News Round-up: Whales and Thor

As a follow up to my last article about strikes against terrorists, during a policy speech on June 2, 2016, Hillary Clinton said that Donald Trump “would order our military to carry out torture and the murder of civilians who are related to suspected terrorists — even though those are war crimes.”  I’m not sure her position is shared by the US Government, which news reports indicate have targeted terrorists, even though family members could be collateral damage. 

Researchers from Kiwi – post graduate students at the Auckland University of Technology – were able to catch footage of endangered Bryde’s whales foraging off Auckland’s coast using a homemade UAV.  Their supervisor, Dr. Barbara Bollard Breen said:

“Bryde’s whales are critically threatened in New Zealand, so it’s thrilling to see them in the wild, and to be able to record them feeding from above is very special,” said Dr. Bollard Breen, a senior lecturer in geospatial science.


“Using a UAV allowed them to film without disturbing the surrounding wildlife – revealing footage of the whales feeding that we wouldn’t have been able to see from a boat-based survey.”

 Airbus is a fan of 3D printing, which I talked about in conjunction with AUVSI 2015 in Atlanta.  They’ve used it on components of the A350 XWB and have released a UAV named THOR (Test of High-tech Objectives in Reality) – a 21 kg, 4  meter 3D printed UAV.  They can use 3D printing to make UAV 20-40% lighter and in this case it is made up of almost 50 individually printed components.  Only its radio control and two electric motors are not 3D printed!

 Airbus THOR

News from upstate New York.  Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, NY will be offering a three-day class through a partnership with SkyOp, out of Canandaigua, New York.  The class is designed to prepare students to be qualified to fly under FAA regulations.

Finally, the 2016 UTM (UAS Traffic Management) Conference will be held in sites around Syracuse and Griffis AFB from 8-10 November 2016.  The conference, sponsored by AUVSI and NUAIR, will take advantage of the local test site and is a NASA-led research effort that seeks to “safely” integrate low-altitude unmanned aircraft (such as drones) into the national airspace.