DJI Urges Authorized Drone Users To Prepare For Hurricane Dorian

Rescue And Recovery Drone Operators Should Prepare Now For Post-Storm Operations; All Other Drone Owners Should Follow FAA Guidance And Not Fly In Affected Areas

August 29, 2019 – DJI, the world’s leader in civilian drones and aerial imaging technology, urges authorized drone users in the southeast United States to prepare their equipment and their operating procedures for the impending arrival of Hurricane Dorian. Other drone owners should follow the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidance and ground their aircraft during rescue and recovery operations.

“First responders and utility companies today rely on drones to help people during emergencies, and DJI expects our products will play a critical – even lifesaving – role in responding to this looming disaster,” said Mario Rebello, DJI Vice President and North America Regional Manager. “We want to make sure authorized drones can do their jobs safely and effectively in the days ahead, and that other drones stay out of rescuers’ way.”

Drones’ unique aerial perspective and ability to easily reach inaccessible areas have rapidly made them vital tools for first responders and infrastructure operators after hurricanes. Drones were first used widely for the storm response after Hurricane Harvey struck Houston in 2017, where they were able to quickly inspect and assess infrastructure such as roads, bridges, railroads, power lines and oil refineries. In 2018, the North Carolina Department of Transportation flew more than 260 drone missions responding to Hurricane Florence, allowing them to assess the damage, prioritize efforts on the ground, and plan safe routes for recovery workers.

Hurricane Dorian is projected to make landfall in central Florida on the morning of Monday, Sept. 2. Once it passes, drones are expected to play an important role in search and rescue, damage surveys, recovery planning, utility restoration and media coverage. Public safety agencies, utility operators, media outlets and other drone users with FAA authorization to fly DJI drones should prepare now to ensure they can fly in a chaotic post-storm environment without electricity or internet service.

DJI has unlocked its geofencing restrictions for drones operated by Florida Power & Light Company, which serves more than 10 million people across the state of Florida, and is working with other utilities which may be called in to assist recovery efforts. DJI is also working with Florida emergency management agencies and with DJI Enterprise dealers who serve first responders to quickly unlock geofencing for public safety drones in Florida.

Operators of DJI drones should ensure they have updated to the latest versions of firmware for their drones, batteries and remote controllers, as well as their flight control apps such as DJI Pilot and DJI GO 4. They should also ensure all batteries in all equipment are fully charged. Firmware downloads are available on the pages for each drone model at, and software and app downloads are available at

Operators who may need to fly DJI drones in geofenced areas should apply to unlock those areas as soon as possible, since unlocking requires an internet connection:

• Public safety agencies in DJI’s Qualified Entities Program should already have geofencing unlocked.

• Other government agencies, as well as private operators with authorized missions, can apply to unlock geofencing at

• DJI strives to respond to all unlocking requests as quickly as possible, and will prioritize requests from government agencies. DJI urges applicants to ensure all required documentation is complete and explicit, so it can be processed without the need for additional information.

The FAA approves emergency response drone flights following natural disasters through its Special Governmental Interest (SGI) process, which is open to applicants with existing Part 107 Remote Pilot certificates or Certificates of Waiver or Authorization. More information about obtaining SGI waivers is available at

Drone owners who do not have FAA authorization to fly as part of Hurricane Dorian response and recovery should not fly in the aftermath of the storm. Airspace in affected areas will be crowded with low-flying helicopters and airplanes flying unusual patterns, temporary flight restrictions may be applied with little notice, and drone pilots who interfere with the emergency response could face fines as high as $20,000.

Did DJI Bamboozle You Too?

Don’t just think I am beating up on DJI; they call it the news, and it is our job to keep tabs on the industry and ecosystem. As always, DJI makes a great product at a fantastic price point, and in this piece, we are trying to shed a little light on the possible reasons why.

