Drone Harmony was Accepted to the ESA Business Incubator Switzerland

Drone Harmony was chosen to be part of the 5th cohort of the ESA Business Incubator Switzerland (ESA BIC CH). This achievement will allow Drone Harmony to enrich its data-driven mission planning platform with global sources of satellite data.Luzern, Switzerland – February 2019The value that an organization derives from digitalization is predicated on the quality of data it can generate about the business and how easily it can feed it into the digital workflow. In the commercial inspection space, drones are the new eyes in the sky that hold the potential to replace old manual methods with new digital workflows. Drone Harmony is developing the tools to turn drones from mere eyes in the sky to effective automated data collection tools that drive the modern digital workflows and enable their full-scale deployment.

Drone Harmony’s acceptance to ESA BIC CH represents both a confirmation Drone Harmony’s vision and an important milestone in the development of its’ data-driven data acquisition platform. Satellite data is the most comprehensive and accurate global source of geospatial data and as such a perfect resource to enable autonomous drone mission planning and flight.

Two important globally available sources of data originating from satellites are high-resolution imagery and digital elevation models (surface models that represent the heights of points in space and are necessary for high accuracy mapping). These sources of data are imperative for automating drone operations in geographic regions where maps are outdated, and the terrain is complex.

In the context of the incubation, Drone Harmony will integrate high-quality sources of satellite data into the Drone Harmony mission planning platform. This development will be aligned with the upcoming release of web-based mission planning application, that will enable new forms of

integrations and handling of higher volumes of data.

Martin Fuchsberger, CEO of Drone Harmony commented: “We see our acceptance to the ESA BIC CH as confirmation of our vision of creating fully autonomous drone-based inspection workflows. We are excited about the opportunity that this incubation holds for both our company and our technology. The importance of satellite data for automation of drone operations is unquestioned, and now we have the opportunity to pursue the integration of such data sources with expert advice and support from leading organizations in the space industry.”

Drone Harmony was founded in 2016 by a team of problem solvers with a passion for drones, software and automation. From the very early days, Drone Harmony have set out to tackle the mathematical and engineering challenges of enabling cost-effective deployment of drone technology in industries, where existing technologies were unable to deliver. By now, Drone Harmony’s customers have logged more than 50,000 autonomous flights in 6 continents and dozens of use cases.

Drone Harmony

Intel Drones Germany lay off more than 50 staff

Word is reaching us of large numbers of folks being let go at Intels main drone manufacturer Ascending Technologies in Germany at the end of 2018.

If true that’s very sad as Asctec really have been pioneers in the drone space.

Intel has form in this regard, they hired and fired at Yuneec USA back in 2017.

Not only did they bring their Falcon 8 industrial inspection platform to the party but the shooting stars light show Asctec was unique in having a camera on a multirotor that could point up. Very handy for inspection the underside of things like bridges and bits of oil rigs.

Is this the end of product development from the Intel nee Asctec team?

Ascending Technologies GmbH was founded in 2007 by

Daniel Gurdan, Jan Stumpf, Klaus-Michael Doth, Michael Achtelik

On January 4th 2016, Intel acquired the German drone developer and manufacturer. Intel had already partnered to combine Ascending Technologies’ autopilot system AscTec Trinity with Intel RealSense® Technology’s real-time depth-sensing capability.

I have reached out to Intel for comment, but nothing back yet.

Monitoring Endangered Sea Lions

In this video, the South Australian Bight National Marine Park is using drones to survey endangered Australian sea lions, who live and breed on sheer cliff faces and rock ledges. Hunted to the verge of extinction, the endangered Australian sea lions refuge in the waters of the Great Australian Bight, with about 80% of the population found there. To feed, the Australian sea lion dives deep, descending to the seafloor to prey on bottom dwelling fish, squid, rock lobster and even small sharks and rays. The waters here support important feeding grounds, and sea lions travel hundreds of kilometers and swim up to five days without rest to get the marine park. Back on the coast, they seek broad flat areas to rest, give birth and raise their young.

Some of these colonies can be found at the base of the Bunda Cliffs and since the 1990s, seasonal breeding surveys have been undertaken by South Australian Research and Development Institute to track their population health. Until recently, these surveys have relied on binoculars, cameras and a lot of patience. However, in 2017 drones were introduced! Using drones increases accuracy and provides much bigger survey capacity.

Take a look at this video of the recent survey season to find out more.

New Statement on Employee Fraud Investigation

Since our founding 13 years ago, DJI has been a company that emphasizes honesty and integrity in our operations. We strongly believe that upholding these values is a critical element in DJI’s long-term development.

We have been disappointed to learn that not all employees have upheld these goals. As DJI embarked on a management reform effort last year, we discovered problems that had evolved during our period of high growth.

