All posts by Sanuav

NASA Small Business Partnership Prepares Drone for 30-Day Science Flights

Aircraft play an essential role in how we study and understand Earth’s surface, climate, and atmosphere. Now, a new commercial unmanned aircraft system (UAS) aims to bring about a powerful way to observe our planet for days or weeks on end.

With the help of NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, Swift Engineering of San Clemente, California, completed a two-hour flight test of their Swift High-Altitude Long-Endurance (HALE) UAS. The applications of the technology – for science, agriculture, and disaster response – could have a real impact on our everyday lives.

Swift’s 72-foot solar-powered HALE weighs less than 180 pounds, flies 10- to 15-pound payloads at a time and is designed to operate at an altitude of 70,000 feet for 30 days or more. Despite its wide wingspan, Swift’s HALE is similar in size to a small general aviation (GA) aircraft but at a fraction of a GA’s weight. Compared to the NASA ER-2, which also operates at a maximum altitude of 70,000 feet and can carry a 2,600-pound payload for missions over 10 hours, the Swift HALE UAS is capable of flying lightweight payloads for days and weeks on end.

“Current NASA science aircraft can meet most – but not all – observing system requirements; HALE aircraft can provide unique data to complement and improve NASA measurements from orbit,” said Matt Fladeland, a researcher at Ames working with Swift on the aircraft. “Developing the HALE with Swift has opened up more possibilities than we initially imagined. The successful flight test is an important first step towards realizing a new capability to support NASA science.”

In 2016, Ames – whose expertise in unmanned systems included aircraft development, airspace integration, and airborne science – partnered with Swift through the agency’s Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) program on a proof of concept for a solar-powered UAS. With its expertise in UAS and solar-powered technology, Swift received NASA SBIR awards to develop a unique solution that could sustain flight for a month or more.

Before the aircraft was ready for its first flight test, the Swift team, in consultation with NASA researchers, had to research solar panel and battery technologies to develop a system that could provide enough power to stay aloft at night until it can charge its batteries the next day. The cells also need to retain high power capacity after several recharging cycles. Other design considerations included the need to withstand the harsh temperatures, radiation, and other conditions of the upper atmosphere, and past NASA Global Hawk flights helped to characterize the operational environment.

During the first of a series of flight tests completed successfully at Spaceport America in New Mexico on July 7, the Swift crew conducted operations at low altitude, passing all systems checks and validating aerodynamic, control, and power system models. By sustaining flight for two hours, the calculations from the flight test provided confidence in the UAS’s ability to maintain missions longer than 30 days. This flight is the first of many that will collect data to further validate the vehicle’s design requirements.

“This program signifies an important partnership with NASA Science and Aeronautics – together, we designed a UAS that fulfills the agency’s use cases and aligns with the Federal Aviation Administration’s vision of how HALE vehicles should be deployed and maintained for extended periods,” said Andrew Streett, vice president of technology at Swift Engineering. “Sustained, long-duration flights are only just becoming a reality with a new generation of batteries and power efficiencies.”

In addition, Swift’s high-altitude, long-endurance UAS verified it could carry a 15-pound payload. For the test flight, the Swift HALE took NASA’s FluidCam, a high-frame-rate video camera coupled with artificial intelligence processing capable of providing unprecedented observations of the coastal ocean seafloor. The flight test with FluidCam has implications for extensive scientific and environmental research of coral reefs.

Aircraft like Swift’s HALE could also augment the observations of satellites orbiting Earth. While a geosynchronous satellite observes a fixed location on Earth on a continental scale, Swift’s HALE can similarly observe Earth on a focused, regional level, faster and more cost-efficiently than a satellite. NASA teams are exploring how aircraft like Swift’s could support air quality monitoring, coastal zone imaging, mapping for landslides and geologically active regions, and real-time data for forest and agricultural monitoring.

This partnership is an example of how NASA’s SBIR/STTR phased funding and collaborative approach stimulates innovation and ingenuity among small businesses. Swift received Phase I and II funding in 2016 and 2017 to develop its idea toward a prototype, which resulted in a successful flight demonstration in July 2020.

