Measure Australia acquires Droneworx and appoints new Chief Pilot

Measure Australia, Australia’s largest drone service provider, has acquired Droneworx Pty Ltd, a NSW-based drone services company. As part of the acquisition, Brendon De Witts, Founder of Droneworx, has been appointed as the new Chief Pilot of Measure Australia. De Witts has over 2000 flight hours on remotely piloted aircraft systems and brings significant experience to the Chief Pilot role. De Witts brings operational expertise, technical skills, leadership ability and out-of-the-box thinking that the role requires.

De Witts said, “I am excited to join Measure Australia’s industry-leading team and look forward to helping the business implement its vision for the drone industry. Having significant field and management experience of drone programs, I am excited to bring a new dimension to Measure Australia’s operations.”

Outgoing Chief Pilot Simon Mapstone stays with the company in a field-based role. Mapstone sets an exemplary standard for the increasing number of field-based pilots.

The acquisition of Droneworx strengthens Measure Australia’s NSW-based offering and broadens existing delivery in the marketing and visual inspection service streams. Droneworx clients and operations will be transitioned to the Measure Australia brand while all Droneworx staff will relocate to Measure Australia’s head office in Artarmon, NSW.

Skytec LLC Becomes First Unmanned Service Provider to Complete an ARGUS Unmanned Audit

ARGUS International, Inc. is pleased to announce Skytec, LLC as the world’s first Drone as a Service (DaaS) provider to complete an ARGUS Unmanned Audit.

The Platinum Rating is the highest ARGUS rating an organization operating unmanned aircraft can achieve. Only companies who have demonstrated successful implementation of industry best practices relative to their operations and maintenance with the utmost regard for safety through the evaluation of an on-site audit may achieve an ARGUS Platinum Rating. ARGUS collaborated with various internal and external subject matter experts with a vast amount of UAS experience to develop a comprehensive standard for the unmanned industry.

“Creating a safety culture is paramount to the commercial UAS industry. Companies like Skytec who focus on providing DaaS operations must be methodically examined and reviewed if the industry is to develop an effective safety ecosystem,” said Joe Moeggenberg, President and CEO of ARGUS International, Inc. “We are extremely pleased to announce Skytec as our first unmanned operator to successfully complete the ARGUS Unmanned Audit and earn the ARGUS Platinum Rating. As the first operator in the world to achieve this rating, Skytec has demonstrated a new level of safety for the UAS industry.”

“We are proud to become the first Platinum Rated Drone as a Service provider under the ARGUS Unmanned Standard,” said Bill Rogers, Skytec CEO. “UAS is a young, rapidly developing industry. Adhering to the highest possible safety protocols and standards – and undergoing a third-party audit to certify those practices – is a core tenet of Skytec’s mission. We believe that our industry will grow and scale even more successfully as more and more providers also commit to achieving higher safety ratings for their operations via third party certification.”

The ARGUS Unmanned Audit Standard was designed for commercial unmanned aircraft operations to evaluate their operational safety based upon a universal set of standards and industry best safety practices. To achieve the Platinum Rating, Drone as a Service providers must undergo a rigorous on-site audit including extensive evaluation of all safety practices, documentation and daily operations.

To attain an ARGUS Platinum Rating UAS operators must be a legal entity with applicable insurance, have UAS operational policies, have procedures and processes validated, have a functioning safety management system and an emergency response plan in place, undergo pilot background checks, have at least one UAS in operation, undergo an in-depth historical safety analysis, and complete an ARGUS on-site audit with no safety of flight findings. All significant finding from the on-site audit must be rectified to achieve an ARGUS Platinum Rating.

To view the ARGUS Unmanned UAS Registry with all our rated operators visit, http://argus.aero/argus-unmanned-uas-registry/.

NovAtel® Introduces New High-Performance Positioning Solutions for Space-Constrained Systems

NovAtel is pleased to introduce several new precision positioning solutions for space-constrained applications. With enhanced positioning accuracy in a compact form, the PwrPak7D, PwrPak7DE1, and OEM7600 are ideal for automotive, airborne and other smaller unmanned systems. The PwrPak7D and PwrPak7D-E1 dual antenna, multi-frequency enclosures, OEM7600 receiver board, plus NovAtel’s new Waypoint® Inertial Explorer® Express post-processing software, will be featured at Xponential 2018.

