Tag Archives: regulations

UAV204 Drone Registration Planned for the UK

The UK plans to require registration for drones over 250 grams, a study looks at drone strikes on aircraft windscreens, a transformable UAV is under development, Airbus tested their Sagitta demonstrator, some DJI Sparks are experiencing a problem, and draft Technical Standard Orders win AOPA approval.

The Transformable HOvering Rotorcraft (THOR)

The Transformable HOvering Rotorcraft (THOR)

UAV News

Drones to be registered and users to sit safety tests under new government rules

Drone registration is coming to the UK, along with drone safety awareness tests. This will apply to drones over 250 grams. Operators may be able to register online or with an app. The government also plans for expanded use of geofencing in the UK.

Drones and manned aircraft collisions: test results

The summary report from the Department for Transport, British Airline Pilots’ Association, and the Military Aviation Authority says drones weighing 400 grams could damage windscreens. Airliner windscreens were found to be more resistant than helicopter windscreens.

The Small Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (drones): Mid-Air Collision Study [PDF] was conducted by QinetiQ and Natural Impacts using laboratory collision testing and computer modelling. The study aimed to find the lowest speed at collision where critical damage could occur to aircraft components. Critical damage was defined in this study to mean major structural damage of the aircraft component or penetration of drone through the windscreen into the cockpit. The study indicated that:

  • Non-birdstrike certified helicopter windscreens have very limited resilience to the impact of a drone, well below normal cruise speeds.
  • The non-birdstrike certified helicopter windscreen results can also be applied to general aviation aeroplanes which also do not have a birdstrike certification requirement.
  • Although the birdstrike certified windscreens tested had greater resistance than non-birdstrike certified, they could still be critically damaged at normal cruise speeds.
  • Helicopter tail rotors are also very vulnerable to the impact of a drone, with modelling showing blade failures from impacts with the smaller drone components tested.
  • Airliner windscreens are much more resistant, however, the study showed that there is a risk of critical windscreen damage under certain impact conditions: It was found that critical damage did not occur at high, but realistic impact speeds, with the 1.2 kg class drone components. However, critical damage did occur to the airliner windscreens at high, but realistic, impact speeds, with the 4 kg class drone components used in this study.
  • The construction of the drone plays a significant role in the impact of a collision. Notably, the 400 g class drone components, which included exposed metal motors, caused critical failure of the helicopter windscreens at lower speeds than the 1.2 kg class drone components, which had plastic covering over their motors. This is believed to have absorbed some of the shock of the collision, reducing the impact.
  • The testing and modelling showed that the drone components used can cause significantly more damage than birds of equivalent masses at speeds lower than required to meet birdstrike certification standards.

The THOR Hybrid UAV

A team of students at the Singapore University of Technology and Design is developing the Transformable HOvering Rotorcraft (THOR). The prototype is based on the single-blade monocopter concept from 1913, although THOR actually has two opposing wings, mounted at right angles to each other. The wings rotate into alignment when transitioning from hover to cruise. See episode #48 Evan Ulrich and his RoboSeed for our previous conversation about a monocopter UAV.

Video: SUTD Transformable HOvering Rotorcraft (THOR)

Successful first flight for UAV demonstrator SAGITTA

Airbus Defence and Space has flown their demonstrator Sagitta UAV. The 25 percent scale fixed-wing aircraft is powered by two turbine engines. It was developed in cooperation with a number of industry and academic partners.

Some DJI Spark drones are falling from the sky, and that’s to be expected

Complaints have appeared in DJI forums that some of the new Spark drones are shutting down and falling from the sky. DJI has issued a statement:

“DJI is aware of a small number of reports involving Spark drones that have lost power mid-flight. Flight safety and product reliability are top priorities. Our engineers are thoroughly reviewing each customer case and working to address this matter urgently. DJI products are tested for thousands of hours, and the overwhelming number of customers enjoy using our products with minimal disruption.”

AOPA Backs Unmanned System Standards

Two draft TSOs (Technical Standard Orders) have been issued that would apply to unmanned aircraft transitioning to and from Class A and special-use airspace, and traversing other types of airspace. The TSOs are meant to determine minimum standards that allow manned and unmanned aircraft to remain safely separated. The draft standards would not apply to small UAS – those under 55 pounds and governed by Part 107.