The next step in the development will be a Phase III effort to demonstrate taking science measurements at high altitude for days to weeks. If successful, the aircraft could serve as a new operational capability for NASA and other government agencies.

Author: Bailey Light

DroneInch Named as a Sample Vendor in the Gartner Hype Cycle for Drones and Mobile Robots, 2020

DroneInch, Inc., the industry’s first drone automation software to power the entire drone operations lifecycle, today announced it was named a Sample Vendor in the Gartner Hype Cycle for Drones and Mobile Robots, 2020 under the Drone Management Platforms category. Gartner defines this category as “drone management platforms refer to software by which organizations manage fleets of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAVs) – that is, drones. Features include flight planning, waypoint, airspace notification and approval, vehicle registration and identification, staffing, training, and other aspects of fleet management. They can be offered both on a commercial basis to drone users and as outsourced air traffic management to aviation authorities. The air traffic management element is also known as Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management (UTM).”

Aapo Markkanen, senior director and analyst at Gartner, said in the report, “End users and third-party providers that have comparatively large fleets of drones (say, dozens of routinely deployed vehicles) should use drone management platforms to make their operations safer and more efficient.”

DroneInch 3.0 software is a SaaS-based platform that lets organizations plan thousands of flights remotely, operate autonomously while checking for compliance and safety, analyze results using an AI-powered analytics engine, and collaborate across global stakeholders through annotation and task flow creation.

Gartner, “Hype Cycle for Drones and Mobile Robots, 2020”, Bill Ray, 6 July 2020.

Gartner Disclaimer

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

About DroneInch

DroneInch’s automation software platform shatters the barriers that have prevented businesses of all sizes from adopting drones ubiquitously. Visitwww.DroneInch.com for more information.

Terra Drone invests in Dutch Drone Solution provider Skytools to together establish Europe’s largest drone hub in Rotterdam

Rotterdam – August 6, 2020 – Terra Drone invests in Dutch Drone Solution provider Skytools to offer corporate and government clients with advanced drone solutions. The companies will together establish a strong drone hub in Rotterdam consisting of Training facilities and Research & Development centers.

Terra Drone Corporation, one of the largest providers of industrial drone solutions in the world, is announcing the completion of its investment in Skytools, a leading Dutch company that provides advanced drone solutions to corporate and governmental clients. Skytools supplies a very wide range of professional Drone equipment together with the registration, training, and maintenance having 12 years of experience in the drone industry. Skytools support clients to grow drone-based solutions within the organization of the clients to enhance Safety, Efficiency, and Productivity.

Skytools serve a wide range of corporate clients in industries such as Oil & Gas, Chemical, Engineering, Utilities, etc. as well as a wide range of governmental clients. Skytools is working together with its clients on the New European rules and regulations from EASA (European Union Aviation Safety Agency) which can accelerate BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) and night flights.

Skytools is also working on Research and Development of solutions such as fully automated drones (Drone in the box) and remotely operated drone-powered with 5G. Services such as survey, inspection, or surveillance will be developed further collaborating together with Terra Drone Europe and Terra Inspectioneering also having offices in The Netherlands. Skytools will also start providing military-grade fixed wings from C-Astral a Terra Drone group company in Slovenia. There will also be a dedicated focus on the expansion of the business throughout Europe and worldwide collaborating with the Terra Drone group companies around the globe.

Marko Van Es, CEO, Skytools, says, “Working close together with the Terra drone group next to the Port of Rotterdam will give our clients a strong partner for aerial services at their facilities. For Skytools this collaboration means that we can look further than the Dutch borders and expand a high level of service on a European and Global scale”

Yuki Ueno, Head of Europe, Terra Drone Corporation, says, “Skytools has been dedicating themselves to provide the best drone-based solutions to the clients and has contributed to the growth of the market. Collaboration with Skytools will surely boost Terra Drone’s force to create a better future by utilizing and developing the capability of drones on a global scale.”

Terra Drone Group will continue to offer clients the best drone-based solutions with the latest cutting-edge technologies embedded and supported by industry professionals.

‘Your Water Sport, Your Way’ This Summer With the New PowerEgg X All-Weather Package

Featuring a waterproof housing, this package allows users to fly in inclement weather conditions, including heavy rain.