“We are very excited to be introducing our new OEM7-based and Inertial Explorer® solutions at Xponential 2018. These systems provide robust positioning and accuracy in a compact footprint for UAVs and smaller autonomous projects,” said Neil Gerein, Director of Product Management at NovAtel. “An advanced range of software options, including NovAtel’s tightly coupled GNSS+Inertial SPAN® technology and Interference Toolkit, provide assured positioning anywhere. “

Dual Antenna, Multi-Frequency Enclosures

NovAtel’s new PwrPak7D and PwrPak7D-E1 enclosures provide space efficiency without sacrificing position accuracy and heading stability, even in stationary, slow-moving or hovering dynamics. The PwrPak7D-E1 enclosure integrates an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) with NovAtel’s OEM7720 dual antenna receiver board to deliver Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and Inertial Navigation System (INS) capabilities. When combined with NovAtel’s SPAN technology, positioning and attitude performance is optimized during extended GNSS outages.

Both the PwrPak7D and PwrPak7D-E1 include NovAtel’s Interference Toolkit with advanced interference detection and mitigation features applicable to all stages of integration. A web user interface, accessible through Ethernet or Wi-Fi, allows for quick and easy system configuration and control.

OEM7600 Receiver Board for Smaller Autonomous Systems

The OEM7600 receiver board features NovAtel’s high-performance positioning solutions in an extremely small form factor, wrapped with protective shielding to isolate emissions from surrounding electronics in confined spaces. This new receiver integrates easily with NovAtel’s SPAN technology to optimize performance during extended GNSS outages. The new OEM7600 will be commercially available this summer.

New Post-Processing Software for UAVs and Small Project Areas

Also at Xponential 2018, NovAtel is introducing Inertial Explorer Xpress (IEX), a cost effective, post-processing software for GNSS+INS datasets. Inertial Explorer Express provides the same core processing and utilities as the Waypoint Inertial Explorer software for applications including Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and smaller projects. Inertial Explorer Express will produce centimeter-level position and attitude solutions compatible for LiDAR, camera and other sensor data with faster processing times and reduced complexity.

For more product information:

• PwrPak7D

https://www.novatel.com/products/gnss-receivers/enclosures/pwrpak7d/

• PwrPak7D-E1

https://www.novatel.com/products/span-gnss-inertial-systems/span-combined-systems/pwrpak7d-e1/

• OEM7600 (this link will be available May 1st 2018)

https://www.novatel.com/products/gnss-receivers/oem-receiver-boards/oem7-receivers/oem7600

• Inertial Explorer Xpress

https://www.novatel.com/products/software/inertial-explorer-xpress/

Drone Students Learn Basics

Featured image: Students in the “Fun With Drones” Interterm class flying a drone at MacLeish Field Station. Instructor Jon Caris, director of Smith’s Spatial Analysis Lab, is third from right.

As a result of a “Fun With Drones” class she took during this year’s Interterm, first-year Smithie Emily Wert quips that she is considering changing her Facebook page.

“A drone is going to be my profile photo,” Wert said with a smile at a final class session in Smith’s Spatial Analysis Lab. “This is who I am now!”

This Phantom 3 model drone was used by students in the “Fun With Drones” Interterm course.

Generating such enthusiasm was the main goal of the Interterm course taught by Jon Caris, director of the Spatial Analysis Lab (SAL), engineering major Alex Widstrand ’17 and SAL post-baccalaureate fellow Scott Gilman.

Over the course of five days in January, students explored the basics of drone technology, mapping flight missions for the small aerial devices and safety regulations governing remote-controlled drone flights.

From the very first class, students also got hands-on flying experience with two different drones, first on a simulator, then in practice sessions at Scott Gym and MacLeish Field Station.

Spatial Analysis Lab Director Jon Caris looks on while (from left) University of Massachusetts Amherst student Ina Shkurti and Smithie Zoe Dong ’18J get ready to operate a drone at MacLeish Field Station.

MacLeish turned out to be the more challenging site for flying, due to cold and windy conditions. The practice score for that day: Trees 1; Student Drone Pilots 0.

Wert, who plans to study neuroscience at Smith, said she enrolled in “Fun With Drones” hoping that flying would be the main focus.

