Tag Archives: precision agriculture

UAV075 Charge Your Drone on a Pad

Skysense charging pad

A charging pad for your drone, USAF Unmanned Systems faces a huge manpower problem, real estate and agriculture gain FAA exemptions, timeline for ICAO RPAS standards, and UAS in Canada.

News

New Charging Pad for Parrot Drones Changes the Way You Charge Your Batteries

The portable Skysense Charging Pad is said to support nearly all existing multicopters and VTOL aircraft. Plug the Pad into an electrical outlet, land your drone on the Pad, and your batteries will charge at the same rate as your regular charging cable. Pads are available in different widths and should ship next month.

Skysense also offers the Droneport, “a protective closed structure that is managed remotely and can hold a Skysense Charging Pad and your drone. It also provides synching of sensor data to the cloud and connectivity within your Skysense Droneport network.”

Drone War pushes pilots to the Breaking Point

The U.S, Department of Defense wants 61 Combat Air Patrols (CAP) per day by April 15. Each CAP requires four Predators or Reapers for 24-hour coverage. These require ten “men” per drone per CAP, for a total of forty. With a shortage of drone pilots, the crews have high workload and low morale.

FAA Grants Real Estate, Agricultural UAS Exemptions

The FAA granted two exemptions on January 6. One was to Douglas Trudeau with Tierra Antigua Realty in Tucson, Arizona. Their DJI Phantom 2+ quad will be used to “enhance academic community awareness and augment real estate listing videos.”

The second exemption was to Advanced Aviation Solutions in Spokane, Washington. Their fixed wing senseFly eBee will fly to take “photographic measurements and perform crop scouting for precision agriculture.”

Both still need a COA “that ensures the airspace for their proposed operations is safe, and that they have taken proper steps to see and avoid other aircraft. In addition, the COAs will mandate flight rules and timely reporting of any accident or incidents.”

The FAA has received 214 requests for exemptions from commercial entities.

ICAO Panel Will Recommend First UAV Standards in 2018

The International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) new Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) Panel is focusing “on development of standards and recommended practices (SARPs) for adoption by the Council of ICAO in 2018 related to airworthiness, operations (including RPAS operator certification) and licensing of remote pilots.” Detect and avoid regulations are to follow in 2020.

Cameraman hit with $1,000 fine for filming with drone

The co-founder of a Canadian video and photography company that uses drones was fined by Transport Canada after a real estate shoot. He’s fighting the fine, saying that Transport Canada’s rules on flying unmanned aerial aircraft are not clear.

City man has high hopes for school for drone pilots

Buoyant Aircraft Systems International in Winnipeg wants to develop a flight school for UAV pilots. They plan to take the idea to Transport Canada’s UAV working group in April for approval, and could be teaching by August, if approved.

Video of the Week 

Coast Guard Helo takes out drone

In August 2014, a hurricane caused heavy surf off the coast of California. That brought out body surfers, boogie boarders, and surfers, along with thousands of spectators and some camera-equipped quadcopters. One of the copters didn’t fare too well in the Coast Guard helicopter downdraft.

Mentioned

50 Things You Can Do With A Drone

Some applications you’ve seen before, some you haven’t, and some you shouldn’t.

UAV067 ScanEagle 2 Launched

Insitu ScanEagle 2A new ScanEagle from Insitu, an Ohio UAS test site is up and running, students learning about UAVs in a precision agriculture program, ABC creating drone journalism policies, and a drone on an urban rescue mission.

News

Insitu Launches New ScanEagle 2 UAS

The new Insitu ScanEagle 2 features a slightly longer fuselage, the same wingspan, and a new engine from Orbital. Endurance of this fixed-wing system grows to 24 hours from 16.

US Navy seeks information on sense and avoid radar for Triton UAS

The Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) has been unable to develop sense and avoid radar for the Triton. They’ve issued an RFI (Request for Information) and NAVAIR wants a scaleable SAA box that is modular and deployable to other platforms.

The Triton is a naval version of the RQ-4A Global Hawk, with a different wing to handle higher stresses.

WSRI conducts its first test of UAS aircraft

Wright State Research Institute (WSRI) conducted its first UAS research flight at Wilmington Air Park using a senseFly eBee

3D Aerial Solutions piloted the eBee used to conduct modeling and simulation research, to gather terrain data for 3D flight simulation environments. The flight operated under a recently awarded certificate of authorization (COA) from the FAA.

Sinclair sees UAS payoff in future jobs

Sinclair Community College in Ohio sees a coming boom in unmanned aviation opportunities, and they’re investing millions to help train a UAS workforce. They’ve spent over $5 million on curriculum, flight simulators, and more than 50 UAVs. The college will use its field house to serve as the largest indoor unmanned aerial vehicle flying range in Ohio.