TSO-C211, Detect and Avoid (DAA) Systems [PDF]

TSO-C212, Air-to-Air Radar (ATAR) for Traffic Surveillance [PDF]

UAV Video of the Week

Soccer fans use toilet roll to take down drone in Argentina

 

 

 

UAV200 Looking Back and Looking Ahead

A look back at the first 200 episodes and a peek into topics that might get our attention in the future, including regulatory actions that result from FAA reauthorization.

Max and David recording at the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum

Max and David at the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum

To celebrate the 200th episode, David and Max take a step back from the usual format and reminisce about the issues that were important when the podcast started in 2013. The main topic then was whether or not to call them “drones.” We look at how the unmanned aircraft landscape has changed since the first episode, and speculate about the topics we’ll be talking about in the future. One of those is the unmanned aircraft regulations we’ll face, which leads us to our single news story this week:

UAV News

What’s Proposed for Drones in This Year’s FAA Reauthorization Bills?

The United States Senate and House both introduced bills that reauthorize the FAA and contain provisions for unmanned aircraft.

The Senate “FAA Reauthorization Act of 2017” (S.1405) would:

  • Direct the FAA to create rule for micro drones under 4.4 pounds
  • Require DOT to establish a “delivery air carrier certificate that would allow package deliveries by drones”
  • Authorize the FAA to issue more exemptions for BVLOS
  • Require all operators of drones over 0.55 pounds to pass an approved aeronautical safety test
  • Address safety and privacy issues
  • Criminalize reckless drone behavior around manned airports
  • Grant FAA drone registration authority
  • Boost enforcement
  • Create new opportunities for testing and promoting innovative uses.

The House “21st Century Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act” (H.R.2997, PDF summary) would:

  • Privatize ATC
  • Direct the DOT to assess the registration system and require the FAA to “develop and track metrics to assess compliance with and effectiveness of the system”
  • Propose a “streamlined process for the FAA to permit the operation of small UAS for certain uses,” as well as a “risk-based permitting process” for operations
  • Establish an air carrier certificate for UAS delivery
  • Mandate rulemaking for a UAS traffic management system
  • Allow the FAA to grant waivers for low-risk UTM operations

Thanks

Special thanks to @dronemama for creating the intro for this episode. What an unexpected surprise! Love ya!

 

 

UAV181 Vanishing Drones

DARPA calls for drones that vanish, the U.S. Coast Guard tests the ScanEagle, more Amazon drone patents, a shortage of military drone pilots, Microsoft drones for good, the Trump administration’s regulatory policy throws confusion at the UAS industry, 3DR operates drones at the Atlanta airport, and a biometric drone based on the bat.

Otherlab is developing APSARA drones

APSARA drone, courtesy Otherlab.

UAV News

These mushroom-based drones eat themselves at mission’s end

Inbound, Controlled, Air-Releasable, Unrecoverable Systems (ICARUS), is a DARPA program “driven by a vision of vanishing air vehicles that can make precise deliveries of critical supplies and then vaporize into thin air.” Small items could be supplied/resupplied to military or humanitarian assistance teams operating in difficult-to-access areas, and then the drones would dispose of themselves.

San Francisco-based R&D firm Otherlab is responding with Aerial Platform Supporting Autonomous Resupply Actions (APSARA) drones which will ultimately be made from mycelium, a mushroom-based material. See their press release, Industrial Paper Airplanes for Autonomous Aerial Delivery.

Coast Guard Conducts small Unmanned Aircraft System Testing On Cutter Stratton

USCG NSC flying ScanEagle drones

NSC and ScanEagle drone

The U.S. Coast Guard tested a small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS) on the national security cutter (NSC) Stratton. Deployment on Stratton planned is for this winter, initially using the ScanEagle sUAS.

USCG resources:

Amazon’s latest drone patent features foldable wings for flippable flight

Amazon has another patent for a delivery drone concept, this a foldable-wing design. With wings folded, the drone is stable on the ground for a vertical takeoff. Then the wings unfold for horizontal flight and fold again for the landing.

Amazon patent for folding wing drones

Amazon Illustration via USPTO

Another Amazon patent was recently published for a system for determining the center of gravity for a delivery drone payload. The drone can then adjust the payload position to balance itself in flight.

Air Force and Army Should Improve Strategic Human Capital Planning for Pilot Workforces

This U.S. Government Accountability Office press release states, “The Air Force and the Army have not fully applied four of the five key principles for effective strategic human capital planning for managing pilots of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) that are important for resolving the Air Force’s pilot shortages and the Army’s training shortfalls.”