The best and brightest–heck, even the past head of the FAA UASIO (now heading up FAA aircraft certification)–is a firm believer that the Chinese manufacturing process is the reason behind DJI’s monopolistic success. We are in disagreement since I thought that an arbitrarily imposed ten-year technology prohibition by the FAA was, more than likely, a key factor. We are seeing another round of drone “firsts” that were actually firsts ten, fifteen, and twenty years ago. However, we may both be wrong.

Taken at face value, one could argue that Chinese manufacturing, lower wages, lax environmental laws, and labor laws all play into cheaper production costs, and that faster development cycles are a factor. However, there is the government-investment wildcard. A former employee told me that there was no PRC investment in DJI; I responded that that isn’t what other Chinese manufacturers contend. Later, the notion was reiterated, and there was investment confirmation, but I was assured that the investment was akin to the US government’s investment in Boeing.

Last year, when I was in China, representatives from other drone companies openly admitted that they had a hard time competing with DJI on price point. The reason for this was purported to be government-subsidized support–i.e., engineers, facilities, tax breaks, and reimbursement for tradeshows and other marketing expenses. Not one mentioned of any direct investment, and we are left to imagine a Chinese Cinderella story with Frank Wang toiling away in the dorm room like old Mark Zuckerberg. Anything is possible; right?

The image is crafted into a representation of a recipe that was all hard work and a little luck. I am not trying to discount the hard work, because I do believe there was some success, in the billions, and it wasn’t just crafted out of thin air.

So, while everyone else was making and selling flying mousetraps by hook or by crook, the DJI was just building a better one. We were told 3DR had about $145 million in investment at the time of the Solo debacle and its ultimate demise as a hardware company. Golly, $145 million sounds like a lot of scratch to lose, to us work-a-day bums who only lost market share and the equipment investment, waiting a decade for commonsense regulation out of the lumbering FAA.

Parrot is purportedly down several hundred million, according to the sacre bleu graphs Chris Anderson had compiled to show the suffering of the French company that didn’t fall victim to hardware shortcomings. Does anyone know the French phrase for “Just fly your drone around for six months until your gimbal gets delivered”? I’ve got to hand it to pitchman Colin Quinn: he dutifully went far out on the limb to pet the pooch, even though he knew it was going to snap.

There is much hand-wringing outside of China over not being able to find the right combo to be king of the AUVSI forecasted 82 billion dollar industry. Notice, I didn’t even mention GoPro, since that footnote was doomed from the get-go. They jumped in to sell what amounted to Florsheim clown shoes, just as the circus train was leaving the station. The only other outlier was Yunnec, who took the 60 million in funding, and well, who knows, they could have spent that money on a new jet or something else?

So, if you remember, DJI was going to do an IPO a few years back. However, it never came to fruition. Maybe that was because they were making so much money in consumer drones that they didn’t need more than the 75 million they got in VC funding from Sequoia and Accel, but hadn’t heard about the 500 million dollar round that included the New China Life Insurance Company–the New China Life Insurance Company whose majority stakeholder (47.36%) is the State Council of the People’s Republic of China.

By the way, New Horizon Capital’s co-founder was Winston Wen, son of ex-Premier Wen Jiabao. It pays to have connections, or so I am told.

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More on the New China Life Insurance Company:

Whatever happened to the big 2018 IPO?

“Initially, the financing amount was rumored to be $500 million, then it increased to $700 million, $800 million, to now $1 billion. This rumor has been circling for nearly a month.”

More info about loopholes and whatnot:

I don’t know whom to call in China to get the lowdown on who is doing what with the Maojamins. However, the other “big” drone players have invested peanuts, relatively speaking, besides Parrot, who isn’t going down without a fight. We have to realize that some of the other high-flyers didn’t even really hit a $100 million of actual cash investment. Most of this valuation stuff is wind and smoke–aka debt-equity swap, in-kind donations, loose change, and some bad checks.