“I actually didn’t realize there would be mapping involved,” she said. “I’m glad I signed up. The class turned out to be a lot more interesting than I’d expected.”

Geosciences major Lizzie Sturtevant ’18 had used photogrammetric data from drones during a summer research project about Paradise Pond, but had not had many opportunities to actually operate a drone.

Signing up for the Interterm class was “a logical next step,” Sturtevant said. “From here, I could choose to go on and get certified as a pilot.”

Caris said the Interterm course was designed to draw students from a range of disciplines and to inspire ideas for using drones in the arts as well as the sciences.

This picture was taken by a drone operated by Smith students at MacLeish Field Station.

The course also incorporated design thinking principles developed last spring by Widstrand ’17 and her classmates in a Design Thinking Studio course. Students in the studio course created a Drone Thinking Initiative website as a way to spark dialogue on campus about potential applications of drone technology. (The site, which developed into the Interterm course website, also features information about safety rules for operating drones and a blog about “Fun With Drones.”)

Widstrand said she was impressed by how quickly students in the Interterm course learned basic techniques for mapping and directing drone flights.

“We started with a group that was initially a bit nervous to fly, but we ended the week noticeably more confident in our maneuvers and with evident knowledge of how to safely operate the drones,” she said.

Beginners’ jitters were evident during an early practice session in Scott Gym when only one or two students initially stepped forward to try flying drones in the confines of the softball practice net.

Sturtevant was one of them. As her classmates looked on, she reviewed a safety checklist, then digitally powered up a Phantom 3 drone and directed it to hover about four feet in the air. (Military drones can fly at very high altitudes, but smaller civilian versions are legally limited to flying 400 feet above ground level in outdoor environments).

Caris was encouraging—even when the Phantom ended up in the net instead of on the landing pad. “That was actually a perfect landing,” he said to Sturtevant. “You didn’t crash it.”

When Caris asked for another volunteer pilot, numerous hands rose into the air.

Cindy Li ’18 said the hardest maneuver was the “come back home” option, which required a clear sense of the orientation of the airborne drone.

“When it’s bright outside and there is glare, it’s hard to tell which is the front of the drone,” she explained. “I was thinking that adding some bright contrasting tape to the front would help, so it’s not just a white drone against a white background of clouds.”

In addition to flying lessons, Li said she enjoyed class discussions of regulatory issues related to drones.

“So many people are using them now,” noted Li, who is majoring in engineering. “But in all of the YouTube videos filmed from drones, people don’t seem to be abiding by FAA regulations.”

Students will have a chance to apply the knowledge they gained in the Interterm class during a March field trip to St. Catherines Island, Ga., where participants will help the Kashmir World Foundation use drones to map sea turtle nesting sites and tortoise burrows.

Widstrand said five of the 11 students who enrolled in “Fun With Drones” have expressed interest in the field trip, adding, “I think they will find this practical application of their new skills to be especially rewarding.”

Caris said students in the Interterm course shared ideas for future learning opportunities on campus, including a drone racing club and more courses and research projects using drones.

Li, who will be spending this semester in China, knows exactly how she wants to pursue her newfound interest in drones.

“I just want to fly more,” she said.

Fun With Drones: Students Learn Basics of RC Flight

Featured image: Students in the “Fun With Drones” Interterm class flying a drone at MacLeish Field Station. Instructor Jon Caris, director of Smith’s Spatial Analysis Lab, is third from right.

As a result of a “Fun With Drones” class she took during this year’s Interterm, first-year Smithie Emily Wert quips that she is considering changing her Facebook page.

“A drone is going to be my profile photo,” Wert said with a smile at a final class session in Smith’s Spatial Analysis Lab. “This is who I am now!”

This Phantom 3 model drone was used by students in the “Fun With Drones” Interterm course.

Generating such enthusiasm was the main goal of the Interterm course taught by Jon Caris, director of the Spatial Analysis Lab (SAL), engineering major Alex Widstrand ’17 and SAL post-baccalaureate fellow Scott Gilman.

Over the course of five days in January, students explored the basics of drone technology, mapping flight missions for the small aerial devices and safety regulations governing remote-controlled drone flights.

