Tag Archives: package delivery

UAV177 FPV Flying Wings

The owner of an FPV flying wing company describes their design, construction, and applications. In the news, Amazon patents a floating warehouse concept, and the EU moves closer to an RPAS regulations roadmap.

Ruben Jauregui, owner of SweepWingsRC

Ruben Jauregui, owner of SweepWingsRC

Guest

Ruben Jauregui is the owner of SweepWingsRC, a maker of FPV flying wings. In 2010, Ruben received a little UMX Vapor indoor flyer and over time he grew more interested in RC flying. He built his own RC aircraft in 2011, and then FPV flying wings came along for him in 2012. He soon went out and sourced the materials to make his own wings. By 2013, Ruben had made and tested his own design and came up with the name for his brand. By 2014, Ruben was officially a small company owner.

We talk about flying wing design, construction, and applications. Ruben tells us how flying wings and multirotors differ from the operator’s perspective. He describes his flying wing designs, their payload capabilities, and the impressive speeds they can reach.

SweepWingsRC videos:

FPV Paradise – Hawaii – Flying Wing

FPV Paradise Tour – Las Vegas – Sweepwings

Sweepwings at Drone World’s – Hawaii 2016

UAV News

Amazon patent hints at floating warehouses in the sky

The patent, Airborne fulfillment center utilizing unmanned aerial vehicles for item delivery, describes “an airborne fulfillment center (‘AFC’) and the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (‘UAV’) to deliver items from the AFC to users. For example, the AFC may be an airship that remains at a high altitude (e.g., 45,000 feet) and UAVs with ordered items may be deployed from the AFC to deliver ordered items to user designated delivery locations. As the UAVs descend, they can navigate horizontally toward a user specified delivery location using little to no power, other than to stabilize the UAV and/or guide the direction of descent. Shuttles (smaller airships) may be used to replenish the AFC with inventory, UAVs, supplies, fuel, etc. Likewise, the shuttles may be utilized to transport workers to and from the AFC.”

Roadmap for drone operations in the European Union (EU), The roll-out of the EU operation centric approach [PDF]

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in Europe is working on the preparation of a Specific Operation Risk Assessment (SORA), and Operations Manual. RPAS Regulations is a guide to international rules and regulations for remotely piloted aircraft systems. (Note this is a restricted access site – registration is required.)

UAV Video of the Week

BMT UAV performs perched landing using machine learning algorithms

sUAS News reports that the University of Bristol in partnership with BMT Defence Services (BMT) has used machine learning algorithms to allow a UAV to make a perched landing.

Video: Learning to perch a UAV on the ground using deep reinforcement learning

Mentioned

Drone delivery makes it into a Garfield cartoon.

 

 

UAV175 Amazon Prime Air Delivers

Amazon Prime Air begins a package delivery beta test, a DOT audit finds some FAA deficiencies, Defiant Labs shows a new VTOL long endurance drone, three models of aerodynamic lift are called into question, some drone tips for growers, and a wild video of the week.

Amazon Prime Air beta test drone

Package delivery drone, courtesy Amazon Prime Air

News

Amazon Claims First Successful Prime Air Drone Delivery

Amazon Prime Air delivered a TV streaming stick and a bag of popcorn to a Cambridge, UK customer in a private beta test. The process from order to receipt lasted 13 minutes and included a fully autonomous flight with no human pilot involved in the process. Amazon plans to expand the test, add more customers to the program, and collect operational data for further development of package delivery concepts. See the Amazon promotional video: Amazon Prime Air’s First Customer Delivery.

FAA Lacks Risk-Based Oversight Process for Civil UAS

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released a 20-page audit report titled, FAA Lacks Risk-Based Oversight Process for Civil Unmanned Aircraft Systems [PDF]. The report notes that “FAA does not have a fully developed risk-based process to oversee UAS operations, a key tool for focusing resources on a range of emerging risks, such as increased reports of UAS operating near airports.” The OIG offers six recommendations, four of which the FAA says are already accomplished.

New 24-Hour Endurance Hybrid Drone Developed for Monitoring & Inspection

Canadian company Defiant Labs has announced their new DX-3, a vertical take-off and landing drone with a fixed wing for flight. Applications for the long endurance, hydrogen fuel cell-powered drone include monitoring and inspecting remote infrastructure such as pipelines and power transmission lines. The DX-3 will be designed, manufactured, and produced in Canada.

