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Industry News

EASA publishes its opinion on the Regulatory Framework for the Operation of UAS

In accordance with the proposed new Basic Regulation, for which a political agreement between the Council, the European Commission and the European Parliament was reached on 22 December 2017, the competence of the EU has been extended to cover the regulation of all civil unmanned aircraft systems (UAS),regardless of their maximum take-off masses(MTOMs). The proposed regulations will provide flexibility to Member States (MSs), mainly by allowing them to create zones within their territories where the use of UAS would be prohibited, limited or, in contrast, facilitated.Pursuant to the new Basic Regulation, market product legislation (CE marking) ensures compliance with the technical requirements for mass-produced UAS operated in the 'open' category. Two acts are proposed that follow different adoption procedures, as defined by the new Basic Regulation: a delegated act that defines the conditions for making UAS available on the market and the conditions for UAS operations condu... Read More »

Transforming Africa's Agriculture: Eyes in the Sky, Smart Techs on the Ground

Cost-sharing initiative for the set-up of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) services for agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa.  The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) is a joint international institution of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and the European Union (EU). Its mission is to advance food and nutritional security, increase prosperity and encourage sound natural resource management in ACP countries. It provides access to information and knowledge, facilitates policy dialogue and strengthens the capacity of agricultural and rural development institutions and communities. CTA operates under the framework of the Cotonou Agreement and is funded by the EU. There is a general consensus that smallholder farming needs to become more productive, more sustainable and more profitable. Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) – or drone-based systems – services can contribute towards these goals by bringing some of the tools of preci... Read More »

Tethered Drone to Elevate Fox Sports Daytona 500 Coverage

CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Fox Sports is adding a tethered drone to its lineup of production tech innovations to cover the Great American Race, the Daytona 500, from the Daytona International Speedway, Sunday, Feb. 18 at 2:30 p.m. ET on the Fox broadcast network. Tethered along the backstretch of the speedway, the drone will deliver live coverage as it hovers and moves around outside the racing area to deliver new angles on the race. Tethering the drone will allow the broadcaster to extend flight times by eliminating the need to change batteries. "Each year, Daytona Speedweeks allows us to develop, test and deploy more technical enhancements than we are able to at most other events," said Michael Davies, Fox Sports SVP Field & Technical Operations. Other enhancements for this year's race include Fox Sports' Visor Cam—a Daytona 500 first that's a small camera clipped to the helmets of two drivers, Kurt Busch and Daniel Suarez; the first fibe... Read More »

EagleRay amphibious fixed-wing drone is at home in sea or sky

As the old saying goes, there's plenty of drones in the sea, and of course, the skies are full of them too. We're increasingly seeing drones that crossover between those two worlds, and now engineers from North Carolina State University have developed the EagleRay XAV, an amphibious fixed-wing drone that can fly or dive as needed. Aerial drones have been taking to the water like ducks in recent years. Some are happy to gently touch down on the surface of a lake to shoot underwater video or soak up some sun to recharge their batteries. Others are more actively aquatic, diving or sinking below the waves to take water samples or perform inspections. The EagleRay looks most like Imperial College London's AquaMav, but where the latter folds its wings to take a dive, the former keeps its own outstretched. The EagleRay's wingspan is 59 in (150 cm) and it's 55 in (140 cm) long, with a propeller on the nose designed to let it move through... Read More »

YellowScan Introduces High-Density Long-Range LiDAR for UAVs

YellowScan has announced the launch of its Surveyor Ultra LiDAR system for UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles). The company will be demonstrating the use of the system in flight at the International LiDAR Mapping Forum event, with the help of Velodyne's VLP 32C Sensor and the Applanix APX-15 IMU. The high-density system is capable of 600,000 shots per second at distances of up to 100 m. Drones, including VTOLs, can utilize this lightweight 1.7kg system through YellowScan's innovative integration of Velodyne LiDAR's VLP 32C Sensor. Like the Surveyor system, the Surveyor Ultra provides users with a turn-key system that can be easily utilized. The new system features under-vegetation 3D modelling, and increased data processing speed. This collaborative alliance between YellowScan and Velodyne LiDAR builds on the companies' previous partnering to deliver a high-quality system, as YellowScan utilized Velodyne LiDAR's VLP-16 Puck and VLP-16 Puck Lite LiDAR... Read More »

Hummingbird Selects Pix4Dengine for UAV Photogrammetry Data Processing

Hummingbird Technologies, a provider of drone-enabled data and advanced analytics for precision agriculture, has partnered with Pix4D to develop a market-ready data analysis platform. The new software integrates Pix4Dengine to process raw image data in the cloud, enabling an automated process of uploading, processing and displaying of UAV-captured multispectral and RGB imagery at any point in time. Pix4D's photogrammetry engine processes and orthorectifies aerial imagery ready for analysis. The photogrammetry process is broken down into three stages, each with error reporting, statistics and quality assurance at the end of every stage; thus ensuring that any issues encountered in the early stages are addressed and flagged before any further processing. This also allows for any adjustments to be made to the processing settings so that the best possible results can be obtained. Gordon Skinner, Chief Technology Officer for Hummingbird Technologies commented: "The... Read More »

