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The UAV Digest

The weekly audio podcast bringing you coverage of unmanned aerial vehicles and systems.

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384 Airport UAS Threats

A guidebook for airport UAS threats, watching your neighbors, AUVSI XCELLENCE awards, legal issues for the construction industry, drone projects that impact healthcare, the KARGO and Hammerhead cargo drones, a drone mystery, and the Boeing Loyal Wingman production site. Airport Response to Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Threats UAV News Guidebook on Airport Response to UAS Threats, Developed by Woolpert, Published by National Safe Skies Alliance The National Safe Skies Alliance published a 44-page guidebook titled, “Airport Response to Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Threats” [PDF]. Funded by the FAA, the guidebook is designed to help airport operators plan for threats, assess them, respond to them, and recover from threats from UAS operating in unauthorized airspace. Woolpert was contracted to develop the document which includes examples and case studies. Ohio City Considering Anti-Drone Voyeurism Law A Hamilton, Ohio resident said a man was using a drone to look in windows, fly over children playing in their yards, and chase a woman down a street. He took video footage, but the police couldn’t do anything because no law was being broken. So he approached the City Council and they proposed a new local ordinance that would prohibit the use of drones to commit voyeurism. African Drone and Data Academy wins international humanitarian award Press release: Winners announced in 2021 AUVSI XCELLENCE Humanitarian and Public Safety Award The Association for Unmanned Vehicles Systems International (AUVSI) announced the winners of the XCELLENCE Humanitarian and Public Safety Awards.  In the Humanitarian Project/Program category: UNICEF African Drone & Data Academy (ADDA). ALTI UAS flying in Misool, Indonesia. MissionGO for the Longest UAS Human Organ Delivery Flight. In the Public Safety Project/Program category: Department of Homeland Security FEMA (Region IV) Easy Aerial, for their Smart Air Force Aerial Monitoring System. The International Emergency Drone Organization for the Best Drone Practices Report for Fire & Rescue services Drones in the Construction Industry Drones have many applications in the construction industry, but drone usage raises a number of legal concerns: privacy, safety, proper insurance coverage, and the duty to maintain video and still photo records. Also, there are civil and criminal penalties associated with using drones. 3 ways drones are impacting healthcare Transporting blood samples. Wingcopter has been transporting blood 26 kilometers in Germany. Delivering COVID-19 vaccines. Skye Air is trialing vaccine delivery within a 12 km range in India with temperature-controlled containers. Disease control. In the Philippines and Malaysia, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine is using drones equipped with thermal cameras to follow macaques and monitor the transmission of malaria from animals to humans.  Kaman announces new KARGO UAV Kaman Corporation has launched the KARGO medium-lift expeditionary logistics UAV. The KARGO UAV self-deploys beyond 500 nautical miles, carries up to 800 pounds of payload, has built-in autonomy with sense and avoid, and can deliver payloads with pinpoint accuracy. It’s designed for easy transport and deployment. Each KARGO UAV fits in a standard cargo container and can transition from full-stow to flight-ready in minutes with only two personnel. Video: KARGO UAV | Transforming Expeditionary Logistics https://youtu.be/datQouRo_fY New Cargo Drone “Hammerhead eV20” was presented at UAV Expo Americas 2021 The Airlogix Hammerhead eV20 is an autonomous eVTOL delivery drone. Empty weight: 132 pounds / 60 kg, maximum take-off weight: 176 pounds / 80 kg, payload: 44 pounds/ 20 kg, range: 62 miles. It flies in either quadcopter mode or fixed-wing mode. Airlogix says this “eVTOL aircraft [is] for middle-mile commercial and humanitarian delivery of urgent or regular supplies.” Video: Hammerhead eV20. An autonomous eVTOL aircraft for middle-mile commercial and humanitarian delivery. https://youtu.be/z-9oQnJZUb8 Tucson police-evading super-drone ‘quadcopter-like’ with ‘propellers reflecting light’ Last February, a drone outmaneuvered and outran police aircraft over Tucson. Through a Freedom of Information Act request, Drive’s War Zone reporter Brett Tingley uncovered new information. Eye-witness accounts suggest that it was “quadcopter like” and had “propellers reflecting the city light.” It was estimated to be 3 to 5ft wide. UAV Video of the Week Drone shows lava swallowing La Palma swimming pool Drone footage showed lava from Spain’s La Palma volcano swallowing a swimming pool and houses on its way to the coast on Monday. Feedback Listener Stephen pointed out that a production site in Australia has been selected for the Loyal Wingman. Boeing selects Australian production site for ATS loyal wingman The Airpower Teaming System (ATS) will be produced at the Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport, in Queensland. The first flight of the ATS was last February. It was developed by Boeing Australia in partnership with the Royal Australian Air Force.