Listener Ken captured some photographs of the DX-3 at the International UAS Show in Toronto:

Defiant Labs DX-3

Defiant Labs DX-3

Birds flying through laser light reveal faults in flight research, Stanford study shows

Stanford researchers wanted to test three predictive models of airflow that are based on flying animals. These models are sometimes used in the design of flying robots and drones. Using a trained bird flying through a laser sheet that illuminated micron-sized aerosol particles, the study found that all three models failed to predict the actual lift generated by the bird.

Stanford researchers debunk popular flight models by flying birds through lasers

UAVs: 10 tips from users

Two Iowa State University agricultural biosystems engineers provide Corn & Soybean Digest readers with tips learned first-hand.

Video of the Week

The Pilots Arrive | FlightLab: Mojave Boneyard | Intel

Take a wild quadcopter ride through a Mojave boneyard of retired jumbo jets, and watch the obstacle avoidance of Intel’s Yuneec drone.

 

 

UAV169 The X-37B Space Drone

The X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, Part 107 implications for business, UAS for NOAA, and a drone detecting system.

X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle

X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle. Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force.

News

The Air Force’s space drone has been in orbit for over 500 days — and its mission is classified

The Boeing X-37B looks a little like a baby Space Shuttle, and its purpose is not public.

The Impact of Commercial UAVs on Corporate America Part 1

The author writes about the impact of UAV package delivery on the package delivery industry, and on companies that use that industry to ship products to customers.

Part 107: What We Got, What We Didn’t, What We Need

The article reviews the major rules in Part 107 and discusses the commercial implications of visual line of sight restrictions, and limits to flying over people.

Waves of Innovation

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) created the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Program in 2008 to evaluate UAS technology for use in NOAA operations.

Cherokee Nation Technologies continues support of NOAA-led program helping forecasters better predict hurricanes

Cherokee Nation Technologies is working with NOAA and NASA in the areas of hurricane forecasting and post-storm damage assessment.

DeDrone provides drone security for presidential debates

Technology from German company Dedrone GmbH has been used to protect U.S. presidential candidates.

Mentioned

70 Drone Blogs to Follow in 2017

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

UAV146 The FAA Creates, Permits, and Rescinds

The FAA created an advisory committee, permits educational institutions to fly UAS, and rescinded a proposed website for collecting reports of bad drone behaviour. UPS and Zipline partner for drone delivery of medical packages, and more interviews from the Drone Dealer Expo.

Zipline International

Zipline International medical package delivery drone

News

FAA Administrator Makes Major Drone Announcements

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta made two significant announcements at the AUVSI annual conference in New Orleans. Another advisory committee is being formed to provide advice on unmanned aircraft integration issues. Huerta said, “Input from stakeholders is critical to our ability to achieve that perfect balance between integration and safety. We know that our policies and overall regulation of this segment of aviation will be more successful if we have the backing of a strong, diverse coalition.”

Huerta also announced that students can operate UAS for educational and research purposes without going through the Section 333 process. This allows educational institutions to conduct activities that have been restricted in the past.

UPS-backed Rwandan blood deliveries show drones’ promise, hurdles

The UPS Foundation announced a partnership with Zipline, a California­-based robotics company, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance to “explore using drones to transform the way life-saving medicines like blood and vaccines are delivered across the world.” The UPS Foundation has awarded an $800,000 grant to support the initial launch of this initiative in Rwanda using Zipline fixed-wing drones.

Zipline International, Inc. is a robotics company that works with governments to provide access to medical products at the last mile. Zipline is supported by investors such as Sequoia Capital, Google Ventures, SV Angel, Subtraction Capital, Yahoo founder Jerry Yang, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, and Stanford University.

UPDATE: FAA Withdraws Request for Drone Reports Dubbed Witchhunt By Many

Congress has directed the FAA to “assess the flight behavior of [drones] and enable the reporting of [drone] sightings that cause public concern for safety, national security, and/or privacy.” In response, the FAA planned to launch a website to collect “airborne and ground based observations by the public of drone behavior that they consider suspicious or illegal.”

Now, however, the FAA has withdrawn the plan [PDF], citing that the proposal “contained errors, and needs further clarification.”

Drone Dealer Expo Interviews

More interviews by Tim Trott of Southern Helicam from the Expo:

David Alamillo, Chief Pilot and Flight Operations Manager, Farm Solutions, which manages sensor output for agricultural applications, and integrates with drone manufacturers

Mark Manson, Consumer Experience Lead for Academy of Model Aeronautics

Videos of the Week

Max and @dronemama Fly Away Dronie

This “fly away dronie” of Max Flight and @dronemama was taken by Hover Solutions, LLC at the 2016 Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival at the Howard County Fairgrounds, West Friendship, Maryland. Hover Solutions was at the Festival with their DJI Inspire 1 to film the festival for the organizers.

