Tag Archives: swarming

UAV210 A Global Drone Registry

ICAO proposes a global drone registry, a multi-rotor endurance record, a major change at Drone360 magazine, tracking drones with cellular networks, drone support following Hurricane Irma, and more swarming technology.

The Skyfront Tailwind hybrid-electric drone.

The Skyfront Tailwind hybrid-electric drone. Courtesy Skyfront.

UAV News

U.N. aviation agency to call for global drone registry

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) proposed a global database of drone owners. The database would remotely identify and track drones and their operators. More details will be provided at ICAO’s DRONE ENABLE Unmanned Aircraft Systems Industry Symposium September 22-23, 2017 in Montréal, Canada. The Event Guide and Directory [PDF] lists a session where “The ICAO registration system which is under development will be explained including its purpose, intended functionality and interaction with national registration systems.”

Skyfront Boasts Multi-Rotor UAV Flight of More Than 4.5 Hours

Drone builder Skyfront says they have set a new endurance world record for a multi-rotor UAV. Their Tailwind quadcopter flew for 4 hours and 34 minutes. The hybrid-electric drone offers a 3 kg payload and is intended for inspection, surveying, mapping, and agriculture. An internal gasoline engine spins a generator which produces an unregulated direct-current voltage. The power electronics system regulates the voltage and a small battery is available to provide boost and back up power. Watch the time-lapse video: World Record Multirotor Endurance Flight – 4 hours 34 minutes – Skyfront Tailwind.

An Important Message about Drone360

The September-October 2017 issue of Drone360 magazine will be their last publication. Instead, Drone360 returns to Discover magazine, where it started as a blog. The drone360mag.com URL will still be valid.

From cell phones to drones, 5G connectivity is changing the game

Lia Reich, VP of communications and marketing at PrecisionHawk and a member of the Drone360 editorial advisory board, discusses manned and unmanned aircraft integration issues. That includes the idea of using cellular networks for UAS Traffic Management (UTM).

FAA Works with Florida Drone Operators to Speed Hurricane Recovery

As of September 15, 2017, the FAA had issued 137 airspace authorizations for drones in Florida in response to Hurricane Irma. The Air National Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Airbus Aerial, the Jacksonville Electric Authority, Florida Power and Light, and others participated in response efforts.

New swarming drone technology could help find lost hikers, study wildlife

University of Colorado, Boulder researchers have developed technology that allows a single operator to control multiple drones. CU Boulder is operating under a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) from the FAA that allows one pilot to fly up to 30 aircraft at a time. The project is an international collaboration with the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.

UAV198 Drone Racing Takes Flight

The Drone Racing League gains sponsors and additional funding, NASA UAS traffic management testing, the impact of Taylor v. FAA on commercial drone operators, iRobotics proposes a drone race across the Pacific, and drones swarm in China.

iRobotics drone concept

iRobotics drone concept

UAV News

The Drone Racing League (DRL) Announces International Partnerships For 2017 Race Season, Close Of Series B Investment Round

The Drone Racing League (DRL), announced multi-year, international partners and sponsors. Allianz was already announced as the global title sponsor, and Toy State as a sponsor. New sponsors include Amazon (Prime Video), Swatch, FORTO Coffee Shots, and the U.S. Air Force. The DRL season begins June 20, 2017, on ESPN and is to be broadcast in over 75 countries.

DRL also announced a $20 million round of financing led by Sky, Liberty Media Corporation (owner of Formula 1) and Lux Capital (which invests in emerging science and technology ventures). Additional new investors include Allianz and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), and other partners in the round include: Hearst Ventures (a corporate venture fund for media and technology), RSE Ventures (a sports, technology, and entertainment venture firm), Lerer Hippeau Ventures (a seed stage venture capital fund), and Courtside Ventures (a sports, technology, and media VC). DRL has also added CRCM Ventures (seed and early stage companies in Silicon Valley and China) supporting DRL’s expansion into China.

Traffic jam in the skies: NASA updates UTM effort

As part of the NASA UAS Traffic Management (UTM) program, tests have been completed at the six FAA UAS test sites. The missions were monitored in real-time at the NASA Ames’ Airspace Operations Lab, which will now analyze the data collected. There is much more to be done, and NASA’s UTM Technical Lead Joey Rios, says, “We have work on the UAS platforms themselves, we have software development, we have simulation development. We have a lot of human factors work to figure out how to interact with these systems.”