24 Sep 2021

Rank #1

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383 Heavy-Lift UAS

A heavy-lift UAS from BAE Systems, NOAA collects data from drones, drones cover motorsports events, bad weather affects delivery drones, Drone Racing League scores a sponsorship deal, Leonardo and Northrop Grumman working together, smuggling contraband, Volocopter eyes the U.S., building better batteries, Drone Safety Awareness Week, and the attack of the magpie. UAV News BAE Systems to build T-650 cargo quadrocopter with 300kg capacity BAE Systems and Malloy Aeronautics want to develop an all-electric heavy-lift UAS targeted to missions for military, security, and civilian customers. The T-650 Heavy-Lift Electric UAS concept vehicle would accommodate payloads of over 300 kg with a range of 30 km on one charge of its batteries. The aircraft could fly autonomously or by remote control at a top speed of 140 km/h. T-650 Heavy-Lift UAS, courtesy BAE Systems.NOAA Data Storage Needs May Grow as Drones Become Smarter The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration captures data with tube-launched fixed-wing drones, vertical-launch hexacopters, and even NASA’s Global Hawk aircraft. For many applications, the data is collected on-board, onto an SD card. But the amount of data is increasing as a result of AI-directed data collection and higher resolution sensors. Capt. Phil Hall, director of the NOAA Uncrewed Systems Operations Center in the Office of Marine and Aviation Operations: The amount of data and data services is just the absolute key to all these uncrewed systems, whether they are marine systems or aviation systems. “Data archiving, data analysis, cloud storage networking — all those areas are priorities for NOAA. Capt. Phil Hall Video: Drones Aid NOAA Scientists with Hurricane Tracking and Animal Monitoring The Best Way To Watch Rallycross Is From A Drone Video coverage of a recent World Rallycross event in France was partly provided by a drone. The drone closely followed the action, just above the racers. Video: FPV Drone Vs Rallycross Racing https://youtu.be/Sv8BzW01x-Y Drones Fly Into Weather Data Deserts. Can They Be Stopped? University of Calgary researchers recently published a paper that examined the impact weather had on flying commercial drones. The authors looked at historical data – temperature, wind, rain. The conclusion: weather restricts the average hours a drone can fly during the day. Drone Racing League lands $100 million deal with crypto platform Algorand The sponsorship deal with Boston-based Algorand is worth $100 million over five years, according to those with knowledge of the agreement. Algorand gets title rights to the League. DRL starts its sixth season on Sept. 29, 2021. Leonardo and Northrop Grumman join forces on future rotorcraft UAS opportunities Leonardo and Northrop Grumman plan to collaborate on VTOL air vehicle design, system architectures, payload optimization, and integration within next-generation battlespace architectures. Man Sentenced To 3.5+ Years In Prison In Scheme Using Drones To Smuggle Contraband Into Federal Prison at Fort Dix A New Jersey man was sentenced for conspiring to use drones to smuggle cell phones,  tobacco, and other items into a federal correctional facility. The former inmate participated in multiple deliveries of contraband by drone. Volocopter shares plan to bring eVTOL urban air mobility to US starting with Los Angeles Volocopter announced a partnership with Urban Movement Labs (UML) to bring UAM solutions to the Los Angeles area. If successful, this would introduce Volocopter eVTOLs to the US market. Volocopter CCO Christian Bauer: Our partnership with Urban Movement Labs is a great entryway into the US with our innovative UAM services. By leading the conversation about urban air mobility with broad stakeholders in Los Angeles, Volocopter can strategically identify and address how our services can benefit cities in the country. More importantly, we are also gaining real insights into living transportation ecosystems in the US to build the best complimentary service to other modes of transportation for our future passengers. Christian Bauer Volocopter plans to launch its UAM services in the next 2-3 years, pending certification from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Certification from the FAA would be necessary for Volocopter to bring its eVTOL services to the US. Batteries of the future set to be cheaper and better — just by adding sugar Lithium-Ion batteries are made from toxic chemicals that are increasingly difficult to obtain. On the other hand, Lithium-Sulfur batteries are made with cheaper, safer, and easier-to-obtain materials that can store two to five times more energy per kilogram than lithium-ion batteries.  National Drone Safety Awareness Week: We’re All In National Drone Safety Awareness Week was hosted by the FAA Safety Team (FAAST). Short daily videos were published during the week featuring important safety topics. This was a collaboration between DRONELIFE, P3Tech Consulting, and a volunteer FAAST member and co-founder of Influential Drones. Find the videos in the article and on the DRONELIFE  TV YouTube channel. UAV Video of the Week FPV drone video films sudden, determined magpie attack “Everything in Australia wants to kill you, even birds!”


