, SC
Y-12 National Security Site, Oak Ridge, TN

UAV Video of the Week

Santa & the X-MAS drones

 

 

 

 

UAV221 sUAS Collisions with Manned Aircraft

A study examines sUAS collisions with manned aircraft, Amazon patents a self-disintegrating drone, Mercedes completes 100 package deliveries by drone, a race that pitted an autonomous drone against a piloted drone, and marine mammals are disturbed by drones.

Delivery drone above a Mercedes Benz Vito van. Courtesy Daimler AG.

Delivery drone above a Mercedes-Benz Vito van. Courtesy Daimler AG.

UAV News

Researchers Release Report on Drone Airborne Collisions

A research team from ASSURE {Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence} released a report that looks at sUAS collisions with manned aircraft. Congress directed the FAA in 2014 to establish a UAS Center of Excellence and the FAA selected ASSURE, led by Mississippi State University, in May 2015.

The ASSURE UAS Airborne Collision Severity Evaluation Final Report concludes that drones that collide with large manned aircraft can cause more structural damage than birds of the same weight for a given impact speed. The FAA says they will use the research results to help develop operational and collision risk mitigation requirements for drones.

ASSURE used computer modeling and physical validation testing it its research. The team looked at a 2.7 pound quadcopter, a 4 pound quadcopter, a 4 pound fixed-wing drone, and an 8 pound fixed-wing drone, all striking a single-aisle commercial transport jet and a business jet.

They examined impacts to the wing leading edge, the windshield, and the vertical and horizontal stabilizers. The windshields generally sustained the least damage and the horizontal stabilizers suffered the most serious damage.

The researchers concluded that unmanned aircraft system manufacturers should adopt “detect and avoid” or “geo-fencing” capabilities to reduce the probability of collisions with other aircraft.

The ASSURE team provided an A3 Airborne Collision Presentation, and the report in four volumes:

FAA sUAS COE Task A3 UAS Airborne Collision Hazard Severity Evaluation [PDF]

An FAA press conference presentation explaining why it is necessary to determine the potential severity of sUAS mid-air collisions with aircraft in order to define an Equivalent Level of Safety to manned aviation.

Volume I: UAS Airborne Collision Severity Evaluation: Summary of Structural Evaluation [PDF]

A summary of the entire structural portion of the study that includes a high-level explanation of the project’s scope, technical approach, evaluation and conclusions of the severity of small unmanned aircraft impacts with a commercial transport jet and business jet. This summary report also provides conclusions on the influence of velocity and mass on impact damage, a comparison to bird strikes and concludes with recommendations going forward.

Volume II: UAS Airborne Collision Severity Evaluation: Quadcopter [PDF]

A detailed report the project’s scope and the selection and definition of both the “projectile” Unmanned Aircraft and the “target” commercial transport and business jets. This Volume centers on the quadcopter UAS and its unique characteristics.

Volume III: UAS Airborne Collision Severity Evaluation: Fixed-Wing UAS [PDF]

A similarly detailed report centering on the fixed-wing UAS and its unique characteristics.

Volume IV: UAS Airborne Collision Severity Evaluation: Engine Ingestion [PDF]

An evaluation of the severity of a small UAS collision with propulsion systems. This report helps us to start to understand the effects of parameters of aircraft speed, impact location, fan speed and unmanned aircraft orientation on impact severity to a unique FAA fan-blade-out model.

Amazon delivery drone could self-disintegrate for safety if it falls from sky

Amazon has been granted a patent for Directed fragmentation for unmanned airborne vehicles: “In one embodiment, the UAV includes various components, such one or more motors, batteries, sensors, a housing, casing or shell, and a payload for delivery. Additionally, the UAV includes a flight controller and a fragmentation controller. The flight controller determines a flight path and controls a flight operation of the UAV. During the flight operation, the fragmentation controller develops a fragmentation sequence for one or more of the components based on the flight path, the flight conditions, and terrain topology information, among other factors. The fragmentation controller can also detect a disruption in the flight operation of the UAV and, in response, direct fragmentation of one or more of the components apart from the UAV. In that way, a controlled, directed fragmentation of the UAV can be accomplished upon any disruption to the flight operation of the UAV.”

