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.
Issue link: http://insideunmanned.epubxp.com/i/763107
6 unmanned systems inside December 2016/January 2017 T he drone industry is in that awkward teen- age stage when sudden growth spurts mean one's sleeves, and seemingly everything else, keep coming up short. The potential is clear but the years that it will take to fully realize that potential makes those building unmanned companies wildly impatient to get past the learners-permit phase. That probably sounds especially familiar to those drone firms straining to break into beyond- line-of-sight (BLOS) operations. It's hard to wait for the end of restrictions, though the new rules for BLOS are expected soon, followed several years later by development of a framework for the sort of air traffic management capability needed to make expanded operations easier. This issue of Inside Unmanned Systems offers in- sights into how those rules and and that framwork are evolving. Earl Lawrence, the director of the Fed- eral Aviation Administration's UAS office describes how important, and in some cases unimportant, he thinks aircraft size will when it comes to settling on safety-related flight requirements. Gen. James Poss underscores the progress that has been made in developing an unmanned air traffic management system between the first UTM conference in 2015 and the one held this fall in Syracuse, NY. As always we cover the new applications—in- cluding the innovations making it practical for ro- bots to deliver materials to repair stations when needed. Robots and drones are also being tasked with one of industry's dullest, dirtiest and most dangerous jobs—painting tall structures. Though it's much safer to use a drone and stay off the lad- der, accidents will, of course, still happen. To limit the risk that one incident will put you out of busi- ness, read up on the kind of insurance policies now available to drone operators. Our summary of Inside Unmanned Systems' most recent webinar describes how firms devel- oping autonomous passenger vehicles are learn- ing from unmanned aircraft and our article on the new MachUp software shows how this open source program is making it easier to design a new drone. Some of those newly designed platforms might be used to track activities at mining opera- tions—as our lead article explains. Mapping of another kind is at the heart of our cover story. A new autonomous marine vehicle, set for test- ing in July, will make it possible to double the amount of samples collected during a research cruise. Called Clio, this self-driving platform will enable scientists to more economically map the organic composition of the oceans and track changes with subsequent biogeochemical surveys. These articles each ref lect the progress being made in bringing unmanned technology into safe, regular use. Though growth seems painfully slow, and it is hard to measure day to day, like the teen who seems suddenly to be taller than his parents, it won't be long before this adolescent industry is fully grown. Getting Through Industry Adolescence EDITORIAL OPINION Photos and renderings courtesy of Apellix, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), Utah State University, Kespry and NASA