Hover Solutions provides aerial photography and video for clients, UAV education, and industrial applications such as orthomosaic mapping and multisensor scanning services, including 3D modeling and NDVI overlays.

Hover Solutions will be exhibiting at the 2016 Howard County Fair, August 6-13, 2016, at the Howard County Fairground in West Friendship, Maryland. They’ll have a booth next to the main building. Stop by and say hello!

Clash of epochs: Drone speared at history festival in central Russia

A drone that was filming a historical reenactment in Russia was taken down by a spear thrown by a man dressed as an ancient Russian warrior. How often do you see that?

UAV137 Aurora’s LightningStrike Hybrid-electric X-plane

Aurora Flight Sciences LightningStrikeThe Aurora Flight Sciences unmanned VTOL X-plane, shore-to-ship package delivery, Senate FAA reauthorization bill impacts UAS, more proposed local drone legislation, a new DJI Phantom, and high-altitude sUAS flying.

News

Aurora Wins Darpa Contract to Build Novel Drone Demonstrator

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) awarded second- and third-phase contract awards to Aurora Flight Sciences for the “LightningStrike” technology demonstrator. Aurora plans to start flight testing the vertical takeoff and landing experimental plane (VTOL X-Plane) in 2018.

The LightningStrike features two large rear wings and two smaller front canards. The same Rolls-Royce AE 1107C turboshaft engine used in V-22 Osprey tiltrotor is mounted in the fuselage and powers three Honeywell generators which drive 24 ducted fans on the wings and canards. The wings and canards rotate to direct the fan thrust for hovering, transition, and forward flight.

Aurora’s LightningStrike VTOL X-Plane

Maersk Tankers Claims First Drone Delivery to Ship at Sea

A French Xamen Technologies drone dropped a small package onto a Maersk tanker in Denmark as a test to see if drones could be used to deliver spare parts, mail, or medicine to a ship. Compared to traditional means of delivery, the potential cost savings is significant.

Bipartisan Senate FAA bill shuns Shuster’s ATC proposal

The U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee has introduced a bipartisan FAA reauthorization bill that does not include any proposal for air traffic control privatization. However, under the Senate bill, the US National Institute of Standards (NIST) and the FAA would “develop risk-based, consensus industry standards on [UAV] aircraft safety.”

“The FAA would also establish a process for the airworthiness approval of small [UAVs] based on the consensus standards, in lieu of the more cumbersome certification process used for the approval of other aircraft. These standards … approved by FAA would ultimately improve safety by prescribing which safety technologies would be built into unmanned aircraft systems sold in the United States.”

Drone-Mounted Handgun, Flamethrower Reignite Lawmaker Debate

Reacting to the well-publicised drone weaponization exploits of a Connecticut teen, state legislators have conducted public hearings and proposed legislation to outlaw certain activity.

One bill would make it a class C felony, punishable by one to ten years in prison, to use a drone to release tear gas or other substances, or to control a deadly weapon or explosive device. Another bill would also limit how law enforcement and state agencies can use drones. But Peter Sachs, author of the Drone Law Journal, says one version of the bill exempts police from the ban on weaponized drones.

Proposed Utah legislation would allow cops to shoot down drones

Utah is not fooling around when it comes to drones. The recently introduced Senate Bill 210 would designate certain drone activity as aerial trespassing, and create guidelines for enforcement, including an option for police to shoot down rogue UAVs. State Senator Wayne Harper wants to address three issues: privacy, non-interference with airports and aircraft, and non-interference with emergency situations.

The bill would ban drones within 500 feet of correctional institutions or within three miles of a wildfire, and make it illegal to use a drone in the surveillance of large crowds or for stalking someone in a voyeuristic way. Violating drones could be neutralized by first responders or law enforcement officers.

DJI’s New Phantom 4 Drone Is Smarter, More Expensive and Available From Apple

DJI introduced the Phantom 4 which can dodge obstacles and track humans. The Phantom 4 features two sensors that allow it to react to and avoid obstacles in its path. The TapFly mode lets you tap on the live view on your smart device screen to direct the Phantom 4 in that direction. Flight time increases to 28 minutes, which is 25% more than the Phantom 3 Professional.

