You’ve Seen Foldable Drones, But Never Like This

drone folds cave in zurich

One of the more interesting recent developments in the consumer drone space has been the unprecedented rise of foldable drones. From cheaper models like the Zerotech Dobby to this year’s mighty Mavic 2, it seems that drones you can carry in your pocket are in high demand this holiday season, and it will be interesting to see where this highly portable technology goes in the future.

But while any drone enthusiast is now familiar with drones you can fold with your hands, you’ve never seen a drone that can fold itself in mid-air. That is, until today:

This unnamed quadcopter is the result of a collaboration between two academic institutions in Switzerland: the University of Zurich and the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, or EPFL. It was designed with the intention of helping first responders and rescue efforts. Disaster sites (the famous case of the boys trapped in the cave in Thailand earlier this year comes to mind) rarely conform to shapes and sizes that are easy to navigate, which is why it would be necessary for such a drone to change its shape.

“The morphing drone can adopt different configurations according to what is needed in the field,” says Stefano Mintchev, coauthor and researcher at EPFL. He further stated that the drone was inspired in part by the way that birds fold their wings to fly through narrow passages, making this the second research drone we’ve seen in the past two months that was inspired by real-world biology.

foldable drone narrow places zurich

“Our solution is quite simple from a mechanical point of view,” says Davide Falanga, researcher at the University of Zurich and the paper’s first author, “But it is very versatile and very autonomous, with onboard perception and control systems.” The quadcopter itself has four propellers in a standard X shape when unfolded, but shrinks to an H-shaped or O-shaped configuration when folded to fit into a narrow passage as in the video above. It can also transform into a T-shaped configuration with an onboard camera in front of the drone for situations that require photo or video to be taken from as close to a subject as possible.

The proof of concept seen above is impressive enough (it looks like a real-life Transformer!) but the researchers say that it’s still not done. They want to improve the body of the drone and add additional joints so that it can fold in a full three dimensions, offering a greater variety of shapes to deal with a greater variety of spaces that rescuers may encounter. They also want to make the drone fully autonomous so that it can automatically adapt to any obstacle or oddly-shaped opening without the input of a pilot.

“The final goal,” Falanga explains, “is to give the drone a high-level instruction such as ‘enter that building, inspect every room and come back’ and let it figure out by itself how to do it.” This would make the drone easy for anyone to use, even if the rescuers in question don’t have advanced drone training.

The quadcopter may not be ready for primetime, but for now, at least we get to enjoy one of the coolest-looking new drone designs in a long time.

Mike is an online entrepreneur and digital marketing specialist who also loves flying drones. He has owned and managed Dronethusiast since 2015 and enjoys writing reviews and analyzing different topics in the fast moving Drone technology space. Along with the editorial team at Dronethusiast Mike spends hundreds of hours each year analyzing and studying different drones and their tech specs to help consumers find the best products for their needs. Contact Mike by using the Dronethusiast.com Contact page or reach out at mike@dronethusiast.com.

Ghana Lawmakers Approve Controversial Drone Deal

drone medical deliveries in ghana

This week, Ghana’s parliament approved a deal that would spend $12.5 million (in USD) over the next four years to create a system of medical supply delivery to remote areas of the country using drones. The system will be implemented through a partnership between the Ghanaian government’s own Health Service and US-based drone company Zipline, which we’ve written about before and which has assisted in implementing a similar system in Rwanda.

Government officials say that the deal, known officially as the Drone Delivery Project, will bring the world’s most advanced healthcare supply chain to the small African country. But while the government vote on the project was overwhelmingly in favor of the plan (102 votes for, 58 votes against), the proposal has been accompanied by massive public outcry from Ghana’s citizens.

The Ghana Medical Association, an organized non-governmental group of doctors from the country, issued a statement calling for an immediate suspension of the project implementation. They say that the Drone Delivery Project is a clear waste of government money in a country that still has less than 100 ambulances nationwide. Furthermore, they point out that the plan was pushed through without any consultation from medical health professionals: “It is appropriate for us as an Association of Medical Doctors and Dentists, who are stakeholders in the policy, to offer our perspective on the matter even though we have not been consulted.”

ghana drone delivery medial supplies 1

In a general sense, the detractors feel that the deal is more about making Ghana appear technologically advanced and impress Western companies (like Zipline themselves, no doubt) while ignoring the concerns of ordinary Ghanaians.

