Inside Unmanned Systems

AUG-SEP 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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20 unmanned systems inside August/September 2018 AIR IPP UPDATE Pipeline inspection is Alaska's top mission. ed. Moreover, one the the IPP pro- gram's goals is to prototype and test answers to tough problems precisely to find the way to f ly those missions safely. That is, the FAA was specifically looking for teams that wanted to tackle hard missions that would expand the regulatory options. All things considered, the changes of the current process working for the sidelined missions seem slim. "That was a series of tough conver- sations that the programs had to have with their teams," Cahill said. IMPACT UNCLEAR Some team partners have already quit—though, so far, it appears no partner has officially removed their names from their team's rosters. It is unclear what the ramifications will be. For example, part of Alaska's original plan was to weave a number of different monitoring and inspec- tion operations into inspection f lights of the Alaska pipeline as a way to share expenses. "We're looking at coupling multiple activities together to basically leverage people's capabilities and get the biggest bang for our buck," Cahill told Inside Unmanned Systems in May. "Logistics are expensive," she added, "and if we can share the costs we can get more information for everybody." The original set of proposed mis- sions included doing animal counts for Fish and Game while at the same time scanning the pipeline for thin spots and leaks. Checking roads in ava- lanche-prone areas and monitoring for ice accumulations were also possibili- ties. The Dalton Highway, for example, runs parallel to the Alaska pipeline and close to the Sag River. Several port river sampling and monitoring. North Dakota hoped to figure out the safe way to use BVLOS to inspect mul- tiple bridges in one outing. What each of these missions have in common is they serve the state and local community either directly, as in the case of emergency supplies for the storm-tossed Outer Banks, or indi- rectly by helping address local prob- lems like f looding, pollution and traf- fic tie-ups. Bringing the public along in their understanding and acceptance of drones is also an IPP goal. IT'S NOT FINAL The good news is the second-tier mis- sions may not be permanently on hold. Team leads are looking at ways of integrating those projects into their primary activity to help those impact- ed learn from the top-priority efforts and use that knowledge to make their safety cases. Several team leads also expressed hopes that once they worked through their initial missions they could move on to some of the other use cases and take those on with the full support of the IPP program. The FAA will "absolutely" back the other missions if the teams get through their first tasks early, Lawrence said. "I know the team members are dis- appointed; they want to add more" Lawrence said. "But the communi- ties—we've put a lot on them. They've got a lot to coordinate and they really are the operator in these cases. And so it really does go back to them and what are they able to manage. And certainly they can always come back with more proposals as they catch up with what they've initially promised to do." They can always come back with more proposals as they catch up with what they've initially promised to do." " Earl Lawrence, director unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), FAA years ago an ice jam in the river took out a chunk of the highway, Cahill said, "which is the only way to get supplies to the North Slope of Alaska and the oilfields." Monitoring the ice regularly makes it possible to catch a buildup in time to send out a crew to break it up before it does damage. "You really want to take all the in- terested players and have us all work together," Cahill said. North Carolina was looking to aug- ment hurricane recovery efforts with drones including delivering medi- cal supplies to the isolated reaches of the Outer Banks. The Memphis International Airport had originally planned to work with Shelby County on beyond line of sight f lights to sup- ALASKA Photo courtesy of ACUASI at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks.

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