17 Sep 2021

Rank #2

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382 Terrafugia Commaris UAV

A flying car company offers the Commaris VTOL UAV for commercial operations, hazmat responders using drones, QF-16 target drones, endangered porpoises spotted from the air, the US Navy repels drones, AT&T COWs provide cell coverage, new drone rules in India. Commaris Seeker eVTOL.UAV News Terrafugia Inc. Launches New Brand and Commercial UAV Terrafugia Inc. announced the launch of the new Commaris™ brand, along with the brand’s first product – the Seeker™. This electric, fixed-wing/VTOL aircraft is designed for autonomous commercial aerial applications. Commaris planned to debut the Seeker at the Commercial UAV Expo held in Las Vegas September 7-9, 2021. Terrafugia has been developing the Transition® Roadable Aircraft since 2006. The Seeker features a three-hour flight time, a top speed over 60 MPH, and a 15-foot wingspan. Multiple payload configurations are possible up to 10 pounds. Rise of a Drone Program According to the author, the drone is “One of the most significant advances in resources for hazmat response.” Drones allow safe monitoring on-scene, but equipment costs can be high. In response, multiple agencies can work together and private organizations can be a source of funds. QF-16 drones provide live fire, joint training A U.S. Air Force QF-16 drone is an F-16 assigned to the 82d Aerial Targets Squadron and used for training purposes. Up to four QF-16s can be remotely controlled by a single pilot and the QF-16’s can perform maneuvers that simulate an adversary fighter. Endangered finless porpoises spotted off coast of Taean The Korea National Park Service released footage of four endangered finless porpoises mating in the sea. The footage was shot using a “helikite” – an unmanned aerial camera drone-like device used to observe marine animals. Navy Arming Surface Ships with Drone Repellent System It’s called DRAKE (the Drone Restricted Access Using Known Electromagnetic Warfare system) which was originally built by Northrop Grumman and used on Humvees during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now it protects Navy vessels from curious eyes by jamming the drone’s signal. AT&T COW drones restoring phone service cut by Ida’s extreme weather AT&T’s COW drones (“Cell-On-Wings”) provide LTE coverage over a 40-mile range. They are tethered, hover at 300 feet, and can endure severe weather – winds up to 50 MPH, heavy rain, and hot and cold temperatures. These are effective at providing cell coverage to areas hit by natural disasters. The tethers have a fiber-optic cable for transmitting data to a solar-powered ground station and to provide power to the drone. Video: When COWs Fly | Watch AT&T’s Cell on Wings (COW) in Action | AT&T https://youtu.be/WEIplszMzoI Nano drones may soon be allowed on domestic flights Drone restrictions in India are relaxing but you still can’t take a drone with you on a domestic flight. This affects people taking vacations who want to bring a drone to capture videos. However, now a remote pilot license is not required for nano and micro drones used for non-commercial or personal use. Also, model aircraft and nano drones do not require a certificate. An airspace map for unmanned aircraft system operations is being planned by the government.


10 Sep 2021

Rank #3

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381 Tactical Beyond Visual Line of Sight

