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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24 unmanned systems inside   August/September 2018 AIR IPP ALASKA That's just the sort of long-distance operations that Alyeska would like to see a lot more of. Now one of the IPP team members, Alyeska first began working with ACUASI to use drones for pipeline inspection in 2013. They moved up to an extended line of sight f light in 2016 and will be supporting BVLOS research for the IPP. Making BVLOS work will require repeated real-world f lights and trou- ble shooting the inevitable issues that crop up. For example, like large spans of rural America in the lower 48 states, Alaska ha s limited cell phone coverage. Satellite communication can be used but it needs to be incorporated with proven techniques to handle problems. ACUASI, for example, has developed mitigation techniques for things like breaks in communication service. "The good news is if we can make it work in Alaska, it can work anywhere," Cahill quipped. And throughout the process the team will be gathering data that shows how well things work and when they don't perform. That data is the raw material the FAA needs to build the regulations that will, hopefully, enable regular BLVOS flights throughout the U.S. "Our pipeline is 800 miles long," Cloutier said, "and to be able to f ly that distance would be a great benefit for us." SENSE AND AVOID As part of advancing BVLOS f lights, ACUASI has already done a sense and avoid f light "where the aircraft auton- omously responded," Cahill said. Sense and avoid is a key technology for long linear inspection f lights and will be one of the capabilities for which the IPP team will be gathering safety- case data. "The technology is there to f ly these long ranges," Cloutier said. "We just need to make sure we have the correct sense and avoid aircraft detection pro- tocols in place." Trumbull Unmanned will be one of the firms involved in furthering sense and avoid technology. "On the pipeline portion there is an 800 mile corridor and a 60 mile cor- ridor that we are going to be working on where we're f lying, collecting data, analyzing that data. And so that's part of beyond visual line of sight," said Trumbull CEO Dyan Gibbens. The firm will be integrating, testing and deploying sense and avoid technology, she said, including different software. Insitu, one of the most experienced members of the IPP team, also will be addressing sense and avoid as part of an overall effort to make BVLOS flights safe enough for the National Airspace. A wholly owned subsidiary of Boeing Defense, Space & Security, Insitu has been doing long distance flights—really long distance flights—with its ScanEagle unmanned aircraft system (UAS) for years. It f lew a ScanEagle from Nova Scotia to Scotland in 1998 and support- ed the Marine Corps during the Second Battle of Fallujah in 2004. A ScanEagle f lew the first commercial drone f light in the United States in 2013, the first of several missions done for ConocoPhillips in the Arctic. Three years ago the firm flew some 130 miles of rail line in sup- port of Burlington Northern's BLVOS pathfinder project for the FAA and now Insitu f lies BVLOS with ScanEagles daily for client in Australia. "Because of our range and endur- ance on our platforms and our exper- tise there, it makes a lot of sense for us to be on the team," said Paul Allen, key account manager for commercial solutions at Insitu. "There are a couple of things that come along with the be- yond visual line of sight operations, that is detect and avoid and then just ensuring the beyond-visual-line-of- sight is done in a safe manner. So we bring expertise in beyond visual line of sight and then, just like everybody, (our) people are working on detect and avoid solutions. And so I know the The good news is if we can make it work in Alaska, it can work anywhere." Cathy Cahill, director, University of Alaska-Fairbanks' Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration " Photo courtesy of Alyeska Pipeline Service Company. Alaska has five climate zones.

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