The Director-General of Ghana’s Health Service, Dr. Nsiah Asare, spoke to journalists in Accra about his view of the project: “The purpose of the drones is part of Ghana government’s policy to deliver quality health service to every Ghanaian…We believe that it is the most cheapest and efficient way to deliver to the remotest and underserved areas of the country.”

The country’s Vice President, Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia, of the center-right New Patriotic Party, didn’t mince words as he defended the deal as being essential to improving Ghanaian health care: “If you have a technology that can help a dying mother, or someone dying of snake bite, bring the medicine! I think it’s something that is so important and we should grab and make use of.”

“It is not a political issue,” he added, “Because everybody who is dying will not ask whether you’re NDC or NPP.” NPP, of course, is the New Patriotic Party itself, while the NDC refers to the center-left National Democratic Congress, which has largely been opposed to the deal.

“We’ve said it that this one, it is a ripoff,” said Cassiel Ato Forson, NDC parliamentarian and Minority spokesperson on Finance. “Even if everyone else supports it, I – Cassiel Ato Forson – will not support it because I think it is a ripoff…The Vice President is leading this country unto a path of unrighteousness because obviously, we can use $27.8 million for something better.”

At Dronethusiast, we often cover drone news from the perspective that more technological progress in the industry is always better. But this case brings up an important consideration that we should always keep in mind. Progress should never come at the expense of peoples’ lives, and as much as we love drones, there are many countries in the world that may legitimately need to wait to implement them as part of their infrastructure.

What do you think? Do you believe that Ghana is facing such a situation now? Or would you rather have fast medicine than ambulance support for hospitals? Let us know what you think of this tricky issue in the comments (and by all means, let’s try to keep it respectful.)

Mike is an online entrepreneur and digital marketing specialist who also loves flying drones. He has owned and managed Dronethusiast since 2015 and enjoys writing reviews and analyzing different topics in the fast moving Drone technology space. Along with the editorial team at Dronethusiast Mike spends hundreds of hours each year analyzing and studying different drones and their tech specs to help consumers find the best products for their needs. Contact Mike by using the Dronethusiast.com Contact page or reach out at mike@dronethusiast.com.

Pancakes and Politics

Anecdotes from the Drone Symposium/Pancake Breakfast. Lead-time on the pop-up symposium was short, but it was great to be in LA around Christmas, and if you haven’t been for the holidays you should try it. Seventy plus degrees, palm trees, and decorations make for a surreal vibe to be sure. Besides the environs, we have a little bit of a difference, as well as a refreshing mindset, outside of the Silicon Valley techo-chamber. NorCal is facing a breadcrumb trail washed away by VC tears, and poor old Hipster and Gretel are further afield and more detached from reality with each day that passes.

The self-supplied BS brokerage in LA is probably around 7 while SV has cut out the middleman and scaled it up to 11 for the last several years. I know it almost doesn’t make sense to say that the folks in LA are more grounded than somewhere else, but sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction. In and around the Valley it is getting ugly, and it is starting to look like the Bluetooth speaker for the drone-startup game of musical chairs could end up at the liquidation auction at any time (with or without the Andreessen Horowitz sticker on it). The disdain for hardware is leaving software folks feeling kind of empty, as everyone is waiting for someone else to invest (lose his or her shirt from being blindsided) in the newest disruptive technology.

We had pancakes, Lingonberry in my case, with a sampling of different maple syrups. The breakfast was casual and an excellent opportunity for us to make new friends as well as catch up with some old acquaintances.

The Boulevard of Broken Drone Dreams display, from left to right, Airware, 3DR, and the GoPro Karma.

Since the Airware news went public, VC money for drones is scarcer than self-respect amongst Instagram models, and, some say, even possibly the venerable DC lobbyist!

What’s that you say? Your drone solution produces tangible results? Scaling up the free customer base was the go-to tactic for yesterday’s unicorn. Most of the still-breathing startups already did the CEO switcheroo while the book cooking was good and everything still looked muy bueno. The ROI writing is on the wall and that deaf, dumb, and blind dog will not hunt.

