This is a fourth edition of a feature which tries to amalgamate articles on the subject of UASs. In particular, the goal is to find and post stories which merit additional exposure.
1. Significant news which could impact the future of the UAS industry:
- FAA launches investigation after drone crashes, hits baby—the public sentiment on an issue can turn quickly and may do so because of random incidents. A quarter inch cut and bump inflicted on an almost one year old girl would not be newsworthy for 99.9% of fact patterns so far described. Add the fact that the inflictor of this injury was a 6.4 pound DJI Inspire 1 at the screening of a movie and it gets NATIONAL ATTENTION. No set of FAA rules can preclude the reoccurrence of such an incident; only responsible flying of drones can limit this risk. IT IS, HOWEVER, SELF-EVIDENT THAT FUTURE SUCH UAS CRASHES WILL LIKELY RESULT IN A CALL FOR GREATER REGULATION.
- Editorial—How can we, how should we, regulate hobby drones? The day before,
the Los Angeles Times wrote an editorial decrying the sort of accident which happened nearby. The Times wrote:
“Drone makers also have a stake in encouraging hobbyists to use their products responsibly. They would be wise to include in the boxes of recreational drones warnings about unsafe flying and specific instructions for checking flight restrictions.
Like the initial airplanes or cars, drones are part of a huge technological shift and not a fad that might fade in a few years. It’s essential that we start figuring out how to incorporate them safely and responsibility into the landscape.”
The leaders of the UAV industry ought to cease their express or implied message that the FAA cannot enforce its UAS rules and must advocate loudly that safety and care must be our members’ #1 priority.
- Unleash the flying machines: Drones can boost the economy Exhibition of a complete ignorance of aviation safety regulation and delivery of the myopic sermon of the overwhelming economic benefits are the messages of this guest opinion column. This economy “uber alles” theme was ironically delivered the day of the baby-drone accident.
- Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Markets Are Forecast To Reach $4.8 Billion Dollars By 2021 – As Joe Friday of Dragnet was famous for saying, this article is “Just the facts”. The numbers are compelling and the forecast can be attained without a zero sum (safety v. no restraints)
2. The future is almost limitless: the only restraint is the bounds of human creativity so the potential uses are:
- Watch: A couple of drones autonomously build a bridge—Aside from the visual power of the video, who would have “thunk” that drones could be used to build a bridge. To quote Samuel F.B. Morse, “What has God Wrought?” was the obvious reaction to this scene.
3. There may be a wall out there: Here’s why drone insurance may be the industry’s downfall—the article summarizes a Lloyd’s of London Report on UAS:
“A report released last month by UK insurance house Lloyd’s details just how challenging insuring the drone industry may become in the years ahead. The report cites ‘patchy regulatory regimes’ and ‘poor enforcement’ among the key risks facing the drone industry—risks that exist beyond the control of drone manufacturers or operators themselves.”
Because the rules or the enforceable rules create (as some requested) a low barrier of entry, the risk pool defined by the highly competent through to the less than professional suggests that the risk premiums will be set at the lowest common denominator, i.e. high. Once (IF) a UAS is involved in a major accident, those rates will likely escalate.
4. Technology is inspiring and likely to solve some regulatory problems
- Saab demonstrates Giraffe radar’s ability to detect unmanned platforms—the capability to see UASs at lower altitudes may be an important step towards enhanced safety of these vehicles. Though Saab’s system is designed for military application, the Giraffe’s agile multi-beam (AMB) radar system can detect low, slow and small targets.
- Falcon Shield: How to get rid of consumer drones without shooting them down—to address privacy, airline interference and even firefighting operations, the Falcon Shield utilizes radar, thermal imaging cameras and a multitude of electro-optical sensors to monitor and geo-locate the radio emissions being broadcast by a consumer UAV, while a computerized system carries out pre-determined actions to either halt drones in their tracks or alert the user to the potential danger.
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