What Taylor v FAA Means for Commercial Drone Operators

The drone registration program implemented by the FAA in 2015 was struck down in court. This article points out that while recreational drone operators no longer have to register, commercial operators are unaffected.

iRobotics Challenges Tech Giants to Drone Race Across Pacific

Japanese drone start-up iRobotics is proposing a race from Tokyo to San Francisco that is open to anyone. Red Bull describes in Want to race this drone across the Pacific? that iRobotics is interested in the middle market – between small drones typically used for recreational and commercial purposes at low altitude, and large, high-altitude drones such as those that  Facebook and Airbus are contemplating.

Hit-and-Run Drone Collision Causes Power Outage for 1,600 in Google’s Hometown

A large number of people in the Silicon Valley city of Mountain View lost power for 3 hours when a drone flew into a high-voltage wire. A white-haired, white adult man was seen fleeing the scene driving a white car.

China launches record-breaking swarm of drones

China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC) says they have set a new record for a swarm of drones. The swarm of 119 fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicles bests the CETC swarm of 67 drones launched during the China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai. The Global Times says the drones employed “catapult-assisted take-offs and performed aerial formations.”

Drone Enthusiasts See Benefit in Privatizing Air Traffic Control

According to this article, many people think that a private corporation could get a drone traffic management system up and running quicker than the Federal Aviation Administration.

 

 

UAV195 Drone Registration Struck Down

A court ruling halts recreational drone registration in the U.S. while China implements a new drone registration requirement. Also, a fast fixed-wing VTOL UAV, heavy-lift delivery drones, remote pilot training in Australia, a long-endurance solar powered unmanned sailplane, and some new drone swarming applications.

The Marlyn VTOL mapping and surveying drone. Courtesy Atmos UAV.

The Marlyn VTOL mapping and surveying drone. Courtesy Atmos UAV.

UAV News

Court Strikes Down Drone Registration Requirement

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has struck down the FAA’s drone registration requirement for recreational UAV operators. The three-judge panel agreed with John A. Taylor, a drone hobbyist represented by attorney Jonathan Rupprecht, who argued that the FAA requirement violated the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act passed by Congress. Read the Court Opinion [PDF] and the Court Order [PDF]. Note that the ruling does not affect aircraft operated for commercial operations under Section 333 or Part 107. Rules for commercial operations remain the same. More details: Complete Guide to Taylor v. FAA (Drone Registration Lawsuit).

FAA Statement Regarding US Court of Appeals Decision

“We are carefully reviewing the U.S. Court of Appeals decision as it relates to drone registrations. The FAA put registration and operational regulations in place to ensure that drones are operated in a way that is safe and does not pose security and privacy threats. We are in the process of considering our options and response to the decision.”

Atmos UAV Launches Marlyn

The Atmos UAV Marlyn is a fixed-wing, VTOL UAV designed for high-speed mapping applications like land surveying, mining, precision agriculture, and forestry. It can be deployed from any surface, can map up to 10 times faster than a multirotor, and can fly in a broad range of weather conditions.

Heavy Duty Delivery Drones Coming From JD.com

JD.com says they are China’s largest retailer, online or offline, and they plan to build China’s largest low-altitude drone package delivery network. The heavy-lift drones are expected to carry more than a ton, transport products to remote areas, and move agricultural produce to cities. JD.com will also establish an R&D campus in partnership with the Xi’an National Civil Aerospace Industrial Base (XCAIB) where unmanned systems will be developed, manufactured and tested.

Changes to approved training

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), Australia’s national aviation authority is changing the practical training requirements for receiving an Australian Remote Pilot Licence (RePL) effective 1 June 2017. RePL applicants will satisfy the training requirements by completing a RePL training course conducted by a person holding a RPA Operator’s Certificate (ReOC) that authorized the training. Applicants can also apply to CASA for a flight test. CASA-approved training organisations are located across Australia, and a list of approved drone operators including those who can conduct training, is on the CASA website. More information about the advantages of holding a RePL can be found in Flying drones/remotely piloted aircraft in Australia.

Drone owners will now have to register with the government in China

Pilots of drones weighing 250 grams or more (0.55 pound) will be required to register with the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). This requirement is effective June 1, 2017. Registration is online and real names must be used.

FAA releases registered private drone owner database

The Federal Aviation Administration has made available a database of registered drone owners. The spreadsheet shows the city, state and zip code of each registered drone owner.

NRL Tests Autonomous ‘Soaring with Solar’ Concept

The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory is looking at long endurance unmanned sailplanes that use solar power. The Navy says, “The Solar Photovoltaic and Autonomous Soaring Base Program and the U.S. Marine Corps’ Expeditionary Energy Office (E2O) want to improve the ability of unmanned platforms to support 24-7 information, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.

