The Weekly Drone Publication
UAS Digest #74

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The Weekly Drone Publication

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Congress &
Legislative Action
FAA Action &
Reaction to FAA
Law Enforcement, Restriction & Threats Regulatory Action Person in
Drone Nation
Business, Market Forecast & Investing Privacy, Safety & Security Legal Information Education
& Training
Insurance
Operational Research
& Development
Economic Development News Media Use Racing &
Competition
International Development Innovative Products Events

Highlights

The nation’s first state director of UAS systems
Bio-drones may join bees in the fields
World’s first autonomous drone racing competition

 


News

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weekly drone publication


→  Drone comes within seconds of hitting Easyjet flight carrying hundreds of passengers as it prepares to land at Liverpool John Lennon Airport.



Business, Market Forecast & Investing

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weekly drone publication


→  How to Invest in Drone Technology – It’s becoming less about how cool it is to use a drone. And more about bringing true efficiency and cost-cutting measures to business.

→  UAV Flight Training and Simulation Market to Grow at 7.29% CAGR during 2017-2021 – According to the report ($3,500), the growing technological advancements have allowed UAVs to operate with VTOL capabilities that provide navigation and automated operations. For example, UAVs in military operations feature communication link over vast distances, small warheads, and multiple sensors that include jammer payloads and an infrared camera. These UAVs are being equipped with a DSLR camera used for 3D photogrammetric missions have a remote sensing platform, humidity meter, and many more additional features.

→  Cat investment in Airware to accelerate rollout of drone program at dealerships – A joint announcement released by Caterpillar Ventures (the company’s investment arm) and Airware did not provide a specific figure for the investment, which builds upon a relationship forged between the two companies when Airware acquired Cat partner and French drone data startup Redbird in September. Cat and Redbird began collaborating in January 2016 on enhancing Cat’s VisionLink telematics data with drone-captured maps that update progress on a day-to-day basis.

→  Is GoPro Inc a Value Stock, or a Disaster in the Making? – Bottom line: GoPro warrants a bit more upside based on expectations of a return to profitability in the second half of this year and its somewhat limited downside given its current valuation. But that’s not enough for long-term value investors to dive in.

 


Economic Development

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drone economic development


→  Cashing in on the Commercial Drone Industry – The thing is, most of these reports detail potential uses and future applications of the technology, rather than focusing on how an industry or even a specific company has been able to realize an actual economic impact. That fact has gotten many experts to be justifiably skeptical or outright dismissive of these forecasts. As Colin Snow explained in great detail, the research in such forecasts can’t rely on historical data and often uses invalid proxy info, which means they’re basing everything on little more than guesses and hope.

→  Drones Could Be More Common On Missouri Farms In 2017 – Farmers in the state have taken to using the new and now affordable technology to make things easier when it comes to their land. It’s also a lot simpler to become a registered drone operator with the FAA.

→  Henderson engineering firm uses drones to help drive economic development – The engineering firm QK4 is invested in the Henderson community, and will use whatever tools available to them to help spur economic development. That includes using drones to scan landscapes that might later be transformed into industrial or highway sites.

→  Economic development director predicts Pendleton UAS Range will break even in 2017 – In an interview Thursday, Chrisman said the revenue the range would generate from test flights would help the Eastern Oregon Regional Airport become self-sustaining in 2017. That’s a tall order for a facility with a $5.1 million budget that has a long history of being subsidized by other city funds. Despite the airport’s history, Chrisman thinks a combination of loosening regulations, special authorities granted to the range by the Federal Aviation Administration and a customer base eager to test their products will bring in much-needed revenue.



Regulatory Action

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faa drone regulation


→  Anti-drone law is illegal – How did that happen? – This piece of local ordinance was approved and effective immediately. Full text here: NO. 2016-87. It allows the municipality to regulate and enforce non-commercial and commercial UAS operations in the air space above its borders imposing permit fees with possible seizure of equipment and arrest and for non-compliance. It defines air space to be restricted as well as imposing minimum offset distances for flight patterns.

→  San Diego cracking down on drones with new regulations – A proposed ordinance that would give city police the authority to cite reckless users, including those flying the unmanned aerial vehicles near airports and emergency operations, will be presented Wednesday to the City Council’s Public Safety Committee.

→  Trump’s freeze on new regulation means that we won’t get drone delivery anytime soon – When President Trump signed an executive order last week requiring two federal regulations to be rescinded for every new one passed, he simultaneously put the brakes on the future of drone delivery in the United States. While many industries see the prospect of less regulation as positive, the nascent drone industry actually needs regulations in order to grow.

