DroneMapper 2019 Updates

DroneMapper Rapid and Remote Expert Version 20191028 has been released. Please download the latest version here. This release has the latest UI modifications, back-end API performance enhancements and features. See the full change log below:

  • Fixed tooltip bug and license display
  • Pre-generate 3 channel images (multi-threaded)
  • Add “GCP Tool” to Operations menu
  • New color preview orthomosaic for JPG imagery
  • Reduced redundant log output
  • Automatic pixel bit depth detection and processing “Settings” optimization
  • Fixed 16bit ortho rendering on map view
  • Remove local application settings on uninstall
  • Increased Remote Expert image limit to 10000
  • Enhancements to DEM algorithms, performance and reduced memory usage (for large data sets)
  • Reduction of memory by 70% for multi-threaded Orthomosaic creation and Seamline feathering
  • Included license removal/cleaner
  • Bug fix to scale feathered ortho to point cloud properly
  • Enhancements to process MicaSense Altum Red, Green, Blue, NIR, RedEdge, Thermal stacked TIFs
  • Refactored code to run original Ortho module or improved Seamline feathering module (not both as previously done/see settings)
  • New digital elevation model algorithm, noise reduction, smoothing option
  • MaxFlow/MinCut algorithm for DEM generation settings option
  • Improved dji mavic air, mavic 2, mavic pro, spark processing
  • Attempt generation of orthomosaic from NADIR images in a Oblique+NADIR “3D Mode” collection (requires ‘Gimbal Pitch Degree’ EXIF tags)
  • New setting to override/force UTM projection zone
  • Allow UTM results to be re-projected into any valid UTM or SPCS Proj4 EPSG
  • Many other updates: https://dronemapper.com/answers/dronemapper-changelog/

Software Pricing:https://dronemapper.com/pricing/Happy holidays and the very best from the DroneMapper team!

Download: https://dronemapper.com/software_downloads/

Help & Support: https://dronemapper.com/answers/

Please visit dronemapper.com for more information!

SkySensus: Beyond Visual Line of Sight Research & Development & Commercialization Project in Canadian Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Industry

Three Alberta-based SMBs partner with Peraton Canada to advance the use and development of Remotely Piloted Aircraft System technology.

(Ottawa, ON) – Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) is a critical component of the advancement in unmanned commercial and defence applications of UAS technology. Although testing of

BVLOS drone applications is underway in many countries, Canada is one of the world leaders in the regulatory development for safe drone operations. This is why AERIUM Analytics, Canadian UAVs, UxS representing the Foremost UAS Test Range have partnered together to work with Peraton Canada to develop new technologies in the industry of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS).

Project SkySensus is a signal of growth in the unmanned aerial systems arena in Canada and the world. Western Canada has been a key player in strengthening Canada’s unmanned industry, with Alberta known to be an early adopter of RPAS and there are now considered to be over 500 companies within the province that use RPAS for commercial purposes.

Three Alberta-based SMBs partnered with a defence contractor, Peraton Canada, to create SkySensus in order to advance the development and use of RPAS technology for BVLOS applications. This project is a five-year commitment to support research and development, as well as commercialization and advancement of the drone industry in Canada. The initiative is related to Peraton Canada’s obligations under Canada’s Industrial and Technological Benefits Policy.

This policy requires companies winning military and Coast Guard contracts to invest in Canada’s economic development at a commensurate level to the value of the contract. Participation from Transport Canada, NAV Canada and the Department of National Defence will be structured as part of the project.

Each of the companies within SkySensus are expected to grow and in total 50 high-value jobs will be created. The companies will jointly implement a series of research and development activities within increasingly progressive complex environments. A series of Capability Demonstrations will result in risk modelling and technology advancements to increase the safety of future BVLOS operations.

“We are excited to be part of the SkySensus Project and are looking forward to working together in partnership with CUAVs, UxS Foremost UAS Test Range, and Peraton. Projects like these are of huge importance, building out capabilities for the future and setting Canada apart from other countries in the drone industry,” says Jordan Cicoria, VP of Operations, AERIUM Analytics.