Sinclair plans to open a National UAS Training and Certification Center using $5 million of their money and $4 million from State funds. Sinclair has partnered with Ohio State University and additionally, has established partnerships with Wright State University, the University of Dayton, the Air Force Research Laboratory, the Air Force Institute of Technology, and other educational institutions.

LRSC students study ag potential of UAS

Lake Region State College’s Precision Agriculture Center in North Dakota wants its graduates to have UAV skills. The program offers both theoretical and practical core courses and hands-on training.

The average North Dakota farmer spends about $1.3 million per year planting and harvesting crops. UAS and satellite mapping can cut those costs 6-16%.

Changes to aviation laws will give media more freedom to use drones for newsgathering

ABC in Australia has a project to develop and regulate their use of drones for journalism.

Proposed changes to Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) rules would allow “low risk” operations, making it easier for the media to use sUAS for newsgathering.

ABC has developed a 3-day training course for camera operators that covers air safety rules, privacy policies, and flight training using Phantom 2 RPAs. ABC policy will prohibit using small drones over bushfires because of the high winds, low visibility, and possible presence of water bombing aircraft.

Drone used to rescue window cleaner dangling from tower block

A window washer in Abu Dhabi had a tense situation when his scaffold failed. The man was clinging to one of the windows ten stories up in the air. Police brought in a drone equipped with video and a speaker, calmed the man down, and instructed him on how to affect a repair and lower himself down.

Simpler rules for small unmanned air vehicles

Transport Canada announced at the Unmanned Systems Canada conference in Montréal, two exemptions that simplify small unmanned air vehicle (UAV) operations and safely integrate UAVs into Canadian airspace.

Under the new exemptions, a Special Flight Operations Certificate will not be required for UAVs under 2 kilograms and certain operations involving UAVs under 25 kilograms. The new approach will apply to commercial operations and contribute to a strong safety regime for those on the ground and in the skies.

Once the changes come into effect later this month, operators must check on Transport Canada’s website to determine if the exemptions apply to them and respect specific safety conditions, including requirements to operate within visual line-of-sight, maximum altitudes and away from built-up areas and aerodromes. In addition, Transport Canada is simplifying the application process and reducing the time it takes to issue Special Flight Operations Certificates for larger UAV operators.

In October, Minister Raitt launched the Government of Canada’s national safety awareness campaign for UAVs, which aims to help Canadians better understand the risks and responsibilities of flying UAVs. For more information, visit www.tc.gc.ca/SafetyFirst.

Video of the Week

BIZZBY SKY – Drones On-Demand

BIZZBY SKY is an on-­demand drone service using a real-time smartphone technology platform. The fully autonomous drone is capable of picking up and delivering small items. Under this concept, drones can be summoned to arrive within minutes to the pickup location.

UAV057 PrecisionHawk

PrecisionHawk Lancaster PlatformGuest Dr. Ernest Earon is President and Co-founder of PrecisionHawk. Their Lancaster Platform is designed around the goals of ease of use and autonomous collection of high resolution aerial data.

Much of the focus is on agricultural applications, but their platform, and data collection and analysis methodology is applicable to a variety of industries.

The NUAIR Alliance, one of the six FAA UAS Test Sites, has a COA for the PrecisionHawk and we talk with Dr. Earon about that program. Also, we discuss the UAV industry in general, operating in an environment of regulatory uncertainty, and prospects for the future.

The PrecisionHawk UAV & Data Software video presents an overview of the PrecisionHawk company and the capabilities of the Lancaster Platform.

 

Dr.EaronDr. Earon earned his doctorate from the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies in 2004, and has over 10 years experience in the field of unmanned aerial vehicles and intelligent, autonomous vehicle control. He has led development teams for the Canadian Space Agency, Quanser, and Defense R&D Canada

His work has had an emphasis on unique unmanned aircraft. Dr. Earon led the design, development and implementation of the sensor package and vehicle control for intelligent lunar robots. Other programs include the development of a novel aircraft design now a commercial product, and the development of coordinated heterogeneous teams of unmanned aircraft and ground vehicles, leading to an autonomous UAV flight mission demonstration for Defence R & D Canada.

 

UAV056 When is an Aircraft not an Aircraft?

19XRW-Hoverwing

The FAA definition of an aircraft, drones and agriculture, UAV privacy issues, FAA solicits a UAS Center of Excellence, Amazon Prime Air, X-47B milestone, drone legislation, and a successful UAV company despite regulatory uncertainty.

