Since I have been gone awhile, I figured I would highlight some recent articles that caught my attention.
The Alaska Board of Game is banning the use of UAS to spot salmon. With salmon season coming up later this spring, this will be something to keep an eye on. The article has some pretty good comments, and it doesn’t appear that most people are that up in arms about the ruling.
MotionDSP, which has been involved in providing components related to imaging on military UAS, but is transitioning to commercial applications. They are collaborating with the University of North Dakota and University of Kansas (both discussed in the article linked to with QUT regarding UAS Education), as well as Auburn University. They are excited for applying video applications to commercial UAS. They’ll have some export issues to address, but I’m sure they are on top of it. Auburn has a summer program relating to UAS, funding in part by the National Science Foundation and Department of Defense.
I wrote about the SoCal UAS entrepreneurs at 3D Robotics, and now there is an article about Aussie drone entrepreneurs.
- Matthew Sweeny, owner of Flirtey is from Sydney but is based at the University of Nevada – Reno. Unfortunately for us, he’s looking to head to New Zealand to test his UAS, since it is more drone friendly than we are (there are almost no limits for UAS under 25 kg, except that they stay away from airports, remain under 400′ and those over 15 kg remain in the line of sight). He’s looking to break into the drone delivery service, à la Amazon Prime Air.
- Nick Smith owns Drones for Hire, the country’s largest group of professional drone operators. In Australia, one must get certified to operate commercially – typically by taking a roughly $2500 AUD course and can then make $100-$600 per hour. Honestly, I think that a course like this would be welcomed by many for commercial operation in the US, but the FAA is not planning to require it.
Boeing is testing the combined use of solar energy and fuel cells on UAS. The fuel is Hydrogen gas and solar energy is used to cause it to react with Oxygen in the air, creating water and electricity used to power the UAS. They say it can keep the UAS in the air for 8-9 hours. View the video below. This is exciting since the weight with traditional batteries have made them prohibitive for small UAS flight time over 20-30 minutes!
The Italian Air Force will be the first customer for the Piaggio Aerospace P.1HH HammerHead UAV. Piaggio was originally an Italian company but is now 98% owned by an Abu Dhabi company. General Atomics has been attempting to increase sales in Europe, whose prospects increased after recent news from DDTC, but Italy was involved in the HammerHead’s development and went with that product. The article also reports that European countries were hoping to develop a joint Medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UAV, but Italy chose another path.
Changes are coming to ECCN 9A012, which will loosen requirements on commercial UAS. They will be proposed in the coming months.
Michigan State Police was the first public agency to receive a license from the FAA to fly state-wide. I’m assuming they received a public COA, and they’ve already flown a mission over a fire.
Arthur Trembanis, Associate Professor of Oceanography at the University of Delaware School of Marine Science and Policy used a UAS to assess damage from a February storm along the Adriatic coast, in conjunction with Paolo Ciavola from the University of Ferrara.