Inside Unmanned Systems

APR-MAY 2017

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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6 unmanned systems inside   April/May 2017 A fter years of delay, Part 107 finally took effect at the end of August. Though the rule covers only a fraction of the poten- tial applications for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) the lessons learned over the last eight months—and the increasing awareness of the sector's potential—have energized innovation and triggered realignments across the industry. New entra nt s—of ten la rger, est ablished firms—are being drawn into the unmanned sec- tor as are international firms who see opportu- nity in the U.S. market (page 14 and page 24). Smaller operations are scrambling to compete and new business models, including franchising, are emerging as increasingly complex client re- quests fuel collaborations. Among those entering the market are satellite communications companies who are integrating different types of spacecraft into their constella- tions to serve the smaller platforms and anten- nas of unmanned systems (page 48). In fact, a soon-to-be released antenna may be a real break- through. The low-power mTenna by Kymeta is so f lat it can be installed in a car roof and will enable satellite connectivity for connected vehicles and, eventually, other markets (page 52). Innovative technology seems to be everywhere. Researchers are developing a slow-rolling robot that can document the phenotypes of plants to aid geneticists in developing better crops (page 36). Work is nearly complete on a pint-sized un- derwater vehicle that can be deployed autono- mously by the dozens to do time-synchronized environmental studies (page 56). On a lighter note, UAS are now being used to polish images by mixing drinks at corporate parties, delivering gift packages at product announcements and f ly- ing advertising banners around events (page 62). Meanwhile the rules for unmanned aircraft are taking unexpected turns. Security concerns have frozen progress on a new rule allowing f lights over people until provisions are made to iden- tify drones while in the air. Columnist Maj. Gen. James Poss (Ret.) looks at the pros and cons of some of the proposed technical solutions (page 8). Though the delay is frustrating the pause could create a window of opportunity to improve the system overall and thereby promote integra- tion. With the goal of adding to that discussion, we summarize a soon-to-be-published technical proposal to improve collision avoidance (page 46). As any industry matures it must find ways to overcome a variety of hurdles. Federal Aviation Administrator Michael Huerta talked about the security issue in our Five Good Questions feature as well keeping the integration of UAS on track if air traffic control should be privatized (page 66). An Alabama firm overcame hurdles of a differ- ent kind, developing an economical LiDAR able to handle both dynamic movement and hovering while being light enough for unmanned aircraft and capable of centimeter accuracy. We hope you find this issue interesting, useful and even inspiring as we approach the first anni- versary of the Part 107 rule and mark our progress toward full UAS integration. Innovation and Evolution EDITORIAL OPINION Photos courtesy of Trimble, Intelsat General, Drone Cast, ASV Global and Boeing

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