Inside Unmanned Systems

DEC 2017 - JAN 2018

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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16 unmanned systems inside   December 2017/January 2018 What America did NOT do is dominate the consumer and com- mercial drone market, largely be- cause of their failure to provide sen- sible civil drone regulations. That hasn't stopped China from domi- nating the limited markets where American regulations allow drones to f ly. China's DJI commands be- tween 70 and 90% of the consumer/ prosumer market in the U.S. China's Yuneec is a distant second followed by France's Parrot (all of which are manufactured in China). China is equally active in shaping the devel- opment of American drone regula- tions and standards. DJI is the co- chair of the FA A's Drone Advisory Council and has been invited to ev- ery FAA drone aviation rulemaking committee convened so far. DJI is a reliable and active member of ev- ery major ASTM and RTCA drone standards committee. DJI also uses its considerable market inf luence to shape the American unmanned traffic management (UTM) system. American UTM providers know they can't risk alienating DJI or they risk getting cut off from DJI's systems. If you think all this activity is mere- ly economic, I suggest you re-read the paragraphs above on cyber warfare. Penetrating every aspect of America's first autonomous systems is probably a major goal of the Chinese and a first shot in the autonomy wars. The Threat to Security Autonomous systems implemented badly are a major security risk to any country. Unlike manned systems, there are no humans in the loop and autonomous systems can be hacked and repurposed to do relatively pas- sive tasks like espionage or active tasks like purposefully crashing. To use an example before the autono- mous age, if the Nazis wanted to steal the RAF's Spitfire design and manu- facture it, they would have to steal hundreds of paper blueprints, spend months retooling factory presses and years manufacturing their ill-gotten analog aircraft. Pilot training would have taken years. Autonomous air- craft designs exist as CAD drawings that can be instantly transferred to manufacturing robots or 3-D print- ers. Pilot training isn't an issue. Simply steal f light algorithms while hacking the CAD drawings. A mod- ern adversary can hack their way into a first class autonomous Air Force in months or weeks—not years. Or adversaries can cause havoc by re-purposing existing autonomous military and commercial drones. Autonomous drones are particularly vulnerable to autonomy warfare. Drones require a data link to function and their ground control stations are often connected to the Internet di- rectly. Most commercial drones will connect with a UTM, introducing an- other attack vector for autonomy war- fare. The Americans are once again minimally regulating drones to allow market forces maximum flexibility to drive innovation. Drones less than 55 lbs don't require airworthiness stan- dards and standards for larger drones are still in their infancy. America ap- pears poised to repeat their mistakes from the early age of cyber warfare. There is, however, considerable hope for drone security at the dawn of the autonomy age. There are large numbers of consumer drones in the U.S., but not large numbers of com- mercial drones—yet. The FA A de- cided not to impose security require- ments on drones less than 55 lbs f lown within visual line of sight, but they haven't decided how to regulate large drones or small drones that f ly beyond line of sight. UTM is in its infancy and it's not too late to add viable security standards. Perhaps most importantly, the FAA hasn't is- sued regulatory guidance for UAS re- mote identification, operations over people, beyond line of sight, large UAS or even autonomous operations themselves. There's still time to put their foot down and recognize that industry will resist security regula- tion. There's still time to recognize that China is playing the long game and will do what they can to shape our regulations to make it easier for them to win at autonomy warfare. Will the FA A step up and rec- ognize that cyber security is key to aviation safety in the autonomy age? Will they stand up to industry and write sensible security standards into airworthiness standards and regulations? They didn't hesitate to dictate bird impact standards to air- line manufacturers. Will they do the same for a much, much larger threat to aviation safety? WE'RE ABOUT TO SEE A REPLAY OF THE EARLY 21ST CENTURY CYBER WARS AS THE WORLD SWITCHES TO AUTONOMOUS SYSTEMS AND DRONES WILL BE THE FIRST BATTLEFIELD. General Overview by James Poss, Maj Gen (RET) USAF

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