Drones in the Media: November Wrap Up

Here is an overview of what the media reported on during November 2017 relating to the RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft Industry). Enjoy our summary!

1 – Promising Australian drone in development.

An Australian group, JAR Aerospace, have started on building what they are calling “the best drones in the world”, claiming it to be the most capable and most reliable compared to other drones currently on the market. Their drone manufacturing company, JAR Aerospace has recently launched a state-of-the art manufacturing hub at Caringbah.

They are now working with the Australian Defence Department alongside the Australian Clinical Labs and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority on research and development, with transporting blood in Melbourne over the next two months on the agenda.

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2 – Encouraging females to consider drone piloting careers.

Last month 24 female Year 7-9 students from Karratha Senior High School and St Luke’s College took part in a national drone camp. The purpose of the drone camp was to encourage high school aged female students to consider careers using drones and other STEM related pathways, which women are currently underrepresented in. Set up by Karen Joyce and Dr Catherine Ball, the program called SheFlys is hoping to assist in changing the perception of the drone industry, and the larger STEM field, to one that has a higher number of female participants.

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3 – Using drones in underground mining.

Over in Jundee, Western Australia, scientists are experimenting with drones in the mining industry. Tests are currently being conducted to see if drones are able to enhance the safety of mining, by using the technology to transform how mining companies dig out underground rocks deemed dangerous.

The idea is that the drones would fly into mining areas that are of high risk. Then using a rotating laser mounted to the drone (similar technology as what is currently being used in autonomous cars), the drone would be flown to create three dimensional maps that are more detailed than what is currently available. Using drone technology, this could potentially assist the mining industry to increase efficiency, helping miners excavate more gold and other commodities that might otherwise be missed.

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4 – Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority drone guidelines.

New drone legislation is set to be introduced into British Parliament in 2018. Calls have been made to introduce stricter regulations for drone operators, as well as giving police more powers to investigate and stop misuse of UAV’s.

As part of the proposed new drone laws, those wanting to pilot drones will need to sit a safety test and also be required to use a flight planning app.

Australia is currently working out how to govern Australian drone operators, with a senate committee proposing a range of different solutions including mandatory how remotely piloted aircraft should be governed, with a senate committee proposing things like mandatory RPAS (remotely piloted aircraft systems) registration, logging of flights and drone safety courses.

In America, The Federal Aviation Authority, have already brought in a number of manditory requirements for drone usage, including registration of drone operators and UAV accident reporting.

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5 – Proposed relaxation of Australian drone regulations rejected.

South Australian senator Cory Bernardi’s motion to relax rules around drone use has failed in parliament. Bernardi’s says under current Civil Aviation Safety Authority regulations drone usage may be hindered for recreational pilots, taking issue with CASA’s 30 meter rule (drones need to be 30 meters away from the operator and other people). If caught breaking the CASA drone laws, pilots risk a $900 fine.

The motion was quickly shot down in parliament. Parliament are currently awaiting the results of the senate enquiry into drone safety in Australia.

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6 – Underwater drone to be used for coral research.

An Australian company, Blueye Robotics, have developed an underwater drone that can reach depths of eight times deeper than the average scuba enthusiast. The drone is suited to the commercial market, who want to see more of what lies below, as well as the enterprise and scientific community. The drone is about to be used on a scientific expedition to the Great Barrier Reef’s most remote and unexplored reaches in assessing the reef’s declining coral reef corridor.

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7 – Using drones for package delivery.

Google’s Project Wing is currently testing food delivery drones with rural NSW and ACT residents. They are hoping the research will give them a better insight into how drones can be used in the future to deliver a range of products including food, packages and medical supplies. Those Australian residents in the trial can see the benefits of what could potentially come from this technology in the future. Some in the trial want to be able to deliver packages to customers from their home businesses, farmers would like to see supplies be delivered to their paddock , as well as spare parts delivered to a broken down vehicle and medicine delivered when sick.

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8 – High School learning to use drones in agriculture.

Yanco Agricultural High School as been learning all about how drones can be used in agriculture. Students are learning to use drones and associated software applications to get better insights and data on the farm. Using drones to survey paddocks and generate maps, helping spot problems with crops and livestock.

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9 – DJI unveils drone operation management platform.

Drone producer DJI, has launched its drone operation management platform, FlightHub. FlightHub is a web based application assisting enterprise to manage drone operations. The goal of the platform is to make managing multiple teams and simultaneous flights easier for enterprise.

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10 – Drones to provide added surveillance at Perth beaches.

Surf Lifesaving WA is trialing the use of drones for shark detection this summer at five Perth based beaches. Adding drones to shark detection operations allows for more monitoring than what a helicopter can provide. Allowing lifeguards to track a shark for up to 25 minutes.

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