From the very first class, students also got hands-on flying experience with two different drones, first on a simulator, then in practice sessions at Scott Gym and MacLeish Field Station.

Spatial Analysis Lab Director Jon Caris looks on while (from left) University of Massachusetts Amherst student Ina Shkurti and Smithie Zoe Dong ’18J get ready to operate a drone at MacLeish Field Station.

MacLeish turned out to be the more challenging site for flying, due to cold and windy conditions. The practice score for that day: Trees 1; Student Drone Pilots 0.

Wert, who plans to study neuroscience at Smith, said she enrolled in “Fun With Drones” hoping that flying would be the main focus.

“I actually didn’t realize there would be mapping involved,” she said. “I’m glad I signed up. The class turned out to be a lot more interesting than I’d expected.”

Geosciences major Lizzie Sturtevant ’18 had used photogrammetric data from drones during a summer research project about Paradise Pond, but had not had many opportunities to actually operate a drone.

Signing up for the Interterm class was “a logical next step,” Sturtevant said. “From here, I could choose to go on and get certified as a pilot.”

Caris said the Interterm course was designed to draw students from a range of disciplines and to inspire ideas for using drones in the arts as well as the sciences.

This picture was taken by a drone operated by Smith students at MacLeish Field Station.

The course also incorporated design thinking principles developed last spring by Widstrand ’17 and her classmates in a Design Thinking Studio course. Students in the studio course created a Drone Thinking Initiative website as a way to spark dialogue on campus about potential applications of drone technology. (The site, which developed into the Interterm course website, also features information about safety rules for operating drones and a blog about “Fun With Drones.”)

Widstrand said she was impressed by how quickly students in the Interterm course learned basic techniques for mapping and directing drone flights.

“We started with a group that was initially a bit nervous to fly, but we ended the week noticeably more confident in our maneuvers and with evident knowledge of how to safely operate the drones,” she said.

Beginners’ jitters were evident during an early practice session in Scott Gym when only one or two students initially stepped forward to try flying drones in the confines of the softball practice net.

Sturtevant was one of them. As her classmates looked on, she reviewed a safety checklist, then digitally powered up a Phantom 3 drone and directed it to hover about four feet in the air. (Military drones can fly at very high altitudes, but smaller civilian versions are legally limited to flying 400 feet above ground level in outdoor environments).

Caris was encouraging—even when the Phantom ended up in the net instead of on the landing pad. “That was actually a perfect landing,” he said to Sturtevant. “You didn’t crash it.”

When Caris asked for another volunteer pilot, numerous hands rose into the air.

Cindy Li ’18 said the hardest maneuver was the “come back home” option, which required a clear sense of the orientation of the airborne drone.

“When it’s bright outside and there is glare, it’s hard to tell which is the front of the drone,” she explained. “I was thinking that adding some bright contrasting tape to the front would help, so it’s not just a white drone against a white background of clouds.”

In addition to flying lessons, Li said she enjoyed class discussions of regulatory issues related to drones.

“So many people are using them now,” noted Li, who is majoring in engineering. “But in all of the YouTube videos filmed from drones, people don’t seem to be abiding by FAA regulations.”

Students will have a chance to apply the knowledge they gained in the Interterm class during a March field trip to St. Catherines Island, Ga., where participants will help the Kashmir World Foundation use drones to map sea turtle nesting sites and tortoise burrows.

Widstrand said five of the 11 students who enrolled in “Fun With Drones” have expressed interest in the field trip, adding, “I think they will find this practical application of their new skills to be especially rewarding.”

Caris said students in the Interterm course shared ideas for future learning opportunities on campus, including a drone racing club and more courses and research projects using drones.

Li, who will be spending this semester in China, knows exactly how she wants to pursue her newfound interest in drones.

“I just want to fly more,” she said.

Drone Training for Educators – Back to School!

At Oregon State University (OSU), Oregon education professionals gathered on campus for the state’s first Drone Training for Educators conference.

“We had 30 educators from public and private schools all around the state come out to participate, including a teacher from the Oregon School for the Deaf and a program in central Oregon that serves migrant workers,” says Mark Peters, OSU research security officer.

