There have been a lot of exciting announcements coming out of the UAS industry recently. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are meant to coincide with the build-up to AUVSI’s Unmanned Systems 2015 Conference! Instead of cherry-picking my favorite stories, I’ll briefly mention a number of them and link to the original stories for those who want to read further.
– Northrum Grumman signed a lease for facilities and access at the North Dakota Grand Sky UAS Tech Park and will break ground in September. General Atomics is coming out in July and the state has provided funding and support for UAS operations. This is the first in the nation UAS Technology Park according to the site.
– According to SeaPower Magazine, “the Coast Guard received $6.3 million in its fiscal 2015 budget to purchase a small UAS for its National Security Cutter (NSC) fleet and the end game is to have a small UAS on cutters over its entire future surface fleet. This includes the NSC, Fast Response Cutter and Offshore Patrol Cutter.”
– In unmanned, but not aerial, military news, the Navy will for the first time deploy drones from the versatile Virginia Class submarine fleet. These will include Remus 600 Unmanned Underwater Vehicles.
– DJI is hoping to raise more capital with a valuation for their company of $10 billion. They are the most well-known consumer UAS manufacturer and easily the most valuable. Compare this to the recent $50 million raised by 3DR.
– The Arctic Centre for Unmanned Aircraft Systems, a partnership between Norut, UiT The Arctic University of Norway and Lufttransport, has opened. According to the director, “The Arctic Centre for Unmanned Aircraft Systems will be a national and international focal point in the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for emergency response and environmental monitoring in the Arctic.”
– Boeing has acquired 2d3 Sensing, a company specializing in motion imagery processing of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) data. Boeing already uses 2d3 Sensing products on their ScanEagle and Integrator UAS.
– Rapid Imaging Software, Inc. is introducing SmarTopo Harvest. The technology delivers obstacle survey and detection technology and is Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certified to a level 1B. According to the company, SmarTopo Harvest:
- Searches for obstacles – the height for the search is set by the analyst
- Detects objects or structures may be compared to the FAA obstacle database
- Estimates height of the objects or structures
- Creates new obstacle for a proprietary database
– Finally, the well-regarded De Zwann restaurant in Etten-Leur, North Brabant, Netherlands has used race cars, hot air balloons, and helicopters to deliver the first asparagus of the season. This year they tried a UAS, but the plan went up in flames: