Airborne Services

Tech Guru Bets Drones Will be `Gold Rush in the Air’ For Japan

By Jie Ma and Nao Sano

The only person in a kimono at a recent Japanese government meeting on flying cars was Kotaro Chiba, a former online-game executive turned financier of a very specific kind.

For Chiba, 44, who wears the kimono on special occasions to show his pride in Japanese culture, is gathering money for what he calls the Drone Fund. It invests in unmanned vehicles to survey buildings, make deliveries and take aerial photos for tourist boards; hover scooters; and a pilotless cargo craft that’s seeking to make it all the way from Japan to Silicon Valley in one go.

Chiba is at the forefront of an industry that’s only years away from changing our lives. In five to 10 years, the skies could be alive with drones delivering goods, according to McKinsey & Co. Ten to 15 years out, you could be heading to work in a flying taxi, the consultancy says.

“It’s like a gold rush in the air,” Chiba said in an interview from his office in central Tokyo. And “the first movers will reap the best results.”

Read More: Bloomberg


Elios was used to complete the inspection of a damaged section of sewer infrastructure in Barcelona, Spain.

Wastewater infrastructure inspection offers some obvious challenges.

Because almost all of the system is hidden from view, the ways to inspect the pipes without a drone is either to dig them up – only done in the case of an emergency – , to use small cameras attached to ground-based robots or to send people inside.

In Barcelona, inspectors and engineers faced an immediate challenge. A critical piece of the infrastructure, a wastewater interceptor serving 5 municipalities in the Barcelona area and transporting a large volume of waste to the treatment plant, suffered a break during recent storms.

Running along the shore of the Mediterranean, the pipe had been damaged by heavy surf and was leaking 500 cubic meters per second of raw sewage into the sea.

Read More: Flyability

FAA Approves First Civil Use of BVLOS Drone with Radar

Author: Mike Rees

Avitas Systems has announced that it has received Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval to fly an unmanned aerial system (UAS) beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) in Loving County, Texas.

The permission authorizes Avitas Systems to fly a UAS over 55 pounds at low altitudes without a visual observer for industrial inspection; it is the first FAA-approved civil use of BVLOS with radar.

Currently, regulations require UAS to stay within range of the pilot’s vision. The FAA’s permission allows Avitas Systems to use a radar system and enhanced operational procedures to provide an equivalent level of safety.

The extended range of BVLOS operations allows for safer, and more efficient monitoring of critical industrial infrastructure, including well pads separated by rough terrain in the Permian Basin in West Texas. Better turnaround of inspection data leads to cost efficiency and faster facility repairs, compared to traditional methods such as driving to each individual inspection.

Read More: Unmanned Systems News

Drone taxis with no driver could take to UK’s skies in 2022 after first successful test

By Mark Ellis

An electric flying taxi was tested in Gloucestershire last month and now a consultation on the safety of the drone taxi has been launched.

Drones could be used as flying taxis in as few as four years, as companies prepare for a new transportation technology take-off.

The European Aviation Safety Agency has launched a consultation into rules for using small, electric-propelled, vertical take-off aircraft for passenger and cargo flights.

The move comes amid fast-advancing technological developments in the race to launch the first taxi-drones carrying up to five passengers, with a pilot on board or operated by remote control.

Last month, Bristol-based firm Vertical Aerospace successfully tested, for the first time in Britain, an electric flying taxi at an airfield in Gloucestershire and aims to fly commercial flights in four years.

Read More: Mirror.com.uk

First Responders Get Leg up Through Drone Use

BY MOLLY BILINSKI, Press of Atlantic City

MAURICE RIVER, N.J. (AP) — Joe Sterling has spent 36 years as a volunteer with the Leesburg Fire Department, but he’s recently taken on a new title – the township’s very own licensed drone pilot.

The township is the first in Cumberland County to have a drone team ready to respond to emergencies. The $9,400 DJI Inspire 1, complete with a thermal-imaging camera, will make responding to emergencies a whole lot easier and safer.

The drone can be deployed for active-shooter situations, hazmat, fires and woodland and marine rescues, going where first responders can’t to get a bird’s-eye view of an emergency.

Read More: US News.com

Singapore flying taxi trial set to begin in the second half of 2019

By Holly Robertson

In a race to perfect driverless flying car technology that includes big-name firms Uber and Airbus, Singapore is set to begin test flights in the second half of 2019.

Volocopter, the company behind the Singapore project, said the drone-based vehicles would take to the skies in a series of “inner-urban flight tests” with the support of local authorities.

The German firm has already undertaken a one-off unmanned test in Dubai, and individuals have also flown in it in Germany.

In a statement announcing the next step toward flying passenger vehicles becoming a reality, Volocopter CEO Florian Reuter described Singapore as a “logical partner” in its efforts.

“The city is a true pioneer in technology and city development,” he said.

“We are confident this is another exciting step to make air taxi services a reality.”

Read More: ABC News 

Parazero teams with drone safety training specialist to promote its novel technology

ParaZero’s SafeAir safety box monitors the flight operation of a drone and triggers a parachute to provide controlled descent in case of drone failure.

ParaZero’s SafeAir monitors the flight operation of a drone and triggers a parachute to provide a controlled descent rate in case of drone failure, warns bystanders underneath and communicates with the UTM (Unmanned Traffic System).

Read More: Proactive Investors

Drone with thermal imaging camera locates kidnapped assault victim

By Feilidh Dwyer

A teenager in the UK who called the police claiming she was being held by an assaulter at an unknown location was found using a drone equipped with thermal imaging.

The Independent Reports that the 16 year old girl from Lincolnshire called 999 claiming she had been raped and was currently being held by her attacker. Using the limited information she was able to provide, police deployed a drone to her approximate location and found her “within minutes.”

Read More: We Talk UAV

Machine Vision Algorithms Behind New Autonomous Drones

Author: Mike Rees

Percepto Robotics has announced that it has employed machine vision algorithms in its proprietary Sparrow drones as part of its complete autonomous drone-in-a-box system.

This differentiating technology makes its drones fully autonomous; capable of operating based on what they ‘see’ rather than follow predetermined GPS coordinates. Percepto’s Sparrow drones can deploy in complex environments where conditions might change from mission to mission.

For this development, Percepto was awarded the 2018 Global Enabling Technology Leadership Award by Frost & Sullivan.

Read More: Unmanned Systems News

Drone may check water tower


In the past, the city of Desloge has hired a person to take the ladder to the top of the city’s 130-foot water tower to perform an inspection, but now it’s considering using a drone to check a filter on the tank that needs to be replaced periodically.

When the city of Desloge begins to check out the condition of its 130-foot municipal water tower, rather than using a human being to climb the ladder, a drone may be used to perform an inspection of a filter.

“There’s a filter on top of the tower itself that needs to be inspected on a periodic basis,” he said. “In the past we’ve sent a man up the ladder to the top of the water tower to inspect that filter. We explored the idea of maybe using technology we weren’t able to do five or 10 years ago, but we’re able to do now.

“We’re considering the option of sending a drone up there to make a video and visibly inspect the filter that way and see if we can get good and clear footage to make a decision rather than sending someone up the side of the water tower on the ladder to visually inspect it in person.”

Source: Daily Journal Online

Need something that is high up inspected? Why put people safety at risk – use a drone!

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