Dronin' On 12.03.16
Winter is coming

Hi all –

First up – thanks to those of you who let me know I had a bad link for the 2017 Commercial UAV Implementation Survey. I apologize – here is the new website for the survey  http://www.commercialuavsurvey.com. Please sign up. I will be presenting the initial structure for the survey at IDE next week on both Friday and Saturday, and am putting together an Advisory Committee to help us frame
the issues.

On that very topic, here is the interview I did with Enrico Schaefer of DroneLaw.pro. We talked about a number of things including my recent Standards article and of course the survey.

Big news out of Washington as the POTUS-elect begins to refill the swamp. Elaine Chao Is The New Drone Boss takes a look at a few of the many challenges that the new DOT Secretary will have to manage including the ever popular privatization of the ATC. To which I add, if a privatized ATC is in the cards, what about a privatized UTM? You read it here first.

Remove the TFR Over Standing Rock looks at the implications of using TFRs for political purposes. It was inspired by an article by Peter Sachs in sUAS News to which I’ve added other legal commentary, reporting and video. Please note that this is not about the merits of the protest or the Corps decision to reopen the matter. As Peter wrote, it’s about “putting a giant tarp over the protest allowing law enforcement to act without any witnesses.” That’s drone and helos. BTW the same thing happened in Ferguson.

Also from that soon to be frosty state, the newly re-elected Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) speaking at a Drone Focus monthly meetup in Fargo, stressed that beyond-line-of-sight operations and unmanned traffic management (UTM) are key to… advancing the UAS industry in North Dakota. You can see how well this is likely to align with Ms. Chao’s agenda. I did write him a very nice letter about the optics…

Perhaps the FAA will get an advertising agency for Christmas… Be a Safe Drone Pilot this Holiday, and All Year Long is an improvement over previous efforts and packs a lot in 60 seconds including registration, safety, never fly over groups on the ground and privacy. No word on the media buy. Certainly is a nice product placement for DJI…

Betsy Lillian did a nice write-up highlighting the variety of waivers that have been granted. I’ve asked Kevin Morris, Director of Operations for the FAASTeam for a November update on what in aero style I’ve dubbed LAW – licenses, authorizations and waivers. His most recent seminar ADM and Risk Management for UAS Operations was a huge success.

One thing worth taking a quick look at is the European Drones Outlook Study. The note here is that they forecast 400,000 commercial drones operating in 2050 – which seems to be a whole lot more realistic than 600,000 in 2017. Just saying.

Proof That Autonomous Disobedience Pays is the almost unbelievable story of startup OTTO which conducted open road driverless testing without the authorization of the Nevada AV (autonomous vehicles), got purchased by Uber for $680M and delivered a load of Budweiser on national television all in ten months. This is another of those areas that Ms. Chao will have to manage and that is likely to effect our industry in some way, shape or form. Self-certifying is one concept that we seem likely to share.

Intel’s McAfee Labs 2017 Threats Predictions  has over two pages devoted to Dronejacking. “We predict in 2017 that drone exploit toolkits will find their ways to the dark corners of the Internet. Once these toolkits start making the rounds, it is just a matter of time before we see stories of hijacked drones showing up in the evening news. Even without a dronejacking toolkit in hand, we will begin to see an increase in drone-related incidents.”

Take a look at this video for yet another drone interdiction system. What you will see is the DJI logo again and again. Given their dominant share of the global market it is obvious where interceptors and hackers alike will be focusing their efforts. You will also find the writer doing some fancy footwork to try to get around the idea that the system, called Mesmer, jams anything. Nope, it mesmerizes them… can’t make this stuff up.

Want more? Here’s another Phantom menace, the DroneShield DroneGun. Note how all drone RPICs now wear hoodies… And then there is this masterpiece of camp from April which has garnered almost 1.5M views and features four different antidrone systems all bringing down Phantoms. As in agriculture, monoculture has its dangers.

Martek To Begin Offshore Ocean Drone Monitoring is a fascinating use case. The UK company was awarded a €10M contract by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) to monitor ship emissions. The cool part is that their UAV is designed to work up to 50km offshore meaning it can handle the Channel and the North Sea. I’ve reached out to the company for more details.

Here is one I’ve been waiting for. MicroMultiCopter Aero Technology(MMC) was founded in 2010 by Lu Zhihui, one of the original DJI four. The company has a very different vision for UAVs building big birds to do things like lift water to fight fires, spray fertilizer and string wires between towers. In April 2016 they introduced the Hydrone, a hydrogen hybrid with a 4-hour flight time. To date their launches have been hit and miss, most notably a spectacular fail on an  Indiegogo campaign (great article by @haje in Tech Crunch.)

Still if they (finally) have it together and can build a US team, the newly launched MMC F6, which is said to be configurable with dozens of different payloads, could be the product they need to start getting on a few consideration lists. (Note my anti-virus app hates their URLs – not sure what’s up with that.)

In what has to be an industry first, DJI has taken a little of the top end of the Inspire 2, slowing it down to a still wicked fast 0-50 in 5 seconds – quicker than all but the very zippiest cars.

I have two Eye Candy Tag Award winners this week and two bonus picks. Drones Are Lighting Up The Night presents a very cool Uber type concept to light your way currently being prototyped in the UK. I could explain it, but it’s more fun to watch.

You will also enjoy A Forest Idyll which introduces the work of Danish drone photographer Michael B. Rasmussen.

Want more, check put ‪#‎skygearchallenge in your browser or Facebook and see daily posts from dronographers everywhere. New word – like it?

Good but not quite it? Ladies and gentlemen, straight out of LA, Ride Em’ On Down from the Rolling Stones. Watch out for the zebra and try to remember to look for the drone shots.

Thank you for reading and for sharing.


Christopher Korody
follow me @dronewriter


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