Package delivery by autonomous drone, drone company management changes, making interfering with firefighters illegal, drone service on demand, North Dakota innovation hub, drone photography contest results, USAF addresses pilot shortage, and accidents increase in Netherlands.
Freight carrier Swiss WorldCargo announced on July 7 that testing had begun using the Matternet ONE drone for small package delivery. The quadcopter operates autonomously and can carry one kilogram up to 10 kilometers on a single battery charge. Matternet says the drone uses “secure routes that adapt to weather, terrain and airspace [and] allow Matternet ONE to fly autonomously beyond line of sight, without the need for a human pilot.” The cloud-based routing system … ”guides the Matternet ONE along a secure route at low altitude – between 50-100 meters above ground – adjusting for inclement weather, avoiding tall buildings, mountains and restricted airspace.”
Brendan Schulman, who defended Pirker against the FAA, has left law firm Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel where he was head of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems practice. Now Schulman is Vice President of Policy and Legal Affairs at drone maker DJI.
Other movements in the industry include:
- Amazon hired former Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) counsel Ben Gielow in September as its senior manager of public policy.
- Amazon appointed Sean Cassidy, a former Alaska Airlines pilot and first vice president of the Air Line Pilots Association, as director of partner relationships in March.
- Last August, Google hired David Vos, a technology entrepreneur and former Rockwell Collins senior director, to lead its Project Wing effort to deliver packages.
- In April, Francis “Chip” Sheller, the former Aerospace Industries Association vice president of communications and research, became vice president of communications and public affairs for Aurora Flight Sciences.
- Former deputy director of the FAA’s flight standards service, John McGraw, acted as a consultant to video production companies applying for an FAA sUAS exemption.
California representative Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) introduced H.R. 3025 to the House of Representatives, which would make it a criminal offense to interfere with firefighting efforts on federal land.
Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Fly4Me received a Section 333 exemption to “conduct community training workshops, research and development, and aerial inspections of buildings and land within the United States.” Now the company wants to establish a marketplace where customers book flights and pilots bid on projects. Customers are able to interact with the pilot during the flight and stream FPV. A beta version of the platform was released June 17, 2015.
North Dakota wants to be an innovation hub for drones. Grand Sky Development Park is set to open this summer at Grand Forks Air Force Base as a UAS Business and Aviation Park. The facility features 1.2 million square feet of hangar and office space, and a runway for drones. The state invested $5 million in infrastructure and $7.5 million more in grants for runway improvements.
Dronestagram announced the winners of its second annual photo competition. The contest was judged by National Geographic and Dronestagram CEO and founder Eric Dupin. Nine photographs are depicted from the more than 5,000 entries submitted. Contest sponsors included National Geographic, Kodak, Parrot, Go Pro, Hexo+, Picanova, Hobbico, and Adobe.
The U.S Air Force has a plan to address the RPA pilot shortage that includes a Critical Skills Retention Bonus for RPA pilots, assignment of about 80 Undergraduate pilot training graduates to RPA squadrons beginning in August, and spending more than $100 million to buy six next-generation ground control stations, training simulators, and contract instructors.
According to the Dutch Transport Ministry, inspectors received reports of 8 small unmanned aircraft accidents in 2012, 15 in 2013, and 27 in 2014. Most of the incidents were reported by manned aircraft and professional drone users and eleven of the 2014 incidents involved a crash landing close to people or buildings. New rules governing the use of drones come into effect later this year.
Video of the Week
A Hagie machine applies liquid fertilizer to miles of corn with Y-Drops. Filmed with an DJI Inspire-1.
This book contains the work of three authors, including Harry Giles’ Drone, which explores modern warfare and office life. Harry tells us that there will be a performance of the poetry in August at the Edinburgh Festival this year at Summerhall.