Microsoft’s Mosquito-Tracking Drones Could Save Lives

In 2015, Microsoft announced Project Premonitions, which envisions using drones to detect mosquito breeding areas. In June 2016, Microsoft formed the Aerial Informatics and Robotics (AIR) group. Their goal is to develop autonomous drones that use machine intelligence, robotics, and human-centered computation.

Drone Industry Fears Trump Turbulence in Rule Expanding Flights

The Trump administration first froze new regulations, then issued an executive order requiring that for every new regulation, two old ones must be identified for elimination. The impact on the drone industry is uncertain since new regulations are needed for flight over people, enabling package delivery, etc.

The FAA gave the first ever go-ahead for a drone to fly at a major airport

The FAA granted the waiver for flight in Class B airspace. 3D Robotics conducted seven flights on January 10, 2017, at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The mission was data collection for a demolition project.

Video of the Week

Bat Bot Wins Flexible Flier Miles

An extremely flexible flying robot called the “Bat Bot” is made from a carbon fiber skeleton and a silicon membrane wing. This was reported in the Science Robotics article, A biomimetic robotic platform to study flight specializations of bats.

Mentioned

Drones set to invade accounting profession

 

 

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.

 

 

UAV171 UAS Flights Over Unsheltered People

Rulemaking for sUAS flights over people moves forward, fuel cell-powered UAVs, a drone detection system, a Predator for humanitarian relief, drones flying in formation, and autonomous aircraft collaboration.

H3 Dynamics Hywing

Hywing long endurance fixed-wing UAV demonstrator, courtesy H3 Dynamics

News

Big News: Proposed Small UAS Rule for Flights Over People at White House for Review

Hogan Lovells reports that the FAA sent to the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) the proposed rulemaking for the operation of sUAS over unsheltered people not directly participating in the operation. OIRA reviews draft regulations before they are implemented and any member of the public can request a meeting with the agency to discuss the proposed rule.

UAV Update: Fuel cells, Droneboxes and hostile drones

This article is a round-up of a number of newsworthy drone stories, including:

Singapore energy storage company H3 Dynamics has applied fuel cell technology to its Hywings UAV and claims up to 10 hours flight endurance. The company also created Dronebox that can be used as a remote base station for drones. Dronebox can recharge drone using solar panels, and offers the possibility for stationing drones for autonomous missions, like crop surveys.

Elbit Systems in Israel announced ReDrone which detects, tracks, and takes out drones. The system can determine the direction of the drone and the operator, operates over 360 degrees and provides real-time situational awareness of multiple drones.

General Atomics is offering the Angel One for humanitarian relief missions. Based on the Predator-C Avenger UAV, it can carry up to 8,500 pounds of Humanitarian Daily Ration packets (HDRs) for 3,400 people

AeroVironment is looking to the commercial market with its Quantix vertical takeoff and landing quadrotor drone. Controlled with an Android tablet, data can subsequently be processed within the AeroVironment Decision Support System (AV DSS). Availability is expected by spring 2017.

Drexel University Student Charged After Drone Flies Over Center City Protesters

A drone was observed flying over 300 protesters marching in Philadelphia. Police and news helicopters followed the drone which led them to a man operating the drone from a rooftop. A SWAT team took a 20-year-old man into custody inside the building. He could face various charges,  including recklessly endangering another person and risking a catastrophe.

Disney’s Latest Attraction? 300 Drones Flying in Formation

The “Starbright Holidays” in Orlando will feature 300 Intel Shooting Star quadcopters with LED lights. Each weighs a little over half a pound and is constructed of soft materials such as plastics and foam. The drones are assigned light show roles only after each has been queried by the system to assess details like battery level and GPS signal. Then each gets its assignment and an operator deploys them all with the push of a button.

Human-Machine Teams: Lockheed Martin UAS and Optionally-Piloted Helicopters Validate Firefighting and Search-and-Rescue Capabilities

Lockheed Martin conducted a demonstration of firefighting and search-and-rescue capability using four autonomous vehicles. The optionally-piloted Kaman K-MAX, the Sikorsky Autonomy Research Aircraft (SARA), the Indago quadrotor, and a Desert Hawk 3.1 fixed wing UAS worked collaboratively. Indago located hot spots, sent that information to an operator who directed the K-MAX to autonomously retrieve water from a pond and drop it on the fire. Then, the Desert Hawk located the missing person, and the K-MAX and SARA completed the search and rescue mission.