PowerVision Robot Corporation, a global leader in smart drones, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and augmented reality, has the perfect device to take out on the water this Summer, its PowerEgg X. As a result of its innovative, modular design, the PowerEgg X comes with a removable waterproof housing and pontoons to make sure users never miss the shot, even out on the water.

PowerVision launched the PowerEgg X Wizard Edition at the start of the year, and is now launching a brand new package option – the All-weather Edition! Retailing at $999, this package comes with a waterproof housing and mini tripod, making it perfect for getting the shot rain or shine. To help celebrate the launch, PowerVision is offering $150 off (at $1099) its top-of-the-line Wizard Edition all summer long!

“With the PowerEgg X, you no longer have to leave your drone at home when heading out for some water sports fun,” said Wally Zheng, Founder and CEO of PowerVision. “Whether you enjoy boating, kayaking, jet skiing, or anything in between – our innovative all-weather drone is there to safely capture all of your best memories out on the water.”

There’s nothing quite like time spent out on the lake or ocean on a warm summer day. From the thrill of high-speed boating to that first time a wakeboarder stands up, memories made out on the water are unforgettable. And for the first time ever, users can capture these memories like never before with the PowerEgg X All-weather drone!

Not only is this device capable of both flying in the rain and water landing/takeoff (with additional accessories), it’s also a high-performance drone. The Egg features automatic obstacle avoidance, precise landing, intelligent flight modes, wind speed resistance up to 29-38 knots, 1080P image transmission within a distance of 3.7 miles, a flight time of 30 minutes, and more.

What would a drone be without its camera? With the PowerEgg X, boaters, surfers, and paddleboarders alike can capture all of life’s best moments in ultra HD. Equipped with a 4k/60fps HD camcorder with a three-axis gimbal, the PowerEgg X produces professional quality video and stunning 12 megapixel images.

Pricing and Availability

The PowerEgg X All-weather package is available now at Powervision.me, Amazon, Best Buy with an MSRP of $999, and the Summer Sale of Wizard package is ongoing at Powervision.me, Amazon, Best Buy, B&H, and other PowerVision dealers.

About PowerVision

With a mission to “innovate the future,” the PowerVision Group is a global technology leader focusing on UAV-related products and services, including smart drones, data visualization, and forecasting, virtual reality, and augmented reality. Founded in 2009, PowerVision Group employs around 500 employees globally in China, the U.S., Japan, Australia, Germany, and Finland. For more information, visit: http://www.powervision.me, or call toll free: (855) 562-6699.

Volansi Announces Drone Cargo Deliveries in North Carolina

Volansi, Inc., the California-based cargo drone delivery service provider developing autonomous VTOL UAVs, today announces it has signed a teaming agreement with the N.C. Department of Transportation to begin commercial, middle-mile drone delivery projects in North Carolina.

Volansi and the N.C. Department of Transportation will work together with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), to gather data on drone delivery programs and how they could be incorporated long-term into the current transportation infrastructure and regulations.

“We are excited to have this opportunity to work closely with the FAA and the N.C. Department of Transportation to help shape how drones fit into our home country’s infrastructure,” said Hannan Parvizian, CEO and Co-Founder of Volansi. “We believe that one day, autonomous flight will be as commonplace and accessible as mailing a letter, and Volansi technology will play a pivotal part in this transport revolution.”

Volansi will initially perform tests and VLOS cargo delivery flights under Part 107 as part of the UAS Integration Pilot Program (IPP) in North Carolina, with the intent to scale to more projects with additional waivers and permissions with the support of the N.C. Department of Transportation and the FAA.

Projects will initially utilize the VOLY C10- Gen 2, Volansi’s all-electric, hybrid VTOL fixed-wing UAV. This enables Volansi’s drones to complete complex, two-way missions with minimal to zero infrastructure needs. Because the drones fully land at the delivery point, they can deliver and return cargo such as samples for analysis and diagnosis, or parts for repair.

The drone flies autonomously and can carry up to 10lb of cargo over 50 miles. Volansi’s award-winning, in-house Flight Operations Team handles all operations of the VOLY C10 providing an end-to-end delivery service to customers. VOLY C10 aircraft have already performed operations in Africa, the Carribean, and in the United States.