Uncovering inefficient and ineffective management processes is extremely important for DJI to continue pursuing its success. This is an imperative for our company, and indeed for any company.

Unfortunately, DJI has discovered instances of cost inefficiency, purchasing manipulations and outright theft. We cannot ignore these issues. Indeed, for the sake of the vast majority of our employees who work hard and honestly, we need to uncover and eliminate these problems.

We also understand that strong management is the key to setting honorable expectations for our employees. While mature companies have established the training, controls and management protocols to limit these issues, DJI has in the past emphasized corporate growth over new internal processes.

In fact, taking greater control over internal processes is key to ensuring companies can continue to innovate and grow. Eliminating factors that artificially raise costs may be painful at first, but doing so clears the path for a company to operate at maximum efficiency and reach its full potential while upholding high ethical standards.

DJI will now take a leading role in developing clear policies, procedures and expectations to address corner-cutting and employee theft. We call on more companies to take similar steps.

As DJI has taken action to address these issues, we have seen rumors, speculation and incorrect information reported publicly. While we thank the media for treating this issue with the respect it deserves, we do not publicly discuss details of our employee discipline process.

We urge the media to pay close attention to the facts we have presented. DJI and its hardworking, honest employees are focused on growing our business by creating products that improve the world, and our efforts to eliminate inefficiencies and losses will help all of us continue to achieve this goal.


Hovermap autonomous GPS denied LiDAR mapping

Hovermap offers revolutionary efficiency, safety and operational insights to challenging above ground, underground and GPS-denied environments.

It provides collision avoidance, GPS-denied flight, advanced autonomy and SLAM-based LiDAR mapping. This allows a Hovermap-enabled drone to be deployed in challenging GPS-denied environments, to collect 3D and other data which was previously impossible to collect. This new data in turn leads to new insights.

Australian tech start-up Emesent announced today at the International LiDAR Mapping Forum (ILMF) in Denver-CO, the commercial availability of their revolutionary Hovermap™ drone payload, which dramatically improves the value of drone-based asset inspection and mapping.

Hovermap is a self-contained plug-and-play payload which is easily integrated into a range of drones to provide them with advanced capabilities.

It includes omni-directional LiDAR-based collision avoidance and GPS-denied flight, allowing drones to be flown safely underground, indoors or up close to structures to inspect and map them.

Hovermap also provides world-leading SLAM (Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping) capability, allowing accurate LiDAR mapping even when GPS is not available.

Speaking at ILMF, Emesent CEO and Co-Founder Dr Stefan Hrabar highlighted the unique value that Hovermap offers:

“Hovermap is the first drone payload of its kind, using LiDAR to provide both mapping and autonomy functions. It allows drones to fly autonomously even in GPS-denied environments to collect valuable data that was not previously possible. This provides a step change in the data collection possibilities for Mining, Energy, Construction, Asset Management and many more”.

“There is increasing demand for these industries to digitise and remotely inspect their assets but access to hazardous areas and the lack of GPS has been a limiting factor until now. Hovermap’s unique capabilities are helping to overcome these hurdles”, says Dr Hrabar.

Hovermap keeps the drone a safe distance from assets while mapping them in great detail. Bridges, telecom towers, power transmission towers and industrial plant interiors are just a few examples that can now be mapped and inspected safely.

In the underground mining industry, Hovermap allows the mapping of hazardous inaccessible areas such as stopes and ore passes.

According to Dr Hrabar, “sending in a Hovermap-enabled drone to autonomously map and explore these areas keeps the surveyors safe and provides data at unprecedented resolution and quality. This data provides new valuable insights, leading to productivity gains and increased safety from better understanding of the geology”.

The commercial launch comes after more than five years of R&D by world-leading researchers in drone autonomy and SLAM-based LiDAR mapping, as well as extensive testing over the last 18 months by early adopters in the US, Canada, Australia, China and Japan.

Matt MacKinnon of Canadian-based UAS Inc. explains: “We’ve been using Hovermap to fly into inaccessible areas of underground mines to map them. We’ve conducted more than 60 commercial flights in 12 mines, capturing extremely valuable data for our clients without putting humans at risk. Hovermap truly is a game-changer for underground mining and other GPS-denied environments”.

Mr Shinji Inaba, president of Mirukuru Co., said that “they are proud to have been an early adopter of Hovermap since April 2017 and they are now an Emesent distributor in Japan”.

“We’ve been testing and demonstrating Hovermap extensively to enterprise customers in energy, construction, telecom, rail and road, forestry etc. Hovermap’s unique features have led to significant demand and we’re excited to be fulfilling our first purchase orders now that Hovermap is commercially available”, says Mr Inaba.