A billion dollars is a lot of bread, any way you slice it. We recently had a fresh call for patriotic US VC investors to start throwing some lettuce into the domestic drone company-funding kitty. At least now we have an idea of what numbers we have to hit in order to compete with the toy company.

Get it on the daily @Thedronedealer on the tweeter

FAA Eases Restrictions on Drone Operations Over Some Federal Facilities

FAA Part 107

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced today that it is working with other federal agencies to minimize the impact of flight restrictions on drone operators flying near select federal facilities.

The FAA is working with the U.S. Department of Defense to establish intermittent restrictions on drone flights within the lateral boundaries of select federal facilities during specified times. Currently, drone operators are prohibited from flying at these locations at all times. The FAA is working to ensure that these restrictions are narrowly tailored and remain in effect only when necessary.

Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs) will be issued in advance, indicating the sites where these intermittent restrictions will apply. Drone operators will be able to easily identify the status of the airspace at these locations using the FAA’s Unmanned Aircraft System UAS Data Display System’s (UDDS) interactive map which will show the following:

  • The airspace shapes will appear gray when the §99.7 (special security instructions) airspace is inactive and no restrictions are placed on drone operators.
  • Approximately 24 hours before restrictions are activated, the designated airspace will change to yellow as a warning that restrictions will soon become active.
  • At the end of the 24-hour warning window, the designated airspace will change to red while the drone restrictions are in effect.
  • The specific activation times can also be viewed by clicking on the individual airspace shapes in UDDS. Operators are urged to check the UDDS website frequently before and during UAS flights, especially when operating near or within the defined airspace to which recurring transient special security instructions are applied.

These changes, which have been highlighted by FAA NOTAM FDC 9/7752, will become effective on Sept.1, 2019. This NOTAM replaces FAA NOTAM FDC 8/3277. Note that there are few exceptions that permit UAS operations within these restrictions, and those must be coordinated with the individual facility and/or the FAA.

Operators who violate the flight restrictions may be subject to enforcement action, including potential civil penalties, criminal charges, or the loss of their UAS from counter-UAS activities.

The FAA is continuing to consider additional requests by eligible federal security agencies for UAS-specific flight restrictions using the agency’s existing authority under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) §99.7 as they are received. Additional changes to these restrictions will be announced by the FAA as appropriate.

Information on the NOTAM, which defines these restrictions, and all of the currently covered locations, is available. To ensure the public is aware of these restricted locations, the UDDS also provides an interactive map, downloadable geospatial data, and other important details. A link to these restrictions is included in the FAA’s B4UFLY mobile app.

Broader information regarding flying drones in the National Airspace System, including frequently asked questions, is available on the FAA’s UAS website.

Cape and Impossible Aerospace partner to bring secure and industry-leading endurance drones powered by Cape Aerial telepresence

Cape, the leading cloud platform for remote drone operations, today announced that the US-based drone maker, Impossible Aerospace, will be supporting Cape Aerial Telepresence on the US-1™ as a member of the Cape Preferred Partner Program (P3).

The Impossible US-1 adds a new drone option to the Cape P3 program. The endurance drone was designed to deliver a unique combination of performance and data security for sensitive enterprise customers. According to Impossible Aerospace, the US-1 delivers a 78-minute flight time while carrying both infrared and 4K visible cameras, making this a viable option for any customers needing additional flight time.

“One of our customers’ top requirements is flight time, and the US-1 from Impossible Aerospace sets a new standard for time in the air, making them an ideal partner for Cape,” said Chris Rittler, CEO of Cape. “We are excited to partner with Impossible Aerospace to continue our mission of delivering the best and most cutting-edge secure drone solutions.”

Cape P3 was established to enhance the security of commercial drone integrations. As of 2019, Cape integrates its software exclusively with drone hardware and enterprise applications from U.S. companies and those from countries with intellectual property treaties with the U.S. As part of the partnership with Impossible Aerospace, the company’s US-1 line of endurance drones will now be integrated with Cape Aerial Telepresence.