“Project SkySensus will catalyze and increase the scope of Canadian UAVs’s vision of being an airline grade unmanned systems service provider for commercial and military applications. We are extremely excited to work with our partners in delivering future-focused and fundamental capabilities for Canada’s unmanned industry. The depth of subject matter expertise and secured long-term funding in the project is a powerful combination that will deliver substantiated value by institutionally increasing safety and technical capability.” Says Sean Greenwood, the President and Founder of Canadian UAVs.

www.skysensus.ca

“The Foremost UAS Test Range and UxS are delighted to be partnered with Peraton, Aerium, and Canadian UAVS in Project SkySensus. The R&D we are undertaking addresses many of the significant technical challenges that will advance safe BVLOS for Canada and Canadian companies.” Says Doug Hanna, General Manager at Foremost UAS Test Range.

“The project demonstrates our commitment to the three SMBs and to the development of Aerospace and Defence and the UAS industry in Canada. As part of our ITB obligations, SkySensus will stimulate jobs and innovation and could transition to an ecosystem that draws additional SMBs, and academic and research institutions with aligned interests and skills,” says Denean Tomlin, ITB / Off-Sets Manager, Peraton Canada

“The SkySensus project puts Alberta on the map as a leading jurisdiction for remotely piloted aircraft systems research, development and testing”, said Tanya Fir, Alberta’s Economic Development, Trade and Tourism Minister. “This is an exciting milestone for Alberta that also demonstrates to the world that our growing and dynamic aerospace and defence sector is primed for investment and is open for business.”

“Calgary is a leader in unmanned technology development in Canada. We are proud to support our local businesses in a new and growing industry that will lead to an increase in jobs and is promising to be an important economic driver of the future,” said Andrew Sedor, The City of Calgary’s Business Development Coordinator. “The Skysensus Project is an incredible opportunity in an exciting field that will allow The City of Calgary and Alberta to showcase all we have to offer as a hub for technological advancements.”

“There is a lot of significant innovation emerging from Calgary in the area of drones and autonomous vehicles,” said Mary Moran, President and Chief Executive Officer of Calgary Economic Development.

“Today’s SkySensus announcement further highlights this fast-growing sector and it is safe to say that we are a major hub for unmanned systems in Canada. Applied technology like this is truly our strength, and Calgary is the best region for innovation.”

About AERIUM Analytics

AERIUM Analytics is a Canadian Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Service provider with a strong focus on complex operations, geospatial intelligence and big data analytics. AERIUM Analytics provides a variety of stand-alone or package UAS services, including flight services, wildlife management services, data processing and analysis, and enhanced data visualization. With a strong focus on safety and regulatory compliance, AERIUM Analytics uses innovative technology to deliver unique and effective solutions. To learn more about AERIUM Analytics, please

National Drone Safety Awareness Week

This coming week is National Drone Safety Awareness Week, a series of FAA-coordinated events designed to advance public understanding of drone safety and the benefits of drone operations. Look for stories about how drones are being used to increase personal safety here at RotorDrone Pro throughout the week.

Maintaining the safety and efficiency of the NAS is core to the FAA’s National Drone Safety Awareness Week. The country-wide event aims to educate the public about drone safety by promoting the positive contributions drones can bring to local communities and businesses and highlighting the joys of recreational drone flying.

The FAA encourages drone operators and the broader aviation community to participate in raising the public’s awareness of drone safety. Learn more about National Drone Safety Awareness Week.

FAA Adds UAS Restrictions Over Prisons

There are now 60 new places where you can’t fly–and probably shouldn’t have been flying: U.S. prisons. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today announced Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) airspace restrictions over additional national security sensitive locations, effective November 7.

In cooperation with its federal partners, the FAA will restrict UAS operations in the airspace over 60 additional Department of Defense and Department of Justice facilities to address concerns about malicious drone activity. An FAA Notice to Airmen (NOTAM), FDC 9/7752, defines these special security instructions. The FAA has published a new NOTAM, FDC 9/1278, which alerts UAS operators and others in the aviation community to this change and points to FDC 9/7752.