Mapping Specifications

  • Lidar range: Up to 100m
  • Lidar accuracy: +/- 3cm
  • Angular field of view: 360° x 360°
  • Laser safety: class Class 1 eye safe
  • Data acquisition speed: 300,000 points/sec
  • File size: ~300MB/min
  • Point cloud file format: .laz, .ply
  • Input voltage: 12 – 50V (e.g. 4s LiPo)
  • Weight: 1.8 kg
  • Quick-release mounting mechanism: Yes
  • Set-up time (ready to fly and map): < 1min

Autonomy Specifications

  • Flight Modes: Non-GPS position hold and Assisted Flight
  • GPS-Denied Flight: Yes
  • Autopilot Compatibility: DJI A3
  • Collision Avoidance field of view: 360° x 360°
  • Collision Avoidance Sensor: 100m range Lidar
  • Adjustable Minimum Collision Avoidance Distance: Yes


Intelligent Energy UAV Fuel Cell Power Module selected for Korean customer’s record-breaking 10 hour plus multi-copter endurance flight

Loughborough 30 January 2019 – South Korean liquid hydrogen specialist MetaVista has demonstrated a record breaking 10 hour and 50 minute multi-copter test flight using an Intelligent Energy Fuel Cell Power Module.

The flight was conducted using the Loughborough-based fuel cell engineering Company’s lightweight 650W Fuel Cell Power Module (FCPM) and is believed to be the longest flight time of its kind. MetaVista used 390g of liquid hydrogen in a specially designed 6L cylinder.

MetaVista has developed the ultra-light weight liquid hydrogen storage tank to specifically work with Intelligent Energy’s FCPM. The MetaVista liquid hydrogen system coupled with the Intelligent Energy 650W FCPM system provides a significant 1865Wh/kg energy density.

David Woolhouse, CEO at Intelligent Energy, said: “We have been focussed for some time on developing lightweight, robust fuel cell power modules for UAVs that can offer commercial users something that batteries simply cannot – significantly longer flight time. We are pleased to have worked with MetaVista on this test flight, which has demonstrated that liquid hydrogen can increase that flight time further still when compared to compressed hydrogen – three times longer! This is a real game changer for commercial users who need longer in the air. We look forward to seeing MetaVista develop their product commercially over the coming months.”

Dr. Jong Baik, MetaVista Inc. CEO, commented: “Our aim was to significantly increase the flight time for commercial UAV operators. Using Intelligent Energy’s lightweight Fuel Cell Power Module we have been able to achieve this. The Intelligent Energy team has worked closely with us and we are delighted to be working with them. Together with our liquid hydrogen production and storage expertise, it has proved to be a successful partnership.”

Fuel cells are an ideal power choice for commercial and military UAVs as they can offer significantly longer flight times when compared to traditional batteries.

Intelligent Energy has products which are suitable for UAVs in the 5-20kg weight range currently available to the commercial UAV market. Its products will be on display at upcoming UAV shows; Japan Drone 13-15 March in Chiba-City, near Tokyo,

To find out more about Intelligent Energy’s fuel cell power products for UAVs visit www.intelligent-energy.com/our-products/

Jaunt Air Mobility eVTOL

According to Rotor and Wing, Jaunt Air Mobility has bought into the Carter Copter concept and are looking into its feasibility as an Uber air taxi.

In April 2017, Carter Aviation partnered with Mooney International Corporation to develop an eVTOL.

Carter use’s it’s Slowed-Rotor/Compound (SR/C™) technology.

In their own words.

It couples the speed, range and efficiency of an airplane with the vertical takeoff and landing capability of a helicopter along with the unparalleled safety of a high inertia rotor. Whether incorporated into a jump takeoff configuration or a powered rotor variant with continuous hover capability, SR/C technology offers extraordinary cruise efficiencies and quiet operation. Slowing the rotor in flight is the key to this game-changing technology. Operating at 1/3 the usual rpm reduces rotor drag by over a factor of 5. This translates to overall fuel efficiencies that have been validated through flight testing that are 2.5 – 3 times better than today’s worldwide rotorcraft fleet.

Not much to see on the Jaunt website.


Drone Delivery Canada Receives Approvals to Start Testing its 50 lbs Cargo Delivery Drone – The Falcon

Drone Delivery Canada ‘DDC or the Company’ (TSX.V:FLT,OTC: TAKOF), is pleased to announce that it has commenced testing its newest cargo delivery drone, ‘The Falcon’ with a lifting capability of 50 pounds of payload and a travel range of 60km.

