US Announces the Upcoming Federal Drone Registry: Register or Face ‘Consequences’

Published on October 19, 2015 by Michael Zhang

The Obama administration announced today that it will be creating the first ever federal drone registry to reign in the wild wild west of drone usage. Drone owners will be required to register their drones with the database in order to fly legally, and those caught flying unregistered drones will face “consequences.”

Reuters reports that at a press conference, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx revealed that the administration is putting together a task force consisting of industry and government representatives. The group will be tasked with putting together a set of recommendations for the drone registry.

See more

Courtesy Petapixel

FAA to Require Recreational Drone Operators to Register – Will CASA or EASA Follow?

US Federal regulators announced Monday that recreational drone operators will be required to register their aircraft.

“There can be no accountability if the person breaking the rules can’t be identified,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said at a news conference.

A task force of more than two dozen people will be responsible for creating guidelines for the national registry by Nov. 20, with the goal of instilling the program before the end of the holiday season, when around 1 million drones are expected to be sold.

The increased number of recreational drones worries FAA officials and pilots, who have reported seeing twice the number of unmanned aircraft while flying this year than they did during all of 2014. A spate of high-profile incidents — including drones’ crashing into the stands at the U.S. Open tennis tournament and interfering with firefighting efforts in California — has increased pressure to regulate the use of unmanned aircraft.

See more

Courtesy NBC News

Other articles: U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx Announces Unmanned Aircraft Registration Requirement 

LOW ALTITUDE TRAFFIC AND AIRSPACE SAFETY – LATAS

The LATAS platform provides ‘safety as a service’ to support the growing number of consumer and enterprise drones in the airspace.

LATAS is designed to work everywhere… connecting your drone over the cellular network and through satellites with one hundred percent reliability.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/icb6t6CRwHQ[/youtube]

Each operator has advanced situational awareness with Real-time tracking, Identification of ground and air obstacles and hazard notifications.

Visit flylatas.com

US Defense Dept wants Cargo Drones for the Pacific

Promoting the development of cargo drones will be the focus of next year’s operational energy capability improvement fund, according to a Defense Department official.

“The [fiscal year 2016] theme for OECIF is unmanned aerial vehicles,” said Steve Mapes, deputy director for expeditionary operations in the office of the assistant secretary of defense for energy plans and programs. “What we’re talking about is unmanned aerial vehicles for resupply.”OECIF provides seed money to programs that could potentially improve the energy usage of deployed forces or deliver long-term cost savings.

By using UAVs to transport cargo “you can take those trucks [that would normally have to be used to transport supplies] off the road or you can navigate or circumvent bodies of water without having to send actual forces or troops or ships” to deliver materiel, Mapes said Aug. 25 at a National Defense Industrial Association power conference in Cincinnati, Ohio.

OECIF investments in 2016 would be “targeted specially toward the Pacific,” which presents unique logistical hurdles because of its vast size, Mapes said.

“Tyranny of distance right now is hands down one of the most challenging things we have to deal with, particularly in the [U.S. Pacific Command area of responsibility],” he said. “We rely heavily on host nation agreements. We rely heavily on our joint partners to move equipment and assets from point A to point B. But one of our major defense challenges is just distance.”

As a solution, he envisioned launching supply drones off ships. “We’re talking cargo aircraft that can navigate from a ship-based platform [and] … allow us to navigate that distance without bringing that ship right up to the coast,” he said.

See more

Courtesy UASVision

UK-Singapore Collaboration Prepares for Record 300km Hydrogen Fuel Cell UAV Flight

A new civilian fuel cell UAV designed for search and rescue is gearing up for the world’s first ever 300km UAV flight to cross the North Sea, linking Scotland to Norway

Set to take off within days, this historic flight is the result of a joint effort between UAV fuel cell power systems supplier Horizon Energy Systems (HES) of Singapore, and Scottish UAV developer RaptorUAS. The team is working with Northern Colorado Search and Rescue in the US, as a first end-user of the long endurance UAV system.

The Singapore-built fuel cell is able to keep the Raptor E1 UAV flying for over 12 hours, which makes it an ideal support tool in difficult search and rescue operations over large areas of sea or land. Recognized as the world’s longest endurance energy storage systems for electrical UAVs, fuel cells from HES have helped set new world records in the past including the NASA-backed 5kg Pterosoar UAVsystem which flew 128km in 2007.

Read more

Courtesy: SUAS News

MOAS drones to keep flying thanks to generous Schiebel donation

Search and rescue charity Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) will keep flying Schiebel‘s unmanned helicopters to save lives thanks to the Austrian company’s decision to offer two months of use for free.
Schiebel’s CAMCOPTER® S-100 is helping MOAS locate crammed boats of refugees in the Mediterranean Sea as part of the MOAS operation.
“Schiebel has been supportive from the very beginning, helping MOAS become the first civilian organisation to use these military-grade drones for a great humanitarian purpose. Besides giving us a subsidized rate from the start, Schiebel has now generously offered two months of free use, a donation worth more than €600,000,” said MOAS director Martin Xuereb”.
MOAS has already saved more than 8,000 men, women and children since August 2014.