About Volansi

Volansi provides fast, on-demand aerial delivery services for time-critical shipments over long ranges. We build and operate long-range, heavy-payload drones for commercial, defense, and humanitarian applications. Leveraging drone technology as a transportation method, we help our customers gain control of their supply chain by delivering critical equipment (and aid) where it otherwise faced unpredictable delays – helping to save time, money, and lives. To learn more, visit www.volansi.com or follow us on twitter (twitter.com/volans_i).

DJI Statement On Further Misleading Claims About App Security

Today’s report from the Synacktiv digital security firm about DJI software includes further inaccuracies and misleading statements about how our products work, following similar reports from them last week. We want to make clear that DJI’s products protect user data; that DJI, like most software companies, continually updates products as real and perceived vulnerabilities come to light; and that there is no evidence that any of the hypothetical vulnerabilities reported by Synacktiv have ever been exploited. In this post, we address Synacktiv’s new report.

Synacktiv’s False Claim Concerning Weibo SDK

The DJI Pilot app for Android available from both the DJI website and the Google Play store do not integrate a software development kit (SDK) to connect with Weibo. This claim by Synacktiv is false. In fact, no versions of the DJI Pilot app have any function for users to share data to Weibo.

Synacktiv’s Misleading Claims Concerning DJI Pilot Auto-Updates

The DJI Pilot app for Android that is available on the Google Play store only updates to official versions downloaded from the Google Play store. The user is prompted to update in a pop-up window, and the app will not update unless the user agrees. For customers who operate our products in countries where the Google Play store is not available, the app and app updates are made available on our website. The headline, summary, and first half of Synacktiv’s report are intentionally misleading because they fail to note that this mechanism is limited to the website version of the DJI Pilot app only, and does not affect anyone who obtains the DJI Pilot app from the Google Play store.

Synacktiv’s Incomplete Understanding of DJI’s Geofencing System

The DJI Pilot app includes a feature called Local Data Mode that allows the user to sever the connection to the internet as soon as the setting is turned on in the app. In addition to enhancing data security assurance, this feature blocks the drone’s ability to update flight safety restrictions and blocks the user’s ability to “unlock” some geofenced areas. However, Synacktiv appears to misunderstand the function of DJI’s geofencing safety system and the many other available methods for customers to unlock. For example, government agencies can participate in our Qualified Entities Program which unlocks the entire region they request, with no need to connect to the internet after initial activation. Also, our Government Edition drones have no geofencing at all. DJI users understand these limitations and plan ahead for when and how to unlock geofencing flight restrictions, if needed.

As with automatic updates, these features are implemented for purposes that benefit the public by enhancing airspace safety during the use of our products. The important safety role of geofencing has been recognized by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Drone Advisory Committee; the Airports International Council-North America and Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International joint Blue Ribbon Task Force on Airport Mitigation; and the FAA-industry joint Unmanned Aircraft Safety Team. No other company has done as much as DJI to proactively enhance the safety of drone operations. We are dismayed that safety features have again been misunderstood and misconstrued as hypothetical security threats by researchers who are evidently unfamiliar with the operation of drone technology.

DJI Immediately Remediated The Prior Reported Issues

While Synacktiv’s exaggerated and misleading initial report on security was cited in the New York Times, a serious examination of their work shows it falls short. DJI promptly updated the DJI GO 4 Android app July 31 to address the earlier hypothetical concerns Synacktiv noted about the DJI GO 4 app, removing the Weibo SDK and directing automatic safety-related updates to the Google Play store rather than our website.

DJI remains the only drone manufacturer to have its products successfully evaluated in publicly-available reports by multiple independent government and private institutions. DJI also remains the only drone manufacturer to have created a Bug Bounty Program to actively solicit responsible disclosure of security vulnerabilities and pays rewards to the researchers who find them.

