Inside Unmanned Systems

DEC 2017 - JAN 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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ENGINEERING. PRACTICE. POLICY. 43 unmanned systems inside December 2017/January 2018 said. "We had to invent test methods, and the FAA was very good when it came to reviewing everything we did and pushing us to make sure our results were rigorous and defensible." The reasonableness approach, which CNN designed and proposed to help the FAA analyze the safety of UAS flights over people, is prece- dent setting and of significant importance to the commercial UAS industry, CNN senior counsel Emily Avant said. "It's a cliché, but this waiver is not an end but a beginning," Agvent said. Professor Matt Waite, who launched the Drone Journalism Lab at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, deemed the waiver 'a crack in the wall" but cautioned that news organi- zations will still need to invest in hardware, training and other things like insurance. "This is not going to be an overnight thing, said Waite. "It is absolutely important that somebody has gotten over the wall, but don't expect your local television station to be able to do this even within a year." The Future Three years ago, CNN had two drones. Now it has 25 drones, including two Snaps. "We expect to add significantly to that number," Agvent said. There are still a number of limitations that CNN has when it comes to f lights with Snap drones. "If there's a TFR [temporary flight re- striction] in place, we're not going to violate that," Agvent said. "If there's a wildfire, we're not flying into it; the reward is not worth the risk." "We've already learned a lot on how not to op- erate over people—for instance, during the elec- tions, we were able to effectively show long lines of people in North Carolina and Pennsylvania, two swing states, without f lying over people," Agvent said. "So just because we now have this capability doesn't mean we should apply it across the board. Most of our drone work still gets done in operations not directly over people." A key next step that the commercial drone in- dustry and FAA need to take is finding a way to " TO MAKE OUR GIMBAL LIGHTER AND TOUGHER, WE ONLY HAD IT CONTROL TWO AXES AND NOT THREE AXES OF MOTION, AND DEVELOPED A WAY TO USE SNAP'S PROPELLERS AS THE THIRD AXIS OF THE GIMBAL." Tobin Fisher, co-founder and CEO, Vantage Robotics remotely identify drones—essentially, a license plate. "The proper authorities need to be able to determine whom a drone belongs to and wheth- er the drone has the authority to be where it is, or whether it should be of concern," Agvent said. A nother step is "standardizing opera- tor training and standardized tests of UAS," Fisher said. "That way, regulators aren't wor- ried about what organization is f lying a UAS, but what the aircraft is and what training the pilot has, same as just about every other indus- try where you have a license and are rated to drive or f ly various vehicles." Vantage began shipping its drones to cus- tomers in July and is now in talks with a num- ber of potential civilian and military govern- ment customers, Fisher said. "For instance, police forces usually each buy one very sophis- ticated drone that they need a trained pilot for," Fisher said. "They're dangerous to use, so they're used infrequently, and there's usually only one pilot per police force, so their utility is limited. What we want to do is to potentially have every person in the police force be able to use drones easily and effectively." Fisher believes making drones safer could greatly expand their uses and number of users. "It's analogous to the computer industry. You started out with big mainframe computers that a single person or a team of people could use, analogous to the big heavyweight drones out there. Now the computer industry has evolved so that everyone has their own computer, and the range of uses for computers has completely mushroomed—and I see the same potential for drones."

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