Video of the Week

Lockheed Martin Autonomous Aircraft Conduct Firefighting, Rescue Mission

 

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

 

 

UAV165 The Tesla Concept Drone

International agreement on armed UAS import/export, quadcopter power by induction, California allows first responders to take out drones, a droneport concept, drones interrupting airport operations, an underwater UAV launch, and a very different concept for an aerial video platform.

The Tesla Drone

News

White House Rolls Out Armed Drone Declaration

The U.S. State Department calls it the first step toward creating global norms for the import and export of armed unmanned systems. More than 40 countries have agreed to the one-page Joint Declaration for the Export and Subsequent Use of Armed or Strike-Enabled Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). [PDF]

Drone Flies 12 CM on Wireless Power

Is transmitting power wirelessly, through thin air, science fiction? Maybe not. A quadcopter flew a short distance in a proof of concept demo. The Wirelessly Powered Quadrotor video shows a quadrotor being powered completely wirelessly via magnetic induction.

Jerry Brown Lets Emergency Responders Take out Drones

California Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 807, under which “An emergency responder shall not be liable for any damage to an unmanned aircraft or unmanned aircraft system, if that damage was caused while the emergency responder was providing, and the unmanned aircraft or unmanned aircraft system was interfering with, the operation, support, or enabling of the emergency services…”

Droneports for the Future?

Jonathan Daniels, CEO, and founder of Praxis Aerospace Concepts International Inc., wants to partner with the FAA and develop a droneport in Boulder City, Nevada. Initially used to test drone landings and departures without interfering with manned aircraft, the long-term concept is support for high volume drone movements.

UAV activity disrupts Dubai Airport operations

Operations at Dubai International Airport were disrupted for almost an hour due to unauthorized unmanned aerial vehicle activity. This wasn’t the first time, either. United Arab Emirates (UAE) state Abu Dhabi has banned drone sales to the public because of the potential threat they pose to civil aviation.

First Underwater Unmanned Aircraft Launch from an AUV

In a cross-domain command and control event hosted by the U.S. Navy, a small Vector Hawk UAV was launched from a Marlin autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV). At the same time, the Submaran unmanned surface vehicle (USV) developed by Ocean Aero provided surface reconnaissance and surveillance.

Introducing the Tesla Drone

The Tesla Drone is a concept from U.K. based designer, Fraser Leid. Dual propellers can operate horizontally or vertically and provide enough stability that a gimbal is not required. The MagDock acts as a wireless charging station offering a 60 minute flight time from the 10,000 mAh Li-ion Powercell® battery.

Video of the Week

Planes & Drones in Sedona, AZ

Listener Ken recently traveled to Sedona, Arizona in his 1980 Bonanza A36TC and he brought along his 3DR Solo with a GoPro 4 Black. The video is a perfect crossover between The Airplane Geeks podcast and The UAV Digest.

Mentioned

Dronemasters MeetUp #0024

San Francisco, CA at Nightingale Security, October 20, 2016.

 

 

 

UAV159 Taking the FAA Online UAS Training Course

We talk with a Part 61 pilot who has successfully completed the FAA UAS online training course. We also look at consumer drone vulnerabilities, the threats that drones represent to aviation, using big data to develop a contextual route-plan for autonomous drones, a globe-trotting drone racer, and flying drones in public parks.

Flock flight planning tool

Flock flight planning tool

Part 107

The new small drone rule for non-hobbyists (also known as Part 107) becomes effective August 29, 2016. The person flying a drone must have a remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating, or be directly supervised by someone with that certificate.

To qualify for the certificate, you must either pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center or have an existing non-student Part 61 pilot certificate.

Those with a Part 61 pilot certificate must have completed a flight review in the previous 24 months and take an FAA UAS online training course.

Guest

Max Trescott is a certified flight instructor and co-host on the Airplane Geeks podcast. Max completed the ALC-451, Part 107 Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) online course and tells us about his experience.

At the FAA Safety Team website, pilots can start by clicking the Part 107 image at the top of the page. After completing the course, print the completion certificate or email to yourself. Then, on or after August 29, 2016, sign into IACRA.faa.gov and fill out the application for a Part 107 license. Flight Instructors, pilot examiners, and FAA inspectors can then approve pilot as a commercial drone operator. The materials can be reviewed by clicking the “Part 107 Knowledge Test Prep” button at www.faa,gov/uas.

