Category Archives: Drone news

Airbus inaugurates its UAM Innovation Centre in China

Airbus has inaugurated its Innovation Centre in China at an official opening ceremony in Shenzhen, China, one of the world’s leading innovation hotspots.

Airbus China Innovation Centre (ACIC) has been operating since early 2018 and currently focuses on designing, testing, and certifying new technologies relating to five areas: Hardware Lab, Cabin Experience, Connectivity, Manufacturing Innovation and Urban Air Mobility (UAM). ACIC is committed to identifying the next big innovation to transform the aerospace sector, leveraging local talent, technologies and partners to further enhance Airbus’ capabilities to shape the future of flight.

Airbus also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Shenzhen Municipal Commerce Bureau for close collaboration, acceleration, application and industrialization of UAM. With extended regional partners, Airbus aims to further develop the local UAM ecosystem and promote solutions that fit local transportation needs.

As Airbus’ first disruptive innovation centre in Asia, and second worldwide after A3 in Silicon Valley, ACIC’s mission is to fully leverage local advantages including talent, enterprises and the ecosystem, to combine it with Airbus’ aerospace expertise to identify, explore and accelerate breakthroughs in technologies, business models and new growth opportunities.

Topcon Falcon 8+ UAV – Limited Time Offer

Designed for Stability, Proven to Perform

This rotary-wing UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System) features first-in-class sensors, active vibration damping, and compensating camera mounts for solid performance. Perfect for capturing all perspectives, oblique as well as nadir, while providing flexibility for immediate takeoff and soft landing. Meticulously designed and built in Germany, the Intel Falcon 8+ Drone – Topcon Edition is known for precision and reliability.

…and now it’s more affordable than ever.

Special Offer

  • £1000 discount
  • 2 additional free batteries worth £320
  • Free Flight Demonstration
  • Offer ends 25th March 2019

Complete System includes:

  • Falcon 8+ System with transport case
  • Cockpit control system with a transport case
  • 8 PP4000 batteries (+2 additional Free)
  • 4 Chargers
  • Sony A7r High-Resolution Payload with transport case
  • System training

RDO Integrated Controls and Wingtra to Provide Enhanced Services and Support for the WingtraOne VTOL Survey Drone

Billings, MT–February 21, 2019–Swiss-based Wingtra, the leader of professional VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) surveying drones, and RDO Integrated Controls, a division of RDO Equipment Co., one of the largest Topcon dealers in the US, are excited to announce the rollout of the first Wingtra “Certified Repair Center.”

The agreement between the two companies further enhances RDO Integrated Controls’ customer support to a growing Wingtra customer base. Specifically, the training and certification process recently delivered by Wingtra will greatly reduce downtime when repairs or maintenance is required across RDO Integrated Controls’ territory, which includes the upper Midwest, Pacific Northwest, and Southwest.

Along with advanced technical training, the agreement will see strategic warehousing of Wingtra systems and components across RDO Integrated Controls’ regions.

“This is a monumental step in our joint efforts to not only deliver the best professional VTOL surveying drone available, but to also provide our customers with unbeatable long-term support,” said Scott McTavish, North American Sales Manager at Wingtra. “Our advanced aerial surveying platform is enhancing the industrial workspace in so many ways. We are fortunate to have a partner in RDO who shares our values of caring for our end users. Rapid response and local support is key to user satisfaction.”

“The addition of the Certified Repair and Service Center is the next logical step in our winning relationship with Wingtra,” Brad Reich, Service Operations Manager for RDO Integrated Controls, said. “RDO and Wingtra can now provide UAV customers with the best service and support in the North American market.”

Safer Airport Skies Require Savvy Drone Pilots

New Alliance with Droneport Texas for Safer Skies

Newark, Gatwick, Dubai – reports of rogue drones closing airports are becoming commonplace. “The solution to keeping drones from flying where they shouldn’t be is about drone pilot savvy,” said Droneport Texas President David Hook. “The best safety investment in aviation is a well-trained pilot. So, we found like-minded companies and agreed to do something about improving small unmanned aircraft safety.” To this end, Hook announced the formation of an alliance with commercial drone ground school providers Planehook Aviation Services, LLC and Opango, Inc. Both agreed to champion the cause of drones and airport safety.

