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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40 unmanned systems inside August/September 2018 AIR IPP VIRGINIA F or years, the Virginia Tech M i d - A t l a n t i c Av i a t i o n Partnership (MAAP) drone test site has focused its re- search on proving what unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) can do and how the technology can benefit a va- riety of industries. They'll continue that work as they spearhead Virginia's Integration Pilot Program (IPP) but with a slightly different twist. Rather than concentrating on proof of concept f lights, MAAP and the part- ners who are part of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Investment Authority team will shift their atten- tion to community engagement as well as developing procedures to safely integrate drones into the National Airspace, with a focus on beyond vi- sual line of sight (BVLOS) f lights. To start, they'll work with Project Wing to investigate package deliv- ery, State Farm to look at how f lying drones BVLOS can speed up damage assessment after natural events, and Dominion Energy to determine the best way to incorporate BVLOS f lights for infrastructure inspection. MAAP Photos courtesy of Mark Blanks, Mid Atlantic Aviation Partnership at VA Tech, David Allen, Dominion Energy and Steve Eisenrauch Dominion Energy. has a history with each company, and began working on all three projects before they knew they'd be one of the 10 teams selected for the program, MAAP Director Mark Blanks said. "There's a lot that we've already start- ed, though there will be some changes in each project under IPP. We've been working in all these areas for quite a long time and now we're scoping out what we want to accomplish over the next few years and determine if it makes sense to scale our approach or to do it all at once in different areas," Blanks said. "We'll focus more on com- munity outreach and engagement and getting feedback from localities. How that rolls out is still to be determined at this point." GETTING COMMUNITIES INVOLVED One of the goals for the Virginia team is to move beyond the testing environ- ment and to start completing more f lights in real-world scenarios, Blanks said. This is the best way to introduce the public to drones and to prove the good they can do. Though the details on how this will work aren't clear by Renee Knight The Virginia team, led by the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Investment Authority, plans to develop safe, eff ective procedures that can be put into place for beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) fl ights— engaging community members throughout the process. EMPHASIS ON Community 12,000 The main goal is to showcase this can be done on a broader scale. It's one thing to operate in a test environment, it's another to do it in the real world and over long distances." Mark Blanks, director, MAAP The number of visual line of sight inspections Dominion Energy has completed via drone since 2015. " P P IP Integration Pilot Program Team Follow-Ups Source: Steve Eisenrauch, Dominion Energy's manager of electric transmission forestry and line services

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