I am a firm believer that the rubber meets the road out in the field. I don’t care what you postulate at your desk (between bites of pizza) only costing 46 rupees per mile; working in the real world is where the learning happens.

During the presentation portion of the program, we learned about some C-UAS domestic threat cases, and those capabilities are more devious and broader than most of the selfie droners are imagining. We got an update on what detection and counter technologies are in as well as what tech is out. Some of what is out was a nonstarter in my book from day one. On the innovative infrastructure front, Droning Down Under literally put droning underground into a new light. Considerations and the reality of operating in the dark or without ambient light showed a few things lacking with state of the art. New solutions are needed to pull the plum here. Finally, we got an engineer’s view of some of the challenges of the future of aerospace and the airspace and what will be allowed to fly in it. I think this presentation would have gone over the heads of the cellphone software set. And those who could comprehend may be in need of lots more money (and/or a crying towel) just for the assumptions portion.

To borrow one of Gary’s cricket euphemisms, NASA and/or the FAA didn’t pitch up. I don’t know if government folks are just afraid that someone might ask more than the softball questions or if it is just the old-fashioned marginalization afforded critics of the well-oiled machine. In any event, an objective olive branch was extended to the new leadership of the UASIO, and we will see if that leads to a change. The author’s presentation focused on the lightly discussed 2018 FAA reauthorization, including, but not limited to, the demise of 336 and the lobbied for CBO- i.e., AMA definition, privacy, User Fees, UTM and the UAM.

On the UAM side, we are already seeing the exodus of true believers, visionaries, and drone and air traffic control cellphone app experts—all of them scurrying off to the greener pastures. For you rubes caught flat-footed by the new nomenclature, it is Urban Air Mobility, commonly known to the layperson merely as flying cars. They are dropping the ID and tracking, flying over people, and BVLOS barriers like a hot rock. We’re all merrily on our way to flying off to Coachella in 2020. Interestingly enough, no one is mentioning how all of the packaged delivery lobbyists, advocates, and cellphone app developers failed to integrate a 251-gram Humpty Dumpty into the existing NAS in near real time. That revelation might be too real for some of the folks who have watched the Elevate video, but it won’t even be a speed bump in the road for the grifters who will set upon fleecing whomever they can with a confirming nod and a smile on their face.

Anyone stupid enough to hire one of these sideshow carnival barkers without examples of performance or ROI for other victims—err, umm, I mean clients (or “johns,” in the parlance of our times)—deserves the fleecing they get. These wide-eyed kids are blowing through somebody else’s money, making the proverbial drunken sailor look stingy. I’d say bring us a safety case, and then we can talk about your fee. Caveat emptor!

Here are some of the roundtable issues and not necessarily in order of importance.

FAA credibility damaged

  1. Capricious regulation
  2. Lack of enforcement (competing with non-compliant yahoos)
  3. Missed congressionally mandated deadlines
  4. No definite dates for full integration
  5. Trite platitudes, e.g. We’re open for business, standards and bring us a safety case.
  6. User fees, for who based on what numbers?

Industry

  1. Lack of standards for infrastructure and other inspections.
  2. Monopoly
  3. Comms, including C2 and standards for UTM, to integrate with existing ATM and V2V. Using a part 15 ISM control link that clearly states you may not cause interference and you must accept interference.
  4. The issues for UTM are glossed over or misunderstood.
  5. Lack of expertise with the industry SME’s (pay to play)
  6. Standards work

We did record the presentations and conversations. Depending upon the quality of the capture and the permission of the presenters they may get posted on the sUAS News Youtube.com channel. If you aren’t a subscriber, you should get over there now to not miss any of the quality content.

https://www.youtube.com/user/sUASNews

Sky-Drones partners with Altitude Angel and integrates airspace services in SmartAP GCS

Sky-Drones – the leading UAV flight control system solutions expert partnered with Altitude Angel – aviation technology company who creates global-scale solutions that enable safe integration and use of fully autonomous drones into global airspace. Sky-Drones creates professional UAV flight control systems including autopilot hardware, onboard software, ground control software and cloud services. The company brings technology to help its global customers building and operating commercial drones for security, inspections, mapping and media production.

