Inside Unmanned Systems

AUG-SEP 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   August/September 2017 T he United States has become a global cruci- ble for unmanned businesses thanks in part to the opening of the drone market under Part 107 just a year ago. Companies with unmanned air- craft systems (UAS) are evolving, the Teal Group said in a new report (page 16), based on what they are learning from customers and their new opera- tional experience. California-based Zipline, for example, found it needed all-weather UAS, robotic catch arms and a "bouncy castle" landing cushion to succeed at drone delivery in Rwanda (page 56). Firms like Juniper Unmanned are experimenting to de- termine the right f light plans for assessing the success of environmental mitigations with UAS- based LiDAR (page 62). News organizations are standardizing f light practices and are even find- ing some new uses for drones. UAS are so steady, for example, they can sometimes be a big improve- ment over hand-held cameras (page 22). Beyond-line-of-sight f light restrictions con- tinue to stymie many operations (page 8). Even so, Teal forecasts worldwide yearly growth in the market for drones at 15.5 percent with the UAS annual market topping $11.8 billion by 2026. The real-world experience available in the U.S., plus a better chance at getting venture capital, is attracting firms from Europe and elsewhere, Teal reported. Investment in unmanned technology, however, is by no means focused solely on drones. U.S. firms are finding support in Congress where law- makers from both parties are backing a House bill that would expand exemptions to allow millions of highly automated vehicles (HAVs) on the nation's roads (page 46). There are, however, real dangers, said Frank Pallone, D-New Jersey, not of just in- juring people but also of injuring the industry by undermining consumer confidence. What could go wrong? Hackers for one thing. Cyber vulnerabilities threaten all types of un- manned systems and data theft is a potential problem as well (page 38). Cell phone companies found a way to handle that years ago, said colum- nist Gen. James Poss (ret.). The need to develop operating software for drones that is safe, stable and secure, he believes, will likely push the drone industry into adopting a similar two-system, Apple/Android-style environment. The issue is especially important because how the U.S. market ultimately addresses cyber vul- nerabilities could be a factor in the course of the global market for unmanned technology. The European Commission and other groups are developing broad standards for how unmanned systems connect with each other and with the world (page 52). For example, in the works under the Amsterdam Declaration is an internationally compatible vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-in- frastructure system. All of the hands-on experi- ence gained in the U.S. could potentially feed into that and other efforts underway to establish and ultimately connect cars, drones, transport and other systems. U.S. Entrepreneurs Fuel Unmanned Firms and the Future EDITORIAL OPINION Photos courtesy of Waterman Broadcasting, Vertigo3d and GregManninLB.

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