Drones in the media: February Wrap Up

Each month we at UAVAIR, put together a wrap up of the RPAS stories that have caught the attention of the world. Here are the top 10 drone related articles that made the media this month.

1.Drone Vs conventional vehicle delivery. 

Research from two American Universities has produced a report on the use of drones for delivery of goods and the possible reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions in the transportation sector.

Several large companies have been developing drone programs for package delivery, including the likes of Amazon, Google, UPS and Deutsche Post DHL.

To test their theory researches flew test campaigns with two commercial drones and developed an estimate of the energy needed to deliver a package in several different scenarios. They compared this energy use with the same scenario with delivery by truck, van and car.

The research found drones consume less energy per package-mile than delivery trucks, however due to the limited range of drones (about 4kms), it would require a new network of urban warehouses to support the drone delivery system.

Read the full article here:

2.Drone “makes” helicopter crash. 

In America, a drone pilot is being blamed for a helicopter crash, caused by a DJI Phantom. A trainee was flying the helicopter when the instructor saw the quadcopter coming towards them and took over the controls, clipping a nearby tree which caused the helicopter to crash.

Read the full article here:

3. First responders are getting drone certified. 

First responders in several different emergency services in America are getting trained up and certified to use drones or remotely piloted aircraft systems within their roles. Local fire and police departments in Florida have undertaken professional drone training, in order to add a useful tool to dangerous and emergency situations.

Drones can be used in many situations including being used to look for suspects, find people trapped in fiery buildings and search kms for missing people. Drones are also being used to find hot spots in a fire, use thermal imaging to find a person of interest during the night or even deliver life saving equipment, such as a life jacket.

Those who have undergone the drone training course so far can already see a plethora of benefits in using RPAS technology to assist them in their roles. 

Read the full article here:

4. Traffic control trial for drones. 

Vodafone is getting ready to test the world’s first air traffic control system for drones (UAV’s) using a mobile network. Working with the European Aviation Safety Agency, the testing will take place in Germany and Spain. Drone traffic control trials last year proved that Vodafone’s 4G network can control a sub 2kg drone. The system is intended for commercial grade drones and can force descent of any device that strays higher than 400m or towards the path of ordinary flight.

With the likely growth in drone package delivery, from companies such as Amazon, a air traffic monitoring system for RPAS is becoming increasingly important.

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5. Automated Flight.

A team a MIT University are working on a new system to improve autonomous flight called NanoMap. The autonomous flight drone system finds a way for the remotely piloted aircraft system to get from point A to point B without crashing into any obstacles by taking depth measurements. This is an important step forward as this technology means the drone can now handle uncertainty rather than requiring the drone to map its surroundings before it can handle flying around more quickly.

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6. Passenger drone makes first public flight.

The world’s first passenger drone has made its first ever public flight from Guangzhou City. All passengers need to do is get in and put a seatbelt on and the autonomous drone takes care of the rest.

The unmanned aerial vehicle can take a single passenger weighing up to 100kgs for a 23 minute flight at a speed of 100kms per hour.

The group is looking to work with Dubai City for the purpose of self flying taxis, but other applications for use of this technology include rescue situations, transporting of patients and tourism.

Read the full article here:

7. Drones to deliver parcels between university campus buildings. 

From mid 2018 Airbus will start delivering packages between campus buildings at the National University of Singapore. The UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) or drone, will land on roofs of stations where a robotic arm will then retrieve the package and place it in individual lockers, where the recipient can collect at any time.

The drone will be able to carry payloads of between 2kg and 4kg in weight, as the RPAS (remotely piloted aircraft system) itself weighs 25kg.  

This initiative has the approval of Singapore’s Civil Aviation Authority, saying they support the Airbus venture and the plan to roll out the technology to broader Singapore.

Read the full article here:

8. Drones to be used in inspections on ships.

The Robotics In Maintenance Strategies (RIMS) have secured class approval from the Korean Register of Shipping to use drones for the surveying of enclosed and confined spaces.

This certification means that ship owners can reap the benefits, cost savings and efficiencies that UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) technologies can bring.

Using drones during surveys allows ship owners and managers to remotely carry out object inspection in real time. By doing so they are able to eliminate the use of costly and time consuming equipment such as cherry pickers, and scaffolding. Using RPAS technology also eliminates human risk factors, which is another win.

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9. DJI forces Australian drone users to pass a safety test before take off. 

Australian drone pilots now need to pass a pre flight safety test before flying their DJI branded drones. The mandatory drone safety theory test has been developed by DJI in conjunction with Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority. The test will automatically appear on the DJI app (which needs to be used to fly the drone) and needs to be passed before the app will allow the pilot to take off.

The purpose of the exam is to ensure users are familiar with Australian aviation laws and ensuring that operators are doing the right thing, without giving the technology a bad wrap.

Australia will be the third country DJI have launched the quiz in, behind United States and United Kingdom.

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10. Medical drones are saving lives in Africa.

Remote clinics in Africa now have better access to life saving emergency medicine thanks to drone technology. Doctors in remote clinics can now text through an order and the medicine/ transfusion will be dispatched from a central location. Providing emergency relief to those who urgently need medical supplies such as a blood transfusion.

The unmanned aerial vehicle, also known as drones, is part of a world first national drone delivery network, run by Silicon Valley company Zipline. So far they have made more than 950 drops of blood in life or death situations.

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