→  Policy to ban drones near playgrounds, over cemeteries – Marlborough – Under the policy, drones will not be able to fly within 50 metres of playgrounds, and all flights must be conducted below the height of trees or other structures. Flying drones along the Taylor River, south of New Renwick Rd, and over Marlborough cemeteries, would also be forbidden.

→  With so many drones, Wausau considers new rules – Wausau’s looking specifically at rules for drone use in city parks, and it wouldn’t be the first government in Wisconsin to consider limits. Officials at the Wisconsin State Park System  already have banned drones except in designated areas. In 2015, the city of Green Bay banned drones at special events.   A few other Wisconsin municipalities also have passed ordinances about drones, according to a 2016 report from the League of Wisconsin Municipalities.

→  Drone debate reignites after potential threat to HFD crews – Honolulu – The debate over drones reignited Monday, days after firefighters raised concerns about drones interfering with crews battling a fast-moving wildfire in East Oahu. State lawmakers are considering new restrictions for drones that they say are aimed at helping keep the skies safe.

→  Drone Biz luncheon focuses on beyond-line-of-sight rules – Grand Forks – With initial approval to fly unmanned aerial systems beyond line of sight coming from the FAA in December, the Northern Plains UAS Test Site is now working on the final steps necessary to make flying beyond line of sight a reality. Nick Flom, executive director of the Northern Plains UAS Test Site, spoke about what this means for the UAS industry and his hopes for the future at yesterday’s Drone Biz luncheon.

→  Flagler Beach Is Proposing Draconian Restrictions and Prohibitions on Drones – That draft ordinance is now before commissioners. It is an almost word-for-word reproduction of the ordinance the Orlando City Council approved unanimously at its Jan. 23 meeting, after the city’s police department requested it, and against much oppositions from drone enthusiasts and businesses that have turned to drones as an aid in their work. But Flagler Beach’s ordinance goes even further than Orlando’s.

→  Drones don’t need regulations – In the drone market today, most service businesses are solopreneurs and small fewer than 50 person businesses. We don’t want to waste time and effort on activities that provide zero return. However, we do want industry led standards and guidance, enabling safe operations within each industry sector (e.g. Telecoms or utilities).


Racing & Competition

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weekly drone publication


→  World’s first autonomous drone racing competition takes place in Bristol this weekend – “It’s indoor drone flying with a twist – automatic piloting,” said organiser Dr Steve Wright, a Senior Lecturer in Avionics and Aircraft Systems at UWE Bristol. “This is a move away from piloting and is more about software, programming skills, sensors and deployment.”

→  NDstrong and Emerging Prairie seek film submissions for Drone Focus Film Festival in Fargo on June 1 – the submitted films can be no more than five minutes in length and at least 50 percent of all footage has to be shot on a drone or a UAV. The early deadline for submissions is Feb. 15. The cost for an early bird submission is $15. The final deadline for submissions is April 15. The submission price after Feb. 15 is $25 per film.

→  Allianz inks multimillion-pound drone racing deal – Allianz and DRL have signed a global multi-year partnership, which will make the company the title sponsor of the league’s race circuit. The deal would allow the insurer to connect with consumers of the fast-growing drone industry.

→  Giant drone racing could be the next big thing – Developed over the past year by a team led by CEO Chris Ballard, the Freedom Class Race V1.0 prototype quadcopter measures 120 cm (47 inches) across, and tips the scales at a whopping 30 kg (66 lb). During the test flight, it managed a top speed of 159 km/h (99 mph). According to CTO Leonard Hall, improved aerodynamics and higher-revving motors should help boost that figure to over 200 km/h (124 mph) in the next version.

 


Education & Training

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weekly drone publication


→   The Center for a New American Security and Bard College’s Center for the Study of the Drone have introduced a database designed to help the public and policymakers learn about the implications of the proliferation of unmanned aerial systems worldwide. The Drone Database contains profiles of at least 150 unmanned systems from 48 countries that can be classified based on payload size, country of origin, range, endurance and other technical specifications.

→  How to Fly Drones as a Career – Take advantage of new opportunities to operate UAS for a living.

→  Drone Society launches at Imperial – Following its launch last week Imperial’s DroneSoc seeks to be London’s leading hotspot for drone enthusiasts. The society will host regular seminars, courses, and competitions for both students and the public, building on Imperial’s world leading research in this area and the work of the Aerial Robotic Laboratory.

