Inside Unmanned Systems

APR-MAY 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 April/May 2018 unmanned systems inside SPECIAL REPORT NASA TECHNOLOGY schedule a f light as well as the vehicle that will take them to and from the vertiport, Prevot said. That can easily be accomplished through the existing Uber app. The network will also provide informa- tion to aircraft pilots, Prevot said, such as the schedule, f light planning, re-routing informa- tion, airspace management services, and any environmental aspects, such as weather, that might affect a trip. TRANSPORTING CARGO While passenger vehicles seem to be the focus, there's also an oppor- tunity for these large aircraft to deliver cargo. Delivery vehicles will need the same emergency landing options as passenger-carrying air taxis, Kopardekar said, and safety for the systems as well as assets on the ground will also need to be con- sidered as they're built out. Airbus is working to develop a cargo delivery drone called Skyways, Thomsen said. The Skyways UAS recently completed a delivery at the National University of Singapore, where it took off from its dedicated maintenance center and landed on the roof of a specially designed par- cel station. While at the station, a ro- botic arm loaded a parcel, then the drone returned to the center and automatically unloaded the package. "Many cities have congestion that's driven by vans delivering online orders and goods. If we can relieve some of that congestion by transporting these items in the air, that's very valuable," Thomsen said, not- ing Skyways is a smaller drone focused on light- weight parcel delivery. "There's also a use case for the larger passenger aircraft we're designing. It will be able to transport both cargo and people, though the requirements might be different. Vertical flights in cities must be a pleasant expe- Photo courtesy of Bell Helicopter. SCALING AIR TAXI SYSTEMS Getting these aircraft to scale could be a challenge, but its one Bell Helicopter is prepared for, Director of Innovation Scott Drennan said. "You would need perhaps hundreds of these vehicles per city, which is a much higher rate than normal," he said. "Setting up the manufacturer capacity to do that could be challenging for some manufacturers." CHECK-IN SYSTEM Though this will be determined by the FAA and other regulating bodies, Scott Drennan, director of innovation for Bell Helicopter, hopes to have a faster check-in system than what we're accustomed to at major airports. The system should be just as safe, but more fl uid to support more fl ights.

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