Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.
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30 unmanned systems inside August/September 2016 ugust/Septe August/September 2016 August/September 2016 be August/September 2016 0 August/September 2016 6 August/September 2016 AIR AERIAL SERVICES When SOLDIERS ARE FIGHTING in remote locations, being able to keep batteries charged is key— which is why AERYON LABS PARTNERED WITH PROTONEX to deliver intelligent power management kits to keep the SkyRanger small UAS and other equipment charged. The kit can be used to charge about 10 different medical devices, including fl uid warmers and heart monitors, as well as the tablets used for telemedicine, Protonex Military Sales Director Ray Summers said. Not only can this be used to help keep warfi ghters alive, it also can be used during natural disasters when it's often diffi cult to power vital, life- saving equipment. "When you fi rst go into a disaster re- covery situation you don't have a ton of supplies," Summers said. "You can use the UAS to com- plete surveys and then power medical devices and communication devices. There's a real application there." Users also can set up a mesh network during a disaster response, Summers said, making it possible to connect to the Internet and take advantage of TELEMEDICINE. STAYING CHARGED IN THE FIELD roles such as moving meds from f loor to f loor. This means patients receive better care." Helping the Elderly Research is also being done to find ways to use drones to benefit the growing senior population. For the last year Naira Hovakimyan, W. Grafton and Lillian B. Wilkins professor of mechanical science and engineering at the University of Illi- nois at Urbana-Champaign, has been working on a project designed to help the elderly age in place rather than spend their final years in a nursing home. Small drones with manipulator arms can be used to bring them medication, grab a glass of water, clean a chandelier, pick something up from under the table or even sort laundry. Not only is robotics important to this type of research, so is the psychology, Hovakimyan said. The team must develop flight paths that humans find both safe and acceptable. To that end, the team is working closely with psychology experts. "We're immersing people in virtual reality where these drones are f lying around them," Hovakimyan said. "Depending on people's reaction, including heart rate and head tilt, we can revise the drone design to make sure it's safe for people." The main challenge is devel- oping a robot that is as reliable Earlier this summer, Flirtey successfully completed the fi rst UAS ship to shore delivery. Photos courtesy of (Upper Left) Flirtey, (Lower Left) Aeryon Labs and (Right) MasterFlight Inc. as your refrigerator or washer, Hovakimyan said. But unlike your refrigerator or washer, these drones must be able to move around all over the home and reliably deliver every time, whether they're fetching medicine or cleaning. Researchers must also create a drone that el- derly from all different backgrounds will con- sider safe. For it to work, they must feel com- fortable interacting with it. Other Challenges As with every industry interested in implement- ing UAS, there are challenges to overcome rang- ing from payload capacity to battery life and, of course, regulations, Tucker said. A lot of the research being done for health-related delivery services is happening in other countries because the restrictions make it too difficult to complete testing in the U.S. And while the new Part 107 regulations the Federal Aviation Administra- tion released earlier this summer remove some of the limitations, some uncertainty remains. But as the barriers start to come down, Tucker sees more people in the industry becoming in- terested in UAS and reaping the many benefits the technology can provide, starting with delivery services and then moving on to more complicated applications in the next five to 10 years.