“The Cape Aerial Telepresence platform is a significant advancement in the operation of commercial drones,” said Impossible Aerospace CEO Spencer Gore. “This is an integration our customers have been asking for, and we are proud to support it.”

For more information on the partnership or the Cape Preferred Partner Program, and to learn how to become a partner, please visit

About Impossible Aerospace

Impossible Aerospace designs and manufactures high-performance unmanned aircraft at its facility in Santa Clara, California. Spencer Gore founded the company in 2016, and in 2018, it released its first product, the US-1.

Visit to learn more.

About Cape

Cape unlocks the power of secure, cost-effective drone integration for today’s leading enterprises and government agencies. The world’s first cloud-based platform for remote drone operations, Cape Aerial Telepresence software allows users to quickly and easily deploy drones and manipulate them in real-time from anywhere in the world, getting expert eyes on situations in the moments when it matters most. With Cape’s rapid drone deployment applications, subject matter experts and responding teams gain access to critical aerial intelligence to increase productivity and operational efficiency, improve safety, and enable smarter, data-driven decisions. Since its founding in 2014, Cape has been the trusted drone software solution for teams around the globe and across industries, ranging from public safety and oil and gas to telecommunications and utilities. For more information about Cape, please visit

CIRC Launches Automotive Drone Solution in Ho-Hai-Yan Gongliao Rock Festival

What will be like when art, technology, and police combine together? Coretronic Intelligent Robotics Corporation(CIRC) deploys its Automotive Drone System to support the police for safety management on the Ho-Hai-Yan Gongliao Rock Festival during 8/30~9/1, 2019, which is one of the top music event in Asia. With the cooperation of Automotive Drone System and the police, it is more effective to do security monitoring, reportable event alerting, and traffic management to reinforce the safety of visitors.

Automotive drone system is the latest innovative drone solution developed by CIRC, with the characteristics of automation, intuitive operation, and high mobility, the system run the whole process of planning, patrolling, analyzing, and alerting fully automatically. Even if the drone is run out of battery, it will active return to the launch function, landing and charging without a pilot’s operation. Mobility allows the automotive drone solution to support the mission to different places, improving the effectiveness of decision making much significantly.

The New Taipei City Police Department(NTPD) states that it was always crowded and troubled by congestion during Ho-Hai-Yan Gongliao Rock Festival in past few years. But with the automotive drone system this year, the police can manage those problems by monitoring images captured by the drone, not only preventing people from entering a restricted area, but also controlling the traffic in highways nearby. With the trend of commercial drone application on smart city, drones can benefit more people, complementing the limitation of human eyes

About CIRC

Coretronic Intelligent Robotics Corporation (CIRC) was built in January 2018, a subsidiary of Coretronic Group. With our advanced technology including computer vision, artificial intelligence,

high-performance computing, and motion control, and integrated with Coretronic’ s core competencies, which are optical, mechanical, thermal, electric, we are dedicated to developing human-computer interaction, motion control, sensing, and navigation technologies, providing intelligent commercial robotics solutions(including Drones, AGV, 360 Camera and X86 computing).

CIRC offer original design manufacturing and joint design manufacturing services that include system specification design, software design, manufacturing, validation, total solution and after services to fully meet customers’ expectation and the needs of various applications. Integration of Robotics technologies, AI, and IoT is our main objective, and we are looking forward to creating a new epoch of intelligent robotics.


Four Additional Belgian Companies Join Team SkyGuardian

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), the leading manufacturer of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) systems, radars, electro-optic and related mission systems, announced today that four more Belgium-based businesses have been selected to join five previously identified companies to support the development of MQ-9B SkyGuardian RPA for Belgium. AeroSimulators Group (ASG), AIRobot, ALX Systems and Hexagon will join Team SkyGuardian, which already includes the following five Belgium companies: SABCA, Thales Belgium, Esterline, Newtec and DronePort.