Airbus drone set to deliver parcels throughout a university campus

Airbus completed its first flight demonstration of an air vehicle which will eventually deliver parcels to stations around a university campus in Singapore. Unmanned drones will begin flying between parcel stations on campus by the middle of the year. The drones will land on roofs of stations, where a robotic arm will retrieve a package and place it in an individual locker. Customers can then pick up their package at any hour from the lockers. CNBC attended the initial flight demonstration at the National University of Singapore campus where the drone appeared quite large and carried a packaged shirt inside. The drone can carry between 2 to 4 kilograms, under 9 pounds. The machine weighs approximately 25 kilograms, which is about 55 pounds. A representative from the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore said the eventual plan is to roll out the drone parcel delivery system across the city-state, so long as it's done in phases. Airbus is joining the race to dominate t... Read More »

With new MIT system, self-flying drones can avoid crashing into obstacles

Researchers at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab are changing how autonomous drones fly through the air. Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) are making headway on just that. CSAIL researchers have developed a system called Nanomap that allows autonomous drones to fly 20 miles per hour through crowded spaces, avoiding the obstacles that could stop them in their tracks. It's hard for autonomous drones to know exactly where they are or how far they've travelled, explained Pete Florence, an MIT graduate student and lead author on a paper explaining Nanomap. "Because they don't have wheels on the ground, they're much more uncertain about where they're moving," he said. "If they had wheels, it could be as simple as measuring how much the wheels turned and that's a good measure of how far you moved." Read more:&... Read More »

FAA Plans Rollout Of Drone Authorization System

The FAA intends to initiate a national rollout this spring of the Low-Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC), an automated process drone operators can use to request and obtain authorization to fly in the vicinity of airports.  Commercial drone application and service providers already are adopting a prototype version of LAANC, which is considered a step toward developing a low-altitude Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management (UTM) system.  Read more: Read More »

Compact Radar to Prevent Drone Collision

Preventing collisions is vital for the safe operation of drones, especially in an urban airspace with many potential obstacles. Drones with obstacle detection and collision avoidance sensors have become more prevalent in both the consumer and professional sectors. In general, many drone models are equipped with sensors detecting objects at the front side, behind, and below to prevent drone collision. Now, a new radar-enabled collision protection system is offered for consumer drones. The Radar Flight Control Module (RFCM) is comprised of a single-chip 24GHz radar with range measurement software. The radar responds acutely to its surroundings and can detect multiple objects, objects in open spaces, target distance and speed, and more. Read more: Read More »

Preston and Bradford to develop future of drone technology

Preston and Bradford are amongst 5 areas chosen to examine how drone technology could operate within city environments. It follows an open call by Nesta's Challenge Prize Centre as part of the Flying High Challenge. The two cities will now work alongside the Flying High team to see how drones could be used to support public services and what commercial opportunities may exist. There will also be research on safety, logistics and the environmental impact of operating in complex urban areas. Read more: Read More »

Spanish underwater drone is ready to take a dive

If you've ever wanted to explore the underwater world using your own ROV (remotely-operated vehicle), there are now a number of consumer models in the works. The Sibiu Nano is one of the most recent to hit the scene, and it's being made with the do-it-yourselfer in mind. Created by Spain's Nido Robotics, plans call for the ROV to be available either fully-assembled or as a kit that buyers put together themselves. In either case, it's designed to be easy to take apart and reassemble, allowing for upgrades to be made and accessories to be added. Additionally, all of its hardware and software is open-source. The Nano is propelled/steered by six thrusters, and can descend to a maximum depth of 100 m (328 ft). Its interchangeable lithium-polymer battery is reportedly good for one to three hours of go-time per charge, depending on how the ROV is being used. Read more: Read More »

Skysense – Drone Charging Infrastructure

Lately, it seems like everyone is clamoring to get a piece of the drone industry in the U.S. From exciting startups turning drone footage into highly intelligent and useful data for industrial businesses, to venture capitalists hoping to cash in on the whole craze, it seems the U.S. is a proverbial emerald city for unmanned aerial vehicles–until now. Berlin-based Skysense is bringing the fruitful drone industry to Europe with its autonomous drone-charging solution. Headed by Andrea Puiatti, Skysense seeks to upend the tenuous nature of using drones for commercial use with its drone-charging station. Currently, most drones can only operate for 20 to 30 minutes before needing to land and recharge. Larger and heavier drones drain even more battery power and need to be charged more often. Natural elements also take a toll on battery power–the windier conditions are, the shorter the battery life. Once landed, drone operators then have to manually remove the drone... Read More »