UAS operators are strongly advised to review these NOTAMs, as well as important supporting information provided by the FAA’s UAS Data Delivery System (UDDS) website. This website contains the text of FDC 9/7752 (click on “UAS NOTAM FDC 9/7752” on scroll bar along the top of the page).

Further down the page is an interactive map (“Map of FAA UAS Data”) displaying restricted airspace throughout the U.S. Zooming in will enable viewers to click on each of the 60 new DOD and DOJ locations and see the specific restrictions. Each of the 60 locations are in yellow since the restrictions are pending until the Nov. 7 effective date, at which point they will become red.

The restrictions will also be included in the FAA’s B4UFLY mobile app.

UAS operators who violate these flight restrictions may be subject to enforcement action, including potential civil penalties and criminal charges.

The FAA considers requests by eligible federal security agencies for UAS-specific flight restrictions using its authority under 14 CFR § 99.7. The agency will announce any future changes, including additional locations, as appropriate.

The 60 locations:

  • Federal Correctional Institution Aliceville in Aliceville, Alabama
  • Federal Correctional Institution Ashland in Ashland, Kentucky
  • Federal Correctional Institution Bastrop in Bastrop, Texas
  • Federal Correctional Institution Beckley in Beaver, West Virginia
  • Federal Correctional Institution Bennetsville in Bennetsville, South Carolina
  • Federal Correctional Institution Berlin in Berlin, New Hampshire
  • Federal Correctional Institution Big Spring in Big Spring, Texas
  • Federal Correctional Institution Cumberland in Cumberland, Maryland
  • Federal Correctional Institution Danbury in Danbury, Connecticut
  • Federal Correctional Institution Dublin in Dublin, California
  • Federal Correctional Institution Edgefield in Edgefield, South Carolina
  • Federal Correctional Institution El Reno in El Reno, Oklahoma
  • Federal Correctional Institution Elkton in Lisbon, Ohio
  • Federal Correctional Institution Englewood in Littleton, Colorado
  • Federal Correctional Institution Estill in Estill, South Carolina
  • Federal Correctional Institution Fairton in Fairton, New Jersey
  • Federal Correctional Institution Gilmer in Glenville, West Virginia
  • Federal Correctional Institution Greenville in Greenville, Illinois
  • Federal Correctional Institution Herlong in Herlong, California
  • Federal Correctional Institution Jesup in Jesup, Georgia
  • Federal Correctional Institution La Tuna in Anthony, Texas
  • Federal Correctional Institution Loretto in Loretto, Pennsylvania
  • Federal Correctional Institution Lompoc in Lompoc, California
  • Federal Correctional Institution Manchester in Manchester, Kentucky
  • Federal Correctional Institution Marianna in Marianna, Florida
  • Federal Correctional Institution McDowell in Welch, West Virginia
  • Federal Correctional Institution McKean in Lewis Run, Pennsylvania
  • Federal Correctional Institution Memphis in Memphis, Tennessee
  • Federal Correctional Institution Mendota in Mendota, California
  • Federal Correctional Institution Miami in Miami, Florida
  • Federal Correctional Institution Milan in Milan, Michigan
  • Federal Correctional Institution Morgantown in Morgantown, West Virginia
  • Federal Correctional Institution Otisville in Otisville, New York
  • Federal Correctional Institution Oxford in Oxford, Wisconsin
  • Federal Correctional Institution Pekin in Pekin, Illinois
  • Federal Correctional Institution Phoenix in Phoenix, Arizona
  • Federal Correctional Institution Ray Brook in Ray Brook, New York
  • Federal Correctional Institution Safford in Safford, Arizona
  • Federal Correctional Institution Sandstone in Sandstone, Minnesota
  • Federal Correctional Institution Schuylkill in Minersville, Pennsylvania
  • Federal Correctional Institution Seagoville in Seagoville, Texas
  • Federal Correctional Institution Sheridan in Sheridan, Oregon
  • Federal Correctional Institution Talladega in Talladega, Alabama
  • Federal Correctional Institution Tallahassee in Tallahassee, Florida
  • Federal Correctional Institution Terminal Island in San Pedro, California
  • Federal Correctional Institution Texarkana in Texarkana, Texas
  • Federal Correctional Institution Three Rivers in Three Rivers, Texas
  • Federal Correctional Institution Waseca in Waseca, Minnesota
  • Federal Correctional Institution Williamsburg in Salters, South Carolina
  • Federal Medical Center Devens in Devens, Massachusetts
  • Federal Medical Center Butner in Butner, North Carolina
  • Federal Medical Center Lexington in Lexington, Kentucky
  • Federal Transfer Center Oklahoma City in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • United States Penitentiary Atlanta in Atlanta, Georgia
  • United States Penitentiary Leavenworth in Leavenworth, Kansas
  • Martindale AHP in San Antonio, Texas
  • Scranton Army Ammunition Plant in Scranton, Pennsylvania
  • Tobyhanna Army Complex in Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania
  • Military Ocean Terminal Concord in Concord, California
  • Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point in Sunny Point, North Carolina

