Dronin' On from DroneBusiness.center
Night fall, El Salto

Hi all –

I am delighted to announce the launch of the 2017 Commercial UAV Implementation Survey, a joint study by DroneBusiness.center and Commercial UAV News. It is my great pleasure to partner with Jeremiah Karpowicz, the Executive Editor of CUAV News and CUAV Expo Group Director Lisa Murray on this incredible project which has so much potential to make a difference to our
entire community.

The survey is focused on organizations of all kinds –  enterprise, government agencies and NGO’s. Every organization has its own unique mission, and each will have its own reasons to consider integrating drones.

That said, we know that every organization faces similar issues. From where the program lives within the organization, to how it is managed, funded and staffed. From who the pilots are, to how they are trained and what they fly. From how the birds and sensors are chosen, to how they are maintained and insured. The list goes on but our goal is simple – we want to find out what works best so that we can share it with all of you.

I will be at Commercial UAV Expo with a booth on the show floor getting input from attendees to inform the survey design. I hope to see you there. We invite your participation. If you can’t make it, please sign up now so that we can notify you when the survey goes live in 2017.

I am also very pleased to be moderating an All Star ‘Training & Safety‘ session at Commercial UAV Expo. Training qualified pilots is going to be critical to the growth of the industry and I am anxious to get the panels perspective.

Kevin Morris of the FAA has turned out to be a tremendous supporter of the Part 107 community putting together seminars and answering all kinds of questions in the [The Original] FAA sUAS Part 107 & 333 Facebook group. Here are the numbers as of October 18 2016.

  • 8,649 passed, 1,147 failed – the success rate dropped slightly to 86.47%
  • 19,619 applications are being processed – the other 11,000 are Part 61
  • 1,741 airspace authorization requests have been made with 34 issued and 395 denied
  • 912 waiver requests have been processed. 23 issued. 36 denied. 748 pending.

Covering off the safety issue is EASA UAS Safety Analysis 2010-2016. If you don’t know, EASA is the European Aviation Safety Agency. The study tracked UAS incidents from 1/2010-5/2016. “There were 42 accidents, the majority of which resulted from the crash of drone for either technical reasons or due to loss of control. None of these occurrences involved fatalities or injuries.” 63% were the result of airborne conflict including three collisions between drones and GA aircraft, “with minimal consequences.” This is a detailed report with a lot of analysis and specific recommendations including calls for various kinds of impact and structural testing.

Ask and you shall receive apparently… In-Flight UAV Strike Testing In UK is the announcement of a government funded testing program to study the results of drone strikes on in-flight aircraft. I’ve also included two videos, the first a computer simulation of an 8-pound drone tearing up a jet engine from Virginia Tech, and then a video from 2009 of the GE jet engine test facility. This seems like something that could have been done already…

NASA UTM TCL2 Demo Ready To Fly looks at the goals of the test that was completed Thursday 10/20. This is a key proof point on the critical path to autonomous operations. For those trying to catch up or keep track, I’ve included an overview of the entire UTM program including PK’s excellent presentation at Google in January 2016.

In recent weeks there have been an increasing number of stories coming out of Syria and Iraq about the use of “hobby” or “toy” drones by ISIS, as well as the changes this is creating in US tactics. So I spent some time pulling together ISIS Gets A Drone which is a collection of reports dating back to 2014. If you want directions on how to hack a P2 in Arabic, it’s in there. There is also a brilliant article by a USAF pilot named Marc Jacobsen who spent two years founding and running Uplift Aeronautics, a nonprofit aimed at using drones to deliver humanitarian aid to besieged communities in Syria. Welcome Marc.

There are three investment stories. Drone Investment As Part Of The IoT is a chart that compares total venture funding to the number of companies in the category. In the ‘IoT Drones and Robotics’ category you will see a relatively large number of companies but comparatively modest funding.

Yesterday Sally French (aka DroneGirl) published a story in MarketWatch with the attention grabbing title Drone startup funding crashes. Easier to look at the chart but “Financing for drone companies fell 59% year-over-year in the third quarter, and 48% from the previous quarter.” DroneDeploy with their $20M Series B grabbed the lions share. As we heard from the panels at InterDrone, and I expect to hear again when I moderate the venture panel at IDE, the focus is swinging to software which is a lot less expensive. The 3DR burn rate is likely to leave a bad taste for hardware for a good long while.

Like a cat with nine lives, Colin Guinn (ex-DJI, ex-3DR) and his new company Hangar announced a $6.5 million seed financing round led by Lux Capital. “Hangar will provide high-quality aerial data across multiple industries more consistently and affordably than ever before, utilizing a combination of advanced software and drone technology.” That’s a nice number for early days… They say that the third time is the charm.

Building on the ideas in Colin Snow’s article last week about choosing a data provider is an article from PwC, Are commercial drones ready for takeoff? The article includes a very good infographic A Look At Drones As A Data Service, and a detailed breakdown of data collection challenges. Well worth a look if you live in that part of the world.

I was going to write a post called “Split Finger Fastball” about Cleveland Indian pitcher and drone boy Trevor Bauer, who cut his pinky playing with the propellers on his racing drone. Not exactly a problem that Bob Feller ever had. Hoping my Dodgers can win a couple for Vinnie and that Trevor is healed up in time to go to The Show.

Thanks for reading and for sharing.


Christopher Korody
follow me @dronewriter

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