Inside Unmanned Systems

JUN-JUL 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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6  June/July 2019 unmanned systems inside Abe Peck EXECUTIVE EDITOR Exploring a Defense– Commercial Nexus Editorial Opinion I t's no surprise that most UAS technology transfer currently runs from the military sphere to its commercial counterpart. Large defense budgets, proven technologies, well-defined purchasing processes, and fewer restrictions on BVLOS and ops over people have combined to create what columnist Major General James Poss (Ret.) calls a "contra-f low"—a road meant for two-way traffic but set largely to move in one direction. Some manufacturers who want to give the military-to-commercial shift a shot have been frustrated by how slow civilian rule-making can be. Emphatically true—and yet, there are signs of redirection, and even commercial-to-defense adoption. Whether spotting poachers in the air or checking out power lines, the commercial side is increasingly incorporating defense technology into its systems. More is predicted. To cite one example: "advanced tactical data links at the forward edge of the battlefield," says Collins Aerospace's Braxton Rehm, himself a former military man, "will also provide necessary connections in the Unmanned Traffic Management technology environment, where we need vehicles of all types to move safely." And, fragmented or not, dual use and specific innovation will be lures. As Dave Duggan, precision engineering systems sector president at L3 Technologies, told us, "the size of the market is undeniable." Our "Market Map" depicts how the $100 billion in overall UAS-related spending divides between the sectors. Overall, Joanne Costin reports, that's 70% military-17% consumer-13% commercial. Some domains are more equally split, or even sport commercial-first shares. In this issue, IUS feature writers Dee Ann Divis, Renee Knight and Vicki Speed capture the nuances and perspectives surrounding tech transfer. Key players f lesh out the scalability and cost structures that empower or hinder technology migration. Use cases enliven the situations developers, integrators and operators need to f lourish in defense-to-commercial use. Moreover, defense-sector pressure and a receptive administration are allowing for increased drone exports and work-arounds, as Dee Ann describes in her "Washington View." IN THE FIELD, ON THE SHOULDER Saving time, money and lives is something of our mantra, and two "Project Watch" features and a webinar explore that triad via technology applications. SlantRange is using precision multispectral sensors to monitor agricultural growth and health. Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, joined by Royal Truck & Equipment, has modified its autonomous battlefield safety attenuators to protect civilian highway workers from being pulverized by errant drivers. Spokespersons from Applanix/Trimble, Microdrones and RIEGL come together in the "Webinar" to discuss how LiDAR and GNSS positioning techniques can support the best guidance and payload control while pushing the BVLOS envelop. And since drone tech never sleeps, technology editor Charles Choi pulls the ripcord and describes a roster of parachutes designed to prevent errant drones from injuring people on the ground. RULES AND REGULATIONS As always, rules and regs are constant concerns in Drone World. A counter-UAS synopsis of our first series of "Drone Beat" podcasts examines the ingenious yet legal solutions—from radar systems to capture nets—companies are creating to analyze, track, jam and eliminate drones f lown by bad actors (A subsequent "Drone Beat" series on "Remote ID" is available on or at You also can sign up for our newsletters on the site). And from Europe, lawyers Oliver Heinrich and Jan Helge Mey parse the layered legalities around Europe's move from member-state to EU-wide statutes. In print, and online at, look for the best in content-rich autonomous solutions. Photo courtesy of Chicago Sun-Times.

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