“At Sky-Drones we highly appreciate, prioritize and always strive to enhance the safety of drone operations”, – says Kirill Shilov, CEO of Sky-Drones. An exponentially growing number of drones and more complex missions require reliable airspace regulator which will allow bringing drone operations at an even higher level. Altitude Angel is a trusted advisor to regulatory groups and national aviation authorities, working in partnership with key stakeholders to manage new legislative and regulatory issues. These are one of the key reasons why Sky-Drones has chosen Altitude Angel as a strategic partner on its way of unmanned aerial vehicles integration into controlled airspace.

SmartAP GCS is mission planning and control software by Sky-Drones. The application is available for any platforms and operating systems which makes it versatile and flexible. Recently the company has finished the first step of Altitude Angel services integrated into the app. Now and onwards SmartAP users are able to see airspace and ground hazard data which will make their decisions on flight location selection and mission scenarios more aware and adequate. It’s a major milestone towards incorporating BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line-of-Sight) drone operations on a regular basis which will eventually lead to the new business opportunities of UAV applications. The next step is an implementation of automated in-app airspace authorization request based on the pre-planned mission. This would mean that Sky-Drones customers will get an opportunity among the first worldwide to be able to fly in controlled airspace without the need to switch between control and authorization apps.

https://sky-drones.com/

Flock partners with UAV8 to expand UK partnership network

Flock are thrilled to announce that they have partnered with UAV8, a renowned commercial drone training school. The collaborative partnership has enabled UAV8 to provide free Flight Assessment insurance with their courses, protecting training pilots with both hull (drone and airborne accessories) and Public Liability cover. This allows pilots to take their assessment with peace of mind, as they can fly knowing the equipment their future business depends on is covered.

The new partnership forms part of Flock’s ongoing commitment to make entry into the UK’s growing drone industry easier, and more accessible, than ever. This has been the driving force behind Flock’s ‘Insurance Included’ initiative, which has been positively received by NQE’s across the country since its launch earlier this year.

Streamlining the training journey

This year, UAV8 have trained hundreds of drone pilots, ranging from sole-traders, to those preparing to fly for some of the largest UK drone operators. Throughout the year, UAV8’s courses are regularly oversubscribed. This is no doubt a result of the team’s highly qualifed instructors who collectively have over 200 years flight training experience.

UAV8 courses take place over three days, where fundamental theory practices are taught, prior to a practical Flight Assessment. As commercial drone insurance is a legal requirement in the UK, the CAA require that training pilots have appropriate insurance in place for their Flight Assessment. Thanks to the new partnership, UAV8 pilots can book insurance in a matter of taps with the Flock Cover mobile app at no extra cost. Personalised insurance documents are instantly sent to the pilot, ready to show the instructor on the day of the assessment.

Booking Flight Assessment insurance takes less than one minute with the Flock Cover app.

Support beyond training

Both Flock and UAV8 go the extra mile to ensure that pilots are supported beyond their Flight Assessment. The UAV8 team work closely with pilots to complete their Operations Manual, which is then reviewed by the CAA as part of the PfCO application process. Another important (and mandatory) step in PfCO applications is submitting proof of EC785/2004 compliant insurance. With the Flock Cover app, pilots can instantly receive a CAA accepted proof-of-insurance document without having to purchase a commercial policy first. The Flock team are also on standby 7 days a week to provide PfCO support.

The support that both companies provide extends well into a pilot’s career as a commercial operator. UAV8 offer all students a lifetime of free advice, whilst Flock provide flexible ‘Pay-as-you-fly’ insurance and safety tools to commercial operators through the Flock Cover app.

New products in 2019

Flock’s current insurance offering is continuing to prove popular for newly qualified pilots, as the affordability of Pay-as-you-fly enables pilots to invest in other areas, such as getting their new business off the ground.

To further expand its flexible insurance offering, Flock will be publicly launching a new subscription product, Fly Unlimited, in the new year. Created with frequent flyers in mind, Fly Unlimited is a flexible monthly policy that can be cancelled or paused at any time. This opens the door for pilots to fully customise their insurance throughout the year, using Fly Unlimited during busy periods, and Pay-as-you-fly over quieter spells, such as in the winter months.

