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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46 April/May 2018 unmanned systems inside SPECIAL REPORT NASA TECHNOLOGY rying defibrillators or other life-saving cargo have the same access? Is the drone the give- way aircraft or does it take priority? "These are the policy issues being discussed right now in the halls of Congress as well as with the FAA and NASA," Bullard said. INSPECTIONS There are plenty of areas that can benefit from drone inspections, including infrastructure, oil and gas pipelines and power lines, Ellis said. These various assets either require routine in- spections to meet safety requirements or as a way for owners to make sure they're perform- ing as efficiently as possible. When Ellis first started looking at UAS in- spection, he found people in these industries were grabbing drones off the shelf to take vid- eo, but then had no idea what to do with the data collected. While drones represented a saf- er way to preform inspections than traditional methods, users were crashing their systems and becoming frustrated with the process. They needed a good solution, and that's where service providers like SkySpecs play a role. Ellis and his team weren't wind turbine ex- perts when they started, but they hired people who were—which is something Ellis recom- mends for anyone looking to offer drone in- spection services to a particular industry. It's also important to remember one UAS doesn't work for every job, and potential clients don't care about the drone you're using. They want to hear how the data you provide can improve efficiencies and save them money. "The drone part does not matter," he said. "All that matters is you are giving them data that helps them drive better business deci- sions. If you can drive better business deci- sions, people are going to care." Wind turbine and other assets can be inspect- ed without flying BVLOS, but that's not the case with every industry. For pipeline inspections to be effective, for example, pilots need the ability to safely fly BVLOS, Prevot said. MAPPING AND AGRICULTURE In the early days of the commercial drone industr y, precision agr iculture was pre- dicted to make up most of the UAS market, Poss said. In this market, there are no wor- ries about privacy issues, f lying over people or sharing the airspace with other aircraft. Drones also provide a better picture of crop health, and can tell farmers exactly where to spray pesticides. The problem? It soon became clear farmers don't want pictures, they want prescriptions, Poss said. Pinpointing exactly where pesticides need to go doesn't save much money, and for UAS to truly benefit larger farms, they must have the ability to f ly BVLOS. Most farmers don't need images instanta- neously, Ellis said, meaning they get just as much benefit from satellite images as they do from drone images. There have been talks about using drones to actually spray pesticides, but adding weight to these systems comes with its own set of challenges. Push back from the crop dusters association also created unexpected problems, Bullard said, as did the fact the optimum altitude for f lying crops is between 900 and 1200 feet. UAS can't legally f ly above 400 feet without CURRENT PART 107 RULES •  Need a "Remote Pilot Certifi cate" to fl y •  UAS must be registered •  UAS must be 55 lbs or smaller •   Can't fl y above 400 feet AGL (except near structures) or over 87 kts •  One remote pilot per drone •  No operations from moving vehicles •   Class G airspace operations are allowed. Operations in Class B, C, D and E airspace require FAA authorization •  Day/Dusk VFR only with 3 nm visibility •   No operations over people "not directly involved" in UAS operations in the open •  Line of sight operations only FOR MORE INFO on how drones are being used by the media, read "News From a Different Angle" at insideunmannedsystems.com RELATED STORIES ONLINE Photos courtesy of CNN and Uber Elevate.

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