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Submission + - Where are all the legal drones based in America?->

garymortimer writes: Leading unmanned aviation blog, sUAS News today released a map showing more than 600 drone operators that the FAA has granted permission to fly commercially.

Not only does Canada have an applicant but Switzerland and the UK as well.

The drones are used for a wide range of tasks from mapping farms to search and rescue. The majority are multirotors.

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Submission + - 48% of US licenced drones made in China->

garymortimer writes: If you are to judge success in the American RPA industry. The number of commercially licenced platforms each manufacturer has in service might be a guide. Colin Snow makes the valid point earlier in today’s news that forecasts are very often wrong so better to work with the known.

We have a Drone Spotters page, started to monitor where platforms were going and who were buying them after a fatal RPAS incident in 2012

Looking at the civil market several companies, most notably AeroVironment were issued N numbers for aircraft under the old COA system.

But for now lets not try and separate them out, lets take it as a whole. As I write there are 51 manufacturers and 380 N registered sUAS in America.

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Submission + - $10 million dollars invested in crowd funded drones.->

garymortimer writes: GoPro take note, the most popular Kickstarter does not use your camera.

Not a day passes at sUAS News where I am not asked to feature a new Kickstarter or Indiegogo crowd funded project.

This made me wonder how some of the higher profile ones are carrying on, top of mind because of the spectacular failure of the Pocket Copter. The platform that managed to burn down nearly one million dollars and leave many unhappy folks.

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Submission + - Drone v drone, catcher canon nets UAV in flight->

garymortimer writes: To counter the threat of unlawful use of unmanned systems, the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice, together with the Dutch National Police and the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee, has selected a number of projects in which concepts are developed that can be used to detect, indentify and/or remove these mobile systems in a controlled manner. Project ‘DroneCatcher’ of the Dutch SME Delft Dynamics, is one of the best ideas that has been selected to carry out a feasibility study.

Last week Delft Dynamics successfully completed a range of test flights, which showed that is is feasible to capture drones in midair by shooting a net from another drone.

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Submission + - Drone takes photos of airliners moments before landing at KLIA->

garymortimer writes: I keep seeing RPAS flights that make me cringe, I think Instagram user @yengnasir ( who has pulled his content) is my new winner.

He flew his DJI Phantom Vision 2 at the landing end of the runway at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. KLIA is Malaysia’s main international airport and one of the major airports of South East Asia. It is ranked the eleventh busiest airport in the world by international passenger traffic.

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Submission + - DJI, White House drone maker releases mandatory firmware update->

garymortimer writes: DJI will release a mandatory firmware update for the Phantom 2, Phantom 2 Vision, and Phantom 2 Vision+ to help users comply with the FAA’s Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) 0/8326, which restricts unmanned flight around the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

The updated firmware (V3.10) will be released in coming days and adds a No-Fly Zone centered on downtown Washington.

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Submission + - FAA gives DJI Phantom drone green light for commercial flight-> 1 1

garymortimer writes: A quite astounding turn around by the FAA on the face of it, if this is allowed to be replicated then it opens the flood gates for farmers as well as many others. Perhaps Jim Williams of the FAA is going to mention it in his CES group discussion.

Looks like the chap needs to get a PPL but that’s not hard. I won’t comment much further, read it all here and some extracts that stood out to me below. If you want to start operating your Phantom commercially I would copy and paste this application and get a PPL ASAP.

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Submission + - Drone Delivers Christmas Trees->

garymortimer writes: Intuitive Aerial AB (publ) is based in Linköping, Sweden and makes the Aerigon – an exceptional multi rotor helicopter system for professional cinema and broadcast use. Aerigon is being used in high-end productions such as “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “Into the Woods” by Disney, and “One Planet” by BBC.
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Submission + - World's First Flying 4k Camera DJI Inspire 1->

garymortimer writes: San Francisco, November 12, 2014 – DJI, a global leader in aerial photography and cinematography platforms, today announced the release of the DJI Inspire 1, the world’s first flying 4K camera that offers midair transformation as well as a built-in wireless HD video transmitter, stabilization indoors without GPS and more camera control than ever.

