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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6   April/May 2018 unmanned systems inside America's Unmanned Innovation Engine EDITORIAL OPINION Photos courtesy of University of Zurich, NASA, Airbus Defense & Space and NASA. I n this edition we take a detailed look at how the innovation engine at America's space agen- cy is driving progress in the unmanned sector. NASA is contributing directly with drone soft- ware (some certified) that can, for example, help companies make their security case for beyond- line-of-site operations and their safety case for f lights over people. Its researchers have devel- oped sensors that could enable new applications, techniques to improve established technology and UAS designs that may revolutionize how drones are used (page 16). NASA also has a treasure trove of technologies that can be adapted to unmanned missions. This issue's cover shows an incredibly f lexible, manipu- lator arm whose design can be scaled for under- water assembly, used to maneuver oil spill barriers or adapted to give a construction robot the reach it needs to paint the highest rafters. The agency is willing to work with firms to help them refine breakthroughs like this into profit- able lines of business and its technology trans- fer program has been updated with options that make it easier for smaller firms to succeed. In fact, the agency is working with companies daily as it develops and tests the software and operations framework that will become the UAS Traffic Management (UTM) system. Not only will it spin off to the commercial sector the soft- ware necessary to make UTM work, it is opening the doors for companies to provide things like terrain maps and weather data. NASA is also at the nexus of the next big development in the drone industry—an expansion of UTM to enable urban air taxis (page 34). This special package of stories is part of our continuing effort to inform readers about make- it-work resources and tools. We regularly report on useful research including software being devel- oped to enable collision-free f lights in cities and other cluttered environments (page 58) and key issues to consider in drone mapping (page 54). We also offer insights into the markets. In this issue we bring you the conclusions of an expert panel on what commercial drone services are most viable now and what applications will take more time to develop (page 45). Our coverage on the market for military drones gives hard num- bers and insights from one of the study's co-au- thors into new competition from China (page 48). Columnist Gen. James Poss puts the U.S. military drone market into context with his discussion of why it can be difficult for a service to bring un- manned capabilities onboard (page 8). Our correspondents in Wa shing ton and Brussels strive to keep readers up-to-date on regulatory trends like the slow march toward EU-wide drone rules in Europe (page 62) and the latest news on drone-related security issues in the U.S. (page 66). We hope you like this issue and, more impor- tantly, we hope it helps make things work.

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