Tag Archives: package delivery

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.

 

 

 

UAV195 Drone Registration Struck Down

A court ruling halts recreational drone registration in the U.S. while China implements a new drone registration requirement. Also, a fast fixed-wing VTOL UAV, heavy-lift delivery drones, remote pilot training in Australia, a long-endurance solar powered unmanned sailplane, and some new drone swarming applications.

The Marlyn VTOL mapping and surveying drone. Courtesy Atmos UAV.

The Marlyn VTOL mapping and surveying drone. Courtesy Atmos UAV.

UAV News

Court Strikes Down Drone Registration Requirement

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has struck down the FAA’s drone registration requirement for recreational UAV operators. The three-judge panel agreed with John A. Taylor, a drone hobbyist represented by attorney Jonathan Rupprecht, who argued that the FAA requirement violated the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act passed by Congress. Read the Court Opinion [PDF] and the Court Order [PDF]. Note that the ruling does not affect aircraft operated for commercial operations under Section 333 or Part 107. Rules for commercial operations remain the same. More details: Complete Guide to Taylor v. FAA (Drone Registration Lawsuit).

FAA Statement Regarding US Court of Appeals Decision

“We are carefully reviewing the U.S. Court of Appeals decision as it relates to drone registrations. The FAA put registration and operational regulations in place to ensure that drones are operated in a way that is safe and does not pose security and privacy threats. We are in the process of considering our options and response to the decision.”

Atmos UAV Launches Marlyn

The Atmos UAV Marlyn is a fixed-wing, VTOL UAV designed for high-speed mapping applications like land surveying, mining, precision agriculture, and forestry. It can be deployed from any surface, can map up to 10 times faster than a multirotor, and can fly in a broad range of weather conditions.

Heavy Duty Delivery Drones Coming From JD.com

JD.com says they are China’s largest retailer, online or offline, and they plan to build China’s largest low-altitude drone package delivery network. The heavy-lift drones are expected to carry more than a ton, transport products to remote areas, and move agricultural produce to cities. JD.com will also establish an R&D campus in partnership with the Xi’an National Civil Aerospace Industrial Base (XCAIB) where unmanned systems will be developed, manufactured and tested.

Changes to approved training

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), Australia’s national aviation authority is changing the practical training requirements for receiving an Australian Remote Pilot Licence (RePL) effective 1 June 2017. RePL applicants will satisfy the training requirements by completing a RePL training course conducted by a person holding a RPA Operator’s Certificate (ReOC) that authorized the training. Applicants can also apply to CASA for a flight test. CASA-approved training organisations are located across Australia, and a list of approved drone operators including those who can conduct training, is on the CASA website. More information about the advantages of holding a RePL can be found in Flying drones/remotely piloted aircraft in Australia.

Drone owners will now have to register with the government in China

Pilots of drones weighing 250 grams or more (0.55 pound) will be required to register with the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). This requirement is effective June 1, 2017. Registration is online and real names must be used.

FAA releases registered private drone owner database

The Federal Aviation Administration has made available a database of registered drone owners. The spreadsheet shows the city, state and zip code of each registered drone owner.

NRL Tests Autonomous ‘Soaring with Solar’ Concept

The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory is looking at long endurance unmanned sailplanes that use solar power. The Navy says, “The Solar Photovoltaic and Autonomous Soaring Base Program and the U.S. Marine Corps’ Expeditionary Energy Office (E2O) want to improve the ability of unmanned platforms to support 24-7 information, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.

DroneSeed Receives the First FAA Approval for Using Drone Swarming to Deliver Agricultural Payloads

DroneSeed has received approval from the FAA to deliver agricultural payloads with drone swarms. The company says, “We’re working with commercial foresters to make reforestation more efficient. Offering a one-stop solution, our team of drones plants tree seeds and sprays fertilizer and herbicides to keep trees healthy.”

Drone Swarms Could Spoof the Enemy

At the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference, the vice president of science and technology at Cintel said a web of swarming unmanned aircraft systems that can spoof enemy drones could be a solution to the shot doctrine problem when exercising counter-UAS capabilities.

UAV Video of the Week

Lockheed Martin Conducts First Underwater Unmanned Aircraft Launch from Unmanned Underwater Vehicle

Lockheed Martin successfully launched a Vector Hawk UAV on command from the Marlin MK2 autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV). At the same time, the Submaran unmanned surface vehicle (USV) developed by Ocean Aero provided surface reconnaissance and surveillance.

Read more: From Under the Sea to Up in the Air: Lockheed Martin Conducts First Underwater Unmanned Aircraft Launch from Unmanned Underwater Vehicle

Mentioned

Airplane Geeks episode 453 The Zunum Aero Electric Airplane.

 

 

 

UAV191 A Mountain Search and Rescue Drone

A drone for high altitude mountain search and rescue, a package delivery plan for Singapore, a “flying cell site” using a long endurance drone, and a growing market for anti-drone products.

The HyDrone 1550 hydrogen powered drone

HyDrone 1550, courtesy MMC.

UAV News

Hydrogen Drone, HyDrone 1550, Successfully Tested at High Altitudes

The MMC hydrogen-powered HyDrone 1550 has been tested at altitudes over 14,000 feet in cold and mountainous Yunnan Province, China. The HyDrone 1550 can operate in environments where other drones cannot, making it good for mountain search and rescue.

Airbus and Singpost testing last-mile drone package delivery

Singapore Post signed a memorandum of understanding with Airbus Helicopters to conduct research and testing for drone package delivery. SingPost becomes a partner under the Airbus Helicopter Skyways package delivery project for urban environments. A trial at the National University of Singapore (NUS) is planned for early 2018 where autonomous drones will fly in pre-defined routes and drop off packages across the campus. More at the Airbus Future of Urban Mobility webpage.

Verizon Tests New Drone To Deliver 4G LTE Service

Verizon conducted an engineering flight test of Airborne LTE in order to find the size of the wireless coverage area that can be created by a drone. The “flying cell site” was conducted with an American Aerospace RS-20 long endurance drone at Woodbine Municipal Airport in New Jersey.

Anti-Drone Market Analysis By Mitigation Type (Destructive, Non-Destructive), By Defense Type (Detection & Disruption, Detection), By End-Use (Military & Defense, Commercial, Government), By Region And Segment Forecasts, 2014 – 2024

Grand View Research, Inc. reports that they expect the global anti-drone market to reach USD 1.85 billion by 2024. As UAVs are becoming stealthier, faster, smaller, and cheaper, threats and nuisance are expected to increase. Anti-drone technology is receiving a lot of investment in areas such as acoustic signature and visual identification, and electronic countermeasures. The full report is available for purchase.

Why drones could be a better solution than a wall on the US-Mexico border

What is less expensive and more effective, a wall or a lot of drones?

UAV Video of the Week

Lilium shows maiden flight of world’s first working prototype of an electric VTOL jet

Mentioned

Drone targets Singapore Airlines A350

A drone reportedly came within 300 feet of a Singapore Airlines A350.

 

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?