According to Peters, the initial impulse that led to the creation of this program came from the Oregon Department of Education, which contacted the university to learn more about the technology and how teachers could use it to build interest in the so-called “STEM” subjects: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. “They wanted to understand the safety, insurance, and legal requirements for using drones in their programs, and that led to us holding four webinars over the previous school year, which culminated in this three-day conference.”

 Drone Training for Educators - OSU

With the beaver as its mascot, OSU has embraced drone technology to enhance its work in forestry, marine science, and other fields.

Center for Excellence

Hosting the program was a natural fit for OSU, which is developing a national center for excellence in drone technology. “We have faculty all over the university who are doing amazing things with drones,” says Peters. “For example, Professor Julie Adams has put me on notice as the regulatory compliance guy that in the next few years she wants to put up to 300 micro drones in the National Airspace System that will be completely autonomous. Right now, she and her team are working on the artificial intelligence that will allow this swarm to think and decide on its own how to accomplish a given task.”

 Drone Training for Educators - Oregon State University

Located in the state’s verdant Willamette Valley, Oregon State University was established in 1858 as a land-grant college with an emphasis on agriculture. However, it has continued to innovate and expand its programs to encompass such cutting-edge subjects as drones, robotics, and artificial intelligence.

In addition to the work being done to create the next generation of drone technology, the university is using drones to look at real-world problems in new and different ways. “The professors are telling me that the drone is the new microscope,” Peters explains. “They are using this technology to see and measure things that were never possible before now.” As an example, he cites the work of Dr. Leigh Torres, a marine biologist who has used drones to achieve a number of breakthroughs in the study of whales. “She was the first person to ever capture video of a blue whale calf nursing, and also the first to determine that humpback whales are actually social diners, that will synchronize their headstands before they dive for krill.”

 Drone Training for Educators - Teaching the teachers

Brian Whiteside of Drone Complier provides attendees at the Drone Training in Education conference with a basic understanding of the Part 107 regulations that govern drone operations in the United States.

Doing Their Part

Throughout the conference, attendees heard from researchers doing cutting-edge work at the university, as well as drone experts who talked about how to conduct flight operations safely and in compliance with the rules and regulations established by the Federal Aviation Administration. “It was important for us to inspire them, but also to give them the nuts and bolts they will need to establish their own drone programs when they go back to their classrooms,” says Peters. In addition to a compressed Remote Pilot In Command (RPIC) course taught by Brian Whiteside of Drone Complier, OSU is giving the teachers ongoing access to its web-based Part 107 training.

Peters intends for the Drone Training for Educators program to become an annual event at OSU, yet another piece of the university’s ambitious plan to stand at the forefront of the drone and robotics revolution. “Looking out at the next five to ten years, I see Oregon State rivaling Cal Tech, MIT, and Georgia Tech as one of the nation’s leading schools in robotics and artificial intelligence.” –Patrick Sherman

Drone News: Sky Ranger

Check out this mission-ready drone from Aeryon Defense USA! Designed specifically for use in the field by small groups of soldiers operating in hostile combat environments, the R80D is designed to fulfill many different missions with interchangeable payloads that include visible-light and thermal cameras, as well as payload delivery options for equipment weighing up to 4.4 pounds. It is fully capable of performing a tactical ISR role, as well as providing persistent overwatch using a tethered power supply option. Quick and easy to assemble in the field, operators can be trained in just a few days with no prior knowledge of drones or aeronautics. In this video, the Roswell Flight Test Crew provides coverage of a press event held by drone manufacturer Aeryon on the first day of the 2018 AUVSI Xponential show in Denver, Colorado. Speaking during the presentation are: William McHale, the CEO of Aeryon Labs; Tom Jackson, the Vice President and General Manager of Aeroyon Defense USA; and, Mark Holden, the Director of Defense Solutions for Aeryon Defense USA.

Drone News: Mission-Ready Sky Ranger

Check out this mission-ready drone from Aeryon Defense USA! Designed specifically for use in the field by small groups of soldiers operating in hostile combat environments, the R80D is designed to fulfill many different missions with interchangeable payloads that include visible-light and thermal cameras, as well as payload delivery options for equipment weighing up to 4.4 pounds. It is fully capable of performing a tactical ISR role, as well as providing persistent overwatch using a tethered power supply option. Quick and easy to assemble in the field, operators can be trained in just a few days with no prior knowledge of drones or aeronautics. In this video, the Roswell Flight Test Crew provides coverage of a press event held by drone manufacturer Aeryon on the first day of the 2018 AUVSI Xponential show in Denver, Colorado. Speaking during the presentation are: William McHale, the CEO of Aeryon Labs; Tom Jackson, the Vice President and General Manager of Aeroyon Defense USA; and, Mark Holden, the Director of Defense Solutions for Aeryon Defense USA.