“We teamed with Opango and Planehook Aviation Services to improve drone pilot awareness of airspace and flying safety,” continued Droneport’s President. The three alliance partners concur that the solution is improving the gaps in airspace awareness for both new and seasoned drone pilots. Anyone can now take the airspace lesson for Planehook’s commercial drone pilot course for free using coupon code SAFERSKY. Here is the webpage for the free course

Droneport Texas LLC is based in San Antonio, Texasand focuses on supporting and promoting unmanned aviation in the Lone Star State. Planehook Aviation Services, LLC is also located in San Antonio, Texas and promotes general aviation security and creates aviation courseware. Opango, Inc. is a full-service e-learning company based in Plano, Texas and offers their innovative learning management system for individuals, associations, and corporations.

Drones Could Be a Virtual Wall

President Donald Trump has a vision of a “big, beautiful wall” made of concrete and steel on the US-Mexico border. In addition to that physical barrier, you could also see an armada of drones whizzing through the sky.

Many in the tech industry envision a drone-protected border as not just likely but inevitable, helping the US Border Patrol see farther and communicate better. Drones should make it easier for agents to distinguish immigrants and smugglers from the cows and coyotes that prowl along the border, advocates say.

“That could be the 21st century solution to the problem of protecting borders,” said Chris Eheim, chief technology officer of Sunflower Labs, a home security drone startup, and a 15-year aerospace engineer. The US Customs and Border Protection agency already uses some massive military drones with 66-foot wingspans, but modern drone innovation could equip officers with smaller, cheaper aircraft that could be lofted from back of a truck.

For the full story at CNet.com, click here.

DJI Improves Enterprise Drones And Fleet Management Software To Enable Next Level Commercial Drone Operations

Updated Matrice 200 Series Drones And FlightHub Software Lay The Foundation For BVLOS And Night Flights While Accelerating Organization-Wide Drone Deployments

DJI, the world’s leader in civilian drones and aerial imaging technology, today unveiled new hardware and software tools to give professional drone operators improved control, safety, and security for high-stakes missions. The new Matrice 200 Series V2 drones are redesigned with better reliability, safety, and security features, while the FlightHub drone operations management platform gives organizations more implementation control and data security assurances. Combined, these improvements enable commercial organizations to scale and manage their drone programs while laying the technical foundations for Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) and nighttime operations.

“From routine mapping missions to sensitive industrial inspections, organizations around the world rely on DJI to provide more robust, secure and scalable solutions,” said Jan Gasparic, Director of Strategic Partnerships at DJI. “As leading organizations have increased their drone fleets into the hundreds and thousands, they have asked for better ways to centrally manage drone operations and are using drones for applications that demand safer and more reliable drone technology. Our updated Matrice 200 Series drones are now better equipped for complex life-saving missions, flights over sensitive locations, and flights at night, while enhancements to DJI FlightHub give organizations more control over their drone fleets and the data they generate.”

Enhancements to Matrice 200 Series Drones

The Matrice 200 Series V2 brings new and improved features to DJI’s leading drone for commercial and industrial tasks. The second-generation model retains its rugged all-weather design, simple setup and easy configuration, while upgrading key systems to provide safer, more reliable, and more secure operation. From construction and infrastructure inspection to public safety and search and rescue, the Matrice 200 Series V2 provides a versatile platform for organizations ready to transform their daily operations with drone technology. Improvements to the Matrice 200 Series V2 Include:

  • Reliable Transmission – Equipped with OcuSync 2.0, the drones now support automatic dual frequency band switching between 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz for up to 8 km maximum transmission range, delivering reliable, high-resolution, low-latency digital video transmission back to the pilot.
  • Data Security – All data transmitted through OcuSync 2.0 is encrypted using the leading AES-256 standard, ensuring critical mission information is protected and can only be accessed by authorized parties.
  • Flight Safety – Designed with U.S. Federal Aviation Administration Night Waiver standards in mind, anti-collision beacons have been added on the top and bottom of the drone to improve flight safety during low-light conditions and at night. The drone is also equipped with DJI’s AirSense system using an ADS-B receiver to provide drone pilots with awareness of approaching air traffic that may pose a collision risk.
  • Flight Performance – Pilots using multiple drone payloads during their operations can now calibrate the drone’s new center of gravity with ease from the DJI Pilot app for better flight performance.
  • Data Accuracy – A new TimeSync system continuously aligns the flight controller, cameras, GPS module and RTK module, as well as any third-party payloads or onboard accessories, fixing the position data to the center of the image frame to achieve improved data accuracy.

Combined, these improvements lay the technical foundations for more advanced drone operations. This begins with including night flight-enabling[ anti-collision beacons to DJI’s newest enterprise drones, including the Mavic 2 Enterprise and the Matrice 200 Series V2. Combining the anti-collision beacon and improved transmission range with its pre-existing DJI AirSense ADS-B receiver system for traditional aircraft detection and FlightAutonomy obstacle sensing system, the Matrice 200 Series V2 is ready to support beyond visual line of sight operations.