For further details on DJI’s robust security protections, please refer to our response to the original allegations at this link: https://www.dji.com/newsroom/news/dji-statement-on-recent-reports-from-security-researchers

Virginia to Launch Unmanned Aerial Systems Flight Information Exchange

The Virginia Department of Aviation (DOAV) and Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) today announced the launch of the Virginia Flight Information Exchange pilot program, a tool that will allow state and local governments to share information among unmanned aerial systems (UAS) stakeholders and address key safety and policy concerns while keeping the airspace open, secure, and integrated with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) control of the national airspace. Virginia Flight Information Exchange will ensure the Commonwealth balances both the safest and most open UAS airspace in the country.

The Virginia Flight Information Exchange is a platform for state and local government agencies to publish and share advisory information with each other, UAS Service Suppliers (USS), unmanned system operators, and the public to promote transparency and public safety. The pilot program will evaluate the benefits of information sharing, inform thoughtful regulation, and demonstrate a state-supported approach to UAS communications and coordination.

The pilot program was developed through a public-private collaboration with the Virginia DOAV, CIT and its Virginia Unmanned Systems Center, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), and Advanced Technology Applications (ATA), a leading data science and engineering company in Northern Virginia.

“Innovation plays a critical role in the continuous evolution of Virginia’s multimodal transportation network,” said Virginia Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “The development of the Virginia Flight Information Exchange demonstrates Virginia’s commitment to collaborative solutions and the future of the emerging UAS industry sector.”

The Virginia Flight Information Exchange will be the first state-sponsored authoritative Supplemental Data Service Provider (SDSP) to exist in the FAA’s UAS Traffic Management (UTM), which is an ecosystem of infrastructure and protocols enabling the management of low- altitude drone operations.

“With one of the strongest technology workforces in the country, Virginia has been an aggressive early adopter of UAS, and the Flight Information Exchange furthers our Commonwealth’s reputation as an industry leader,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “By working with Virginia industry leaders like ATA, we support the growth of unmanned aerial systems capabilities and opportunities throughout the Commonwealth. We’re very proud that Virginia is playing a key role in UAS, and it’s exciting to be part of this rapidly evolving industry.”

“It is great to be working with a team willing to collaborate, experiment, and share lessons learned,” said Craig Parisot, Chief Executive Officer of ATA, LLC. “We are helping states and localities gain a necessary technical capability while setting an important example for how states can support the growth of UAS and commercial UTM solutions in a manner that best serves the public interest.”

For more information on the Virginia Flight Information Exchange, go to www.doav.virginia.gov

About the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT)

Investing for Commonwealth Growth | CIT concentrates on the early commercialization and seed funding stages of innovation, helping innovators and tech entrepreneurs launch and grow new companies to create high-paying jobs throughout the entire state of Virginia. Founded in 1985, CIT, a nonprofit corporation, has been a primary driver of advocating for innovation and entrepreneurship in the Commonwealth. CIT accelerates next-generation technologies and technology companies through commercialization, capital formation, and market development initiatives. Our programs include | CIT GAP Funds | Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund (CRCF) | Virginia Founders Fund | Broadband/Rural Broadband | Smart Communities | Cybersecurity | Unmanned Systems | SBIR/STTR Support (Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) & Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs) | University Partnerships | Startup Company Mentoring & Engagement on behalf of Virginia Entrepreneurship & Economic Development. CIT’s CAGE Code is 1UP71. Contact: 2214 Rock Hill Road #600, Herndon, VA 20170 | 703.689.3000 | www.cit.org

Eye in the Sky: drones at Salisbury Plain

Next time you visit Salisbury Plain Training Area (SPTA) you may notice some Unidentified Flying Objects. Don’t be alarmed, they’re just our new drones.

The Training Safety Marshals (TSMs) recently took delivery of ten DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise drones, more properly known as Unmanned Air Systems (UAS), for use on the training area. They can be used in a number of ways to help us in our duties to maintain a “Safe Place” for the Armed Forces to train.

All of the operators, currently nine, undertook five days training at the Surveillance Target Acquisition branch in Larkhill and obtained the Class 1b UAS qualification prior to being issued with the drones.

The air space above SPTA is a very busy MOD Air Danger Area, which means there is a process to be followed prior to the drone being deployed so that the air space remains safe for those authorised to be there. This requirement means use of drones by the public in the SPTA air space is strictly prohibited, even when there might not appear to be aircraft in the area.

Use of the drones

Five of the drones are equipped with a zoom camera and five have a dual set up which also includes a thermal camera.

