Technology has the capacity to attract great demand and any delay in its delivery may cause equally grand controversy. The two below↓stories show that old aerial methods may be as good or better.
The news media has reported a multitude of complaints which all point to the FAA’s inability to deliver the UAS regulations in a time frame demanded by these vehicles’ manufacturers and users. Each praises the potential which these vehicles can produce—law enforcement, agricultural, firefighting, etc. Those who criticize the FAA support their argument by reciting the technological excitement which the engines, controls, camera and other instruments will bring to the public once the UAS rules are issued.
The two articles explain how retro innovation can deliver some or all of the UAS’ potential NOW. The current regulatory impediment has forced innovators to find options.
The Montgolfier brothers invented the hot air balloon in 1783 and brought vehicle to the United States. Since that time, the buoyant source has become more safe and reliable; propulsion and control advances have made this a reliable platform for a variety of uses. In the absence of an approved UAS regime, Drone Aviation Holding Corporation (DAHC) filled the void in the local law enforcement segment. Its “Blimp in a Box” can sit above an area to be surveilled, do so more quietly (it is held by a tether) and can provide a platform for much of the information which a UAS can. The aerostat has been utilized by the military for centuries for observation purposes.
The second ancient aerial vehicle has been around since the 5th century BC. The current application was initiated by a University of Arkansas professor of agriculture, who received one of the FAA’s UAS cease and desist orders. Professor Larry Purcell is trying to develop soybeans which are resistant to droughts and planned to use a drone with an infrared camera to record the plants’ stress. He now has rigged a kite with the necessary equipment and is gathering his data. Another scientist, Benjamin Franklin would be proud of such a shocking development.
Once the FAA rules are finally promulgated, these and other users can migrate to the high tech, sexy UAS vehicles or maybe these operators will find these old solutions more than adequate?
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