DroneSeed Receives the First FAA Approval for Using Drone Swarming to Deliver Agricultural Payloads

DroneSeed has received approval from the FAA to deliver agricultural payloads with drone swarms. The company says, “We’re working with commercial foresters to make reforestation more efficient. Offering a one-stop solution, our team of drones plants tree seeds and sprays fertilizer and herbicides to keep trees healthy.”

Drone Swarms Could Spoof the Enemy

At the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference, the vice president of science and technology at Cintel said a web of swarming unmanned aircraft systems that can spoof enemy drones could be a solution to the shot doctrine problem when exercising counter-UAS capabilities.

UAV Video of the Week

Lockheed Martin Conducts First Underwater Unmanned Aircraft Launch from Unmanned Underwater Vehicle

Lockheed Martin successfully launched a Vector Hawk UAV on command from the Marlin MK2 autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV). At the same time, the Submaran unmanned surface vehicle (USV) developed by Ocean Aero provided surface reconnaissance and surveillance.

Read more: From Under the Sea to Up in the Air: Lockheed Martin Conducts First Underwater Unmanned Aircraft Launch from Unmanned Underwater Vehicle

Mentioned

Airplane Geeks episode 453 The Zunum Aero Electric Airplane.

 

 

 

UAV193 Flying Drones Over People

The impact of drones striking people, geo-restrictions in war zones, monitoring volcanic ash, structure inspections using UAVs and artificial intelligence, keeping wildlife away from crops, waste management with drones, swarming tactics, Project Wing update, and drone weaponization for law enforcement.

A UAS crash test dummy in a study of flying drones over people.

A UAS crash test dummy provided data for a UAS ground collision severity study.

UAV News

FAA Issues Study on UAS Human Collision Hazards

In order to create regulations for flying drones over people, the FAA needs to know what happens when a UAV strikes a human. A consortium of universities has been studying this, and their report identifies dominant injury types applicable to small drones. See: FAA and Assure Announce Results of Ground Collision Study.

DJI Mysteriously Turned Vast Swaths of Iraq and Syria Into Drone No-Fly Zones

Without much fanfare, DJI created no-fly zones over large areas of Iraq and Syria. Some speculate this was a move to thwart ISIS from using their drones.

CNN journalist evades DJI GEO restrictions in Iraq

A CNN reporter proved the no-fly zone could be defeated by covering the GPS on his DJI Mavic with tinfoil. Without GPS, the no-fly zones are disabled.

NASA Selects Black Swift Technologies’ sUAS for Volcano Ash Monitoring

NASA has awarded a contract to Black Swift Technologies to develop and deliver a sUAS solution to explore volcanoes. Black Swift will provide an airframe, avionics, and sensors to measure gases, temperature, pressure, humidity, and winds, as well as particle sizes and trace gases. All this for improved air traffic management systems and more accurate measurements of ashfall.

AT&T Labs working to combine drone video footage with artificial intelligence monitoring

AT&T Labs is studying how they can use artificial intelligence (AI) and video footage of cell towers taken by a drone. AT&T wants to eliminate the labor for physical inspections and video analysis.

Drones keep elephants away from people in Tanzania

In Tanzania, elephants sometimes graze on crops and destroy them, presenting a huge problem for the people trying to grow food. The U.S.-based nonprofit Resolve is testing the use of drones to drive the animals away.

Drones-The Latest High Tech Tool For Las Cruces Waste Management

A quadcopter is being used to map a regional landfill and provide volumetrics to the landfill management company. This information about the amount of air space remaining in existing landfill cells is critical for future development plans.

Service Academies Swarm Challenge: Controlling drone swarms

DARPA created the Service Academies Swarm Challenge where U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Air Force academy teams compete and go from “zero to swarm in 8 months.” The research effort is an experiment where students develop offensive and defensive tactics for swarms of small UAVs.

Video: An Overview of DARPA’s Service Academies Swarm Challenge

Alphabet’s Project Wing Cuts Staff Before Progress Update

Reportedly, Google parent Alphabet has significantly cut staff at Project Wing. Yet sources say the program is still alive and a major progress update and demonstration is expected before summer.

Public Safety Committee Grounds Drone Legislation

Legislation proposed in Connecticut would have made that state the first in the U.S. to allow law enforcement to use weaponized drones. However, the legislature’s Public Safety and Security Committee decided to let the legislation die. This was after drone attorney Peter Sachs wrote an email to all members of the Committee asking them to vote against the proposal.