Mercedes Plans More Drone Deliveries After 100 Perfect Flights

In a 3-week pilot project by Mercedes-Benz Vans, US drone systems developer Matternet, and Swiss online marketplace siroop, 100 package delivery flights were successfully completed in Zurich. Customers placed orders for items like ground coffee and cellphones. The drones flew as far as 17 kilometers (11 miles) to four fixed points in the city where they landed on roofs of special Mercedes-Benz Vito vans. The vans then delivered the packages.

NASA-Built Drone Races FlyingBear, Loses

Professional drone racing pilot Ken “FlyingBear” Loo flew against a NASA autonomous drone. The NASA drone flew more cautiously, smoothly, and consistently over the course. Loo’s speeds were higher, and he executed more complex maneuvers, but mental fatigue became a factor. In the end, his times were quicker.

As Ocean Drones Proliferate Marine Wildlife are getting a bit annoyed

Drones are violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1992 which makes it illegal to disturb marine mammals, regardless of whether you are in the water, in a boat, or in the air. Marine biologist Alicia Amerson started the AliMoSphere initiative to develop best practices studying marine wildlife with drones.

UAV Video of the Week

Flying Robot international Film Festival

The FRiFF calls itself “the world’s premiere international competitive short film festival focused on drone culture and aerial cinema created from the perspective of drones.”

The 2017 edition of the Festival took place November 16, 2017, at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco. Twenty-five short drone films from a dozen countries were selected for inclusion and nominated for awards in each of seven categories. Watch the winning drone films.

Mentioned

The Drone Racing League (DRL) and MultiGP Drone Racing Announce Simulator Partnership Surrounding the 2018 Swatch DRL Tryouts

 

UAV218 UAS Integration Pilot Program Details Emerge

Additional details of the FAA UAS Integration Pilot Program have emerged, with webinars held on that topic by the FAA and others. Also, Boeing’s acquisition of Aurora Flight Sciences is complete, NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) is expanding its research scope to include Urban Air Mobility, and drone strikes on manned aircraft.

UAV News

UAS Integration Pilot Program Webinar

UAS Integration Pilot Program

The FAA conducted several one-hour UAS Integration Pilot Program webinar sessions. The Program seeks to achieve BVLOS and other complex operations (flight at night, over people, and operational coordination with manned aircraft), promote innovation, develop regulations that reduce the need for operations by exception. address security concerns, and balance national and local interests.

The 17-minute UAS Integration Pilot Program Webinar video provided an overview of the program, the application process, acceptance criteria, and deadlines.

We recorded the live Q&A session from the November 3, 2017, webinar, which runs about 40 minutes:

To learn more, about the UAS Integration Pilot Program, see these FAA webpages:

UAS Webinar: Regulatory and Policy Developments

Hogan Lovells Unmanned Aircraft Systems is offering a free webinar Thursday, November 16, 2017, 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Eastern to discuss key UAS regulatory and policy developments and provide insight on the Part 107 waiver process. Emily Avant, Senior Counsel for CNN, will be participating to discuss CNN’s new waiver for operations over people, what it means for the broader commercial UAS industry, and tips for making your waiver application a success.

Other webinar topics will include:

  • Status update on Part 107 waivers granted to date
  • The inside scoop on CNN’s precedent-setting waiver for operations over people
  • Developing a safety case for a Part 107 waiver application
  • The Trump Administration’s new UAS Integration Pilot Program
  • Rollout of the FAA’s Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) system
  • Upcoming FAA rulemakings and next steps moving forward

Register for the Hogan Lovells webinar here.

Also, Drones and the Legal Landscape from the AOPA Drone Talk Series will be held November 10, 2017, 8 PM Eastern.

Boeing completes acquisition of Aurora Flight Sciences

Boeing announced the completion of its acquisition of Aurora Flight Sciences. Aurora will operate under Boeing Engineering, Test & Technology as a subsidiary called Aurora Flight Sciences, A Boeing Company. It retains its independent operating model. Boeing first announced the agreement with Aurora on Oct. 5, 2017, pending U.S. government approval.

NASA Embraces Urban Air Mobility (UAM), Calls for Market Study

NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) is expanding its research scope to include Urban Air Mobility or UAM.

UAM is defined in this article as “a safe and efficient system for air passenger and cargo transportation within an urban area, inclusive of small package delivery and other urban Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) services, which supports a mix of onboard/ground-piloted and increasingly autonomous operations.”