Someone thought it would be a good idea to fly a drone at 11,000 ft—it wasn’t

An anonymous YouTuber claims to have flown a modified DJI Phantom 2 to an altitude of 11,000 feet. Not all drone enthusiasts are impressed.

Video of the Week

African kids see drone for the first time!

Mark Brandon Smith was filming in Uganda when the headmaster of a school there asked him to give the kids a show with the drone. Watch the reaction from the kids as he flew the DJI Phantom 3 Professional for a short flight.

Mentioned

High-tech ‘bazooka’ fires a net to take down drones

The SkyWall 100 from U.K.-based OpenWorks Engineering fires projectiles at drones from a shoulder-mounted compressed air launcher. The Skywall locks on the drone, tracks the drone’s flight path, calculates an intercept trajectory, and fires a cannister with a net.

Watch high tech ‘bazooka’ take down a drone Fox News

Watch This Jet Ski Destroy a Drone, and Catch Some Serious Air

 

 

UAV135 Micro UAS Legislation Will Have to Wait

The Ocuair Enduro multirotorThe House FAA reauthorization bill returns to Committee, package delivery by drone in Singapore, a quadcopter crosses the English Channel, filming wildlife with drones, a drone detection system for airports, and putting UAVs on the internet.

News

House FAA reauthorization legislation delayed

The “AIRR Act” that passed the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on February 11 with “micro UAS” provisions has met broad opposition, largely over the topic of air traffic control privatization. As a result, the Act has returned to the Committee for revision, thus delaying action on both small and micro UAS.

Airbus Helicopters and Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore Sign MoU for UAS Experimentation Project

Under the Skyways Experimentation Project, Airbus and CAAS expect to conduct package delivery proof-of-concept trials in Singapore in two phases. In the first phase, Airbus will create a network of parcel stations on the campus of the National University of Singapore (NUS). Phase two would test package delivery from a station on the Singapore coast to ships anchored in the bay.

Drone makes historic 72-minute flight across English Channel

UK commercial drone operator Ocuair™ has successfully flown a quadcopter across the English Channel. The customized Enduro quadcopter flew 35 km (21.7 miles) in 72 minutes, with an operator staying within 500 meters in a chase boat. Along the way, the drone encountered a GPS guidance problem, requiring manual guidance for the last part of the flight.

Making Aviation History – The First Quadcopter Drone to Fly Across the English Channel

Attenborough calls in the drones for his new series: Broadcaster will use technology to capture elusive and dangerous animals

For his new six-part Planet Earth II series, Sir David Attenborough has used ultra-high-definition and ultra-high-speed cameras mounted on drones to capture dramatic footage of dangerous and elusive animals.

Anti-drone system for airports passes tests

As reported in Episode 117, the FAA entered into a Pathfinder agreement with CACI International Inc. to evaluate using the company’s sensor technology to detect rogue UAS in the vicinity of airports. Now the CACI proof-of-concept system has been tested at the Atlantic City International Airport. The SkyTracker system uses radio frequency sensors positioned around an airport which detect frequencies typically used by unmanned aircraft. Then it triangulates the signals to provide the location of the UAS and its operator. FAA press release: FAA, DHS, CACI, UMD Perform UAS Detection Work.

AT&T and Intel to Test Drones on LTE Network

AT&T and Intel are working to understand how drones could be connected via a ground-based network. Intel will partner with the AT&T Internet of Things (IoT) team, and the AT&T Foundry innovation center in Palo Alto, California.

Video of the Week

Raffaello D’Andrea: Meet the Dazzling Flying Machines of the Future

Autonomous systems expert Raffaello D’Andrea demonstrates a flying wing that can hover and recover from disturbance, an eight-propeller craft that’s ambivalent to orientation, and a swarm of tiny coordinated micro-quadcopters. Filmed February 2016 at TED2016.

 

UAV123 UAS Registration Task Force Recommendations


The UAS Registration Task Force issues its report to the FAA, and industry responds. A free, worldwide UAS course for new users, and package delivery by drone down under.

UAS Registration Task Force

UAS Task Force RecommendationsThe Registration Task Force provided its sUAS registration recommendations [PDF] to the FAA. The FAA will now consider those recommendations, as well as the public comments received, and issue its requirements for registration. If all goes according to the plan, these will come from the FAA this month, in December.