News

Why Are Engineers Intentionally Crashing Drones?

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University’s Whiting School of Engineering have been testing consumer drones for vulnerabilities. They found they could overload the drone’s CPU with wireless connection requests and cause an uncontrolled landing, they could crash the drone by sending it a large data packet and causing a buffer overflow, and the drone made an emergency landing when researchers confused the controller with false data packets.

Lanier A. Watkins, the cybersecurity researcher who supervised the recent drone research, said, “You see it with a lot of new technology. Security is often an afterthought. The value of our work is in showing that the technology in these drones is highly vulnerable to hackers.”

Johns Hopkins Research Finds Drones Vulnerable to Attack

Drones, lasers seen as key aviation terrorism threats

A report by the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism titled, Trends in Aviation Terrorism identified three threats: lasers, radicalized airport employees, and drones. With respect to drone threats, the report notes:

  • Proximity of drones to airliners and airports and the possibility of taking one down
  • Terrorist websites advocating drones with explosives to take down airplanes
  • Reports of terrorists using drones for intelligence gathering in Syria, Iraq and other countries.

New AI program could help drones avoid flying over big crowds

Artificial intelligence company Flock uses “Big Data” to drive a contextual route-planner for drones. Their AI platform “tracks in real time the position of people, vehicles, structures, weather systems and more, calculating the safest possible flight-paths for drones to fly through congested urban environments.” The algorithm “visualises population density and traffic statistics using real-time data streams.”

Canadian drone racer says sport better version of Formula One racing

26-year old Andrew “MayMayDay” Meyer is traveling the world competing in drone races. Places like Canada, the United States, Dubai, and South Korea. He competed at Canada’s Drone Nationals last year, he placed 10th at the U.S. National Drone Racing Championships in New York City this year, he flew at South Korea’s Chuncheon Drone Race World Cup just recently, and he’s entered in the Drone World Championship in Hawaii in October. Find Andrew on Facebook.

Recreational drone use prohibited in local parks

The Bay Area District of the State of California Department of Parks and Recreation has banned drones and other unmanned aircraft. Park officials are concerned about “potential disturbances to wildlife, public safety issues, and negative impacts on other park patrons.”

Video of the Week

Get Ready for the New Small Drone Rule!

Mentioned

International Drone Expo, December 9-10, 2016 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. IDE draws over 100 international exhibitors and more than 3,500 buyers from around the world. It’s a two-day event that features an exhibit floor displaying a variety of drones, parts, and services for all the commercial applications. A commercial drone conference is also hosted at IDE. New this year will be IDE’s first annual drone racing event.

BayRC.net – A community of R/C enthusiasts and professionals.

Santa Cruz County RC Bees – People who enjoy participating in the sport of radio control aircraft modeling.

 

UAV156 AT&T Using Drones to Benefit Customers

Cell coverage provided by drones, sUAS conflicting with aerial applicators, controlling swarms with your mind, another package delivery milestone by Flirtey, a drone pilot is arrested, and using drones to find old land mines.

A Bird’s Eye View of AT&T’s Drone Inspection Program

A Bird’s Eye View of AT&T’s Drone Inspection Program

News

Better cell service for responders when COWs fly

AT&T uses Cell On Wheels (COW) equipment to temporarily add cell capacity for large events, or bring coverage to disaster scenes. Now the company is looking at a new kind of COW that used drones: Cell On Wings. In the company blog, Drones Taking Our Network to New Heights, AT&T says, “We’re researching how in-flight drones can use our LTE network to send large amounts of data in real-time. This capability may benefit areas such as insurance, farming, facility and asset inspections, and even delivery service companies.” AT&T is already using drones to perform cell tower inspections. (Video above.)

New UAV rules should help farmers, ag businesses

Most groups with an interest in using sUAS commercially are in favor of the Part 107 rules, including the agriculture business. But the National Agricultural Aviation Association thinks “the FAA set the bar a little low” when it comes to safety and certification requirements.

Note: The Small UAS Rule (Part 107), including all pilot and operating rules, will be effective on August 29, 2016. These resources are provided by the FAA:

Control a swarm of drones with your mind

Arizona State University is researching technology that allows human brainwaves to control up to four robot vehicles. Electrodes on a skullcap pick up electrical brain activity, software processes the data, and the drones are controlled via a Bluetooth connection. ASU says that to make the drones move, the operator watches on a monitor, and thinks and pictures the drones performing various tasks.