Schiebel’s state-of-the-art CAMCOPTER® S-100 systems have contributed significantly to this year’s missions, assisting MOAS on practically every rescue.

 MOAS conducts professional search and rescue aboard a 40-metre vessel, M.Y. Phoenix, while MSF (Doctors Without Borders) provides post-rescue care to the migrants sheltered on board.
Thousands of migrants have drowned while crossing the world’s deadliest border but MOAS and other private and state-owned rescue operations have significantly reduced the death toll since May this year.

MOAS founder Christopher Catrambone thanked chairman Hans Georg Schiebel for his huge contribution.

Read more.

Amazon provides new details on its plan for a drone superhighway in the sky

When I arrived in San Jose last night, the newspaper on the front desk at the hotel had this headline splashed across the front page: “Drones Putting Lives at Risk.” At least five times this year, fire departments trying to battle wildfires in California were unable to fly their helicopters close enough to assist teams on the ground because small drones flown by ordinary citizens were in the airspace capturing footage of the blaze.

This morning, at NASA’s UTM Convention, Amazon announced details of a plan designed to solve these kinds of problems. The company laid out its vision for a multi-tiered superhighway in the sky, one in which all drones flying above 200 feet would have the ability to communicate with — and ideally sense and avoid — other aircraft. It’s an attempt to put an end to the Wild West atmosphere that has been the norm for uncrewed aerial systems (UAS) over the last five years, replacing it with a next-generation air traffic control system. It hopes to establish a basic regulatory framework and set of technical standards that manufacturers can work toward. All this would prepare the airspace for a time when thousands, even tens of thousands of drones fly over the average city delivering parcels, monitoring air quality, and handing out parking tickets.

Amazon’s proposal, which is in line with similar ideas floated by NASA and Google, would create a slow lane for local traffic below 200 feet and a fast lane for long-distance transport between 200 and 400 feet. Altitudes between 400 and 500 feet would become a no-fly zone, and anything above that is already against FAA regulations for hobbyists. While some commercial drone operators are pushing to fly large UAS above 500 feet, Amazon is avoiding that discussion for now.

Commercial aircraft are governed by FAA’s Air Traffic Control, and in Amazon’s vision, there would be a similar central command and control network that takes in data about the position of each drone and shares it with every other vehicle connected to the network. There would also be vehicle-to-vehicle communication, similar to what we are starting to see with autonomous automobiles. Access to the different layers of the airspace would be governed by how well your drone can communicate with its pilot, the command and control network, and other drones. “Everyone can have access to the airspace,” says Gur Kimchi, who heads up Amazon’s Prime Air program. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a hobbyist or a corporation. If you’ve got the right equipment, you can fly.”

If you’re operating a radio-controlled quadcopter with no internet connection, then you would be relegated to the area below 200 feet. That may rub some hobbyists the wrong way, but given that even cheap consumer drones are now connected to the internet through their apps, it seems unlikely that there will be too many UAS which fall into this category. And while complex sense and avoid (SAA) technology is not yet widespread among consumer drones, we are already seeing it appear on units like the Lily, in software from Skydio, and in developer hardware like DJI’s Matrice. If the pace of development in this area continues, sense and avoid technology will be standard on consumer drones within a few years.

Still, startups working on consumer facing drones took issue with parts of of the plan. “Amazon’s proposal to create a commercial airspace dedicated to drones is smart thinking for the future of its business proposition,” said Antoine Level, CEO of Squadrone System, the company behind the HEXO+. “The uptake of drones means that regulation will need to change to adapt; however, given the utility of personal-use application of drones, regulation must be careful not to regulate commercial use in such a way that drones become too costly to deploy and inaccessible to consumers, as this will in turn create a bar to their usage and adoption.”

In traditional air traffic control, humans have handled much of the work. But with small UAS, the number of aircraft in the sky at any given time is likely to be many times greater than the number of commercial aircraft. So Amazon is proposing we let the machines handle more of the work themselves. “Right now the standard is an aircraft that can basically fly itself, with a human at the controls to take over at anytime,” says Kimchi. “But with UAS, there won’t be a single operator for every drone. We need a lot more automation than we have with the traditional model.”

Amazon says its drones would automatically adjust their path if they are on a collision course, and also warn one another about obstacles. “I am from Seattle, there are many seagulls,” Kimchi says. “Our drone would automatically get out of the way and also alert others in the area.”

This new air traffic control system would also link UAS with traditional aircraft. If a helicopter from the fire department needed to fly low over an emergency, for example, it would be able to communicate with command and control, warning drones it was in the area, and creating a geofenced area around itself that would become a no-fly zone, as depicted in the graphic above.

Read more