First responder tactical beyond visual line of sight (TBVLOS) waivers, 100,000 Wing deliveries in Australia, using Starlink for military maritime intelligence drones, DJI Mavic 3 leaked, measuring the wind for UAM safety, a drone services company meets a UAV maintenance provider, and the history of drones in Southeast Asia UAV News Paladin publicly launches Knighthawk, a first response drone for cities Paladin has unveiled its custom Knighthawk and Watchtower products for first responders. The startup has built autonomous systems for cities that can be deployed to 911 calls and provide instant situational awareness. The Knighthawk drone has a 10x zoom optical camera and a thermal camera to provide video feeds day and night. The Watchtower software is available as an app. Since 2018, the company has responded to about 1,600 emergencies in Texas and Ohio.  Paladin has “First Responder Tactical Beyond Visual Line of Sight” (TBVLOS) [PDF] operating waivers from the FAA. These temporary BVLOS flights are flown to both reduce risk to first responders and to ensure the safety of the communities they serve. The waiver has a number of specific conditions and requirements. Wing approaches 100,000 drone deliveries two years after Logan, Australia launch In the first week of August alone, customers in Logan, Australia placed 4,500 orders – one every 30 seconds during Wing’s delivery window. The Wing drones delivered 10,000 cups of coffee, 1,700 children’s snack packs, 1,200 hot chooks (roasted chicken, in Australia), 2,700 sushi rolls, and 1,000 loaves of bread. Wing expects the service to expand into other markets in the coming months, including Australia, Finland, and the United States. Drones and Starlink: Combining Satellite Constellations With Unmanned Navy Ships The United States Navy faces an aging fleet of transport ships and personnel shortages. Autonomous maritime vessels could be a solution, as well as semi-autonomous drones that could act as a screening force for operations, provide an extended sensor net, and provide greater tactical awareness. The new SpaceX Starlink satellite constellation might provide easy and reliable connectivity for a globally operated network of maritime drones. DJI Mavic 3 leaks with new cameras, a larger battery and longer flight times A YouTuber leaked what is believed to be the next Mavic drone. It features improved obstacle detection utilizing new wide-angle lenses on the front and rear cameras, the main camera with a focal length equivalent to 24 mm, and an f/2.8 aperture, a second camera that supports up to 7x optical zoom, images stored on 1 TB of internal memory, and a larger battery providing up to 40 minutes of flight time. NASA taps Kyoto startup to make maps of the wind for drones NASA wants maps of the wind so drones and air taxis will be safer. Japanese startup MetroWeather Co. LiDAR sensors track atmospheric dust to measure wind direction and speed.  MetroWeather sensors will be used by US-based TruWeather Solutions Inc. at a NASA drone testing site to show how real-time wind information can help drones choose optimal routes that avoid wind shear and other dangers. Carbonix Partners with Robotic Skies to Advance Global Field Support Robotic Skies, Inc provides maintenance, inspection, and repair services for the commercial drone industry with over 230 Service Centers in 50 countries. Carbonix is an Australian company with data capture UAVs for long-range and large-area aerial surveillance. The two companies are partnering to provide an international field support program for customers who operate Carbonix UAVs. Inside Vietnam’s Forgotten Drone War Drones played an important role in the Vietnam War target spotting for bombers, jamming radars, and dropping propaganda leaflets. The new nonfiction book Drone War: Vietnam explores that history. UAV Video of the Week Watch: Alligator Eats Drone In Video Shared By Sundar Pichai An inexperienced drone operator in Florida flew his drone too close to an alligator, with serious consequences.


3 Sep 2021

Rank #4

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380 NASA System-Wide Safety Project

NASA’s System-Wide Safety project is focused on safe operations of unmanned vehicles in the National Airspace System.  Guest Dr. Wendy A. Okolo, Associate Project Manager, NASA System-Wide Safety project Dr. Wendy A. Okolo is the Associate Project Manager for NASA’s System-Wide Safety project, which seeks to develop new research tools, innovative aerospace technologies, and re-defined operational methods. Researchers and stakeholders are developing an integrated safety management solution that considers the new unmanned entrants into the airspace. The project looks at safety from both a design and operations perspective. Wendy describes the System-Wide Safety project, including its participants and objectives. We consider what “safety” means in this context, project methodology and timeline, beneficiaries of the project, and accomplishments to date. She explains the complexities of the project and collaborating with established and new entrants in the unmanned aircraft space. As an aerospace controls research engineer, Wendy’s expertise is in unconventional controls system design and optimization for air and space vehicles. Wendy’s research experiences include stints at the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the Advanced Development Programs of Lockheed Martin (the Skunkworks). She worked on multi-aircraft formation flight, and performance-optimizing flight control for the Joint Strike Fighter F-35C aircraft. At 26 years old, Wendy became the first black woman to obtain a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington. She is the recipient of the 2020 NASA Ames Award for Researcher and the 2019 NASA Ames Early Career Researcher Award. She also received the 2019 Black Engineer of the Year Award for Most Promising Engineer in the U.S. Government, the 2019 Women In Aerospace Award for Initiative, Inspiration & Impact, and the 2019 U.T. Arlington Distinguished Recent Graduate Award.