NASA’s associate administrator for aeronautics Jaiwon Shin says, “We plan to conduct the research and development, and test the concepts and technologies that establish feasibility and help set the requirements. Those requirements then serve to make using autonomous vehicles, electric propulsion, and high density airspace operations in the urban environment safe, efficient and economically viable.”

ARMD awarded contracts to Booz Allen Hamilton and to Crown Consulting to conduct market studies on the policy, economic, social, environmental, and legal barriers to enabling UAM; and also to estimate how much potential demand there is for UAM.

Here’s How Drones Do (and Don’t) Threaten Passenger Aircraft

Recently, a civilian drone struck a U.S. Army UH-60M Blackhawk helicopter and a drone hit a Beechcraft King Air. Studies have been conducted by the Crashworthiness for Aerospace Structures and Hybrids (CRASH) Lab, the U.K.’s Department for Transport and Military Aviation Authority, and George Mason University, but there is little data on the damage small drones can cause in a collision.

 

UAV197 NASA UAS Traffic Management (UTM) System Tests

NASA UAS Traffic Management system testing at the UAS test sites, Arizona law enforcement uses a drone to find a missing man, a drone company becomes a drone data company, DARPA studies mid-flight multitasking for small drones, a University of Calgary study of drone incidents, and fuel cells for drones.

The Kespry fully autonomous aerial intelligence system

The Kespry fully autonomous aerial intelligence system. Image courtesy Kespry.

UAV News

NIAS and NASA test the Next Phase of NASA’s UAS Traffic Management System

Tests for NASA’s Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Traffic Management (UTM) system are being conducted at the six UAS test sites in the “Technology Capability Level 2 (TCL2) National Campaign.” The first tests were held at the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems.

NCSO uses UAV to find missing man

After receiving a call about a man who was missing in the woods, the Navajo County Sheriff’s Office in Arizona deployed their drone for the search. The disoriented man was found in about 45 minutes.

Transforming a Drone Company into a Data Company

Kespry says they are “focused on making it easy to capture, process, use and share high-resolution information from the field.” They offer “a fully autonomous aerial intelligence system” that tries to eliminate the need to integrate multiple systems from multiple vendors. In effect, their complete drone solution makes them more of a data company than a drone company.”

DARPA program to allow for mid-flight multitasking drone missions

A small UAS can often carry only one payload due to power, weight, and size constraints. Under the CONverged Collaborative Elements for RF Task Operations (CONCERTO) program, DARPA is looking at multiple payloads that share common RF components. BAE Systems has been awarded $5.4 million in contracts to help develop technology that allows operating modes to switch mid-flight. See the video: CONCERTO Concept of Operations

Close encounters of the drone kind becoming more common, U of C study says.

A new University of Calgary study finds there are more drones in the air than manned aircraft. There were 355 drone incidents reported in Canadian airspace between November 2005 and December 2016, and 22% of them involved close encounters between drones and piloted aircraft. Most incidents involve non-licensed operators.

Will Hydrogen Fuel Cells Help Drones Stay in the Air?

Three options today for increasing electric UAV time-in-the-air are tethered devices, solar power, and in-the-field rapid battery replacements. However, fuel cell power systems are gathering steam and two private companies are innovating and offering products: Protonex, based in Massachusetts, is focused on Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) technology for small, light UAV applications; China-based MMC is currently manufacturing and distributing two models of fuel cells.

UAV Videos of the Week

Playing Pong with Drones

3DR Interns Ian McNanie and Josh Jacobs have programmed a group of drones to play a game of pong in the air. One base station communicates with the swarm of drones.

Brad Byrd – Highest Mountain

The Highest Mountain music video from singer/songwriter Brad Byrd was shot and directed by Dylan Kussman (Dead Poets Society, Jack Reacher, X-men) using DJI Zenmuse X5 video drones.

Mentioned

Nova Systems Completes Multi-drone UTM Trial

Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Traffic Management (UTM) system trials are taking place in Australia. The trial that Nova Systems participated in explored different Remotely Piloted Aircraft types and sizes, payload capabilities (including live payload distribution over an LTE network), the effectiveness of each UTM (some of which relied upon the LTE network), control of drones over the LTE network, and a new approach to range safety.

Drone Problems

A humorous cartoon from XKCD about drone operators who seem to crash a lot.

 

 

 

 

UAV167 UAS as a Subscription Service

A UAS service for public safety agencies, ScanEagle goes to the Smithsonian, testing drone strikes on airliners, NASA tests BVLOS, maritime drone tests, a new sense and avoid sensor, and FAA outreach.

Aeryon SkyRanger UAS

Aeryon SkyRanger UAS

News

Aeryon Introduces Flexible UAS Subscription Solution for Law Enforcement at IACP 2016

Aeryon Labs, Inc. is offering UAS services to qualified public safety agencies on a monthly subscription basis. Announced at the International Association of Chiefs of Police annual conference and exhibition, the service includes the Aeryon SkyRanger UAS, Program Launch and Support Services, Assured Operational Availability, Investment Protection, and Secure, Remote Distribution of Video and Imagery.

Insitu Donates ScanEagle UAS to Smithsonian Air & Space Museum; Ryan Hartman Comments

ScanEagle N202SE will go on display at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia. Boeing subsidiary Insitu donated the ScanEagle that was the first drone operated beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) in a commercial mission in the U.S. National Airspace System.

UK government to test drone safety by deliberating crashing UAVs into passenger aeroplanes

The Department of Transport (DoT), the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) have been ordered to begin tests to learn what happens when a typical consumer quadcopter strikes a commercial passenger jet.

NASA Conducts ‘Out of Sight’ Drone Tests in Nevada

As part of NASA’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) traffic management [PDF] (or UTM) research platform, the Agency is testing drones beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS). NASA will now offer the capabilities to all FAA test sites for further validation and assessment.

Maritime drones have a long voyage ahead before they become commonplace

Self-sailing boats experience a complex operating environment. Unmanned water taxis, or “Roboats,” will be tested next year in Amsterdam’s canals.

Canadian Skies Abuzz – The Regulation of Drones and UAVs in Canadian Airspace

In 2015, Transport Canada issued a Notice of Proposed Amendment to its UAV regulations, and the organization it is now finalizing the proposed regulations. Publication for formal comment is expected in Spring 2017.

Quantum film sensor stops delivery drones crashing into things

InVisage Technologies has developed QuantumFilm™ sensors that allow small drones to sense and avoid obstacles. The sensor’s photosensitive layer uses quantum dots and has five times the light sensing capability of conventional CMOS image sensors. The new sensor design “can rapidly detect obstacles up to 20 metres away, using a technique called structured light.” Projected “laser dots… are distorted by any object they strike, allowing the sensor to infer the location and distance of obstacles ahead.”

Education Key to Understanding FAA Drone Regulations

As part of the FAA’s outreach to drone users, an educational webinar was produced in conjunction with the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF).

Video of the Week

UAS Conference – 2 Races – Cape May, NJ

Mentioned

Northern Light Aerial Images from photographer Mark Fink.

Drones being used to zero in on pests in vineyards and orchards

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

UAV160 UAS for Newsgathering

A major news network launches a UAS newsgathering unit, a real-time UAS flight data exchange for a drone traffic management system, and a tethered drone solution for persistent applications.

Elistair tethered drone station

Elistair tethered drone station

News

CNN Launches CNN AIR

News network CNN has launched a UAS unit called CNN Aerial Imagery and Reporting (CNN AIR) with two full-time UAS operators. They will provide aerial imagery and reporting for the CNN networks, Turner Broadcasting, and Time Warner.

University UAS researchers share information network with NASA

NASA and the Lone Star UAS Center of Excellence and Innovation (at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi) have created an interconnection security agreement that allows university researchers to directly access NASA’s Ames Research Center and exchange real-time UAS flight data. This advances research for a drone traffic management system that is integrated with manned aviation.

Drones do mix with airports, so long as they’re kept on a leash

French firm Elistair designs and manufactures tethered stations for small civilian drones. According to the company, applications include persistent aerial surveillance, continuous aerial broadcasting, complex industrial inspection, and traffic monitoring. Two tethered ground stations for drones are available, the Safe-T and ruggedized High-T. The ground stations provide constant data transfer, continuous power, unlimited flight duration, and keeps the multicopter from flying where it shouldn’t.