Consortiq introduces AssureTech drone operations streamlining service

Consortiq is bringing together the tools to ensure that drone operators adhere to regulatory and insurance restrictions, via its new visionary concept, AssureTech. The benefit to drone pilots is reassurance that they have documentation of compliance if needed; the benefit to risk management officers is that an approved and agreed-upon standard of factors has been inspected and verified as safe for flight.

AssureTech will help the industry take the necessary leap forward in enabling the next level of UAV operations to become part of routine operations. By amalgamating Consortiq’s professional training, consultancy, and software provision services, companies using drones and individual drone operators flights will be safe and in compliance with industry best practices.

In order to safely operate their drones, pilots do not necessarily need to know all of the intrinsic regulatory details that aviation authorities implement; Consortiq AssureTech integrates the most recent relevant unmanned aviation vehicle rulings so compliance and safety are “assured.”

“The next ultimate aim that users have – routine beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) flight – requires that operators demonstrate to regulators that they are aware of the risk and can mitigate it where possible,” Paul Rigby, CEO of Consortiq, stated.

The UAV industry is working on the technology to enable BVLOS operations, including the development of unmanned traffic management systems (UTM), while regulators are concerned with ensuring that the skies are safe, based on proven concepts, procedures, and technologies.

What is needed is a link between these two efforts that transitions the vision of BVLOS to a safe reality by assuring regulators that the emerging technologies implementation can be trusted.

“Risk can never be completely eliminated – all types of flight come with some risk – but it is necessary to mitigate this as much as possible from a safety perspective,” Rigby added. “By using AssureTech, users will have the assurance that they are not being negligent, and it will also facilitate an expansion of UAV capabilities to meet the needs of industry.”

Consortiq will use the most appropriate tools to ensure that this is possible, be it training of operators, consulting on how to carry out operations, or provision of its award-winning drone management software, CQNet.

Rigby will be presenting AssureTech while speaking on the“Technology Advancements Moving BVLOS Operations Forward”panel at 11am on Thursday, May 3rd at AUVSI’s Xponential.Joe Morra and Kevin Gallagher, managers, Safety and Integration Division Federal Aviation Administration UAS Integration Office, and Ran Krauss, CEO & Co-founder ofAirobotics, are also on the panel.

About

As cutting-edge innovators in drone and unmanned technology, Consortiq makes it easier and safer for organizations to put drones in the sky. Consortiq transforms businesses through unmanned aircraft system (UAS) software, training, consultancy, and hardware.

Contact

Mary Bargteil

+1 (855) 203-8825

[email protected]

Swift Radioplanes Lynx VTOL

Lynx VTOL is a vertical takeoff and landing drone for precision agriculture and surveying. The new VTOL design is based on the existing long-endurance Lynx airframe, but can takeoff and land like a copter thanks to four dedicated vertical thrust motors. Lynx VTOL blends the ease-of-use and flexibility of a multirotor with the endurance and speed of an airplane.

Swift Radioplanes, LLC (SRP) was founded in 2013 in mile-high Prescott Arizona to create fixed-wing sUAS for survey and mapping. The company emphasizes simplicity, ruggedness, and performance in their aircraft, while always keeping operator interaction and workflow in mind. SRP’s design philosophy traces back to the founding members’ experience as UAV operators in the US Army. Their Lynx UAS is a clear example of this with an industry-leading flight time of up to three hours, durable Kevlar composite construction, and the user-friendly Swift Ground Control Station (GCS). The Lynx airframe and Swift GCS were both designed from scratch by SRP and undergo continuous improvement and updates.

In addition to Lynx and Swift GCS, SRP actively participates and develops for ArduPilot, the professional open source autopilot system supporting, multi-copters, helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft, and rovers. ArduPilot powers the ubiquitous Pixhawk and Pixhawk 2 autopilot boards.

https://srp.aero