7-Eleven makes food deliveries with Flirtey UAS

Flirtey 7-Eleven package deliveryFlirtey and 7-Eleven announced they have completed the first fully autonomous, FAA-approved drone delivery to two residential homes in Reno, Nevada. The Flirtey drone delivered a 7-Eleven chicken sandwich, donuts, hot coffee, and Slurpees. The Flirtey drone hovered over the residents’ backyards and lowered the packages. The two companies plan to expand their delivery services in the future.

Drone pilot arrested at JFK Airport

A 52-year old man was arrested for flying a drone within 50 feet laterally of a jet, and 20 feet below it. The drone was spotted by the pilot on approach about 4 miles from the airport.

Afghan brothers launch new mine-hunting drone

Mine Kafon DroneTwo former Afghan refugees are developing technology that would allow a drone to safely sweep an area and destroy old land mines. The UAS would use ground penetrating radar and metal detectors to locate the mines. A small charge could then be placed by the drone and detonated remotely. The brothers are using a Kickstarter campaign to fund the Mine Kafon Drone.

 

Video of the Week

Martin Mars – View From a Drone

The beautiful Martin Mars, originally a four-engined cargo transport seaplane, now used for water drops to fight wildfires. This video shows the airplane at AirVenture Oshkosh 2016.

 

 

UAV155 Amazon Docking Station for sUAS

The MQ-25 Stingray UAS, Star Wars drones, an Amazon patent for sUAS flight decks, Customs and Border Protection solicitation for small drone studies, how drones might make the future of aviation brighter, an arrest for a drone flight, new geofencing firmware, and Facebook laser drones.

News

Amazon patents special drone housing in the sky

Amazon docking station concept]Amazon was awarded U.S. patent number 9387928 for sUAS docking stations that can be attached to structures such as telephone poles or street lamps. Amazon proposes that these multi-use UAV docking stations can be networked and provide package handling facilities, and act as a final destination or a delivery hub. The docking stations could recharge or refuel UAVs, become navigational aids, and provide routing information from a central control system.

USN carries out MQ-25 aerial refuelling surrogate testing

The UAS that had been called the Carrier Based Aerial Refueling System (CBARS) will be now known as MQ-25 Stingray. Developed from the X-47B, it will use the current Navy refueling pod as its equipment. The system is being tested using a Gulfstream jet as a surrogate and the RFP for the MQ-25 prototypes requests a flyoff in 2017.

Star Wars Drones You Can Battle With

Propel is making X-wing, Millennium Falcon, TIE Interceptor, and Speederbike quadcopters with clear props to give the illusion of flight. The drones are outfitted with lasers that allow game playing similar to laser tag.

Border Patrol calls on Silicon Valley for advice on small drones

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is looking for new ways that Customs and Border Protection could use UAVs and has published an Other Transaction Solicitation (OTS) to fund studies. The OTS Call on Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Word doc) offers grants of $50,000 to $200,000, and describes three objectives:

  • User interfaces for effective communication and enhanced immediacy for reaction.
  • Sensors to improve situational awareness and the ability to track multiple targets.
  • Platform security improvement for UAS self-defense capabilities.

Why Drones May Save Aviation

This opinion piece describes how sUAS might be a pathway to bring people into aviation.

California makes first arrest for drone flight over wildfire

A man charged with hampering firefighting efforts was caught after he posted his videos on YouTube. He faces FAA fines of up to $27,500 and possible jail time.

DJI drones will now get real-time wildfire alerts

New software updates bring geofencing to temporarily restricted areas.

Report claims small UAV ruling places USA ahead of Europe

Aerospace and defense industry researcher Teal Group says the United States is now ahead of Europe after developing sUAS regulations. The U.S. is “putting pressure on Europe to come up with its own set of regulations.”

Facebook wants to use fluorescence to make its laser drones work better

Facebook and Internet.org have been developing the Project Aquila fixed-wing drones to provide internet access to remote locations using lasers to transmit data. However, light sent through the atmosphere can produce an undesirable “twinkling” effect. The Facebook team has a solution that uses a structure covered with wavelength shifting dyes that re-emit the light at a different wavelength and reduce the twinkling effect.

Video of the Week

Drone helps in rescue of stranded boaters near Algona

Listener Todd pointed us to this video that documents a DJI Phantom 4 used to locate a man and his 10-year-old granddaughter who stranded in their boat.