Although they have only been in use for a few months, they have already proven their worth. Much of SPTA is accessible to the public at certain times as long as the byelaws are being followed, however, we frequently come across people who are not following the rules; sometimes accidentally and sometimes deliberately.

Our TSMs have used the drones to capture footage of illegal motorbike activity on numerous occasions; in most cases the bikes have dispersed once the drone is spotted by the riders. Two vans were seized after a drone was used to monitor vans being used to transport illegal bikes to the area. The Ministry of Defence Police (MDP) and Wiltshire Police waited until the drone’s camera showed the riders returning to the vans before moving in.

A dismounted motorbike rider waves at the camera above him. Behind him is his motorbike, just off the side of a track. A dismounted motorbike rider waves at the camera above him. Behind him is his motorbike, just off the side of a track. A dismounted motorbike rider waves at the camera above him. Behind him is his motorbike, just off the side of a track.
A motorbike rider waves at one of the drones. [Crown Copyright / MOD 2020]

When members of the public are in out-of-bounds areas, the loudspeaker on the drones has been used to let people know they are somewhere they shouldn’t be. The team also used a drone to record evidence of a campsite, hidden from view on Sidbury Hill. The drone was able to direct a member of the Ministry of Defence Police to the tent who then issued two tickets for offences in breach of COVID-19 rules.

Footage from the drone was clear enough to record the number plates of two 4×4 vehicles driving illegally in the Cross Country Driving Area and capture evidence.

An aerial view from the drone of MOD Police officers talking to the drivers of two parked 4x4 vehicles. An aerial view from the drone of MOD Police officers talking to the drivers of two parked 4x4 vehicles. An aerial view from the drone of MOD Police officers talking to the drivers of two parked 4x4 vehicles.
MOD Police officers talking to the drivers of two 4x4s. [Crown Copyright / MOD 2020]

A number of times, drones have been deployed to watch authorised personnel, whether TSMs or MDP officers, when dealing with members of the public as an added layer of safety. With a range of up to five miles and able to reach 45mph at maximum speed, the drones have already proved themselves extremely valuable to our team on Salisbury Plain, both for providing guidance to those who may have inadvertently strayed into out-of-bounds areas and for deterring and recording illegal activity.

What’s next?

The success of the use of the drones so far means we plan is to make sure that all SPTA staff who deploy on the ground are trained in their use. The intent is to roll this out to other regions who will use them in a similar manner and no doubt achieve the same results.

Small Tactical UAS program office changes leadership

Col. John Neville gives remarks at his change of command and retirement ceremony July 23 at NAS Patuxent River, Md. (U.S. Navy photo)

NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md–

The Navy and Marine Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems program office (PMA-263) welcomed a new program manager during a change of command ceremony July 23 at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Maryland.

A small ceremony took place for family to witness the transfer of leadership from Col. John Neville to Col. Victor Argobright. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, co-workers, extended family and friends joined the ceremony virtually via a livestream.

“Advancements in unmanned systems over the last few years allow our warfighters to move around the battlespace with unprecedented capability and agility to really handle a very adaptive set of threats,” said guest speaker Rear Adm. Brian Corey, who oversees the Program Executive Office for Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons. “One of the most important reasons that they can do that safely is unmatched situational awareness that gives the warfighter the capability and the confidence to know what is in front of them. That situational awareness is attributable to the leadership of Col. Neville and the efforts of the PMA-263 team over the last three years.”

During Neville’s tenure, he expedited the fielding of 800 InstantEye Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) systems in response to the Commandant of the Marine Corps’ “Quads for Squads” directive to provide every infantry squad with a quadcopter for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (SUAS) capability.

He spearheaded the opening of a new SUAS training facility for Marines stationed in the Pacific region, the third Training and Logistics Support Activity (TALSA) of its kind. The establishment of the TALSA Pacific provides the ability to train Marines to effectively employ SUAS capability while conducting operations across the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command area of responsibility.

Neville successfully guided the RQ-21A Blackjack program through its final system deliveries to the Marines at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina and Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron (VMU) 3, located in Hawaii, completing squadron deliveries. His leadership saw the production phase of the RQ-21A program come to a successful conclusion and he expertly maneuvered the team into the sustainment phase for the fleet maintaining a focus on system readiness, affordability, and capability improvements.

