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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28  December 2018/January 2019 unmanned systems inside AIR IPP NORTH CAROLINA Cameras mounted on drones provide a detailed view without putting some- one on a hoist, lift, or bucket truck, greatly increasing worker safety. A key focus will be on the linear inspection of roads. While NCDOT has previously used drones for infrastructure inspection, under the IPP, they want drone inspec- tions to become routine. UAS TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT UAS traffic management is key to the expansion of drone operations and AirMap will be offering UAS Traffic Management (UTM) services to the North Carolina IPP and five other IPP teams. Bill Goodwin, head of AirMap's legal and policy teams, envisions a fu- ture where multiple UTM systems manage hundreds of thousands or even millions of f lights a day. He says that while the concept of one-to-one air traffic management works in the current environment, it will not be enough to manage the complexities of a world served more fully by drones. "A profusion of drones can bring enormous benef its but requires an enormous amount of services to ensure they don't run into each other, don't an- noy people on the ground, don't cause a safety risk to people in the air or on the ground, and deliver commercial benefits as promised without violating the privacy or private property rights of the communities where they are op- erating," Goodwin said. "To balance all of that, you need a tool like UTM that allows for that complexity and solves it safely." In North Carolina, an AirMap UTM system w ill integrate information about who else is f lying in the airspace, whether it's commercial aircraft, heli- PrecisionHawk, another Nor th Carolina IPP partner, brings expertise in BVLOS f lights. As part of the FAA's Pathfinder project, they were involved in outlining a comprehensive safety case and standards for f lying drones BVLOS. Flying BVLOS is seen as the key to many commercial drone appli- cations. PrecisionHawk's focus is un- manned traffic management with the low altitude traffic and airspace safety platform (LATAS). Allison Ferguson, PrecisionHawk's di- rector of airspace research, believes IPP projects represent a real leap forward for the industry. "Most of FAA's Pathfinder research was done in a rural setting," Ferguson said. "Now we are operating over people, in controlled airspace and using a lot of automation. The IPP time- line is quite short from a research per- spective." IPPs have just 24 months to achieve commercialization and provide a blueprint for local businesses thatwant to take on more complex operations. COMMUNITY OUTREACH A n important component for IPP teams is public outreach because infor- mation on public sentiment surround- ing drones is something the FAA cur- rently lacks. The IPP could be a good test of public sentiment on drones in- cluding what applications they will and will not welcome. Beyond safely inte- grating drones into the airspace, public feedback may be the most important result of the program. "We really wanted to engage with the community," Yap said. However, after two public outreach events primarily attracted drone en- thusiasts who want to learn more about the industry, NCDOT realized they will have to alter their strategy. Their target audience is average citi- zens who don't necessarily have an in- terest in drones. "We didn't expect that we would have to reevaluate the way NCDOT has tra- ditionally done community outreach," said James Pearce, public relations of- ficer, North Carolina Department of Transportation Aviation. "We are look- ing at new ways, through social media and other methods, to get the public educated, more engaged and more in- vested in this project." Ginn believes seeing drones in op- eration will have a positive impact. "Once people actually see the technol- ogy, and watch it operate, their opin- ions of it changes very rapidly." copters or other drones. It will help operators perform BVLOS f lights by providing information on airspace and ground conditions. A UTM sys- tem can also alert operators or reroute drones to avoid an area that has be- come unsafe. "By integrating data from cell phone providers or other IoT (Internet of Things) networks you can get a dy- namic heat map of where people are and you can route your drone around crowds of people and put it in the least risky environment," Goodwin said. Now when we submit a waiver the FAA has an expectation of what they are going to see in the safety case. Dialogue expedites the process." Basil Yap, UAS program manager, North Carolina Department of Transportation "

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