Drones News - Page 9
Marking another step in our new-age of technology, Australia's largest telecom, Telstra, and a government funded news entity, ABC, covered the Sydney, Australia New Year's Eve fireworks with assistance of two purpose-built quadcopters - streaming this footage to mainstream TV.
These quadcopters were built with HD cameras and set to broadcast links 1000 ft above the Sydney Harbour in unison with nine cameras on-ground and a manned helicopter.
These drones were flown by licensed pilots and made to hover within the firework exclusion zone, as according to a spokeswoman. ABC also had to receive approval from the Civil Aviation Security Authority (CASA) to be able to fly these helicopters at such a height. Although they might be just remote-control models to some, we're seeing quadcopters used more and more throughout various sporting and public events. Much cheaper than use of a full-size manned helicopter, quadcopters are able to safely capture the action from up close or at a great distance, giving the pilot the ability to create smooth sweeping camera angles or beautiful fly-throughs (hint: skip to 52 sec in the video below).
A new Associated Press-GfK poll discovered 41 percent Americans opposed drones for commercial use, with just 21 percent favoring commercial drone use, and 35 percent still sitting on the fence. Only three percent of those surveyed have flown small drones, but that number is expected to increase in the coming years.
Congress will likely push the FAA to help move things along faster, as the drone industry is expected to create 100,000 jobs and provide $82 billion for the economy in the first 10 years.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will continue to move forward with private and commercial drone use - and companies continue to push forward with drone use for deliveries, filming in Hollywood, agriculture, engineering, and other verticals.
NASA is developing a new bio-drone that could splash down in a body of water, disintegrating while not hurting the environment. The biodegradable drone's chassis is made of mycelium, which is a fiber found in mushrooms - and can also be found on or in soil located near mushrooms.
"If you have living organisms acting as biosensors and the plane crashes, there certainly could be problems as the plane interacts with the environment," said Lynn Rothschild, NASA developer spearheading the project, in an interview with the team. "Hopefully people could think of this in advance, and design such that this never becomes a problem."
Drones that crash can have a significant impact in the immediate area, such as if it crashed on coral reefs and other sensitive habits that are being studied. Flying this type of custom drone allows researchers to get a closer look at unique locations, and researchers are continually making adjustments to make it as eco-friendly as possible.
Do you want to be a drone pilot? There is increasing need for private drone pilots, with salaries often starting at $100,000 per year - and the demand for these specially-trained workers is only increasing. The market is expected to create around 100,000 new jobs over the first 10 years, with a growing number of drones entering private US airspace.
Even with potential Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) problems, Amazon, Facebook, and other companies are interested in utilizing drones for various reasons. Some companies are already paying $50 per hour, and salaries will only increase even further above $100,000 per year, according to Al Palmer, University of North Dakota Unmanned Aircraft Systems director.
Expect more university programs dedicated to helping groom the next generation of drone pilots.
The US Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC) is working on a pocket-sized drone that can fly for 20 minutes, giving ground troops real-time video of the surrounding area. Soldiers would be able to easily carry the drone as part of the Cargo Pocket Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (CP-ISR) program.
Soldiers in the UK have tested the PD-100 Black Hornet palm-sized helicopter, manufactured by Prox Dynamics, and similar drone technologies would be able to benefit US soldiers. Besides the extremely small size of the drone, being able to transmit footage directly to ground soldiers would be extremely beneficial.
"The Cargo Pocket ISR is a true example of an applied systems approach for developing new Soldier capabilities," said Dr. Laurel Allender, NSRDEC acting technical director recently said. "It provides an integrated capability for the Soldier and small unit for increased situational awareness and understanding with negligible impact on Soldier load and agility."
Lockheed Martin is promoting its helicopter drone, the K-MAX, as a potential asset to help fight wildfires, helping protect firefighters and pilots. The K-MAX can fly in tandem with the four-pound Indago drone that is used as a fire scout, while the firefighting drone dropped 12 tons of water in one hour.
The K-MAX has the ability to lift and transport up to 6,000 lbs. of cargo while at sea level, or more than 4,000 lbs. while flying at 15,000 ft. density altitude. The helicopter has more than 750 hours of autonomous flight since live testing began in 2007, Lockheed Martin reported.
"The FAA would designate the airspace in the vicinity of the fire area as restricted airspace," said Keith Little, Lockheed spokesman. "We would coordinate with the FAA prior to any actual usage regarding obtaining COA (Certificates of Waiver or Authorization) approval for K-MAX that would allow a quick approval for use of K-Max in support of firefighting operations in the designated restricted area."
Australian real estate company Eview Real Estate made a mistake when it posted a listing on a billboard, after being informed they used a picture that included a topless sunbather only wearing a thong. Mandy Lingard discovered the picture of herself after spotting it in the neighborhood, and Eview Real Estate has now removed the listing.
"Images of Miss Lingard were not used intentionally, it was merely an oversight and Eview Group have put into place systems and procedures to ensure that such instances do not occur in the future," said the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority, the national group responsible for licensing commercial drone flights.
Meanwhile, Lingard said she is embarrassed by the situation, as she explained what happened: "I heard a noise and then I saw this odd thing flying around and thought it was a kid's toy. It hovered around and luckily I was face down at the time."
The Pentagon has tasked the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) with finding new methods for drones to be able to launch from aircraft, including the B-1, B-52, C-130, and other large aircraft. Drones would be able to launch from aircraft, conduct their missions, and return to the aircraft so the host plane can fly away from potentially dangerous airspace.
Here is what the DARPA request says: "The agency envisions a large aircraft that, with minimal modification, could launch and recover multiple small unmanned systems from a standoff distance."
"We want to find ways to make smaller aircraft more effective, and one promising idea is enabling existing large aircraft, with minimal modification, to become 'aircraft carriers in the sky,'" said Dan Patt, DARPA program manager. "We envision innovative launch and recovery concepts for new [unmanned aerial system] designs that would couple with recent advances in small payload design and collaborative technologies."
Engineers in China successfully created a new laser weapon system capable of shooting down low-altitude light drones, able to lock on and engage a target within five seconds. The machine can engage "various small aircraft" and has a two-kilometer range against targets flying up to 112 mph.
The US Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) recently made flying drones near large sports stadiums and race tracks illegal, but trying to enforce the airspace restriction could be problematic. However, this new laser technology will allow the Chinese to better protect large venues.
"Intercepting such drones is usually the work of snipers and helicopters, but their success rate is not as high and mistakes with accuracy can result in unwanted damage," said Yi Jinsong, China Jiuyuan Hi-Tech Equipment manager.
The Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) posted a warning that says drone operators that fly their aircraft near or over sports stadiums and racetracks could be punished by monetary fines and up to one year in jail. The rules will change flight patterns over 150 stadiums and racetracks with 30,000 or more people.
Drones will no longer be able to fly under 3,000 feet within three miles of a NCAA Division I college stadium, Major League Baseball (MLB) stadium, or National Football League (NFL) stadium - and the same rules apply for any Indy Car, NASCAR Sprint Cup or Champ series auto tracks.
The FAA is working to commercialize drone use, and while that has proven to be a drawn out mess, a growing number of private citizens are flying drones.