→  ACC works to perfect drone program for future students – Staff at Alpena Community College (ACC) are pushing ahead in their efforts to expand lessons on unmanned aerial systems (UAS), commonly known as drones. To prepare themselves for what lies ahead, three ACC employees recently passed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-approved drone pilot certification test at Kalitta Air in Oscoda.



Law Enforcement, Restriction & Threats

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weekly drone publication


→  Tech That’s Keeping Police Safe – Police departments around the country are considering adding a drone armed with a stun gun to their arsenals. Taser International, a maker of stun guns and body cameras, met with police officials at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in 2016 regarding a drone armed with a stun gun.

→  Anti-drone law is illegal – How did that happen? – This piece of local ordinance was approved and effective immediately. Full text here: NO. 2016-87. It allows the municipality to regulate and enforce non-commercial and commercial UAS operations in the air space above its borders imposing permit fees with possible seizure of equipment and arrest and for non-compliance. It defines air space to be restricted as well as imposing minimum offset distances for flight patterns.

→  Arkansans Warned Not to Fly Drones near Wildfires – Flying a drone near a wildfire creates a serious safety hazard for firefighters and stops the assistance of any firefighting aircraft, says the Arkansas Forestry Commission (AFC)  in a news release issued on Thursday.

→  Drone Flying Over Falcons Practice Field ‘Grounded’ – This isn’t particularly surprising. As the Atlanta Falcons prepared for the Super Bowl Sunday at Rice University’s practice field, someone living near the school decided to try to get a peek at the team as they practiced. Security “grounded” the drone, though the report does not indicate how it was done or if it was damaged.

→  How China Will Ward Off an Attack of the Drones – Banged up in police custody and identified only by his surname, Yuan, a 23-year-old drone aficionado from the eastern city of Hangzhou apparently hadn’t foreseen just how much trouble he would get into for flying his Mavic Pro over the city last month. The day after Yuan’s arrest, China’s Ministry of Public Security issued an update to Article 46 of the country’s law on public order, recommending that unlawful pilots of drones — also known as “unmanned aerial vehicles” (UAVs) — be served with 5 to 10 days’ detention. The new law is currently at the consultation stage, where it will remain until Feb. 16.

→  Madison County Sheriff’s Office pondering possibilities of new drone purchase – After a budget committee approved the purchase request for the Madison County Sheriff’s Office to receive a new drone and two all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), the decision is now in the hands of the Madison County Board to approve or decline the request at its meeting next Wednesday, February 15, 2017.


FAA Action & Reaction to FAA

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weekly drone publication


→  UAS integration moves forward at second advisory meeting – On January 31, 2017, the Drone Advisory Committee (DAC) discussed the work and progress of the DAC’s three sub-committees, each tasked with advising the DAC (and ultimately the FAA) on possible solutions to three critical challenges to integration: (i) defining the various roles and responsibilities of federal, state, and local governments in regulating UAS and enforcing of UAS rules and law, (ii) identifying the technological and regulatory mechanisms that will allow UAS operators to gain access to the airspace beyond what the agency currently permits under the 14 CFR part 107 (the Small UAS Rule), and (iii) finding the mechanisms and resources to fund the expanded provision of services needed to support UAS integration.


Congress & Legislative Action

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weekly drone publication


GovTrack.us tracks the United States Congress and helps Americans understand what is going on in their national legislature. Click here for a list of drone legislation.

→  Kansas UAS director outlines initial drone plans – The state of Kansas is investing in the unmanned aircraft systems industry, with the hiring of Bob Brock, the nation’s first state director of UAS systems. Brock was hired in May 2016 after completing a 22-year stint in the U.S. Air Force, including several years in UAS operations and training. Among his priorities is to protect the privacy and public safety of Kansans. “Our team will work very closely with the FAA, universities and aviation leaders to deliver systems that make Kansas safer, provide economic growth and also save time and money,” he said.



International Developments

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international drone market


→  Chinese authorities investigate drone flights in restricted airspace – Drones have been flown into the 1,028-square-kilometre restricted area of Changshui International Airport, posing risks to flight safety. Local officials appealed to the public to report any sighting of drones in the area.