DJI Announces the DJI Mavic Mini

dji drone mavic mini

DJI is set to release their smallest and lightest drone yet. It’s so light in fact, that it doesn’t require FAA registration, and it launches November 11th. Introducing the DJI Mavic Mini. With a foldable design, DJI is set to launch a small drone that potentially has large appeal.

The Mini is set to launch with two packs. The standard pack, retailing at $399, comes with the drone, remote, one battery, and an extra set of propellers. A step up at $499 is their “fly more pack” which additionally includes propellor guards, three batteries, a charging hub, carrying case, and 3 extra sets of propellers.

dji mavic mini accessories

The mini is priced to move, but doesn’t sacrifice on features. It includes a lot of the same features and software as more expensive DJI drones, although it can’t shoot in 4k video. I think that’s a fair trade off for the size and price of this drone. This will probably be a killer for a professional photographer, but for the rest of us what’s on offer will be fine. The camera is still very good quality and comes a three axis gimbal that helps take super smooth footage.

Due to its size, DJI estimates it can get up to 30 minutes of flight from a single charge. That’s pretty good, and I look forward to putting it to the test when it comes out in a few days. Its range is listed as 2.5 miles, which is also really good for a drone of this size. Glad to see DJI hasn’t skipped on quality even for a lower priced drone like this.

The Mavic Mini is certainly an interesting little drone, and one I’m excited to see launch. Its price point and FAA dodging size make it very attractive to novices and experienced fliers alike. I for one am excited to do a proper review of the drone when it comes out in November. Preorders are open now, so if you’re interested in getting this little guy now’s the time to get in line.

Dronethusiast Team. Kennedy Martinez

KennedyMartinez

kennedy@dronethusiast.com

Kennedy Martinez is a resident writer who joined Dronethusiast at the beginning of 2019. She has years of experience reviewing drones and other tech products. When it comes to flying drones, Kennedy loves the ability to create artistic videos from a unique point of view. Kennedy enjoys researching new drones and other exciting products that are available to consumers which is why she is committed to creating the best buyer’s guides for our readers.

There is one comment:

  • charlie spiteriNovember 2, 2019 at 10:52 am

    love drones I am waiting for sky dio2 to hit Australia

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Using Drones to Fight Fires

drones fight fires around the country

With fires raging in California, it’s a good time to take a look at how drones might be used to help combat future fires. Drones are helping fight fires in a lot of ways, from prevention and data collection, to intentionally starting smaller ones as crazy as that might sound. Around the country, drones are being put to use to hopefully save lives, and also make the jobs of those fighting the fires easier.

San Diego is one example, where drones are just one part of an extensive network designed to help prevent and monitor fires. Right now, they use a series of air crafts that take images and data of fires, and then this is then relayed to smaller aircraft and eventually plugged into a computer. This computer runs simulations, taking into account countless variables, and tries to make predictions on where the fire is likely to spread.

drones firefighting

Some of the new ideas are to put drones into this mix to monitor fires. Unmanned drones could be used to monitor fires as they grow, and relay this data back to those same computers. Drones might also help serve as an early warning network. Having drones in the air during high risk times could help catch fires before they get out of control. This gives those fighting the fires a better chance to contain it as the beginning of the fire is the most crucial. This ultimately would lead to saved lives, saved property, and millions of saved dollars that would otherwise be put towards fighting the fire.