“The addition of these four companies to Team SkyGuardian will further enhance the capabilities of SkyGuardian and build on our already strong business partnerships in Belgium,” said Linden Blue, CEO, GA-ASI. “GA-ASI looks forward to working with our Belgian teammates to make the MQ-9B procurement a success.”

In order to identify small to medium-sized Belgian companies that could support SkyGuardian development, GA-ASI held an outreach event called Blue Magic Belgium (BMB) on May 15th and 16th. This search for cutting-edge capabilities from local companies followed the Government of Belgium’s approval for Belgian Defense to negotiate the acquisition of GA-ASI’s SkyGuardian to meet the nation’s RPA requirements.

As a result of the BMB event, GA-ASI has requested proposals from BMB winners AIRobot, ALX Systems and Hexagon. A fourth company, ASG, was also identified during the course of the BMB event.

Based in Belsele, Belgium, ASG specializes in the delivery of ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance) training. The company is active in the air, land and maritime domains and provides training and simulators for a wide range of sensors. AIRobot – a company based at DronePort in Sint Truiden, Belgium – focuses on developing drone performance equipment for easy, precise and safe professional operations. AIRobot will develop automated materials detection using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Hyper-Spectral Imagery (HSI). ALX Systems is an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) solution provider based in Liège, Belgium specializing in autonomous UAV systems. They will work with GA-ASI to increase performance of object detection using AI and synthetic Full Motion Video (FMV). Hexagon’s Geospatial division, with an office in Leuven, Belgium, specializes in software solutions and geospatial tools for visualizing location information, such as auto-routing UAS and creating a smart digital reality.

About GA-ASI

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), an affiliate of General Atomics, is a leading designer and manufacturer of proven, reliable Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) systems, radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems, including the Predator® RPA series and the Lynx® Multi-mode Radar. With nearly 6 million flight hours, GA-ASI provides long-endurance, mission-capable aircraft with integrated sensor and data link systems required to deliver persistent flight that enables situational awareness and rapid strike. The company also produces a variety of ground control stations and sensor control/image analysis software, offers pilot training and support services, and develops meta-material antennas. For more information, visit

DHS S&T Awards $200K to San Diego’s Planck Aerosystems Inc. for Final Testing of Small Unmanned Aircraft System

The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) awarded Planck Aerosystems, Inc. of San Diego, California, $200,000 to begin testing its autonomous small Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS) in operational settings.

Planck received its award as part of S&T’s Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP) in partnership with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Planck’s system capability enables a sUAS to launch from and land on the bed of a moving vehicle, in addition to providing fully autonomous navigation coupled with a securing mechanism, advanced computer vision capabilities, and customized communications interfaces.

Through a combination of integrated technologies, including full-motion video, automatic target detection and geolocation, Planck seeks to provide CBP agents with a portable, ruggedized detection system that provides real-time situational awareness in the field.

“S&T is looking for technologies to enhance the efficacy of CBP patrols while simultaneously increasing the safety of patrolling agents,” said SVIP Managing Director Melissa Oh. “We look forward to the ways Planck will further refine its technology in support of this homeland security mission.”

In this fourth phase of SVIP, Planck will focus on functional usability improvements, such as improving user interfaces and increasing nighttime functionality.

Companies participating in the SVIP are eligible for up to $800,000 of non-dilutive funding over four phases to adapt commercial technologies for homeland security use cases.

For more information on the SVIP, as well as current and future solicitations, visit or contact [email protected].

Texas Gulf Coast Public Safety UAS Response Team hold training event.

On August 27th the Texas Gulf Coast Regional Public Safety Unmanned Response Team (Texas Drone Force) held a multi-scenario training event utilizing drones for coastal Search and Rescue operations. Over 20 agencies from across the region participated in the event and had a guest appearance by Texas State Senator Larry Taylor. The training started with a classroom session at the Galveston Beach Patrol Headquarters where the United States Coast Guard UAS team discussed lessons learned and their workflow for Search and Rescue operations. Following the classroom session, the participants then started the land-based Search and Rescue scenarios.