In its final report, the Task Force recommended:

  • Registration for all drones between 250 grams (.55 pounds) and 55 pounds operated outdoors
  • Registration by owner, not by drone. One registration number applies to all your drones.
  • As an alternative, you can instead register by manufacturer serial number.
  • Registration is required by time of flight, not at point of sale.
  • Required information: name and street address.
  • Optional information: email address, phone number.
  • Registration number (or serial number) displayed on each drone.
  • No fee, no citizenship requirement, minimum age 13.
  • Registration should be web-based with the certificate mailed/emailed to registrant.

AMA Reacts to DOT Task Force Recommendations on UAS Registration

The “AMA agrees that registration of UAS makes sense at some level and for flyers operating outside the guidance of a community-based organization or flying for commercial purposes.” But the Academy of Model Aeronautics does not support registration for its membership flying non-commercially.

The organization argues that members operate under a community-based organization: “Adding an additional requirement for AMA members to register at the federal level is contrary to the intent of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. Public Law clearly states that the FAA is prohibited from promulgating any new rules for recreational users operating within the safety guidelines of a community-based organization. Congress by no means intended to grant a free pass for individuals who operate model aircraft. Instead, it clearly intended to leave risk mitigation and the development of appropriate safety guidelines for the operation of these devices by the members of the AMA to the nationwide community-based organization.”

DJI Concludes Participation on FAA Drone-Registration Task Force

“We share the concerns of many of the 4,700 people who filed comments that this process was initiated in response to sensational headlines rather than data-based risk assessments, and contradicts the provisions of several federal statutes. Nonetheless, we undertook in good faith the assignment, which was not to argue the law, but to use our expertise and knowledge as the world’s largest drone manufacturer to recommend to the Administrator a national drone registration system intended to be minimally burdensome to consumers and professionals, and effective at the stated goals.”

5 Things to Know About Mandatory Drone Registration

Lia Reich is Senior Director of Communications at PrecisionHawk, and PrecisionHawk was a member of the task force. In this piece, Lia provides some major points concerning the Task Force recommendations, but she also notes that she was on the “Women in Drones” panel at the Drone World Expo in San Jose. The panel discussed some of the ways that women can better influence outcomes in the commercial drone space.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Worldwide to Offer Free Online UAS Course for New Users

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Worldwide is offering “Unmanned Aerospace Systems (UAS) – Key Concepts for New Users.” The massive open online course (MOOC) runs from Jan. 11 to 24, 2016. Registration opens Dec. 8, 2015.

The MOOC will consist of two 30 to 40-minute pre-recorded presentations, interactive discussion boards, and supporting links and videos. MOOC topics will include:

  • UAS Basics
  • The UAS Operating Environment
  • The National Airspace System (NAS)
  • Understanding the Basic Dos/Don’ts of UAS/Recreational Drone Operations
  • Planning to Fly Safe

Embry-Riddle says, “The primary goal is to educate new UAS users about effective operating procedures that foster safe UAS operations.”

UAV Propulsion Tech Post #13 – UAV’s Spotted at Dubai Airshow 2015

Bob Schmidt, president of UAV Propulsion Tech, attended this year’s Dubai Airshow looking for potential UAV customers for propulsion, servo, autopilot, and rescue/recovery parachute products. Bob’s well-illustrated report describes the UAVs at the airshow, but notes that there weren’t as many UAV exhibitors as he had hoped.  Bob looks forward to the UMEX show (Unmanned Systems Exhibition & Conference) in Abu Dhabi March 6-8, 2016 since this event is focused on UAVs.

Australia Post could soon be delivering packages with drones

Australia Post is trialing package delivery with drones that could be put to use as early as next year. The $10,000 drones will carry 2kg packages up to 25km, although the Post is looking at transporting 10kg packages.

Video of the Week

Flying Drones in rural areas

The Colorado Agricultural Aviation Assoc., Agribotix, UAS Colorado, and Avian conducted a test to see if pilots flying crop-dusting and other low-flying aircraft could see drones flying over the same fields. They could not.

Mentioned

The RoboUniverse Conference and Expo takes place December 14-16, 2015 in San Diego, California. It begins with a half day of interactive tutorials, followed by 2 days of conference sessions and exhibit hall access. Sessions include a drones track and keynote sessions by industry leaders, such as Chris Anderson, CEO of 3D Robotics. Other features include Drone Zone demos, an EZDrone Crash Course, and RoboGameChanger startup competition. If you act fast, you can get 10% off the conference price when you use the discount code “DIGEST.”

David participated in the Drone Laws and Technology / Latest TSA Adjustments conversation on Hong Kong’s Radio 3. You can listen to the panel on the Backchat podcast.