At the University of Nebraska-Lincoln we have another instance of a drone being used to fight fires. They’re doing so in an odd way, by starting small fires they hope to stop the larger ones. Their drones actually drop small spheres that ignite, and create small fires that burn away brush. The thought is that this brush is usually used as fuel for the fire, so depriving the fire of it will slow it down.

This is already a tactic that is employed, but in many cases is down manually by crews, which is time consuming and dangerous. Having drones do it eliminates the need to get people in the field, and eliminates the danger present when working so close to large fires.

Their drones also includes thermal cameras to allow for night time data collection. It’s usually too dangerous to fly over a fire at night, but with no potential for the loss of life these drones make it possible.

At the core of all this they’ve also built software that makes controlling the drone easy. It allows users to automate everything, including setting up boundaries, making the whole process possible with little human intervention.

Outside of fighting fires drones have other uses in the fire department too. The Los angeles Fire Department is one such group that’s using the power of drones to save lives. They’ve recently looked to double their stock of drones after a successful partnership with Chinese drone manufacturer DJI.

The LAPD, uses drones for a wide range of tasks such as search and rescue, work in marine environments, and soon dealing with hazardous material. Currently though, the drones biggest use for the department is taking infrared images to combine with heat signatures to get a more in depth look at fires. This just goes to show the wide variety of tasks that drones are being put to.

It’s great to see another good use for drones. The usefulness of drones grows more each day, and the amount of human lives and money they look to save is tremendous.

Dronethusiast Team. Kennedy Martinez

KennedyMartinez

kennedy@dronethusiast.com

Kennedy Martinez is a resident writer who joined Dronethusiast at the beginning of 2019. She has years of experience reviewing drones and other tech products. When it comes to flying drones, Kennedy loves the ability to create artistic videos from a unique point of view. Kennedy enjoys researching new drones and other exciting products that are available to consumers which is why she is committed to creating the best buyer’s guides for our readers.

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Drones Being Used To Fight Fires Around The Country

drones fight fires around the country

With fires raging in California, it’s a good time to take a look at how drones might be used to help combat future fires. Drones are helping fight fires in a lot of ways, from prevention and data collection, to intentionally starting smaller ones as crazy as that might sound. Around the country, drones are being put to use to hopefully save lives, and also make the jobs of those fighting the fires easier.

San Diego is one example, where drones are just one part of an extensive network designed to help prevent and monitor fires. Right now, they use a series of air crafts that take images and data of fires, and then this is then relayed to smaller aircraft and eventually plugged into a computer. This computer runs simulations, taking into account countless variables, and tries to make predictions on where the fire is likely to spread.

drones firefighting

Some of the new ideas are to put drones into this mix to monitor fires. Unmanned drones could be used to monitor fires as they grow, and relay this data back to those same computers. Drones might also help serve as an early warning network. Having drones in the air during high risk times could help catch fires before they get out of control. This gives those fighting the fires a better chance to contain it as the beginning of the fire is the most crucial. This ultimately would lead to saved lives, saved property, and millions of saved dollars that would otherwise be put towards fighting the fire.

At the University of Nebraska-Lincoln we have another instance of a drone being used to fight fires. They’re doing so in an odd way, by starting small fires they hope to stop the larger ones. Their drones actually drop small spheres that ignite, and create small fires that burn away brush. The thought is that this brush is usually used as fuel for the fire, so depriving the fire of it will slow it down.

This is already a tactic that is employed, but in many cases is down manually by crews, which is time consuming and dangerous. Having drones do it eliminates the need to get people in the field, and eliminates the danger present when working so close to large fires.

Their drones also includes thermal cameras to allow for night time data collection. It’s usually too dangerous to fly over a fire at night, but with no potential for the loss of life these drones make it possible.

At the core of all this they’ve also built software that makes controlling the drone easy. It allows users to automate everything, including setting up boundaries, making the whole process possible with little human intervention.

Outside of fighting fires drones have other uses in the fire department too. The Los angeles Fire Department is one such group that’s using the power of drones to save lives. They’ve recently looked to double their stock of drones after a successful partnership with Chinese drone manufacturer DJI.