The participants were tasked to search a coastal roadway for six missing children. The pilot would then use their drone to search the area for six lids that were hidden in the area and report the letter designation that was attached to the lid for verification. The participants then were tasked to conduct a search and rescue scenario over open water. The United States Coast Guard deployed their rescue dummy known as “Oscar” at an unknown location in a search area. The pilots were then tasked to locate Oscar and coordinate rescue efforts with ground and marine assets.

After lunch, which was provided by Darley, the participants then met at the Galveston Sector Coast Guard Field Office to train how to deploy from a moored waterborne vessel. The participants practiced hand takeoffs and retrievals for the scenario to safely deploy the drone due to the moving platform of the vessel. While participants were practicing waterborne deployments, the other teams competed in a fast track course where they tested their skills against the clock. This course was developed by Galveston’s Community Emergency Response Team member and former NASA ISS Subsystem manager Bill Spenny. Pearland Police Department pilots Officer Oubre and Officer Arnold won the competition with the fastest times.

These scenarios were conducted to better prepare the region for search and rescue events for the upcoming Hurricane season. During Hurricane Harvey in 2017 the Gulf Coast Region saw extreme flooding throughout the greater Houston area. These agencies are now better prepared to respond to local or regional flooded or coastal areas for Search and Rescue operations.

The Texas Gulf Coast Public Safety UAS Response Team is comprised of over 60 government agencies and over 90 pilots. The team has responded to multiple large scale search and rescue events such as the Llano River Flood Incident, Kemah Chief of Police Search and Rescue, and have assisted in several other incidents. The team also holds monthly meetings and provides several UAS related training to better prepare agencies to provide safer communities through technology.

A special thank you goes out to Officer Larry Boggus with Memorial Villages PD and Chief John Venzke with Bayou Vista Fire Department for planning and coordinating the event. Gary Messmer and The United States Coast Guard for coordinating and setting up the waterborne deployment scenarios. Bill Spenny, Officer Herbert Oubre, and Officer Chris Nash for coordinating and instructing the land based scenarios.

An amazing showcase: Altitude Angel helps bring GOF trials to a successful conclusion

Altitude Angel, the world’s leading unmanned traffic solutions technology provider, has completed its involvement in the SESAR Joint Undertaking GOF U-SPACE project, declaring the trials to have been a ‘huge success’ and an ‘amazing showcase’ of its UTM technologies.

The project’s demonstration phase has ended after several advanced drone operational scenarios took place across Estonia and Finland throughout July and August. The demonstrations, which showcased the most ‘attractive use cases’, involved both manned and unmanned aircraft in shared airspace, relying on systems such as Altitude Angel’s GuardianUTM O/S to remain safe.

Altitude Angel was a key UTM (unmanned traffic management) partner for the trials, providing services which included integration to the FIMS (flight information management system) for the transport of flight plans, telemetry/position reports, AIM (geofencing/volume reservations), as well as alerts and registration data to-and-from the drone operators and manned aviation which were involved in the trials.

Simon Wynn-Mackenzie, Altitude Angel, Head of Products said: “We’ve been working with the SESAR team for over a year on this project. It’s been a great few months in Finland and Estonia supporting the live demonstrations which have been huge success and an amazing showcase of our world leading UTM technologies.

“Not only did the scenarios give us another opportunity to demonstrate our production UTM platform in another real-life environment, they went a long way to showing the public how drones can be used in a positive and socially beneficial way on a daily basis.”

Wynn-Mackenzie added: “Our only disappointment was that we were not able to demonstrate our world-first Conflict Resolution Service which we unveiled in July, as the trial scenarios had already been agreed. However, we’ll be looking to showcase our constantly evolving platform and several new services very soon.”

