Dronin' On for 02.25.17
Winter smoke

Hi all –

A few weeks ago I was invited to join Jeremiah Karpowicz on Randy Goer’s Drone Radio Show to discuss Jeremiah’s recent article 7 Predictions for the Commercial Drone Industry to which I contributed. Randy released the podcast this week – please take a listen.

K So I hope y’all remembered to watch Shark Tank last night. Our own Abby Speicher from DARTdrones flew her mission, smacked the fish down with a clever demo, and showed great discipline taking home what she came for – $300K for 10% of the store. And, she did it in record time landing Mark Cuban in front of some 5 million viewers. Talk about getting a tech-savvy investor as a partner. Wow. Well done!

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the chairman of the Senate Republican High-Tech Task Force presented his vision for the development of legislation governing the IoT and autonomous vehicles asking “How do we create a sound regulatory framework that adequately protects safety and privacy without stifling the tremendous advances we’re seeing? Let’s not smother these emerging technologies while they’re yet in infancy.”

The FAA continues to play coy with license and registration data but they did release a report on drone sightings for 2-9/2016. The data indicates a 50% increase in reports over 2015 to 1,274. That said, “To date the FAA has not verified any collision between a civil aircraft and a civil drone.” John Goglia at Forbes led with FAA Finally Shows Skepticism With Latest Drone Sightings Report.

While Stephen Mann from TreeTop Academy used the occasion to have a little fun. “But most of the reports are non-events not worth counting. Unfortunately, drone-paranoid will see each of them as an approaching apocalypse.” It begs the question of what the FAA hopes to accomplish.

Here’s the output from the DAC January meeting. The document detailing Task Group 1 which is charged with “governing roles and responsibilities” is here. And the document for Task Force 2 which is to look at “access to airspace” is here.

State and local initiatives continue to be added to the legislative docket. Destroying Montana’s Drone Industry Will Cost Jobs is a thoughtful editorial by Pepper Petersen, the CEO of Big Sky UAV in Helena MT. It offers some insight into how bills like Montana SB 170 which passed the Judiciary Committee 8-3, get proposed – and also throws down the gauntlet. “Our neighboring states of North Dakota and Idaho, whose combined airspace is second only to Montana’s, have become tech hubs for drones. The states’ University systems and private industry are seeing great benefit from drone development in the form of cash and economic diversification and growth.”

The by now familiar Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D) has introduced California SB 347, the State Remote Piloted Aircraft Act. Two things to note The bill mandates that all UAS operators have “adequate liability insurance or proof of financial responsibility.” Damon Willens, chair of the aviation and UAS practice group at Anderson, McPharlin & Conners LLP believes that this type of requirement is “both legal and appropriate.” The second thing to note is that the bill passed 21-10. (NOTE the CA Senate has 40 members. It is unclear if this passed in a Committee or the Senate and is therefore, on its way to the Assembly. I am tracking it and will let you know how it comes out.)

All of which leads to the find of the week, two astonishing articles by Vic Moss, a professional photographer in Colorado, How to Help Defeat State and Local UAS (drone) Regulations in the U.S. begins “There has been a spate of both state and local drone regulations proposed lately. As such, this guide is being prepared to help you work with your local or state politicians when they are crafting such laws.”

Vic then followed up with An Open Letter to State and Local Policy Makers Considering Drone Laws which begins “Are you a state or local politician considering drones laws this session? If so, this article is written for you. It is full of useful information that can be used to craft language that won’t be usurped by Federal Preemption, and/or cause your town or state to end up in a Federal Court battle over jurisdiction.”

This is exactly the sort of grass roots effort that associations like the Commercial Drone Alliance, the Small UAV Coalition, the Coalition of UAS Professionals and many others should support. As we have pointed out, again and again, you can’t beat them but you can influence them.

AirMap grows — brings on Microsoft, Airbus, Qualcomm, Sony, Yuneec and Rakuten as partners is definitely the business news of the week. The $26M Series B round is a who’s who of players and want to be’s in the space. CEO Ben Marcus wrote a very thoughtful piece on what it all means.

Perhaps in recognition of the inevitable, two important manned aviation groups are cuddling up to drones. AOPA Welcomes Drone Pilots is an artfully disguised membership drive. The article points out that “Many of the “new” pilots certificated under Part 107 were flying manned aircraft (and were AOPA members) long before they considered obtaining a remote pilot certificate.” President Mark Baker opened his arms saying “This is an ideal time to embrace these pilots and welcome them into the GA family.”

NBAA Accepts Unmanned Safety Institute’s Online UAS Course for Professional Development Program and Certified Aviation Manager (CAM) Program is significant because NBAA members include many corporate aviation departments. “The education provided will greatly assist flight departments being asked to participate in the standing up of Unmanned operations by providing a clear understanding of operational considerations.”

Ready for a change of pace? How about a fire spewing drone being used in China to burn “stuff” off power lines? “The Xiangyang power company uses modified DJI S1000+ drones to do the job.  Apparently, the drones are equipped with a flamethrower device that uses pressurized fire to target the trash, burning it off of the wires effectively.” Seeing the video is believing.

Remember the story out of the Netherlands about the eagles being trained to knock down drones? Mais oui, apparently the French were taking notes and are taking it even further imprinting young hatchlings with drones then training them to seek and destroy.

How about the Rooster Drone from Roboteam? It is “A hybrid air/ground robot system called ROOSTER, that mimics the flying of a male chicken. Its capability to fly over a short distance enables the Rooster to get around obstacles and reach vantage positions.” Watch the video.

Also from down on the farm comes the AT&T ‘Flying COW’ – short for ‘cell on wings’. Holy Cow is what a lot of people will say when this technology saves their bacon by providing cellular service in an emergency.

There is always someone who says drones are too loud. Now we know exactly how loud the DJI P-series is – as measured by a decibel meter. “The drone noise is actually not that loud if you compare it to a live music band or a motorcycle.” Of course loud and pleasant are two different things.

After much ado about Lady Gaga and her escort of 300 drones, please welcome the new Guinness World Record holder from China1,000 Ehang drones flown during the Lantern Festival to celebrate the Year of the Rooster. Now that is something to crow about. (OK shoot me.)

Thanks for reading and for sharing. Back issues of Dronin’ On can be found here.

best,
ck

Christopher Korody
DroneBusiness.center
chris@dronebusiness.center
follow me @dronewriter