The LAPD, uses drones for a wide range of tasks such as search and rescue, work in marine environments, and soon dealing with hazardous material. Currently though, the drones biggest use for the department is taking infrared images to combine with heat signatures to get a more in depth look at fires. This just goes to show the wide variety of tasks that drones are being put to.

It’s great to see another good use for drones. The usefulness of drones grows more each day, and the amount of human lives and money they look to save is tremendous.

Dronethusiast Team. Kennedy Martinez

KennedyMartinez

kennedy@dronethusiast.com

Kennedy Martinez is a resident writer who joined Dronethusiast at the beginning of 2019. She has years of experience reviewing drones and other tech products. When it comes to flying drones, Kennedy loves the ability to create artistic videos from a unique point of view. Kennedy enjoys researching new drones and other exciting products that are available to consumers which is why she is committed to creating the best buyer’s guides for our readers.

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Will The USPS Enlist Drones?

usps the latest to start considering drone deliveries

It finally happened, USPS has taken their first steps on the way to drone deliveries. With so many other companies getting in the game, it was only a matter of time before the USPS did as well. It’s a good thing they did too, with big competitors like UPS and Fedex working on their own delivery systems the USPS needs to as well in order to keep up. Even companies like Google and Amazon which aren’t traditional delivery companies are getting in on the drone delivery pie, so the time to be a part of this is now.

The USPS is not quite at the stage of delivery drones just yet; they just put out a request for information in regards to it. This means that they’re actively investigating working with drones and seeing where they fit with the business. It’s a bit disappointing that we won’t see drones streaming out a mail truck anytime soon, but this is an important first step to making that a reality. It also shows they’re doing their due diligence and likely looking to see if the costs to operate the drones would be offset by efficiency gains.

Right now, the USPS is likely looking at ways that they could integrate drones into their current operations. It’s likely they’ll hire consultants or an outside company to help, but at this time no such hire has been reported. It stands to reason that they’ll first be doing some exploratory work before jumping in and spending the money to start equipping their fleet.

drone delivery usps

In terms of regulation, the USPS answers to the FAA. The FAA is also responsible for regulating other would be drone delivery services, so this is good news. Lots of progress is being halted by lack of regulation and government red tape, so having an entity so close to the bottleneck might help spur it along more quickly. If the USPS moves forward we’ll probably see many of the other companies mentioned following suit shortly after.

For deliveries, the USPS has a few ideas on how drones will help them. One is what they’re calling “long driveway deliveries” which would all drones to make deliveries and return on their own while the drive continues to make deliveries. This would make deliveries to things like islands or over other difficult terrain significantly easier. This will ultimately make delivery routes much more efficient.

The USPS is also experimenting with a “ride-share” model, where customers can connect with the USPS fleet for business to consumer deliveries. They also have mentioned the potentially ability for 3rd parties to leverage USPS tools and data for things like power line inspections and other tasks drones are well suited for. These would all help the drones serve multiple purposes and likely make them more cost efficient in the long run.

USPS wants the drones to more than just deliver packages though. They’ll also be using the drones to collect three dimensional data for use with autonomous driving vehicles. What it sounds like is that the USPS wants the drones to pull double duty, and collect data that will help autonomous cars and trucks “learn” to drive better. This is probably going to integrate with the USPS’s self driving truck startup TuSimple. This is probably in addition to some of the “ride-share” stuff mentioned above.

It’s good to see the USPS keeping up with its competitors. A big hope here is that the close ties to the government the USPS has will help push through legislation that paves the way for delivery drones. This is one of the main blockers in this field, and having a big player like the USPS considering drones is a great sign. Let’s hope it moves forward, and soon we’ll have drones delivering our packages right to our door.

Dronethusiast Team. Kennedy Martinez

KennedyMartinez

kennedy@dronethusiast.com

Kennedy Martinez is a resident writer who joined Dronethusiast at the beginning of 2019. She has years of experience reviewing drones and other tech products. When it comes to flying drones, Kennedy loves the ability to create artistic videos from a unique point of view. Kennedy enjoys researching new drones and other exciting products that are available to consumers which is why she is committed to creating the best buyer’s guides for our readers.