News

FAA Thinks Two Pound Drones Aircraft. But 1100 Pound, Manned and Flying Craft?  Unsure.

The FAA’s June interpretive rule treats model airplanes as aircraft. But what about other devices that fly – like the Flying Hovercraft that Hammacher Schlemmer sells for $190,000? Are those aircraft too?

With integrated wings and a 130-hp gasoline engine driving a 60″ wood/carbon composite thrust propeller, this hovercraft manufactured by Universal Hovercraft as the 19XRW-Hoverwing, can fly up to 70 mph over obstacles up to 20 feet high.

When asked about the status of wing in ground effect machines, the FAA replied that they haven’t made any determination because they have not received any applications for certification.

Commercial drone dealers take farming to new heights

Tellus Agronomics AgriEye drone

Tellus Agronomics AgriEye drone

The University of Maryland Extension and Wye Research Center understands that technology plays key role in the future of precision agriculture. So they brought together local farmers, agricultural educators, and representatives from farming technology tool companies. Perhaps not surprisingly, UAVs were a prominent part of the event.

Virginia-based consulting company Tellus Agronomics demonstrated their AgriEye Drone, a quadcopter for agronomists that features autonomous flight, live video feed, aerial mapping simulator, and RC simulator pre-flight training.

Helicopter Ag Pilot Harassed by UAV in Illinois

The National Agricultural Aviation Association reports that an ag helicopter was buzzed by a fixed wing “UAV” that caused the pilot some distress. The pilot notified the FAA FSDO (Flight Standards District Office) who called local police, and they are seeking to prosecute the owner of the “UAV.” Only it was not a UAV, it was an Extra 300 aerobatic R/C plane.

President Barack Obama to issue executive order on drone privacy

Last month, President Barack Obama announced that he would be signing an executive order placing the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) in charge of developing voluntary privacy best practices for unmanned aerial vehicles. We haven’t seen an executive order on this yet.

FAA Solicits Center of Excellence for UAS Applicants

The Federal Aviation Administration released a solicitation for a new FAA Center of Excellence (COE) for Unmanned Aircraft Systems. This COE was mandated by Congress under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014. This “COE will be tasked with identifying current and future issues critical to safe integration of UAS into the nation’s airspace.”

The COE will study: detect-and-avoid technology, control and communications, low-altitude operations safety, compatibility with air traffic control operations, and training and certification of UAS pilots and other crew members. The deadline for submission of proposals is September 15th.

Amazon Will Test Drone Delivery System in India

Amazon is reported to begin testing of Amazon Prime Air in Mumbai and Bangalore, India, possibly as soon as late this year. Why India? Because commercial drone use in India does not need a permit from India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation.

Video: The Navy’s X-47B drone reaches a new milestone

Testing of the U.S. Navy X-47B continues, and recently it was launched from the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, as was an F/A-18E Super Hornet. Carrier-based unmanned and manned aircraft had not previously flown together. The end game for the Navy is the Unmanned Carrier-Launched Surveillance and Strike aircraft (UCLASS).

Drone manufacturer grows amid uncertain market

DSLRPros in Oakland Park, California manufactures and sells drones and equipment for professional unmanned aerial filmmaking. The company started in 2012, and annual revenue is now $10 million, mostly from fire departments and farmers.

YouTube video shows drone buzzing Vancouver apartment

An apartment building resident observed some kind of drone flying outside the building for an estimated 30 minutes moving from apartment to apartment. It then hovered just feet from his window. The Vancouver Police Department says they received 10 complaints about drones since May. So far, nobody has been charged.

Legislature mulls curbs on use of aerial drones by paparazzi

Paparazzi routinely harass celebrities and invade their privacy. Camera-equipped drones are the perfect high-tech tool for extending the reach of the paparazzi. The Paparazzi Reform Initiative is trying to do something about this situation and there is a proposal pending in the California Legislature that “would prohibit the use of aerial drones to collect video, photos and audio from celebrities and others in a way that violates their privacy rights.”

Video of the Week

Satsop Nuclear Reactor

Braden Roseborough captured stunning video of this never finished, abandoned nuclear reactor. It got a small feature on mashable.com: A Haunting Drone’s Eye View of an Abandoned Nuclear Plant

Mentioned

ADS-B/In for UAV Pilots for $3? Low Power Low Altitude ADS-B/Out?

Tim Trott explains what we need to do to bring ADS-B to sUAS.

Dr. Missy Cummings on Tech and Privacy

Mark sent in this C-Span video with some of Dr. Cummings testimony before the U.S. Congress from January 2014. She weighs in on technological illiteracy in the US, particularly in the government, and how it will be very important for our future to confront this issue.