Man sentenced to federal prison for pointing laser at sheriff’s helicopter

A 35-year-old California was has been sentenced to 15 months in federal prison for pointing a laser pointer at a police helicopter flying over a traffic accident.

Baltimore PD Can Keep Tabs On The Entire City, Thanks To Privately-Donated Aerial Surveillance System

The Baltimore, Maryland Police Department has acquired a wide area surveillance system developed for military use. The Persistent Surveillance Systems 192-million megapixel camera was purchased privately and given to the city. Due to the half-meter resolution, specific individuals cannot be identified, but their movement can be tracked. Program secrecy and privacy implications are causing some concern.

Video of the Week

FlexRC OWL Storm Edition FPV Racer – HeliPal.com

The FlexRC Owl Storm Edition is a compact size box-shape FPV racer specially made for indoor (or outdoor) flying.

Upcoming Conferences

Airborne ISR

26th – 27th October 2016, Holiday Inn Kensington Forum, London, UK.

In today’s complex and ever-changing operational environment, the demand for increased situational awareness continues to grow. As a decisive and indispensable tool, air based ISTAR is increasingly relied upon to deliver this capability, allowing commanders to understand the situation on the ground and act accordingly.

Covering direction, collection, process and dissemination, Airborne ISR will thoroughly analyse the intelligence chain and deliberate best practice for the enhancement of ISTAR capability. Drawing on respective nations ISTAR structure, operational feedback and training, to explore the doctrine necessary to develop this vital asset.

The conference will also benefit from the guidance of technical leaders from research and industry, whose insight into the latest platforms, systems and sub-systems will provide greater awareness of existing and future capability.

The 2016 expert speaker panel includes: RAF, UK MoD, Joint Forces Command UK, United States Air Force, French Air Force, German Air Force, Royal Netherlands Air Force, Ministry of Defence Spain, Defence Command Denmark, RUSI, NATO, DSTL and many more.

Benefits of Attending:

  • Hear from those at the heart of air systems operation, development and integration
  • Deliberate contemporary operational requirements that are shaping capability development
  • Hear the very latest technological developments from research and industry that are enhancing intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting

Register by 31 August and save £200. By 30 September and save £100.

Register online at: www.airborne-isr.net/uavdigest. For more information please contact: +44 (0) 207 827 6138 or email: scargan@smi-online.co.uk.

UAV Technology Eastern Europe

21-22 September 2016, Angelo by Vienna House, Radlicka 1g, 15000 Prague, Czech Republic.

SMi’s UAV Technology Eastern Europe conference, taking place on 21-22 September 2016 in Prague, will help develop and shape the future capability of Central and Eastern Europe’s UAV and airborne system projects.  As many nations are in the early adoption phase of developing Unmanned Aerial Technology and Systems, this is the perfect event for those wishing to get ahead and meet key decision makers for the region’s fastest developing programmes.

With many nations in this region now actively looking for new technologies and solutions to ensure their airspace is both secure and offering vital intelligence to ground operations, you really cannot afford to miss this essential conference.

Register now and join the likes of: Harris, Textron, WB Group, Cybaero, Spacemetric, Ampex Data Systems, Swiss Air Force, German Air Force Command, Swedish Army, US Army, Danish Army, Hungarian National Police, and UAE GHQ.

Expect regional UAV briefings from the following keynote speakers:

  1. Lieutenant Colonel Petr Snajdarek, Reconnaissance and Electronic Warfare Branch, Czech MoD
  2. Colonel (ret) Ryszard Szczepanik, General Director, Polish Air Force Institute Of Technology
  3. Lieutenant Colonel Petr Stodola, Associate Professor, Department of Tactics, University of Defence, Czech Republic
  4. Mr. Marko Gruden, Secretary, Directorate of Logistics, Ministry of Defence, Slovenia
  5. Mr. Janek Mägi, Head of Department, Border Policy Department, Estonian Ministry of the Interior
  6. Dr. Wojciech Komorniczak, Director at WB Group and Vice President at Flytronic, WB Group
  7. Mr. Tomas Pustina, Senior Legal Officer, Department of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Transport, Czech Republic

To view the full speaker line-up and conference program, visit http://www.uav-technology.org/uavdigest.

Mentioned

Drone over Lambeau confiscated by authorities

The operator of a drone flown over a Green Bay Packers football game was tracked down. The FAA is investigating.

