AUVSI 2017

For the first time since I founded Duke of Drones, I won’t be at AUVSI’s Xponential due to other commitments.  However I’m tracking the updates and looking forward to the news to come out of the conference.

Lockheed Martin has announced Indago 3 this week.  I reported on an earlier version of the Indago when it was undergoing testing for use in firefighting.

Improvements include:

  • Improved propulsion technology for reduced noise signature and extended flight time (50 minutes) / 10 km);
  • Military-grade encrypted and secure data link;
  • Secure, mesh capable video dissemination across multi-node networks and
  • Extended range radio for long distance operation at low-flight altitudes.

It uses the TW-600 Ocelot by TrellisWare for Tactical Scalable Mobile Ad-hoc Network (MANET) or TSM to provide reliable communications in harsh environments, but which clearly has ITAR implications.

The Indago has evolved from a firefighting UAS to a mobile, military grade tool in only a few years!

What else do we expect out of AUVSI?  I’ve heard rumors that the FAA might announce something regarding BVLOS, and that’s what I’d place my bets on.

Why do I say that?  While, check out the FAA Safety Briefing (May/June 2017).  It’s all about UAS, which is likely not-so-coincidentally timed with Xponential.  Check out the topics and you can see what is front and center for the FAA – Integration!  There are also articles on registration, part 107, and how to find a “DroneZone,” all of which have integration lying close beneath the surface.

This is great news, in my opinion.  We obviously want UAS integrated into the NAS – that’s the only way they’ll ever be able to operate effectively in populated areas, near airports, and around low-flying helicopters.  As people adapt to 107 and it proves its worth, I think the next piece is BVLOS – one person per aircraft.  Then swarms are the next step.  Swarms within VLOS aren’t really that big, so let’s get BVLOS down and we’re making some real progress!