UAV Video of the Week

Amazing Drone Footage – The USS Alabama From The Air – A Very Impressive Battleship

The USS Alabama (BB-60) is a South Dakota Class Battleship, launched on April 16, 1942. It served during World War II in both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. This video was shot using a hexacopter with a GoPro at the USS Alabama Memorial Park.

Mentioned

Drones flown in helicopter flight path at Franz Josef heliport ‘a huge risk’ to safety, police warn

 

 

UAV192 Uber Air Taxi UAV

Drone vulnerability to hacking, the ScanEagle gets fuel cell power, Grand Sky UAS Park adds a major tenant, drone privacy issues in Australia, swarming biobots, and Uber collaborates with Aurora Flight Sciences for an air taxi.

Aurora Flight Sciences air taxi concept

Aurora Flight Sciences Electric VTOL Aircraft

UAV News

Watch A Very Vulnerable $140 Quadcopter Drone Get Hacked Out Of The Sky

Researchers at the Cyber-Physical Systems Security Lab at the University of Texas at Dallas hacked into a small quadcopter and took control. UT Dallas researcher Junia Valente said, “The device contains an open access point not protected by any password and a misconfigured FTP server that allows unauthorized users to read and write to the drone filesystem. One of the attacks we did was precisely to overwrite sensitive system files to gain full root access.”

Five reasons why fuel cell powered UAVs beat internal combustion fuel systems

A ScanEagle UAV manufactured by Boeing subsidiary Insitu has been tested with a Ballard Power Systems’ fuel cell system. Ballard lists five advantages that fuel cell propulsion of UAVs has over internal combustion systems.

North Dakota UAS Park Welcomes Northrop Grumman as Anchor Tenant

The Grand Sky Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Business and Aviation Park, located near Grand Forks, North Dakota has welcomed new tenant Northrop Grumman to a 36,000 square-foot facility. The park has access to Grand Forks Air Force Base, where Northrop Grumman provides systems and technology to the U.S. Air Force, including the RQ-4 Global Hawk.

Backyard skinny-dippers lack effective laws to keep peeping drones at bay

A woman returned to her home in Darwin from an evening gym session, got undressed, and began to enjoy her secluded backyard pool. Soon, a small camera-mounted quadcopter appeared overhead. She doesn’t know who was operating the drone.

In Australia, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) does not prevent drones from flying over private property. Australia lacks a tort of privacy so even if she could find him, the woman couldn’t sue the drone operator for a breach of privacy.

Software allows for use of drones and insect biobots to map disaster areas

North Carolina State University researchers have created the hardware and software to use UAVs and insect cyborgs (or biobots) as a way to map areas like collapsed buildings after a disaster. Biobots could move freely within a defined space and map the area as they go.

UAV Video of the Week

Aurora Flight Sciences’ Electric VTOL Aircraft

Uber selected Aurora Flight Sciences as a partner to develop an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for its Uber Elevate Network. Aurora’s eVTOL concept is derived from its XV-24A X-plane program currently underway for the U.S. Department of Defense and other autonomous aircraft the company has developed over the years.

See also: We just got our first glimpse of Uber’s vision for flying taxis

 

 

 

UAV185 The DJI Matrice 200 Series of Drones

New DJI Matrice 200 drones created for enterprise users, Parrot also sees a future in the commercial market, an RQ-7 Shadow goes on an unexpected cross-country flight, and swarms of drones may someday map oil spills.

DJI Matrice 210

DJI Matrice 200 series drone

UAV News

DJI’s Matrice 200 UAV line is built for work

DJI showed its new Matrice 200 series of quadcopters at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. It’s a workhorse designed for commercial and industrial applications and comes in three models: the baseline M200 with one gimbal, the M210 with two downward-facing gimbals or one top-mounted gimbal, and the M210 RTK which adds real-time kinematic sensors for precise navigation.

All models use the DJI flight management system, the DJI Pilot app, subject tracking, autonomous circling, and ActiveTrack. Flighthub lets the pilot stream video to a remote station in real-time, and DJI’s Flightsense algorithm lets the M200 drones autonomously avoid obstacles. Significantly, M200s incorporate ADS-B receivers.

Parrot to pursue profits with commercial drones

After failing to meet revenue targets, Parrot says it will return to profitability by 2018 through an expansion of its commercial drone business. The Parrot CFO says, “Professional drones should generate at least 50 to 60 percent gross margin on the long run, where consumer drones cannot generate more than 35 percent of gross margin.”