27 Aug 2021

Rank #5

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379 T-Mobile 5G Drone

T-Mobile’s low latency 5G drone, high-speed UAVs that crash less often, a solar-powered UAV, first responder drone of choice, patrolling the beach with drones, and marketing real estate with drone videos. UAV News  T-Mobile’s 5G off to the drone races T-Mobile is partnering with the Drone Racing League (DRL) on a 5G drone with HD video. T-Mobile claims the drone is one of the world’s first racing drones to be equipped with an embedded 5G module that can live stream video straight to the internet. The module is made by Quectel. Video from the Drone Racing League: Making of the Magenta 5G Drone https://youtu.be/dn83uUjXfZ8 System trains drones to fly around obstacles at high speeds Fast drones tend to crash because drone aerodynamics are difficult to predict at high speeds. Now MIT aerospace engineers are developing an algorithm that helps drones find the fastest route around obstacles without crashing. Drones trained with the new algorithm were found to fly through an obstacle course up to 20 percent faster than a drone trained on conventional planning algorithms. The results are published in the International Journal of Robotics Research as Multi-fidelity black-box optimization for time-optimal quadrotor maneuvers. US Navy spends millions to develop a solar-powered UAV The US Navy has awarded a $5 million contract to US-Spanish aerospace company Skydweller Aero to construct a solar energy-powered long-endurance UAV that could stay aloft for between 30 and 90 days. The aircraft flew in December 2020. Video: Skydweller Aero Autonomous Software Flight Test – April 2021 https://youtu.be/lYAA0HlJzUw As with consumer pilots, DJI drones dominate emergency responder fleets A survey by the Airborne International Response Team (AIRT) and its Droneresponders affiliate found that DJI drones make up over 90% of the fleets flown by US first responder organizations. That compares with DJI’s 70-80% share of the commercial drone market. The AIRT + DRONERESPONDERS 2021 Public Safety UAS Survey was conducted in July 2021. Autel Robotics drones were the second most popular make, followed by Skydio, Parrot, and FLIR. Brunswick County beaches have no lifeguards. Is technology the answer? In March 2021, the Oak Island (North Carolina) Administrative department created the Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Services division. The division provides aerial photography and video for Town departments. Current services provided include infrastructure inspections, project monitoring, pre and post-storm inspection, marketing materials, sand dune regulation enforcement, and beach safety observation. Realtors shift to mini-drones to showcase properties to homebuyers in increasingly hot housing market With contactless selling growing in importance during the COVID pandemic, companies that provide video services with drones are being created. Cain Costin and his wife Sarah formed Virtual Drone Tours that produce exterior and interior videos of properties using FPV drones. The videos on the Cain Costin YouTube channel show what’s possible. Mentioned The Volocopter at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. Photo by Max Flight.


13 Aug 2021

Rank #6

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378 UAS Incident Map

An interactive UAS incident map, an airspace coordinator collaborates with archaeologists, a drone swarm that sniffs out gas leaks, the X-56B UAV is destroyed, making drones and air taxis quiet, and AI drones that find meteorites. UAV News Explore Thousands Of FAA Drone And Unidentified Aircraft Incident Reports With Our Interactive Tool The Drive has taken FAA incident reports of UAS and unidentified aircraft and created an interactive and searchable UAS incident map. The approximately 10,400 incident reports cover the period from November of 2014 until December 2020. Find the UAS incident map at UAV Geography. (Be patient, it can load slowly.) Pax UAS Airspace Coordinators Collaborate with Local Archaeologists Historic St. Mary’s City (HSMC) is the earliest settlement in Maryland with a fort erected in 1634. Archeologists working the site considered drones to be part of their archaeological toolkit, but they didn’t have an understanding of the regulatory requirements. Pax River’s then-UAS Airspace Coordinator Air Traffic Controller 1st Class James “Cody” Green stepped in and started working with HSMC to ensure the drone operations were safe and legal. Swarm of autonomous tiny drones can localize gas leaks Researchers at the Delft University of Technology Micro Air Vehicle Lab and Harvard University have developed a swarm of tiny drones that can autonomously detect and localize gas sources in cluttered indoor environments. The bio-inspired navigation and search strategy algorithm is called “Sniffy Bug.” Video: Sniffy Bug: A Fully Autonomous Swarm of Gas-Seeking Nano Quadcopters in Cluttered Environments https://youtu.be/hj_SBSpK5qg NASA’s X-56B UAV destroyed in crash on 9 July A “flight anomaly” caused the vehicle to crash. The aircraft was being used to test ways to suppress flutter. It is not clear if other X-56B vehicles exist, or when testing will resume. Whisper Aero emerges from stealth to quiet drones and air taxis Startup Whisper Aero believes they can make drones quiet. An electric thruster would reduce the drone’s noise down to background levels that would be difficult for the human ear to hear. Whisper isn’t saying much about their thruster design. Automated drones being taught to locate fallen meteorites Less than 2% of meteorites are recovered but University of California, Davis researchers believe they can increase that percentage using AI and automated drones. These would fly in grid patterns at low altitudes over areas where they suspect meteorites have fallen. Images from the UAV would be analyzed by software that employed machine learning to differentiate meteorites from terrestrial rocks.