Barry Humphreys MBE, Managing Director of UAV8 said of the partnership: ‘At UAV8 we pride ourselves in putting our clients first, and the new partnership with Flock serves to strengthen this even further. The experience for our pilots is seamless, and Flock’s comprehensive insurance enables them to fly safely, and with total peace of mind. We’ve quickly built a very close working relationship with the Flock team, and we look forward to what’s set to be a very busy and exciting 2019!’

Ed Leon Klinger, Flock’s CEO commented: ‘We’re thrilled to have teamed up with the team at UAV8; these guys are truly some of the best in the business. We will be working closely with them to make sure their pilots are supported every step of the way. This includes launching a whole suite of new insurance and risk management products in 2019. These will accommodate UAV8’s entire range of clients, from small drone businesses through to the largest commercial enterprises”.

About

Flock is a London-based, VC and Government backed insurtech startup, who have partnered with Allianz to launch Europe’s first Pay-as-you-fly drone insurance app, Flock Cover. The app is free to download on both iOS and Android devices. Flock is currently launching its new insurance product, Fly Unlimited, to a small number of UK drone pilots. To find out more, email [email protected]

UAV8 deliver industry leading commercial drone training courses. The team is made up of former military pilots and instructors, who have an unequalled provenance of delivering aviation training in both the unmanned and manned aircraft industries. For more information, visit https://www.uav8.co/ or call 0800 085 6885.

GAUSS Project gathers prominent European actors to analyse benefits of Galileo and EGNOS in operations with Unmanned Aircraft Systems

The GAUSS project, a GSA initiative coordinated by everis Aerospace, Defense, and Security (everis ADS), recently organised a workshop at the University of Cranfield (United Kingdom) to analyse the benefits of Galileo and EGNOS in the context of operations involving unmanned systems (UAS) and their air traffic management (in Europe, U-Space). The event gathered relevant European actors in the fields of drone air traffic management and regulation, as well as air navigation service providers (ANSPs), the industry, and research centres.

Representatives of the EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency), EUROCONTROL, and SESAR Joint Undertaking (SESAR JU), among others, took part in the workshop. One of the aims of the event was to define reference operations and relevant scenarios to assess Galileo and EGNOS in real U-Space environments.

This way it will be possible to analyse the advantages of using them and to optimise the performance of satellite navigation systems in European drone operations.

In the words of Marta Krywanis-Brzostowska, Project Officer in the GSA, this workshop provided a great opportunity to discuss the EGNSS benefits for drones. As highlighted by participants, GNSS is essential for safe and reliable navigation of drones. The drone market is booming and future drone-based applications will face more demanding requirements in terms of integrity and accuracy. Here, Galileo and EGNOS can contribute by answering to those requirements, for instance, SBAS will cover the increasingly demanding requirements in terms of robust navigation, continuity, accuracy and availability; the inclusion of Galileo in the multi-constellation concept and integration with other sensors (e.g. inertial, vision) will significantly improve the accuracy, availability, continuity and reliability of drone positioning/navigation; Galileo’s authentication can contribute by minimizing the risk of threats.

Together with the celebration of this workshop, another important milestone of the project was the signing of the EU U-space demonstrator network manifesto during the launch event on October 19th in Antwerp. This network, supported by the EC, EASA, SESAR JU, and Eurocontrol will become a forum to share knowledge on how to keep drone operations safe, secure, and green. It focuses specifically on relevant projects that, with a clear business case, build on mature technologies, but need some further operational and regulatory demonstrations before starting commercial operations.

GAUSS Project

In the context of the H2020 programme, over three years, the GAUSS Project seeks to improve the security and positioning functionalities of unmanned air vehicles (UAV) by means of the capabilities of the Galileo and EGNOS systems.

This is an initiative of the GSA (European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency) executed by a consortium coordinated by everis Aerospace, Defense, and Security. The consortium comprises the Institut de Robòtica i Informàtica Industrial (CSIC-UPC), the University of Cranfield, the University of Sevilla, and the companies Rina Consulting, Aratos Systems, and Satways.