Questions hover over Army drone’s 630-mile odyssey across western US

An Army Shadow RQ-7Bv2 launched from southern Arizona on January 31 lost the connection with its ground crew. The Shadow was found February 9 in a tree near Denver, 630 miles away.

Coming soon: Oil spill-mapping swarms of flying drones

The University at Buffalo’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences has devised a method to quickly map oil spills with a swarm of off the shelf drones. The drones record if they are over water, over oil, or at the edge of the spill. They then share that information among themselves so they waste time covering an area already observed. When reaching low power, the drones return to the ship for a recharge, while new drones join the swarm already knowing what the others have found. Collision avoidance is accomplished via simple rules taken from nature. See the paper: A Swarm-Intelligence Approach to Oil Spill Mapping using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.

UAV Video of the Week

DJI – Introducing the Matrice 200 Series

Mentioned

The UAV Digest has become a media partner with the ASCEND Conference & Expo, to be held July 19-21, 2017 in Portland Oregon. ASCEND comes from the team behind Drone360 magazine and will focus on the commercial UAS industry with expert speakers and critical analysis. Registration is now open and the coupon code theUAVdigest will get you a $50 discount.

 

 

 

UAV178 GoPro Karma Drone to be Relaunched

GoPro will relaunch its Karma foldable drone, FAA approves Beyond Visual Line Of Sight (BVLOS) operations at a UAS test site, a drone strike on an airliner proves to be false, a new droneport is taking shape, a Canadian company offers fuel cell-powered drones, and autonomous drone swarming is a success.

EnergyOr H2Quad 1000 drone

The H2Quad 1000 fuel cell-powered drone, courtesy EnergyOr

UAV News

GoPro is relaunching its Karma drone after an embarrassing recall

GoPro Karma drone

The GoPro Karma drone

The new GoPro Karma foldable drone was quickly recalled shortly after becoming available last year. GoPro CEO Nick Woodman says that the drones loss of power and subsequent dive was caused by a “basic battery retention issue.” Details of the Karma relaunch are expected in February 2017.

 

Nation’s first BVLOS UAS operations approved

The FAA has granted the Northern Plains UAS Test Site in North Dakota approval to operate large unmanned aircraft beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS). The UAS test site can use ground-based sense-and-avoid technologies to phases in BVLOS operations.

African airline reports drone collision with passenger jet

African airline LAM said a Boeing 737-700 on approach at about 4,000 feet was struck by a drone. Widely published photographs showed the damaged nose. Subsequently, the Aviation Herald published Incident: LAM B737 at Tete on Jan 5th 2017, radome structural failure. After its investigation, Mozambique’s Civil Aviation Authority says most likely the radome experienced a structural failure, not a foreign object strike.

Eldorado Droneport Design Revealed

Specific plans for privately operated Eldorado Droneport have been announced. Aerodrome will offer UAS training, FAA repairman and pilot certification and testing, and other educational, research and development services for commercial and recreational drone operators. Plans for the 50-acre site include a 15,000 square foot terminal building; 860,000 square feet facilities for research and development, warehousing, hangar, office, and training; and “build-to-suit” opportunities.

French Air Force Gets Fuel Cell Powered Quad

The French Air Force is acquiring the H2Quad 1000 drone from Montreal-based EnergyOr Technologies inc. EnergyOr says “the fuel cell/battery hybrid system has been optimized based on extensive UAV flight testing in several different platform configurations. It has been tested in widely varying environmental conditions and can meet the rigorous demands of operational UAVs.”

US demos ‘one of the world’s largest’ micro-UAV swarms

The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) is continuing to develop autonomous swarming drones.

Originally designed at MIT Lincoln Laboratory in 2013, the Perdix micro-drones have been air-dropped from an F-16 in 2014, and an F/A-18 in 2016. In its Perdix Fact Sheet [PDF], DOD says:

“Perdix are not preprogrammed, synchronized individuals.  They share a distributed brain for decision‐making and adapt to each other, and the environment, much like swarms in nature. Because every Perdix communicates and collaborates with every other Perdix, the swarm has no leader and can gracefully adapt to changes in drone numbers. This allows this team of small inexpensive drones to perform missions once done by large expensive ones.”

Capturing the Swarm

The CBS television program 60 Minutes was allowed to film a swarm of 100 Perdix autonomous drones. The number of drones, their speed, and their unpredictable behavior made capturing them on video more difficult than anticipated!

UAV Video of the Week

One man’s mission to walk the Great Wall of China with a drone