→  How China Will Ward Off an Attack of the Drones – Banged up in police custody and identified only by his surname, Yuan, a 23-year-old drone aficionado from the eastern city of Hangzhou apparently hadn’t foreseen just how much trouble he would get into for flying his Mavic Pro over the city last month. The day after Yuan’s arrest, China’s Ministry of Public Security issued an update to Article 46 of the country’s law on public order, recommending that unlawful pilots of drones — also known as “unmanned aerial vehicles” (UAVs) — be served with 5 to 10 days’ detention. The new law is currently at the consultation stage, where it will remain until Feb. 16.

→  A city councillor is calling for specific rules around drone use in Windsor parks because of safety and privacy concerns. City bylaws already regulate “powered models of aircraft,” but Coun. Irek Kusmierczyk wants to be sure drones are dealt with in order to make people more comfortable.

→  Flying warehouse drones are in the works by Singapore’s Infinium Robotics – “We are focused on indoor applications (for) very practical purposes because for outdoor applications, we have to deal with regulations. We have to deal with issues like privacy as well (but) if you fly drones indoors, you do away with all these issues,” said Junyang Woon, founder and CEO of Infinium Robotics.

 


Person in Drone Nation

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If you’d like a person or company highlighted, please submit materials to pmontalvo@jdasolutions.aero.

 


Insurance

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drone publication


→  The Year Ahead in Drones – As more firms operate drones and awareness of risk factors increases, the report continues, insurance will become a priorityWhat proper insurance looks like can sometimes be an open question, though, and it’s complicated by distinctions between general liability carriers and specialist aviation insurance providers. Right now, many operators simply need to prove they have some sort of insurance to stakeholders, even though exactly what that means to either party is at best ill defined.

→  New leasing deals for drone supplier – Colorado-based unmanned drone specialist Juniper Unmanned has announced a partnership with leasing provider Ascentium Capital and Airsure Limited to offer new drone insurance and customized finance packages.

→  Drone startup Airware snags investment from Caterpillar – While a dollar amount was not disclosed, the investment adds to Airware’s $30 million series C round completed in 2016 and $90 million in total funding to develop drone software as a service (SaaS) platforms for construction, insurance, and mining.

→  Allianz inks multimillion-pound drone racing deal – Allianz and DRL have signed a global multi-year partnership, which will make the company the title sponsor of the league’s race circuit. The deal would allow the insurer to connect with consumers of the fast-growing drone industry.

 


Legal Information

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weekly drone publication


→  Amazon Drone Delivery – 3 Major Legal Problems with Amazon Prime AirJonathan Rupprecht – I’m going to briefly discuss some of the background to this drone delivery buzz, why privacy won’t be an issue to drone delivery, what really is going on, and then dive into the three major legal problems with Amazon Prime Air becoming a reality for Americans.

→  Anti-drone law is illegal – How did that happen? – This piece of local ordinance was approved and effective immediately. Full text here: NO. 2016-87. It allows the municipality to regulate and enforce non-commercial and commercial UAS operations in the air space above its borders imposing permit fees with possible seizure of equipment and arrest and for non-compliance. It defines air space to be restricted as well as imposing minimum offset distances for flight patterns.

→  How China Will Ward Off an Attack of the Drones – Banged up in police custody and identified only by his surname, Yuan, a 23-year-old drone aficionado from the eastern city of Hangzhou apparently hadn’t foreseen just how much trouble he would get into for flying his Mavic Pro over the city last month. The day after Yuan’s arrest, China’s Ministry of Public Security issued an update to Article 46 of the country’s law on public order, recommending that unlawful pilots of drones — also known as “unmanned aerial vehicles” (UAVs) — be served with 5 to 10 days’ detention. The new law is currently at the consultation stage, where it will remain until Feb. 16.

 


Media Use

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weekly drone publication


→  Amazon’s Super Bowl ad features a Prime Air drone delivery ordered with Alexa – For the second year in a row, Amazon aired Super Bowl commercials. During the fourth quarter of Sunday’s big game, Amazon aired three 10-second ads during one break that promoted its Alexa voice assistant.

→  Intel Flew 300 Drones in Sync to Create an Epic Light Show at the Super Bowl – We’ve gotten used to drones capturing cool, cinematic, sometimes never-before-seen images and video from the skies. But last night at the Super Bowl, Intel flipped the script, making the drones the subject of the spectacle instead of the machines capturing it.

super bowl drones


Operational Research & Development

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weekly drone publication


bio drone bee→  Bio-drones may join bees in the fields – Scientists in Japan say they’ve managed to turn an unassuming drone into a remote-controlled pollinator by attaching horsehairs coated with a special, sticky gel to its underbelly. The system, described in the journal Chem, is nowhere near ready to be sent to agricultural fields, but it could help pave the way to developing automated pollination techniques at a time when bee colonies are suffering precipitous declines.