Altitude Angel was able to demonstrate its unified traffic management platform across a number of scenarios which varied in scope and range, and included: urban drone fleet operations with police intervention, long-distance multisensory inspection flights over forests, urban drone operations in controlled airspace, powerline inspection in rural areas, maritime search and rescue, and international parcel delivery.

The demonstration series concluded today with an urban Volocopter air taxi flight around the Vantaa International Airport, Helsinki.

The GOF trials were not the first demonstrations Altitude Angel has been involved in. In November 2018 it led the team behind Operation Zenith, which gave a view of the future of air traffic management and drone integration into busy, complex airspace, demonstrating how by using the right technology, it’s possible to safely integrate unmanned traffic into controlled airspace and open the skies to commercial airspace worldwide.

Altitude Angel’s core GuardianUTM O/S system is already helping drones to operate in controlled airspace as it powers the UK’s national UTM system, operated by NATS, the UK’s main air navigation service provider.

Altitude Angel works with drone manufacturers, air navigation service providers (ANSPs, the organisations and public bodies which manage controlled airspace) as well as businesses and organisations which manage large infrastructures across numerous industries, to provide solutions which will allow the safe integration of automated drones into airspace.

Through its Airspace Management platform, GuardianUTM O/S, they deliver the essential software platform which enable national deployments of U-Space compatible services, safely unlocking the potential of drones and helping national aviation authorities and ANSPs to establish new services to support growth in the drone industry.

About Altitude Angel:

Altitude Angel was founded by Richard Parker in 2014 and is headquartered in Reading, UK.

Altitude Angel’s developer platform is open and available to all at

About GuardianUTM:

GuardianUTM enables drone manufacturers and software developers to connect into a rich, dynamic source of accurate, authoritative and relevant information to support geofencing, while offering enhanced UTM capabilities such as a single interface to multi-country flight authorisation.

The system is being deployed by NATS, the UK’s main air navigation service provider, and was demonstrated as part of ‘Operation Zenith’ in 2018, offering enhanced airport safeguarding and automated approvals to fly in controlled airspace. Altitude Angel is now bringing online functionality to enable drone pilots anywhere in the world to get 1-click access to controlled airspace.

It’s companion product, GuardianUTM O/S, supports all the functionality required to deliver national-grade drone traffic management capabilities to any country that wishes to safely unlock the potential of drones.

Introduction video:

The GOF USPACE project, with a broad consortium of 19 members, demonstrates Europe is on course with its implementation of U-space, an initiative which aims to ensure safe and secure drone traffic management, taking into account the rapid growth in the use of drones. The GOF concept enables shared situational awareness for all aviation stakeholders. The success of the project is based on deep Air Traffic Management (ATM) experience of all consortium members, including three world-leading UTM (Unmanned Traffic Management) technology vendors and two Air Navigation Services Providers, developing interoperability and data-sharing solutions which are aligned with SESAR’s overall U-space architecture.

The U-Space project has received funding from the SESAR Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Connection Europe Facility (CEF) programme under grant agreement SJU/LC/343-CTR.

Elroy Air Successfully Completes First Test Flight of Large Unmanned VTOL Cargo Aircraft

Elroy Air, an autonomy and logistics company developing vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aerial cargo systems, announced the successful completion of its first full-scale system flight test, the 1215 lb prototype reaching a height of 10 feet and hovering for 64 seconds before descending and landing safely. The test was completed at 9:14AM PST on August 14th, 2019 at McMillan Airfield at Camp Roberts, CA in partnership with the Naval Postgraduate School. The aircraft was remotely piloted by the company’s lead test pilot.

“Today is an important step toward the future of logistics,” said David Merrill, CEO of Elroy Air. “Since the earliest days of powered flight people have wanted to use the skies for convenient, rapid cargo transport to anywhere. The airport-dependence of traditional manned air cargo options shows that air cargo still has great opportunity to evolve! Autonomous VTOL cargo systems will make the dream of ultra-responsive logistics possible because they decouple air cargo from airports. These large cargo systems are about to become mainstream, and the Elroy Air team is leading the industry with our development of the Chaparral aerial cargo system.”