“DJI is leading the industry in incorporating new safety features that support the growth of nighttime and BVLOS flights in the United States and around the world,” said Brendan Schulman, Vice President of Policy & Legal Affairs at DJI. “These innovations will open countless opportunities for organizations and the general public to benefit from the life-saving uses of drone technology, and DJI is proud to help pave the way for regulators to create clear pathways for operators to receive approval to conduct advanced drone operations.”

Operations Management with FlightHub Enterprise

DJI FlightHub software enables organizations to efficiently manage all aspects of their commercial drone operations from a single platform. As a web-based service, FlightHub Basic and Advanced have provided the capability to oversee live operations, manage flight data, manage fleets and pilots, and effectively plan operations. The new FlightHub Enterprise has additional features that give commercial operators more control over their implementations and data security:

  • Private Cloud Hosting – Organizations can now choose to host FlightHub Enterprise within their private cloud or on-premise IT infrastructure, utilizing their existing organizational resources and security protocols, and enabling the capability to build streamlined workflows for their drone fleets.
  • Dedicated DJI Pilot app – Exclusively compatible with FlightHub Enterprise, the new DJI Pilot PE app is a customized version of DJI’s flight control app designed for users with high data security requirements. By default, DJI Pilot PE will not transmit any data to public networks and will only connect directly to an organization’s FlightHub Enterprise platform hosted on their private IT infrastructure.
  • Firmware Management – Centrally manage and deploy drone firmware updates, allowing organizations to certify and update drone fleets at their own pace, ensuring security compliance and avoiding unforseen delays during critical missions.
  • Mission Planning – Schedule and oversee drone operations with the ability to send automated waypoint or mapping missions to individual pilots.
  • Device Maintenance – Track equipment usage, including aircraft and battery usage time, to ensure your drone equipment is functioning properly and aircraft maintenance is performed on schedule.

Together, these updates make FlightHub Enterprise valuable to a wide range of commercial and industrial customers using drone technology for increasingly sensitive missions, including large-scale disaster response operations, public safety operations that require a real-time view of data by a central command for quick decision making, and relaying information to offsite engineers during inspections in the energy and telecommunications industries.

“Drones are an important tool for our customers because they deliver information that transforms how they make decisions, help keep people safe, and ensure business assets are at peak performance,” said Brandon Torres Declet, CEO and Co-Founder of Measure, the leader in aerial intelligence solutions. “Our customers want the process of adopting drone technology to be simple, safe, and secure. By integrating FlightHub Enterprise into Measure’s services and our all-in-one drone software platform Ground ControlTM, our customers now will have unprecedented control and insight at their fingertips.”

Availability

FlightHub Enterprise and the Matrice 200 Series V2 drones are now available worldwide. For more information on all the new features and capabilities of FlightHub Enterprise, you can visit: http://www.dji.com/flighthub. Customers looking to purchase FlightHub Enterprise can contact DJI through the “Contact Us” form on the webpage. For information on the Matrice 200 Series V2, please visit:www.dji.com/matrice-200-series-v2.

DJI set to update its drones geofencing systems in Europe

dji new geofencing in europe dronethusiast

DJI has just announced Geofencing 2.0 to airports and other sensitive facilities in 32 European countries. This is a result of recent drone scares at Gatwick, and Heathrow airports. This is no surprise as the upgraded system was deployed in the United States in October 2018 and DJI having geofencing technology since 2013.

DJI improves geofencing in europe .

In July of 2017, a drone was spotted flying near Gatwick Airport, which caused some havoc. Research has shown that it is very dangerous if a drone were to hit an airplane. If there is even a slight safety risk, precaution must be taken to prevent drones from entering the airport’s airspace. Hence, Geospatial Environment Online (GEO) 2.0 is born.

Some European countries are getting upgraded from GEO 1.0 to GEO 2.0 while other countries will have GEO 2.0 be their first geofencing system. The United States has had GEO 2.0 since October 2018.

The 13 countries getting upgrades are Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK.

The 19 countries being introduced to GEO 2.0 are Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Malta, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Sweden.

DJI has gun working with a new tech company, Altitude Angel, for the Geo 2.0 updates. They are a U.K-based start-up that was founded in 2014. DJI was previously working with Airmap.

One change that will be added to GEO 2.0 is Temporary Flight Restriction (TFRs). These will be imposed during major events or natural disasters.

GEO 2.0 will have detailed three-dimensional safety zones that will consist of complex polygon shapes as opposed to simple circles used in earlier geofencing versions.