16 Jul 2021

Rank #7

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377 Google’s OpenSky App

Google released the new OpenSky app, collecting water samples, cellular command and control, Zipline raised additional investment, Skyborg made a second autonomous flight, integrating drones with warehouses, and an interview with Robotic Skies. UAV News Google’s Wing launches free app to help drone pilots obey US regulations The OpenSky app lets both commercial and recreational pilots in the US see where they can fly. The app is in beta but it’s based on Google maps and shows flight restrictions for the selected location. OpenSky also allows you to plan a new flight and submit a Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) request.  Drone-based water sampling goes deep Reign Maker has developed a drone-based water sampling and data collection system called Nixie. The company spent two years developing a system that produces higher sampling rates and accuracy without the need for as much equipment and field personnel. The sampling attachment lowers EPA-certified bottles two feet under the water’s surface. Timestamps and GPS coordinates are associated with collected samples. The system currently supports DJI M600 and M300 RTK enterprise drone platforms. FAA Moves to Further America’s Cellular-Connected Drone Operations The FAA and Verizon’s Skyward signed a 3-year MOU to experiment with cellular-connected drones. Titled “Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)—Cellular Technologies to Support UAS Activities,” the agreement seeks to advance BVLOS, UTM, and one-to-many operations utilizing the cellular network. California Drone Operator Zipline Raises $250 Million Zipline plans to create more hubs and warehouses in Africa and invest in US market expansion. Zipline co-founder and CEO Keller Rinaudo noted that traditional supply chains broke down during the pandemic. He said “Covid has significantly accelerated all of our timelines. As more and more health systems were betting on us, we were realizing that the opportunity is bigger and we need to be making big investments.” The funding round values Zipline at $2.75 billion. Investors include Scottish investment firm Baillie Gifford, Fidelity Investments, and Singapore’s state-owned fund Temasek. Skyborg makes its second flight, this time autonomously piloting General Atomics’ Avenger drone Two months ago, the Air Force first flew the Skyborg autonomy core system (ACS) aboard the Kratos UTAP-22 Mako. Now Skyborg has autonomously flown a General Atomics MQ-20 Avenger drone. This means Skyborg ACS has flown on platforms from two different manufacturers. The flight took place during the Orange Flag exercise at Edwards Air Force Base, California, over a period of about two hours and 30 minutes. Without changes, warehouses could ground drone deliveries To allow for drone delivery service at scale, warehouses will need a place for drones to land, re-charge, and get loaded with the next package. That could mean land space, roof space, or even interior warehouse space. Warehouse operations will need to shift from pallet loading to single-item loading. Interview Reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari talks with Katria Passi from Robotic Skies, a company that performs aviation-grade drone maintenance through a global network of over 225 service centers across 50 countries.