Over 100 MILLION reasons to join Drone Major

We are delighted to announce that, since our launch on 27th Sept 2017, Drone Major has offered over £100 million of opportunities to our suppliers and we are receiving requests now which will push this figure well towards £200 million by end Q2. Drone Major was created specifically to connect all stakeholders in all environments of the global drone industry (Surface, Underwater, Air & Space) in order to support the growth of the most exciting emerging market mankind has ever witnessed. We achieve this by facilitating collaboration, assisting our suppliers to place their products and services with each other and by generating business through our drone technology advisory team who are helping with companies and governments around the globe implement drone solutions for FREE! We could not be happier with the results and the reaction to the Drone Major concept. If you are a manufacturer, distributor, inventor, service provider, operator or other business operating... Read More »

Drone delivery commercialisation set to begin in Canada

Canada is in a position to act as a first mover in the emerging space of commercial drone delivery services. Given Canada's vast landscape and extreme weather conditions, it is often an onerous and costly process for residents in remote locations to obtain everyday essential goods. The Moose Cree First Nation Community is situated on Moose Factory Island, an area without direct access to the shoreline. In the summertime, basic goods are transported across the Moose River by barge. Recent developments in Canada present opportunities to implement the use of drones beyond military and recreational purposes, bringing drone technology to the forefront in the transportation of goods. Drone Delivery Canada (DDC), a Toronto-based technology company, and the Moose Cree First Nation are partnering to launch the first commercial drone delivery service in Canada, as noted in a press release on October 4, 2017. DDC has worked closely with Transport Canada and community stakeho... Read More »

RUSTA makes moves to secure positions on university curriculums

Drone pilot training academy RUSTA has entered the first stages of introducing unmanned aerial vehicle tutelage and assessments to universities across the UK. The company, which has its headquarters in Lincolnshire, offers commercial drone training to authorities such as the police, as well as building and agricultural businesses. Having been approached by Wolverhampton University, the qualified entity is looking to broaden its operations to further education facilities. Read more: Read More »

12 things to look for when buying a drone this Christmas

So, if you are planning to buy a drone for a loved one (or yourself) this Christmas, here are a few things you need to consider first:   1. What will they want to use it for? If you say the word ‘drone’ to some people, it instantly conjures up images of incredible aerial photos. Others may see racing potential. Consider how the person you are buying for would use the drone. Most drones fit into two categories: large camera-bearing drones and small, light drones built for speed or indoor flying. There are a few drones that purport to do both. However, it’s worth checking the megapixels on any inbuilt cameras. Some less expensive units may leave you wanting more from your aerial shots.   2. Who are you buying for? Are you buying for an adult or a child? Is it their first drone? If you’re buying for a child, check out reviews to ensure that the drone you are considering is sufficiently robust. Consider where they will fly thei... Read More »

How Spiderman is helping scientists extend drone flight time

Flight time is one of the biggest limitations on drone usability that we face. However, teams at Imperial College London’s Aerial Robotics Labs are working on a solution. They’ve developed a drone that can shoot synthetic web-like material out to nearby walls to act as an anchor. If you’re thinking Peter Parker, you’re on the right lines. The modified drone shoots out this material using compressed gas. Once anchored, drones can reduce the amount of energy they use to stay in the air. The drone, a modified DJI Matrice 100, can be fitted with one of two different modules; one for stabilising and one for perching. Then, once it has located a magnetic surface to perch beneath, it launches an anchor using a launcher and a spooling system packed with polystyrene thread. SpiderMAV then reels in the thread to make it taut. Fully anchored, the SpiderMAV can slow or shut off its motors to save power. The stabilisation module enables threads to... Read More »

Do robots or humans make better drone pilots?

This was a question that was vexing researchers from NASA two years ago. After 24 months of hard work, culminating in a head-to-head challenge on one of the toughest courses imaginable, they may finally be close to an answer. The challenge saw world-class drone pilot Kevin Loo take on an AI-powered drone to see who was faster and more accurate over a set period of time. Loo averaged 11.1 seconds for the dense circuit designed by NASA researchers, whilst the autonomous drone was a whole 2.8 seconds slower, completing the loop in 13.9 seconds. However, when the performances of both drones were analysed, the robot drone maintained a more consistent speed and a more accurate course. Over the 2 years, NASA researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, developed 3 AI drones: Batman, Joker and Nightwing, funded by Google. Read More »

12 ways your world will be changed by drones

‘The world is on the brink of a technological revolution’ Last week Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced the Government’s intention to embrace the technological revolution. The Autumn Budget held promises to overhaul regulatory frameworks to enable safe testing of driverless vehicles. These changes are essential if the Government is to meet its target of getting self-driving cars on UK roads by 2021. Whether we like it or not, drone technology is transforming our world. Gartner reported a 65% increase in drone sales in 2016, and with a further 39% increase this year, there’s no sign of any let-up. Featured on, Drone Major Founder, Robert Garbett, says: “The sky above us is an untapped sea of air, which will have incredible value as the drone industry expands its operations into the future.  As data is the new oil, airspace will be the new gold.” He explains how “developments in... Read More »