This tool bridges DJI’s consumer and professional products that are the aerial platforms of choice for professional photographers and cinematographers worldwide.

“We see this as the perfect combination of the Phantom and Spreading Wings series, being able to take off at the touch of a button while simultaneously giving users fine control of the images they capture,” said Frank Wang, DJI CEO and co-founder.

In addition to incorporating a groundbreaking 4K aerial camera, the Inspire 1 camera maintains stability even in strong wind conditions via an integrated 3-axis gimbal.

The Inspire 1 integrates DJI’s patented wireless HD transmitter, Lightbridge, and comes with a fully redesigned mobile app that runs across both iOS and Android devices, broadcasting 1080p video at a distance of 1.7km.

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Submission + - DARPA want flying drone aircraft carriers->

garymortimer writes: Military air operations typically rely on large, manned, robust aircraft, but such missions put these expensive assets—and their pilots—at risk. While small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) can reduce or eliminate such risks, they lack the speed, range and endurance of larger aircraft. These complementary traits suggest potential benefits in a blended approach—one in which larger aircraft would carry, launch and recover multiple small UAS. Such an approach could greatly extend the range of UAS operations, enhance overall safety, and cost-effectively enable groundbreaking capabilities for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and other missions.

To explore and expedite the possible development of these potential benefits, DARPA has issued a Request for Information (RFI) seeking technical, security and business insights addressing the feasibility and potential value of an ability to launch and recover multiple small unmanned air systems from one or more types of existing large manned aircraft, such as C-130 transport planes.

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Submission + - New DJI Phantom the Inspire 1 or is it?->

garymortimer writes: The skeleton of the new DJI Inspire 1?

We receive a glimpse of the potential Phantom replacement in a video released today. Perhaps out in time for Christmas and up against the Parrot Bebop. The internet is currently naming the Inspire 1 as a video link, controller, flying wing or quad!

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Submission + - SpaceShipTwo cost a life, so why do we still use human test pilots?->

garymortimer writes: Virgin Galactic has sold several hundred tickets for future flights to the edge of the atmosphere and there are proposals that SpaceShipTwo will be used to send research experiments briefly into space – all worthy endeavours.

But when we have advanced RPAs, why are we still testing new rocket motor and fuel combinations, with human pilots strapped just metres away from them flying at 45,000ft?

Combining spaceplanes with remote control and automation is not new.

Just a few weeks ago, a US Air Force robotic spaceplane came back to Earth after nearly two years in orbit. Its flight was either totally automatic or partially remote controlled; but we have no idea which, as it was a top-secret program.

In 1988, the former Soviet Union’s space program successfully flew their robotic space shuttle Buran, which performed two orbits of the Earth and landed back on a runway, just like the human piloted NASA space shuttles.

The reasons we still sometimes use human test pilots are complex. The SpaceShipTwo vehicle was inspired from SpaceShipOne. That vehicle won the US$10 million Ansari X-Prize in 2004 when Mojave Aerospace Ventures showed that it was possible to launch a non-government developed or funded spaccraft into space with a pilot onboard, twice within two weeks.

SpaceShipTwo’s core business will be to take passengers into sub-orbital space, so of course having human pilots onboard makes sense as eventually there will be human passengers. Would you be prepared to board a commercial jet now if you knew their were no human pilots onboard? Knowing that the pilot’s own safety is twinned with that of the passengers means we feel safer with experts at the helm.

But the SpaceShipTwo disaster was not a commercial flight – it was the first flight-test of a particular engine and fuel combination. Could the engine and fuel have been tested in a rocket first? Could SpaceShipTwo have been designed with an autopilot capability?

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% APL is a natural extension of assembler language programming; ...and is best for educational purposes. -- A. Perlis

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