→  Drones help expand the world’s busiest airport – The city has formed a partnership with 3DR, Autodesk and engineering firm Atkins that has drones mapping Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport as part of a planned expansion. The key to making it work was Site Scan, 3DR’s autonomous data capturing tech. The maps and models will help with both demolishing old locations and the early designs for their replacements. Also, 3DR hopes that the lessons it learned in getting FAA clearance will help with other commercial drone outfits. It recently published some learning tools that could give other companies a helping hand, so projects like this may soon be run-of-the-mill.

→  Developing drone technology to make marine coatings safer – Safety in the marine industry is set to be improved after three industry partners joined forces to develop a drone capable of remotely inspecting enclosed spaces and ballast water tanks. The project by Akzo Nobel, oil and gas tanker operator Barrier Group and DroneOps will use advanced virtual reality technology to deliver safer, more accurate evaluations of ballast water tanks, offshore wind farms and other enclosed or difficult to access spaces on ships and marine structures, including inspections of coatings and corrosion.

→  19-year-old raises $6M for the world’s fastest production drone – At only 19 years old, George Matus has revolutionized the unmanned flight industry with what he calls “the Swiss Army Knife of drones.” Teal, Matus’ Utah-based company that closed a $6 million round of funding in 2015, prides itself on engineering the world’s fastest and arguably most advanced production drone. The drone flies at over 75 mph, accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in just 1.1 seconds; carries an onboard supercomputer; records in 4k video; and is fully customizable.

→  Drones are setting their sites on wildlife – The intrepid drones have been spying on penguin colonies and humpback whales. To learn about wild animals, biologists have traditionally flown small planes or helicopters overhead, poured over satellite pictures, or approached on foot. But Johnston and other scientists are increasingly turning to drones to see if they can’t get the job done better and more quickly. “Drones can offer a very safe, green, and inexpensive alternative to manned aircraft,” says David Bird, an emeritus professor of wildlife biology at McGill University in Montreal.

 


Privacy, Safety & Security

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weekly drone publication


→  National Association of Tower Erectors release second edition drone of safety guide – The intended focus of the guide is on UAS operations around wireless infrastructure, cellular towers, broadcast towers and utility structures. The 2nd Edition also incorporates updates from the new guidelines and provisions associated with the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Rule 107 for the commercial utilization of UAS technologies.

→  No one knows the best way to stop a drone – There is—and this is rare for the defense world—no clear answer yet. The answer to a tank is a guided missile, fired by shoulder-launcher, helicopter, or low-flying attack plane. The answer to a machine gun nest is a tank, supported by infantry, or a mortar battery firing from over the hill. But a drone? The burgeoning world of drone countermeasures is a primordial soup of possible weapons that may someday be what clears the sky of lying robots. It’s a young industry, defined as much by outlandish promise and novel ideas as it is by useful tools.

→  Protecting critical infrastructure from drones: managing the risks – Dr Graeme Anderson and Andrew Chadwick from Frazer-Nash Consultancy outline how modelling tools can help increase our understanding of the potential outcomes of collisions between drones and critical national infrastructure.

→  Energy giant AES partners with Measure to improve worker safety with drones – Major power producer AES Corp. is ramping up the use of drones with an eye toward shielding workers from industry hazards. Rather than buy all their own unmanned aerial systems, they’ve engaged D.C.-based drone services provider Measure to get access to a more extensive fleet. Measure recently raised $15 million in venture funding.

 


Events

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FEBRUARY

MARCH

APRIL

MAY

JUNE

JULY

AUGUST

SEPTEMBER

OCTOBER

NOVEMBER

DECEMBER

 


Innovative Products

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→  Australian app identifies no-drone zones – The app, “Can I fly there?”, will be developed with specialist company Drone Complier and is due to be launched in May. The app will allow those flying drones for fun, or under the new sub-2kg commercial category, to enter a location where they are proposing to fly. It will then flag nearby no-drone zones, such as airports, helicopter landing areas and other restricted areas.

→  DroneSimPro – $29.99 – Dronethusiast’s #1 choice for training – A Drone Flight Simulator is a great choice when you’re considering investing hundreds or even thousands of dollars in a new UAV quadcopter. Multirotor drones can be very expensive and it’s smart to get some practice using a much less expensive method, a UAV simulator, before unpacking your new drone.

 

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UAS Digest #74"

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