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

USPS The Latest To Start Considering Drone Deliveries

usps the latest to start considering drone deliveries

It finally happened, USPS has taken their first steps on the way to drone deliveries. With so many other companies getting in the game, it was only a matter of time before the USPS did as well. It’s a good thing they did too, with big competitors like UPS and Fedex working on their own delivery systems the USPS needs to as well in order to keep up. Even companies like Google and Amazon which aren’t traditional delivery companies are getting in on the drone delivery pie, so the time to be a part of this is now.

The USPS is not quite at the stage of delivery drones just yet; they just put out a request for information in regards to it. This means that they’re actively investigating working with drones and seeing where they fit with the business. It’s a bit disappointing that we won’t see drones streaming out a mail truck anytime soon, but this is an important first step to making that a reality. It also shows they’re doing their due diligence and likely looking to see if the costs to operate the drones would be offset by efficiency gains.

Right now, the USPS is likely looking at ways that they could integrate drones into their current operations. It’s likely they’ll hire consultants or an outside company to help, but at this time no such hire has been reported. It stands to reason that they’ll first be doing some exploratory work before jumping in and spending the money to start equipping their fleet.

drone delivery usps

In terms of regulation, the USPS answers to the FAA. The FAA is also responsible for regulating other would be drone delivery services, so this is good news. Lots of progress is being halted by lack of regulation and government red tape, so having an entity so close to the bottleneck might help spur it along more quickly. If the USPS moves forward we’ll probably see many of the other companies mentioned following suit shortly after.

For deliveries, the USPS has a few ideas on how drones will help them. One is what they’re calling “long driveway deliveries” which would all drones to make deliveries and return on their own while the drive continues to make deliveries. This would make deliveries to things like islands or over other difficult terrain significantly easier. This will ultimately make delivery routes much more efficient.

The USPS is also experimenting with a “ride-share” model, where customers can connect with the USPS fleet for business to consumer deliveries. They also have mentioned the potentially ability for 3rd parties to leverage USPS tools and data for things like power line inspections and other tasks drones are well suited for. These would all help the drones serve multiple purposes and likely make them more cost efficient in the long run.

USPS wants the drones to more than just deliver packages though. They’ll also be using the drones to collect three dimensional data for use with autonomous driving vehicles. What it sounds like is that the USPS wants the drones to pull double duty, and collect data that will help autonomous cars and trucks “learn” to drive better. This is probably going to integrate with the USPS’s self driving truck startup TuSimple. This is probably in addition to some of the “ride-share” stuff mentioned above.

It’s good to see the USPS keeping up with its competitors. A big hope here is that the close ties to the government the USPS has will help push through legislation that paves the way for delivery drones. This is one of the main blockers in this field, and having a big player like the USPS considering drones is a great sign. Let’s hope it moves forward, and soon we’ll have drones delivering our packages right to our door.

Dronethusiast Team. Kennedy Martinez

KennedyMartinez

kennedy@dronethusiast.com

Kennedy Martinez is a resident writer who joined Dronethusiast at the beginning of 2019. She has years of experience reviewing drones and other tech products. When it comes to flying drones, Kennedy loves the ability to create artistic videos from a unique point of view. Kennedy enjoys researching new drones and other exciting products that are available to consumers which is why she is committed to creating the best buyer’s guides for our readers.

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Dept. of Interior Bans Chinese Drones

The Department of the Interior (DOI) has banned the use of DJI and other drones made in China in all DOI projects. Here’s a statement from DOI spokeswoman Melissa Brown:

Secretary Bernhardt is reviewing the Department of the Interior’s drone program. Until this review is completed, the Secretary has directed that drones manufactured in China or made from Chinese components be grounded unless they are currently being utilized for emergency purposes, such as fighting wildfires, search and rescue, and dealing with natural disasters that may threaten life or property,”

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Homeland Security Committee held hearings on the Drone Origin Security Enhancement Act, where Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) said, “Numerous reports over the last few years suggest Chinese-made drones could potentially be used to send sensitive flight information to China-based companies where it could be easily accessed by the Chinese government.”