Drones in the News – May edition

1. Mobilicom is targeting the rapidly growing and evolving commercial drones and robotics market, with the launch of the SkyHopper brand.

The SkyHopper family of products will deliver long-range communication that supports multiple transmission modes and enables real-time full HD video streaming.

The first product to be launched is the SkyHopper PRO UAV Data Link, which addresses applications in the mining industry, inspection of infrastructure such as wind turbines, and delivery drones.

The commercial drones sector is expected to generate a revenue of US$5 billion by 2020. (3 May 2017)

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2. Telstra is in negotiations with the civil aviation regulator to see whether its mobile network can help allow exemptions to rules that only allow drones to be flown within line-of-sight

The telco is striving to prove to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) that drones can be safely operated beyond visible sight through sensor technology and mobile networks like Telstra’s. (2 May 2017, AU)

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3. HAZON Solutions (“HAZON”), the national leader in drone inspection services, announced today the launch of the HAZON Drone Management System (HAZON DMS). HAZON DMS is a secure, web-based management tool providing every drone operator, whether a hobbyist with a single drone or a large corporation with hundreds of drones, a way to safely and efficiently track and manage their drone fleet, pilots and workflow. (2 May 2017)

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4. There are warnings that helicopter trips to Franz Josef’s Glacier are being put in danger by the careless use of drones by tourists.

The Civil Aviation Authority’s rules for flying unmanned aircraft include not flying higher than 120m above ground level, not flying closer than four kilometres from any aerodrome and obtaining air traffic control clearance when flying in controlled airspace. (2 May 2017, NZ)

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5. Augmented reality has proven useful for first responders and retailers, but the technology has huge potential for gamers and drone pilots as well. Using the DJI software development kit, the team at Edgybees has created DronePrix AR, the first augmented reality game for DJI’s drones that gives pilots the chance to improve their skills in a new, more immersive way. (1 May 2017)

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6. Advertising seems to have made its way into every place you look—from magazines, to TV screens, to Hulu streams, to Facebook feeds. Now, advertising may have found a new place to reach you: The sky.

Japanese mobile phone operator NTT Docomo recently unveiled what it calls the world’s first spherical drone display, created as part of the Docomo Drone Project. It’s lightweight at 7.5 pounds, and is 88 cm in diameter with a 144 x 136-pixel screen.

The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has an easy-to-move frame and internal LED structure—that includes eight curved LED strips that extend from top to bottom of the sphere—work together to project a solid visual display, without impacting the drone’s propellers. Creating a display that would prevent interference with the drone’s airflow was a challenge, the company said. (27 April 2017, JPN)

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7. The FAA on April 27 began to publish electronic maps for airports across the country that detail where and at what altitudes remote pilots may hope to achieve clearance to fly unmanned aircraft in certain types of controlled airspace. This information will be useful to all sorts of pilots. (27 April 2017, US)

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8. Back in January DJI acquired a majority stake in the iconic Swedish camera maker, Hasselblad. The two companies had worked together on some product integrations, and today they pushed the partnership further, releasing what they are calling “the first 100-megapixel integrated drone imaging platform.” The setup combines an M600 Pro drone, a Ronin MX gimbal, and a H6D-100c camera. (25 April 2017)

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9. Insurance companies have shown little signs of adapting rapidly enough to the rise of drones, which are fast growing as both commercial tools and recreational devices, with liability issues increasing in step with their popularity.

As drone flying continues to grow, and the number of incidents likely to follow suit, this ambiguity from insurance companies can make for an unpleasant and potentially costly experience for the insurers and their customers. There’s a pressing need for the insurance industry to better define what is a ‘drone’ in policies, as well as more clearly stipulate what is and isn’t covered with the respect to these aircraft. (24 April 2017, US)

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10. Between 2012 and 2016, more than half of all drone incidents involved near misses with aircraft and more than 60 per cent of those happened in 2016.

It’s predicted there will be a 75 per cent increase in the number of drones being involved in near misses with aircrafts in 2017, with the report finding the number of incidents involving drones “increasing exponentially”.

Most of the incidents happened in capital cities, with Sydney accounting for 37 per cent of all near misses between drones and aircraft.

The rest of the incidents involved the drones crashing into the ground, either from a loss of control, bird strikes or engine failures. (8 April 2017)

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