Sky dragons
Sky dragons

Hi all –

Hope that this finds everyone who calls the Atlantic seaboard home, high and dry. The FAA has issued a warning reminding everyone to keep their drones on the ground to avoid interfering with disaster response operations. UAS or drone operators supporting disaster response operations must be approved by the FAA prior to operating. Details here.

As of 10/3 – so after a month – 7,513 people have taken the UAG Knowledge Test and 984 have failed. Remarkably, the pass rate is holding constant at 88%. 675 waiver requests have been submitted and nine have been issued – note that this does not include the 333 and Pathfinder petitions.

Big news this week out of California where Governor Brown vetoed a number of drone bills. Gov. Brown: “Piecemeal Is Not The Way To Go” takes a look at the issues and suggests that drone lobbyists blocking bills may not be in our long term interests.

One reason is found in Drones And The Anti-Surveillance Revolution which looks at shooting drones and the unintended dangers of falling munitions on innocent bystanders. If you want to see just how deep the emotions are on this topic, go to the original article and look at the 300+ comments. Anyone who doesn’t think we have a PR problem is kidding themselves.

Privacy Concerns Likely To Impact UAV Acceptance continues that theme with the findings from a new Pew Research report. The headline blew my mind “Experts believe that privacy protection will likely become a luxury good.”

Wanted: Lots Of UAS Pilots is my riff on an editorial by Jay Bregman, CEO of Verifly. Verifly you might recall recently launched and sells insurance by the hour. You get both sides of the 600,000 pilots question.

TOP20 Drone Industry Ranking Q3 2016 is the quarterly update from the Kay Wackwitz and the team which I value for its global outlook. Some interesting surprises including Parrot’s CEO announcing that they are not going to make their forecast. Xiaomi, the Chinese cell giant, comes on the list for the first time at #3.

Bunch of great technology stories this week.

Given the expected flooding, Drones Use GIS To Create AR Overlays seems particularly timely. The video (conveniently of a flood) makes the application and benefits clear of the SmartCam3D. A lot of first responders will be wishing they had this kind of tool this weekend.

GE Raven Drone Sniffs Out Oilfield Savings is about some testing in Oklahoma using a drone to sniff methane leaks in pipelines and stream the data to a technician’s iPad. With 2.5M miles of pipelines in the US, the technology has huge implications for an industry still reeling from price drops.

There are also a lot of towers that need inspecting. Intelligent Drone Will Automate Inspections brings together GPU wizards NVIDIA, deep learning leader Neurala and Aerialtronics to bring inspection to the next level. Aerialtronics, who came to prominence doing tower inspections with T-Mobile, also recently announced a deal to use IBM Watson for inspection.

Qualcomm and AT&T Now Testing 4G LTE For BVLOS looks at the use of the Qualcomm Snapdragon Flight test sled in what as seen as a proof-of-concept for BVLOS. Late add also from AT&T is an interview with Art Pregler explaining how AT&T is using a drone to model network performance in football stadiums. They were headed to Jerry’s House (AT&T Stadium next.)

Not to be outdone, Verizon announced its Airborne LTE Operations (ALO) initiative to provide in-flight wireless connectivity – “the foundation for the future of mobile IoT in the air.” (Sounds a lot like the AT&T COW – cellular on wings.)

Meanwhile Nokia Uses A Drone To Install A Wireless F-Cell. F-Cells are very cool – they are solar-powered, self-configured and automatically connect to the network to add service where needed. So the drone becomes a flying forklift to drop them where they need to go. Presumably they can also swap them out as needed.
Great idea.

Seems like a week can not go by without something about detection and countermeasures. Monitoring The Sky For Danger is a whitepaper from the engineering firm of Rohde & Schwarz that provides a serious amount of technical detail. Our resident expert David Kovar notes that “There is more detail on jamming than I am used to seeing.” You know who you are, go download.

On the subject of cyber security I came across a massive checklist Securing Cyber Insurance For Your UAV Data. It details six categories of information an underwriter will want answers for. Enough to make you realize that this is getting very complicated.

On the subject of insurance, Crashes Could Be Reduced By Simplifying UAV Controllers is a scholarly study from the UK that concludes that “External piloting is considered as one of the fundamental causes of frequent drone crashes.” If you can get beyond “yeah what else could it be,” it is another study that basically suggests improving drone safety will require a different focus than improving manned flight safety. Just saying…

New book coming called Robot Law, edited by Ryan Calo. Ryan, a law professor at the University of Washington, is a favorite on these pages for his thoughtful approach to the social questions that drones, robots and AI raise – like can a robot be guilty? The blurb says “This collection of academic papers examines the likely areas of legal conflict when robots commonly interact with humans.” Thinking stocking stuffer.

If you’re in the Sacramento area you are invited to the Capital Region Drone Swarm hosted by the Drone Pilots Federation at the McClellan Park Officer’s Club on October 12 2016.  Highlights include cocktails and a micro drone race. The Federation is that brainchild of Bruce Parks who also had a hand in the Governor’s Island Races that ESPN3 streamed a few weeks back.

This weeks Eye Candy Tag Award winner goes to Above The Food We Eat, a portfolio of images of our industrialized food system captured by George Steinmetz for The New York Times.

Finally a big thank you to Carl Berndston for giving Dronin’ On a shout out in the InterDrone weekly newsletter. That’s how your favorite acorn will become a mighty oak. Welcome new subscribers, I hope to hear from you.

Thanks for reading and for sharing.


Christopher Korody
follow me @dronewriter

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