Neville, a native of Pompano Beach, Florida, also celebrated his retirement after 28 years of military service as part of the change of command ceremony.

“Team PMA-263, I’m extremely proud of your accomplishments,” Neville said during the ceremony. “But most importantly, I am grateful for the relationships you build with the fleet and working to get them the capabilities they need.”

A native of Ohio, and graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Argobright received his commission in May 1994. He graduated from U.S. Navy Test Pilot School at NAS Patuxent River in 2001 and was assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron two one (HX-21) as a developmental test pilot and AH-1Z platform coordinator.

In 2009, Argobright was designated as an Aviation Acquisition Professional and in 2012 he received the Marine Corps Aviation Association John Glenn Squadron Acquisition Officer of the Year. He recently served as Commanding Officer, Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) for Bell Textron.

In his new role, Argobright will manage a complex portfolio of 13 different unmanned systems that are fielded globally and will lead training operations for all service branches.

“I am incredibly humbled to become part of the PMA-263 team. The products and services that you all provide have a daily impact on the warfighter and to our national defense,” Argobright said. “This is an exciting time as we look to what the future holds for unmanned systems and to the expansion of their roles in our military operations.”

Col. Victor Argobright takes command of the Small Tactical Unmanned Air Systems Program Office (PMA-263) during ceremony at NAS Patuxent River, Md. (U.S. Navy photo)Public Affairs Officer Contact:301-757-9703

Parrot + Dronisos: Imagining the future of Drone Automation

Paris – August 5, 2020:Parrot, the leading European drone group, and Dronisos, a pioneer in the creation and production of customised drone swarm light shows, are expanding their ongoing partnership to explore new applications for drone flight automation leveraging the Parrot ANAFI drone platform.

Dronisos’ drone swarms combine sophisticated technology and artistic expression to entertain audiences around the world with dancing drones and lights for clients including Lancôme, Peugeot, FIFA, and Oreo. These shows require sophisticated drone flight automation to synchronise up one thousand drones to perform choreographed movements, tricks and flight patterns.

Dronisos has previously featured Parrot Bebop and Mambo drones, modified with specialised lights, hardware and software to act as the stars of their shows. Parrot’s latest ANAFI drone platform offers new opportunities to advance flight automation and synchronisation thanks to its compact size, quiet flights, and industry-leading security.

“Parrot is a dream partner to help us bring to life spectacular displays of imagination though both their technology and appreciation for artistry,” said Jean-Dominique Lauwereins, CTO and Co-Founder of Dronisos. “Now, Parrot’s ANAFI drone platform has both inspired and equipped our team to push the boundaries and take our drone swarm capabilities to new heights and new industries. In particular, the small size of the ANAFI prevents any physical harm and the highly secure connection ensures the safety and integrity of autonomous flights from potential hackers.”

Parrot first partnered with Dronisos in 2016 to help produce the company’s now infamous drone dances at its annual CES booth to showcase the launch of the Bebop. The lighthearted and entertaining dances entertained CES attendees and served as a memorable showcase of the brand and its technology. These elaborate choreographed drone dances broke barriers in drone automation previously unimagined.

Five years later, amid months of lockdown due to the global coronavirus pandemic, the Dronisos team created a world-record breaking show flying 200 Parrot Bebop 2 drones simultaneously. Created with a dispersed team throughout the lockdown, the show broke the world record for the largest number of drones flying autonomously indoors. The show, sponsored by Cisco and Tim, was broadcast nationally for the celebration of San Giovanni, a popular annual Italian festival in Turin, Genoa and Florence.

“Dronisos has broken barriers and world records with their vision and engineering and our drone technology,” said Jerome Bouvard, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Parrot. “We see the ways in which our professional and enterprise customers are using our drones and believe that through this next phase of our partnership we can showcase what else can be achieved to solve new challenges for inspections, surveying and mapping, security and defense industries.”

For more information on Parrot and its ANAFI drones, visit Parrot.com. To learn more about Dronisos, visit Dronisos.com.