Elroy Air is part of a recent surge of companies developing VTOL aerial mobility systems. Unique to the Elroy Air system is its hybrid-electric powertrain enabling long-range deliveries and its cargo-handling automation for rapid and unattended loading and unloading. Very few teams worldwide have achieved successful flight of a VTOL system of this scale.

“The development is a response to a global pilot shortage and growing demand for more flexible and rapid logistics across all traffic and terrain scenarios on the ground. Autonomous air cargo transportation has the ability to improve the quality of life globally by increasing access to time-sensitive critical supplies,“ said Kofi Asante, Head of Strategy and Business Development. “Our systems have been requested to serve e-commerce parcel, pharmaceutical, humanitarian aid, and disaster relief missions globally. As the growing demand for rapid logistics drives shippers to adapt, we plan to play a key part in enabling this new wave of autonomy-enabled express transportation.”

“Developing a robust VTOL system at this scale of payload is a challenging feat that requires the right team and resources,” said Clint Cope, VP of Engineering at Elroy Air. “The set of flight-critical systems that all have to be working perfectly together for robust, repeatable performance is non-trivial. The Elroy Air team is a squad of experts who know exactly what it takes in their respective domains to build a world-class aerial cargo system. This flight is a huge milestone because it validates what our team can do. We’ll celebrate this accomplishment with our investors and customers, then continue our work toward deployed systems.”

Following the successful first flight, the team will focus on additional testing, including autonomy, transitions, and forward flight.

For more information please visit:

The Chaparral is the VTOL aerial cargo system in development by Elroy Air at its headquarters in San Francisco, CA. It is a transitioning VTOL aircraft with separate vertical and cruise flight lift systems and hybrid-electric powertrain for long-range flight capabilities. The first version of the Chaparral will carry 250lbs of cargo over a 300-mi range.

The Elroy Air team has designed the system for high-throughput aerial cargo transport needing minimal pilots and operators. The company has developed lightweight, aerodynamic modular cargo pods that can be pre-loaded by ground staff and picked up by the aircraft before takeoff. At the delivery location, the pod is lowered to the ground and released after the system has landed. Upon depositing a cargo pod, the system can retrieve another pre-packed outbound pod and fly to its next destination, creating a bi-direction conveyor belt through the sky. The system is designed for autonomous flight operations but can be partially remotely-piloted to comply with civil aviation authorities and airspace integration policy.

Elroy Air is an autonomy and logistics company developing industry-first aerial transport systems and software to deliver cargo rapidly and flexibly by air. Building on the powertrain and perception technology currently enabling the hybrid-electric/autonomous vehicle revolution, its vertical-takeoff-and-landing (VTOL) aerial logistics systems can operate outside of airport infrastructure and carry 250–500 lbs of cargo over 300 miles. These systems evolve the possible in commercial air cargo, to expand delivery locations and reduce timeframes, provide immediate aid and relief in disaster and firefighting situations, and rapid autonomous resupply for troops in the field.

Elroy Air was founded in 2016 by leaders in unmanned aerial systems (UAS), product development and software. The company is financed by some of the top venture firms in the Silicon Valley and Los Angeles, including Catapult Ventures, Levitate Capital, Lemnos, Precursor Ventures, Haystack, Shasta Ventures, TenOneTen, Amplify Partners, Homebrew, Hemisphere Ventures, Diamondstream Partners, E14 Fund, City Light, Side X Side Management, Venture Investment Associates, early Uber employees and pioneering angel investors.

The company has attracted a diverse and talented team with industry experience hailing from Uber, Google/X, Northrop Grumman, Scaled Composites, Skyryse, and Airbus as well as academic backgrounds from Embry-Riddle, Rice, MIT, Georgia Tech and Stanford.