2 Jul 2021

Rank #8

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376 Open Source Drones

Open source drones offer many opportunities, using drones to make a quiet place, US Army trials ground-vehicle drone launches, a Canadian drone membership program, New York law enforcement drones, tern tracking with a Phantom, cleaning up dog poop, a flapping wing UAV, some DJI drones are now government approved, air-to-air refueling. UAV News DroneAnalyst: The Rise of Open Source Drones DroneAnalyst David Benowitz says “There are two key elements driving the push for open-source drones…” particularly in America: “geopolitical tensions between the US and China and the search for a true DJI competitor.” According to DroneAnalyst estimates, drones built around open source technologies account for 16% of all commercial drones sold, but more than 60% of all non-DJI drones sold. See also, What Will DoD Do About Open Source Drones? Here’s a Cool Idea: Sony Patents Drones for Noise Cancellation Under this patent, networked drones with speakers could be used to cancel ambient noise in real-time, creating a “mobile quiet-zone.” US Army Trials Launching Drones From Ultra-Light Vehicles Ground vehicles such as the DAGOR ultra-light tactical vehicle could become a mobile base to launch drones, such as the ALTIUS-600. The Future Vertical Lift Cross-Functional Team’s Twitter account posted a photo stating, “#EDGE21 the ultimate soldier touch point.” Edge 21 is the Experimental Demonstration Gateway Exercise. COPA Introduces Drone Membership Options – Bridging Gap between Traditional and Remote Aviation COPA, the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association, has a membership option for the remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) community. Benefits include updates on regulations and issues, education and safety programs, insurance coverage for recreational and commercial RPAS pilots, training discounts, and an RPAS scholarship. AOPA also has a drone membership program. Use of drones, robotic dog in NY police intervention spark debate Federal agents flew a UAV into a Poughkeepsie, NY apartment while executing a search warrant. Video from the drone showed the suspect throwing a handgun out of a window. He was arrested and booked on illegal possession of a firearm. NYC lawyer Albert Fox Cahn said,  “Flying drones in public air space is invasive enough, but using it inside of a person’s home is completely unconstitutional.” We used drones to track the feeding habits of seabirds – new research Foraging habits of seabirds were examined in a new study, A bird’s-eye view on turbulence: seabird foraging associations with evolving surface flow features. Feeding in turbulent water is difficult to study, but a DJI Phantom 3 quadcopter was able to track three species of surface-foraging terns and use particle image velocimetry to map the water vortices and upwellings. The Dog Poodemic Is Here. Call in the Dung-Hunting Drones The lockdown gave people an excuse to buy that puppy they always wanted, but owners are hanging the bags of poo in trees and on bushes. Using image recognition, drones might be useful for finding the bags and notifying authorities. (No, we didn’t make this up.) Bird-like robots could assist in medical emergencies and hunt down drones Uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) can draw their inspiration from the biological world. The GRIFFIN project from the University of Seville is seeking to create prototypes of highly autonomous, ultra-lightweight robot birds. They would minimise energy in flight by soaring and flapping. The government’s been worried about DJI drones — the Pentagon now says they’re safe The Pentagon released a report that says two “Government Edition” DJI drones are “recommended for use by government entities.” In 2020, the Department of the Interior grounded all its drones. The government has examined some older model drones and didn’t find any malicious code. Whoa, the US Navy is now using drones to refuel its jets mid-flight A Boeing MQ-25 Stingray carrying 500 pounds of fuel transferred 325 pounds to an F/A-18 Super Hornet in midair, with as little as 20 feet of separation. UAV Video of the Week FPV racing drone chases kiteboarder in this adrenaline-pumping video from Spain Video: Big Air Kitesurfing + FPV Racing Drone https://youtu.be/QIu1LDIOTI4


12 Jun 2021

Rank #9

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375 MissionGO

We talk with MissionGO about the unique challenges of human organ delivery with UAS and the benefits to the medical community. MissionGo is developing their own aircraft that is specialized to the requirements of this medical cargo, and their team includes a diverse group of individuals with hardware, software, and even regulatory experience. Guests Frank Paskiewicz is Executive Vice President of Cargo Operations at MissionGO. He leads aircraft certification and manufacturing, FAA regulatory consulting services, UAS integration strategies, and air cargo operations. This includes running MissionGO’s cargo operations and supporting UAS client FAA certification programs. Frank also leads the development of products and services for MissionGO’s air cargo operations, including research studies, airspace analysis, and flight activities. Ryan Henderson is Lead Pilot at MissionGo. His responsibilities include overseeing all flight operations, managing pilot and crew currency and qualifications, managing all SOP’s/Instructions, directing all Operation Readiness Reviews, curriculum creation and facilitation, and maintaining all UAS records. Ryan is an airspace analysis expert and has been called upon multiple times for Certificates of Waiver or Authorization (COA) and Part 107 Waivers. Correction: Dr. Joseph R. Scalea, MD is a Multi-Organ Transplant Surgeon at the University of Maryland Medical Center. In this episode, the doctor was inadvertently associated with Hopkins.


4 Jun 2021

Rank #10