Month: August 2018

Drones, Thermal Images and Koala Conservation

By: Malek Murison

A forestry company in Victoria, Australia, is using drones and thermal cameras to spot koalas before trees are cut down or controlled burns take place.

Hazelwood Forestry, in Latrobe Valley is regularly tasked with cutting down Hancock Victoria Plantations’ eucalyptus and pine trees. One complication is that carelessly harvesting – which some companies might go ahead and do – puts native koalas in danger.

Read More: Drone Life

Drones flown in to provide communication services to disaster ravaged areas

By Feilidh Dwyer

Hurricane Lane hit the Hawaiian Islands last week bringing 46 inches of rain, flash floods and mud slides. In the immediate aftermath of severe natural disasters, along with the loss of essential services such as power, water and sewage there is frequently the problem of people’s phone and internet connections being cut.

Not being able to contact people outside of one’s immediate vicinity makes it next to impossible to talk with family and friends or emergency services.

Verizon and AT&T are both planning to be on hand for this coming hurricane season, providing drones that broadcast communication services such as mobile data. While Verizon is continuing testing, AT&T has several models of cellular drones ready to go which they refer to as COWs (Cellular on Wings).

AT&T’s drones provided support following the devastating hurricane that hit Puerto Rico in 2017. Following that disaster, nearly half of all the country’s cellphones towers went down.

These UAVs are tethered to the ground to the ground through a fiber optic cable. Remote radio heads are attached to the bottom of the drones which facilitate the provision of data, voice and text services to people.

The drone acts as a broadcasting beacon for a station on the ground. When a COW hovers at a height of around 200 feet, it can provide communication services to an area as large as 40 square miles. The drones are capable of staying airborne for hours at a time, allowing stranded people to contact loved ones and perhaps update social media with shocking disaster selfies.

Read Article: We Talk UAV

Minister offers Google support for ACT office, drone trials stepped up

By Blake Foden

ACT government minister Mick Gentleman has offered internet giant Google his support in helping to set up an office in Canberra, as a subsidiary of Google’s holding company steps up drone delivery trials in the capital.

Google’s holding company, Alphabet, signalled its desire to continue expanding its drone delivery trials throughout Canberra.

The company, Wing, “graduated” from Alphabet’s X research division to become an independent business in July, and has already added to its offering in the Bonython area.

Wing trialled automated drone delivery of Guzman y Gomez and Chemist Warehouse products to customers at Fernleigh Park in Googong and Royalla last year, before expanding into Bonython in 2018.

Bunnings and Jasper and Myrtle Chocolates have since joined the trials.

More than 100 customers in the Bonython area are signed up to receive deliveries from the drones, which fly at 120km/h and can carry up to 1.5 kilograms.

Read More: Canberra Times

Drone Inspections Reduce Commercial Real Estate Investment Risks

The commercial property industry is expansive, totalling $750 billion across real estate, management and insurance.

There’s also a certain amount of inherent risk for investors, particularly to property and infrastructure. Physical asset risk, which includes equipment or ageing roofs that need replacing, is one of the top-10 sources of risk in commercial real estate, according to CrowdStreet.

Accurate and timely drone-based assessments of property conditions can help reduce investment risk and help property managers, owners and insurers make key decisions about their properties.

In order to do so, owners and managers need more modern, effective solutions for property and roof assessments to protect stakeholders and their investments.

Read More: UAV Vision

Lifeguard UAV Rescues Swimmer in Spain

Last week, a group of seven swimmers located about 70 m (230 ft) from the beach at Spain’s port of Sagunto found themselves caught in an undertow and being swept out to sea.

After they signalled one of the lifeguards, an onsite Auxdron Lifeguard Drone was flown out to perform a rescue.

Made by Spanish startup GeneralDrones, the Auxdron features eight props/motors located on the ends of four arms, along with a watertight carbon fiber body and a maximum flight time of 34 minutes – that goes down to 26 minutes when it’s carrying a payload of two inflatable life jackets.

Read More: UAV Vision

One sky: we must develop a unified approach to the national airspace with drones in mind

Australia once stood at the forefront of RPAS regulation, having drafted the first rules of use in the world. We now trail other jurisdictions – which have invested in research-led and evidence-based regulation – and we’re alarmingly misaligned with international best practice.

The Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee released a report last month about the future of drones in Australia.

Anticipating the proliferation of drones with expanding capabilities, the report assesses the prospects of a viable drone industry which does not compromise aviation safety, security and privacy. It’s not a roadmap to open skies, but sets out the conditions on which any future drone policy must rest.

Read More: The Conversation

The DroneHunter knocks killer drones out of the sky

by Jeff Rossen and Conor Ferguson

Watch the DroneHunter find and neutralize a drone loaded with explosives.

SPRINGVILLE, Utah — U.S. officials have long worried that weaponized drones could be used to hit “soft targets” like sporting events and political rallies, as allegedly happened in Venezuelaearlier this month.

A Utah-based company, however, gave NBC News an exclusive look at a potential answer to killer drones.

Backed by Boeing and other investors, the airspace security company Fortem Technologies is developing a “good” drone called the DroneHunter, and has made sales to the U.S. Department of Defense, major airports and sports stadiums.

The DroneHunter, says Fortem CEO Timothy Bean, “patrols the airspace, detects any unwanted objects in the airspace, enemy drones or other robotics, pursues them, and then safely captures them and tows them away to a safe location.”
Read More: NBC News

Boeing Completes autonomous synchronised drone flight tests in Australia

Australia: Boeing has successfully completed the first suite of synchronized unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flight tests using new onboard autonomous command and control technology developed by Boeing in Australia.

Conducted at a regional Queensland airfield, the test flights saw five UAV test beds equipped with Boeing’s new onboard system safely complete in-air programmed missions as a team without input from a human pilot.

The milestone comes six months after establishing the company’s largest international autonomous systems development program in Queensland.

Read More: Geospatial World

Need a Quick Inspection of a 58-Story Tower? Send a Drone

John Murphy and Larry Shueneman of Coastal Construction fly a drone over a construction site at the Miami Worldcenter, in Miami. Credit: Saul Martinez for The New York Times.

With their low cost and ease of handling, drones are saving money and time on big construction projects.

They could also save lives.

Ubiquitous as toys for the gadget-minded — and sometimes for purposes like spying and dropping explosives — drones have become indispensable tools in construction and real estate. Their relatively low cost and ease of handling have made work more efficient for architects, landscape designers, surveyors, builders, structural engineers and brokers.

Read More: The New York Times


Is This A Game Changer For Drones?

By Irina Slav

Drones are making inroads into the oil and gas industry, and these inroads could very well turn into highways for this technology in an industry that features a lot of surveillance and inspection work.

Thanks to drones, this work can now be done remotely—but there is one problem with the dominant kind of drones that are fed power by batteries: they don’t last very long in the air.

Typical battery drone flight times are seldom above 30 minutes, but surveys and inspections of oilfields and equipment could take hours. This means extra time for battery replacement and charging, but there is one alternative to battery-powered drones that is offering great time savings: drones powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

Fuel cell technology has been unable to garner the attention that batteries are still attracting as the future of power, but they are still a topic of conversation because of all the benefits they offer. For drones, these benefits begin with much, much longer flight times than battery-powered drones.

We are talking about hours rather than minutes. Here are a few examples.

Read More: Oil Price.com