The new system will apply the strictest geofencing restrictions to a 1.2 kilometer (¾ mile) ride rectangle around each runway. There are also three-dimensional flight paths at either end, where airplanes ascend and descend. However, more flexible geofencing restrictions apply to an oval area within 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) of each runway. This allows for more open areas on the sides of runways if you want to fly your drone. Plus, you are still able to fly on low-altitudes at 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) from the end of a runway.

dji geofencing 1

This is a big step in the right direction to keep airspace safe around airports and other sensitive facilities. However, lawmakers and law enforcement officials may not be completely satisfied. DJI drones are easily hacked to circumnavigate the GEO 2.0 and drone pilots may not choose to update to the latest software. Also, GEO 2.0 only works on DJI drones. Drones from other manufacturers like Yuneec, Parrot, or even homemade custom drones will not have this geofencing feature.

This new geofencing update should be live in all 32 countries by the end of February. If you are a DJI user, you’ll need to update your drone’s firmware and update the DJI GO 4 app.

The writer known as I Coleman is a veteran tech reviewer who’s spent seven years writing about everything from PC hardware to drone tech and who joined the Dronethusiast team early in 2017. I brings his characteristic sense of humor and attention to detail to our product reviews and buyer’s guides, making sure that they’re packed with expert analysis in a way that’s still easy for hobby newcomers to understand. In his spare time, I is using drones to create 3D modeling software for a company in his hometown.

FAA Drone ID Marking Change Means New Rules for U.S Drones

faa dronezone new license rules header

The Federal Aviation Administration is continuing to make strides in drone regulation laws in the United States. It has recently become a law that drones in the United States must have visible ID numbers on the outside. This new rule goes into effect on February 25, 2019, and will have drones sporting license plates of their own. All drones must have these markings before taking flight after this date.

The drone registration program was first launched in 2015 which called for commercial and recreational drone pilots to have registration ID numbers placed inside the battery compartments of their aircraft. The did not need to be visible from the outside of the aircraft, now it’s a must.

faa id marks on drones

For clarification, your FAA registration number is not a part of your Part 107 certification. Whether or not you plan to pursue your Part 107 or even if you already have it, you must register your drone through the FAA.

This most recent law has come into place for security reasons. The FBI, Homeland Security, and FAA’s interagency security partners have all expressed terror-related concerns regarding ID number placement. There is the risk that a concealed explosive device could be hidden inside battery compartments of drones which could be activated when the drone is opened to find the registration number.

This new law does not specify a specific external surface that the registration number must be placed. The only requirement is that it can be seen upon visual inspection of the device’s exterior.

The FAA believes that this new ID marking change will enhance safety and security by allowing someone to view the identifying number without handling the drone. Since the new rule is considered for “good cause”, the FAA is not required to give notice or accept comments prior to the issue of the final rule.

However, before the final rule is completely official, the FAA is looking for comments from the public about this new rule. They are looking for anything about the new law that is impractical, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest. Basically, if the risk to first responders outweighs the minimal inconvenience change may impose to small drone owners, this would justify the new change without a prior public comment.

drones need faa id

This time for public comments will be open until March 15, 2019. After that, any comments made will be reviewed to determine any changes. You can submit comments at http://www.regulations.gov and search for “RIN 2120Al32”

You don’t need a new registration ID with this new rule, you can continue using the one you already have. However, If your drone still needs to be registered, you can obtain one from the FAA’s web-based registration system, DroneZone. Official FAA registration lasts for three years and only requires a one-time, $5 fee.

These changing and evolving drone laws to the original Part 107 seem to be preparing the industry for even more comprehensive set of laws that would allow for the full integration of manned and unmanned aircraft in controlled airspace. We may still be a few years away from full integration but the steady pace of changes and relaxation of certain regulations in the USA is a positive development.

The writer known as I Coleman is a veteran tech reviewer who’s spent seven years writing about everything from PC hardware to drone tech and who joined the Dronethusiast team early in 2017. I brings his characteristic sense of humor and attention to detail to our product reviews and buyer’s guides, making sure that they’re packed with expert analysis in a way that’s still easy for hobby newcomers to understand. In his spare time, I is using drones to create 3D modeling software for a company in his hometown.

Аutomatic vertical scanning for drones now available

Riga, Latvia – February 21, 2019 – The new automatic Facade Scan tool of UgCS for drone inspection mission planning is a time and cost saver for construction, engineering and mining industries.

Various tools for surveying horizontal surfaces, even the uneven ones, have been developed to a high standard and are widely available on the market. Inspecting vertical surfaces is a completely different story — previously it required a lot of manual work and so was a burden for professional drone users. But now, with the automatic Facade Scan tool from UgCS, this has changed.

