Inside Unmanned Systems

DEC 2018 - JAN 2019

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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26  December 2018/January 2019 unmanned systems inside AIR IPP NORTH CAROLINA ployed. The next step will be f lights of longer distance and BVLOS. "The big focus is going to be to de- tect and avoid," Yap said. "How do we detect and avoid other aircraft while we are f lying beyond visual line of sight? We have been fortunate to have partners such as Zipline, Flytrex, and Matternet, who have a lot of data and f light hours overseas." While these are Matternet's first f lights in the United States, the com- pany has f lown more than 1,800 medi- cal delivery f lights over Switzerland. "Our company and technolog y are fundamentally optimized to support applications within urban health care," said Ben Hansen, business develop- ment executive for Matternet. To win FA A approval, the current concept of operations for the WakeMed deliveries calls for a safety pilot and onsite technician to be on hand for autonomous f lights, with the goal of moving toward full automation. "We hope that in the not too distant future we will be able to implement a fully automated technology stack (drone and landing infrastructure) and can start removing those operators," Hansen said. "The transformative power of the drone has to do with reimagining the supply chain," he said. "We know the speed at which we can transport is tre- mendously faster and more economi- cal than roadway transportation." EMERGENCY MEDICAL DELIVERIES IN RURAL NORTH CAROLINA Another objective of North Carolina's IPP program is emergency medical deliveries. Zipline is the drone delivery partner that will test distribution of emergency medical supplies to remote FOOD DELIVERY IN HOLLY SPRINGS NCDOT is also overseeing the test- ing of food delivery by drone in Holly Springs, N.C. For these tests, they will use Israeli drone delivery company Flytrex. Flytrex has conducted drone delivery in Iceland and is delivering food to a golf course as member of the North Dakota IPP team. Flight s over people a nd tra f f ic (but not BV LOS) were expected to begin at the end of 2018. Customers w ill order f rom par ticipating res- taurants through a mobile app and, in certain locations, will be able to select deliver y by drone. The f irst f light w ill carr y food from restau- rants in a shopping center in Holly Springs to a local park. To address pr iva c y c onc er ns, t he d rone w i l l not f ly over homes or be equipped w ith a camera . Drones w ill lower the food to the ground or to an at- tendant v ia a w ire drop system. A unique code will allow customers to access their food. "The safety case is going to be easier if there is one route versus multiple routes," Yap said. The drone delivery is expected to take about five minutes, compared to about 22 minutes by car. For the first few months, an attendant will manage the drop site. ADDING INFRASTRUCTURE INSPECTION In a new development, NCDOT re- quested and received permission to expand its initial IPP plans to include infrastructure inspection. NCDOT will be using drones to monitor the quality of new construction projects, as well as existing roads, bridges, ferry terminals, airports and rail facilities. While it can take several hours for samples to get to the lab using the current methods, drones can transport samples in just minutes." Dr. Stuart Ginn, surgeon and medical director, WakeMed Innovations " Drones encounter different hazards in rural and urban deliveries. "While rural areas have lower risk due to low traffic volume and fewer people," he said, "there are still potential hazards from crop dusters and military train- ing routes, as well as other obstruc- tions, such as cell towers. In contrast, urban f lights encounter densely popu- lated areas, increased air traffic and a variety of obstructions," Yap said. T-mobile will ensure drone f lights maintain connectiv ity. The Nor th Carolina team hasn't had any issues with getting a cellular signal at 200 feet. Instead, it is a matter of mak- ing the sure the drone attaches to the closest signal. There is also a second- ary communications backup. areas of North Carolina. After orders are sent via text to Zipline, supplies will be expedited from a central dis- tribution center to the remote location in a matter of minutes. The packages will be deployed via parachute to a des- ignated drop area. The Zipline fixed wing aircraft is designed for f lying longer distances and BVLOS. Zipline is fully operational in Rwanda and has been successful flying in a vari- ety of weather conditions, but, Yap said icy conditions can still ground drones.

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