Tag Archives: solar

UAV088 Conversation with a Section 333 Exemption Holder

Silent FalconWe talk about the recent FAA policy change designed to streamline the process of granting a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) for holders of a Section 333 exemption. Also, we look at solar electric drones in the news, as well as the package delivery testing being done by Amazon in Canada and morphing robotic wings.

Guest

Mark Burns owns Burnz Eye View LLC, a promotion and marketing company specializing in aerial filming. We talked with Mark in Episode 83 after Burnz Eye View became the 16th company in the United States to receive a Section 333 exemption from the FAA. Mark has joined us again to give his observations on the impact of the FCC policy change for COAs on Section 333 exemption holders.

Be sure to follow the Burnz Eye View Blog for posts on topical issues, including Dear FAA, What use are Rules without Enforcement?

Also, note that Mark will be a panelist at the Unmanned Systems Institute Conference September 23-25, 2014 in Las Vegas.

News

First Solar-Electric Drone Enters Production

Silent Falcon UAS Technologies (SFUAS) has begun production of the Silent Falcon solar-electric aircraft. The Silent Falcon is a composite, fixed-wing sUAS with solar cells on its wings.

According to SFUAS, “The patent pending Silent Falcon™ is a solar/electric, all composite, modular small Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS) designed for commercial, public safety, and military applications. With Silent Falcon’s™ solar electric propulsion system, rugged composite structure, and three interchangeable wing configurations, it is the first sUAS capable of meeting long range and long endurance mission profiles.”

Facebook’s UAV Flies, Builds On Developments In Solar Power

Facebook announced the first flight of the Aquila subscale prototype of a solar-powered unmanned aircraft. The stratospheric “atmospheric satellite” is intended to bring the Internet to remote parts of the world. The full scale version is under construction.

Amazon tests delivery drones at secret Canada site after US frustration

The Guardian reports that Amazon is testing package delivery technology at a “secret” site in British Columbia, Canada. Amazon is said to have purchased some land where plain-clothed security guards keep those away who might wander into the area. The company is looking at using the airspace from 200 feet to 500 feet to carry the 5 pound or less packages that represent 86% of all packages they ship.

Morphing Robotic Wing Developed to Help Drones Manage Collisions

Birds can move their wings to help navigate through obstacles like tree branches, but man-made aircraft don’t have that ability. Except now researchers at Stanford University have created mechanisms that can passively morph their wings in ways similar to what birds and bats do.

Mentioned

Drone development in Alaska still on track

The Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration (ACUASI) is one of the six FAA UAS test sites. Funding cuts threatened the program, but a Senate subcommittee has taken action to restore the money.

Reminder

Visit http://theUAVdigest.com/nprm and you’ll be redirected to the regulations.gov web page where you can find the NPRM and submit your comments online on or before April 24, 2015.

UAV050 Manufacturing Drones with a 3D Printer

 

BAE Transformer3D drone printers, continuously airborne UAVs, hacking drones, flying UAS over airports and sports events, a petition to the FAA, and mapping mud a landslide with a hexacopter.

The News

BAE Systems Unveils Concepts of On-Board Aircraft 3D Printers Able to Print Incredible UAVs During a Mission

The BAE Systems 25-year outlook includes technology for “on demand” UAV production, from inside an aircraft! In a possible scenario, the larger aircraft approaches an unknown situation, like a military conflict or a SAR event. It then manufactures a cloud of surveillance drones that go out, gather data, and return to the mother ship. Then, using the collected data, mission-specific UAV’s are manufactured to respond to the situation. (In the case of SAR, maybe a vehicle that could retrieve a person.) Another idea is a “transformer” made of multiple UAVs that could group and ungroup as needed.

New type of drones: Firm looks to create drones with unlimited flight time

A collaboration between Packet Digital LLC, the U.S. Department of Defense, and others hopes to create very long endurance UAV’s. First, to double the current flight time, but eventually unlimited endurance. By developing a “solar soaring power management system,” continuously airborne drones could be created with applications for the military, agriculture, search-and-rescue, and first responders. Flight testing will take place at the Northern Plains UAS Test Site in Grand Forks.

Exclusive: Civilian drones need costly fixes to avoid hacking, study indicates

GPS navigation is a key UAS technology, and we’ve seen examples that suggest that GPS has vulnerabilities. In 2012, the FAA initiated a study by the GNSS Intentional Interference and Spoofing Study Team (GIISST) to look at vulnerabilities in GPS navigation.

The report has not been released publicly, but FAA has given an overview at a conference, saying, “Inexpensive, and readily available, GNSS repeaters and GNSS simulation tools can transmit hazardously misleading information ‘spoofing’ GNSS use.”

In September 2013, the FAA released a Navigation Programs Update [PDF] that gives some information about the GNSS Intentional Interference and Spoofing Study Team.

High-Altitude Drone Flight Prompts FAA Warning At Airport

A pilot flew his DJI Phantom on a video mission thousands of feet above the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport in Alabama. This triggered an automated warning from the FAA about unauthorized drones near a homing beacon.

DJI: The Spirit of Football Video Contest

A DJI soccer/football video contest is underway to showcase the spirit of football. Submit your YouTube or Vimeo videos in aerial and non-aerial categories through August 20th.

Maine man wants FAA to change UAV regulations

Edward Lyons, the CEO of FPV America, says the FAA ban on UAS has “shut down his business before it was really able to take off.” So he’s started a petition at change.org asking the FAA to “Rescind Your Latest Ruling On Model FPV Flying And The Personal & Commercial Use Of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.”

From the petition: “We The People have a right to OUR airspace to practice and engage in our hobby. We have a right to commercial purposeful use of this airspace as well.”

UAV Mapping of a Landslide

Czech unmanned aerial vehicle and mapping company Upvision used a hexacopter to perform an aerial mapping of a landslide at a road construction project. The mapping and resulting geological survey will help engineers decide how to remove the debris from the landslide, which occurred at a road construction project.

A hexacopter was used to collect the data to create: an orthophoto map, a digital surface model using point clouds, and a 3D model for visualizing the entire area. All this from one aerial flight over the course of one hour.

Video of the Week

Man flies drone into West Palm Beach fireworks show

Many listeners sent the link to this rather impressive video. We understand the Phantom survived, but also that the FAA is Investigating Drone Flights Into Fireworks.

Feedback

Jon observed the shadow of a quadcopter in the video Road Test: 2014 Porsche 911 Turbo S, confirming how the video was made.