Making accurate digital models of buildings or cultural heritage objects, and finding heat leaks or damage to walls: these are some of the applications of the new Facade Scan tool for construction and architecture. The tool allows the drone operator to draw a vertical plane, and to specify the distance to the wall, as well as side and forward overlap. The optimal flying path is then calculated automatically. UgCS supports the import of 3D objects and custom DEM data using the terrain-following function.

The tool is also extremely useful in mining, making it possible to examine open quarries. Drone inspections are not only a cost-saving measure for mining companies, they also save humans from having to do the most dangerous work. Drones can be used to survey even unstable pits from a safe distance, and the data gathered will be much more accurate compared to other methods that don’t involve workers climbing down the pit. As mines can often change due to work and natural conditions, repeated drone inspections can bring data up-to-date in a fast and convenient way.

“With its choice of automatic and manual tools, UgCS is extremely versatile, and suitable even for the most specific needs,” says one mining professional.

“We can use several different drones for the same mission, or a number of different drones with different kinds of sensor . If a drone runs out of battery, there is no need to start a new mission — it can be resumed where it was interrupted. We also appreciate the terrain following mode that allows drones to follow the surface accurately — we use it for both horizontal and vertical surveys.”

Facade scan is part of the UgCS 3.2 release, joining the family of other automatic UgCS tools: the Photogrammetry tool, Search Pattern tool and Area scan. It is available under a lifetime license, or a temporary license of between 1 and 3 months. UgCS supports most DJI drones, as well as MAVLink compatible and other UAVs. SPH Engineering will keep updating the Facade Scan tool and welcomes comments from professional drone users across all industries.

UgCS

Orbital UAV hosts defence West

From left, WA Minister for Defence Issues the Hon Paul Papalia CSC MLA, Orbital UAV CEO Todd Alder, OrbitalUAV CFO Roulé Jones, David Michael MLA Member for Balcatta, WA Defence Advocate Rear Admiral (Rtd) Raydon Gates.

Orbital UAV welcomes Minister for Defence Issues the Hon Paul Papalia at its Western Australia production facility.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA: Orbital Corporation Ltd (‘Orbital UAV’, ‘the Company’) has hosted a delegation from the Office of Defence West – the Western Australian Government office responsible for supporting the interests of the local defence industry.

As Orbital UAV continues to build its global reputation in the tactical unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) sector, the Company was delighted to welcome the visiting party which included Minister for Defence Issues the Hon Paul Papalia CSC MLA, WA Defence Advocate Rear Admiral (Rtd) Raydon Gates, and David Michael MLA, Member for Balcatta.

“Over the past decade, Orbital UAV has grown its position as a supplier of world-class propulsion systems to global manufacturers of tactical UAS – platforms that are supporting allied defence forces around the world,” said Todd Alder, CEO and Managing Director of Orbital UAV.

“As we continue to drive our own growth strategy, investing in people and our capabilities, we see the work currently being undertaken by the Minister for Defence Issues and the Office of Defence West as a

positive step for the defence industry in WA and look forward to supporting the objectives of the WA Defence and Defence Industries Strategic Plan,” said Mr Alder.

The WA Defence and Defence Industries Strategic Plan (‘the Strategic Plan’) provides direction across six key strategies to ensure WA can be a key player in the national and international defence industry and a major contributor towards the needs and requirements of the Australian Defence Force.

The delegation visited Orbital UAV’s Balcatta production facility and head office, from where the Company exports its propulsion systems to a global customer base.

“Seeing the highly specialist work Orbital UAV is conducting here in Balcatta and exporting to the world is a wonderful example of the know-how, talent and ambition we have in Western Australia, while highlighting the many opportunities there are for economic growth and job creation,” said David Michael MLA.

Last year, Orbital UAV signed an expanded Long Term Agreement (‘LTA’) with key customer Insitu Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of The Boeing Company.

The LTA has a potential value of up to A$350 million over five years and covers the delivery of five different engines that will be applied across Insitu-Boeing’s entire UAS fleet.

“Through the Strategic Plan, I am committed to promoting our State’s capabilities and harnessing WA’s competitive edge to maximise domestic and international defence business opportunities,” said the Hon Paul Papalia MLA.

“Orbital UAV is already making great strides in the UAS sector, taking their world-class products to a global customer base, while continuing to build their capabilities in Western Australia.

“I look forward to watching their progress and I have no doubt they can help us deliver on the objectives set out within the Strategic Plan,” said Minister Papalia.

Orbital UAV