The word “drone” has a negative connotation to some. What does it mean and can perception be changed?
This week’s event:
Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) Unmanned Systems 2013 Conference
Aug 12 – 15, 2013 in Washington, DC
AUVSI is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the unmanned systems and robotics community. They have 7,500 members from government organizations, industry and academia. AUVSI members support defense, civil and commercial sectors.
To the public, “drone” has a bad connotation: military, death, etc. Can the industry change the word and change perception?
The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District is set to begin testing August 26 a Condor Aerial Maveric fixed wing UAV. They’ll use infrared cameras to identify pools of water that can host mosquito larvae. Then the water would be treated with larvicide on the ground. The Maveric was originally developed for law enforcement.
Northrop Grumman has a new idea for the Air Force and U.S. Customs and Border Protection: rather than train remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) pilots on MQ-1 Predators and MQ-9 Reapers or in expensive simulators, give them basic flying time on a small SandShark drone. They’d pay by the hour.
This would save $70M per year. Operators can control them over any 4G cellphone network or the Internet.
Drug smugglers have something new to worry about: the ScanEagle UAS. In demonstration trials, the Coast Guard interdicted a half ton of cocaine. They want to roll out the ScanEagle across its national security cutter fleet, starting in fiscal 2017.
Boeing subsidiary Insitu continues to make commercial headway with the ScanEagle. In addition to the Coast Guard application, an undisclosed oil company plans to perform ice flow monitoring and wildlife observation flights off the Alaska coast.
ScanEagle air vehicles have logged more than 730,000 operational flight hours, through more than 88,000 sorties.