“In response to market demand driven by the burgeoning e-commerce industry, our engineering team was given the task of building out our fleet of cargo drones to address the need for a multi-package payload compartment solution which is applicable in many different geographies. The Falcon is the newest edition to DDC’s fleet and meets this particular niche which is being requested by DDC’s customers.”, commented Tony Di Benedetto, CEO.

The Falcon has been in development for almost a year and has received approvals from Transport Canada to commence testing within Southern Ontario. The Falcon is the big brother to DDC’s Sparrow which is based on an electric propulsion system.

“Our engineering team is very proud of the development and approvals now for the Falcon. We continue to push the envelope in building bigger, larger cargo capabilities within our drone fleet of vehicles.”, commented Paul Di Benedetto, CTO.

The Falcon has a wing span of approximately 12 feet and is anticipated to travel 60 km at a speed of 50 km/ hr. The multi-package payload compartment is designed to carry approximately 5 cubic feet of cargo and will be weather resistant.

For more information, please visit www.dronedeliverycanada.com

Airbus Statement on Cyber Incident

Airbus SE (stock exchange symbol: AIR) detected a cyber incident on Airbus “Commercial Aircraft business” information systems, which resulted in unauthorised access to data. There is no impact on Airbus’ commercial operations.

This incident is being thoroughly investigated by Airbus’ experts who have taken immediate and appropriate actions to reinforce existing security measures and to mitigate its potential impact, as well as determining its origins.

Investigations are ongoing to understand if any specific data was targeted, however we do know some personal data was accessed. This is mostly professional contact and IT identification details of some Airbus employees in Europe.

The company is in contact with the relevant regulatory authorities and the data protection authorities pursuant to the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). Airbus employees are being advised to take all necessary precautions going forward.

Ericsson Lays Out Vision for Cellular IoT With New Segments and Solutions

Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) today unveiled the next steps in the evolution of cellular IoT and launched new solutions that will enable service providers to address a larger part of the IoT market with diverse use cases across verticals including automotive, manufacturing, and utilities.

Ericsson outlines cellular IoT evolution in four market segments: Massive IoT, Broadband IoT, Critical IoT, and Industrial Automation IoT. Two of these segments are new – Broadband IoT and Industrial Automation IoT. Broadband IoT adopts mobile broadband capabilities for IoT and supports higher data rates and lower latencies than Massive IoT. Industrial Automation IoT will enable advanced industrial automation applications with extremely demanding connectivity requirements.

In line with its cellular IoT vision, Ericsson is launching enhanced functionalities for Massive IoT* and new solutions for Broadband IoT. One example of Massive IoT enhancement is the NB-IoT Extended Cell Range 100km, which stretches the standards-based limit from around 40km to 100km through software updates without changes to existing NB-IoT devices. This opens huge opportunities in IoT connectivity in rural and remote areas, particularly for logistics, agriculture and environment monitoring. Ericsson has deployed NB-IoT data connections up to 100km with Telstra and DISH.

The Broadband IoT solutions being launched include drone detection and link control, radio access network (RAN) slicing, Advanced Subscriber Group Handling, and Multi-Gigabit LTE for 2Gbps data throughput and around 10 millisecond latency. The new solutions will enable a wide range of use cases in automotive, drones, AR/VR, advanced wearables, smart manufacturing, and smart utilities.

Fredrik Jejdling, Executive Vice President and Head of Networks, Ericsson, says: “Cellular IoT is moving from early adoption with Massive IoT to global rollout. We are now describing ‘what’s next?’ for our customers and how they can make the most out of their 4G and 5G investments on the same network and address more advanced IoT use cases across industries.”

Evolving cellular IoT

Ericsson’s evolution concept describes how cellular IoT can move from the more basic use cases of Massive IoT such as asset tracking and smart metering to increasingly sophisticated use cases enabled by Broadband IoT (for example infotainment in cars, AR/VR, drones and advanced wearables), and then by Critical IoT (for example, autonomous vehicles), and Industrial Automation IoT (for example, collaborative robotics in manufacturing).

This stepwise approach will make it easier for service providers to match cellular IoT capabilities with current and future use cases by continuing to enhance LTE networks while preparing for 5G. With effective use of techniques such as network slicing, service providers can support all four segments in a single network, allowing them to optimize their assets and tap into revenue opportunities within industries. According to the Ericsson Mobility Report, the number of cellular IoT connections is expected to reach 4.1 billion in 2024 – increasing with an annual growth rate of 27 percent.

Patrick Filkins, Senior Research Analyst, IoT and Mobile Network Infrastructure at IDC, says: “Ericsson has come up with a uniquely clear vision for cellular IoT with well-defined segments for service providers to address new business growth opportunities from industry digitalization. Ericsson’s cellular IoT evolution concept will support service providers to incrementally allow add-on use cases even within a single vertical.”