Specifically, the goal of the GAUSS Project is to make the most of the functionalities and services of Galileo and EGNOS in the field of UAS for three main purposes: improving the positioning, speed, and guidance of unmanned air vehicles; developing attack detection and mitigation mechanisms based on jamming (satellite signal interference) and spoofing (satellite signal masquerading); and applying these improvements to the air traffic management procedures of unmanned vehicles.

This way, the aim is to enhance navigation performance and security during flight time, and to make it possible for a large amount of UAVs of different types, sizes, and categories to share the same airspace segment below 120 meters (VLL).

About the GSA

The GSA’s mission is to support European Union objectives and achieve the highest return on European GNSS investment, in terms of benefits to users and economic growth and competitiveness, by:

Designing and enabling services that fully respond to user needs, while continuously improving the European GNSS services and Infrastructure;

Managing the provision of quality services that ensure user satisfaction in the most cost-efficient manner;

Engaging market stakeholders to develop innovative and effective applications, value-added services and user technology that promote the achievement of full European GNSS adoption;

Ensuring that European GNSS services and operations are thoroughly secure, safe and accessible.

About everis Aerospace, Defense and Security

everis Aerospace, Defense, and Security is a company of everis Group that provides global solutions for the implementation of critical systems integrating reliable and innovative technologies developed by them, by the SMEs they invest in, or by the technological partners with whom they have strategic alliances.

Zipline medical deliveries for Ghana meet resistance

On Tuesday the Ghanian government approved a $12.5 million deal with Zipline to roll out their medical delivery service in the country. The company will build four nodes all staffed by Ghanaians. The first will be at Suhum in Eastern Ghana. Operating 24/7 the nodes will cost the Government $88,000 a month and the current contract is to run for four years.

Zipline guarantees 150 flights per day. The four centres then making 600 flights a day. I wonder how much the weather comes into play, that seems like a big number.

There has been resistance, on Wednesday The Ghana Medical Association called for the suspension of the deal.

“The government should suspend the planned implementation of this system immediately. Broader stakeholder consultations on the use of this autonomous remotely piloted aircraft system (drones) in the healthcare delivery in the country should be conducted to decide the way forward.

Health should not be politicized and that the health of Ghanaians is critical

The GMA is not against the use of technology to improve healthcare in the country. However, every single intervention proposed in this direction should not be seen as a panacea to solving our healthcare problems, but rather as an augmentation to existing efforts.

The proposed services to be provided by the drones do not conform to the existing primary healthcare policy in Ghana, where different levels of care have different capacities to perform specific functions.”

I have a feeling once in operation the value of the service will be clear.

Africa is leading the way for real, life-changing drone deliveries, not just hosting trials for moving first world luxuries.

DroneClash 2019

Want to win up to 50.000 euro prize money? Sign your team up for the next edition of DroneClash. (Early bird action till 14-12-2018) This next-level FPV competition – a kind of 3D Robot Wars, will be held on March 16, 2019, at the former airbase, Valkenburg in Katwijk, the Netherlands. With six teams already signed up for the second edition of the world’s best counter drone event, the competition promises to be hot. Teams who wish to take part are invited to register before January 16, 2019, to compete for €50.000 in prize money.

Supersale: If you subscribe your team before 14-12-2018 you get your money back after participation. The subscription costs are €150,- per team. This is to make sure teams are serious about subscribing.

Read all about the first edition of DroneClash here: http://www.droneclash.nl/droneclash-2018-i/

Danger Drones: addressing a rreal-world problem

DroneClash was conceived as a spectacular and breathtaking event to show off the best and bravest in drone and counter-drone technology. However ,there is also a serious under-lying goal – namely to address the real world problem of nefarious drones.. In recent years, drone development has mushroomed, and an anti-drone industry is following in its wake. Ideally, these two industries will keep each other in check, resulting in drones being safely and responsibly incorporated into our daily lives. Delft University of Technology’s Micro Air Vehicle Lab (MAVLab) – the organising team behind DroneClash – hopes that the event will generate new ideas and give the counter-drone industry a much-needed boost.

Call for Entry

Want to win 50.000 euro in prize money? Sign up your team! DroneClash is a next-level FPV competition – a kind of 3D Robot Wars. Teams will battle it out in this real-life video game. Each team is allowed to use as many drones as they like, but they should bring at least one Fighter drone and one Queen drone. The main idea is simple: knock out the rival Queens. How? That’s up to the teams!

