Open source UAV software, safety with a soccer ball sized drone, a drone landing on a moving vehicle, combining rotors and wings for overall efficiency, the FAA blocks sUAS registration site outside the U.S., and UAS rules for public safety organizations.
In its first year, the Dronecode Project has formed three technical working groups and grown to include 50 members. This collaborative effort brings open source UAV projects together under a non-profit structure governed by The Linux Foundation.
Board chairman Chris Anderson says, “By bringing efforts together to establish a common platform and utilizing open source best practices, we’re able to build the foundation for a new era of drone applications that extend from the camera to the cloud. The Dronecode ‘full-stack’ platform approach, combined with the hardware and software innovations of its members, will bring about a new generation of drones that are autonomous, aware of their environments, and continuously connected — an airborne Internet of Things.”
The three Dronecode working groups are the:
- MAVlink Camera Working Group, which assists camera manufacturers in implementing the MAVlink protocol in cameras.
- Airspace Working Group, which establishes common data types, units, and formats that all airspace providers can use to transmit and receive.
- Hardware Working Group, which will establish mechanical and electrical standards for interfaces to the UAV autopilot and its peripherals.
The Fleye is a small drone that solves the safety problem caused by spinning rotors. With the enclosed, ducted fan design, all the moving parts are inside a spherical shape the size and weight of a soccer ball. The developers say it’s easy to fly and can even fly autonomously. This was a Kickstarter project that successfully raised €314,080 with 717 backers.
Fleye – Your Personal Flying Robot
Researchers at the German Aerospace Center have successfully landed a 20kg fixed-wing UAV on a moving car traveling at 75 kilometers per hour (about 47 mph). The top of the vehicle has optical markers that the UAV uses for tracking. The UAV matches speed and lands on a 4 x 5 meter platform net.
A team at the University of Leuven in Belgium have developed a UAV that lifts off vertically via four propellers, rotates 45 degrees, and transitions to horizontal flight with lift coming from the wings. Under conventional flight with lift from wings, less power is required for flight, and the VertiKUL 2 has the advantage of speed and flight duration.
In tests, the VertiKUL has been able to travel for up to 30 kilometers (18.6 miles), with a cargo payload of up to one kilogram (2.2 lb). Lead researcher Bart Theys says, “We made a combination that uses the flight efficiency of an airplane and combines this with the vertical take-off and landing of a quadcopter or a helicopter. So we added wings and aerodynamically shaped profile to a quadcopter to make it fly fast and far.”
Several listeners noted that the FAA sUAS registration webpage is blocked outside the United States. That makes it difficult for tourists and drone racing competitors to register before entering the country.
Tim Trott points to 3 Things Public Safety Officials Should Know About Drones by Jonathan Rupprecht, in sUAS News, and observes that the relationship between standards met and operating restrictions are inverted.