Drone accidents mostly caused by technical problems, not operator error, research shows

The Australian RMIT University School of Engineering looked at 150 reported civilian drone-related accidents around the world over the past decade. Technical problems caused 64 percent of the accidents.

 

 

 

UAV154 Cargo Drone Challenge Winners

Crowdsourcing designs for cargo drones, UAS for higher education, US Air Force training enlisted RPA operators, NASA detect and avoid tests, delivering vaccine by drone, a woman freed by a Phantom, and drones interfering with wildfires.

ZELATOR

The ZELATOR by Alexey Medvedev from Omsk, Russia

News

Airbus reveals cargo UAV challenge winners

The Airbus Cargo Drone Challenge was created by Local Motors and Airbus Group to crowdsource the design of a commercial-grade package delivery drone for medical supplies and other types of cargo. Local Motors reports in Airbus Cargo Drone Challenge winners announced that 425 submissions were received, and assessed on mission performance, weight and balance, and preliminary flight performance. Video: Winners Revealed in the Airbus Cargo Drone Challenge by Local Motors.

Early Days for Drone Use in Higher Education

Drones in the academic environment offer the opportunity to focus on design and development and also using them for academic instruction and research. The Higher Education UAS Modernization Act would let students and educators operate UAVs without FAA approval if certain conditions are met.

Air Force plans 100 enlisted drone pilots by 2020

The Air Force expects to graduate the first class of enlisted airmen in 2017 for remotely piloted aircraft, specifically unarmed RQ-4 Global Hawks used for high-altitude reconnaissance missions. The graduates would become the first Air Force enlisted pilots since World War II.

NASA Concludes UAS NAS Integration Flight Tests

NASA has completed a two-month series of flight tests at Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California. NASA tested technologies for Detect-and-Avoid (DAA) algorithms developed by NASA, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., Honeywell, and other partners. The tests included more than 260 scripted encounters between the Ikhana UAS and manned “intruder” aircraft. The algorithms successfully alerted the pilot on the ground.

Drones to unleash vaccine-laced pellets in bid to save endangered ferrets

The endangered black-footed ferrets in Montana eat prairie dogs, and both are susceptible to the sylvatic plague transmitted by fleas. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service wants to help the animals by dispensing vaccine-laden pellets from drones.  Note:  The article originally reported that the drones would shoot vaccine-laced M&Ms.

Video shows man use drone to save person trapped in bathroom

A woman in a bathroom was unable to unlock the door from the inside. A DJI Phantom trailing a string was flown over the bathroom window and the woman then tied the door key to the string. With the key in hand, those outside could unlock the door and free the woman.

Authorities in Utah can now legally disable or destroy drones near wildfires

Lawmakers approved a bill that would allow firefighters or law enforcement to shoot down or disable drones interfering with efforts to contain wildfires. The bill also provides for a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $15,000 fine if a drone causes a firefighting aircraft to crash.

Video of the Week

Engineers Hack Pokemon Go by Using a Drone

Thanks to @ProfVanderhoof’s sister Marianne for bringing this to our attention.

 

 

 

 

UAV149 Sense and Avoid and Package Delivery at NASA Langley

David talks with Frank Jones, Deputy Director, Research Services Directorate at NASA Langley Research Center.

David Vanderhoof and Frank Jones

David Vanderhoof (L) and Frank Jones (R)

Frank Jones describes how sense and avoid algorithms based on ADS-B have been researched using the specially instrumented NASA Cirrus SR-22 as a surrogate drone. NASA and the other research partners conducted a number of flight tests to try and tried to break the algorithms with “blunder maneuvers” and observed how the software performed.

The SR-22 also participated in the project with Virginia Tech, Flirtey, and others to deliver medical supplies by drone. The SR-22 carrying the supplies was flown remotely to an airport; the package was transferred to the Flirtey quadcopter, which then made the “last-mile” delivery.

Currently, an urban test environment is being created at NASA Langley where sUAS could be flown routinely across the campus using them operationally to deliver mail and packages, conduct building inspections, and perform other tasks.

Find NASA Langley Research Center on Twitter as @NASA_Langley.

We’d like to thank Kathy Barnstoff and Bill Baley for arranging the NASA Langley interviews.