The starting points for DroneClash are the separate team arenas. Here all the drones are chomping at the bit, but before battle can commence, they must traverse the treacherous Hallway of Doom, Death and Destruction (aka the 3D Hallway). Here they will be subjected to the latest in counter-drone technology, before clashing with enemy drones and trying to bring down rival Queens.

More information about the competition, this edition’s rules, and how teams can participate can be found at: www.droneclash.org/teams

Overseas teams can contact the organisers to request help with travel expenses.

DroneClash 2019: bigger and better

DroneClash 2019 promises to be even more spectacular than the first edition. The drones which entered DroneClash 2018 were all but impervious to the counter-measures deployed in the 3D Hallway. While over 20 nets were fired, not one succeeded in catching a drone mid-flight. The drones were simply too fast: a lesson in itself for the counter-drone industry.

This year, things will be different. Small rule changes, designed to lengthen the battles, mean that teams will be able to really can show off their skills and their technology.

Last year’s innovations included a new way of hacking which is now the subject of a research project by the authorities. Mark Wiebes, Chief Innovation Officer of the Dutch Police comments:

“We are quite satisfied with the results of the first DroneClash. Although it showed that we still have a long way to go. All the more reason to make DroneClash a regular event in the calendar’

uAvionix to Open “HQ2” in Washington DC Metropolitan Region

uAvionix, designer and manufacturer of communications, navigation, and surveillance (CNS) equipment for unmanned and manned aircraft, today announced its plans to establish an office location in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. This expansion reflects the company’s long-term business strategy and the strong growth the company has seen in both the unmanned and manned aviation markets.

After an exhaustive nationwide search for the perfect location, comparing important criteria such as transportation options, talent availability, and local craft beer quality – the uAvionix “HQ2” will be located in Leesburg, Virginia – and will focus on business operations, development, and regulatory engagement – particularly in the emerging unmanned aircraft systems market.

“Despite all efforts by Leesburg and the local agencies to convince us to stay in Montana, this location provides fantastic brewery, winery, and distillery options within just a few miles, we just couldn’t turn it down,” states Christian Ramsey, President and local lead for HQ2. “Of lesser importance, Leesburg provides excellent transportation options domestically and internationally with nearby Dulles International Airport, as well as easy access to FAA headquarters and industry advocacy and standards groups such as Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), Association for Unmanned Systems International (AUVSI) and RTCA.”

“HQ2 demonstrates our commitment to growth, and will position uAvionix for 2019 and beyond,” states Paul Beard, CEO.

uAvionix HQ2 is expected to open in February 2019. Current corporate headquarters in Bigfork, Montana will remain critical to current operations and growth, and focus will remain on engineering, manufacturing, and support. New staff have been hired locally, and uAvionix is recruiting for additional positions in Leesburg. For information on open positions, please see www.uavionix.com/careers.

Skydio’s R1 Now Follows You Over Water!

Skydio , the maker of the self-flying Skydio R1, is continuing to push the boundaries of what autonomy can do, providing consumers with the easiest and most fun drone experience available today. In our continuing efforts to make Skydio R1 more capable through regular software updates, our latest release allows Skydio R1 to fly over large bodies of water and track

cars in all available cinematic Skills.

Skydio has made improvements to the Autonomy Engine’s navigation and tracking system to account for water. The Skydio app has been updated to show you when R1 has a GPS lock on your phone, assuring that it can reliably follow you and return to you safely whether you’re flying over land or water. Now the R1 is ready to capture all your beach, boat, and wakeboarding fun. For extra confidence, we’ve also added a few tips about flying over water to the app. If you’re heading to snow for vacation instead of warm beaches, don’t forget to brush up on our cold weather tips before heading out.

All cinematic Skills and One-Shots have been extended to film cars as well as people. Instead of using separate car Skills, you can now select cars as a subject in any of the Skills in the Skydio app. Try out a Dronie shot or set R1 to orbit your car and make it the star of your next clip.

Users can now create exciting motion-blurred videos when exporting clips from the Skydio app on their phone with the new Hyperlapse option. This will accentuate the motion of the scene while leaving the subject crystal-clear and centered in frame, heightening the sense of movement.