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U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta recently announced the creation of a task force to develop recommendations for a registration process for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). The task force will be composed of 25 to 30 diverse representatives from the UAS and manned aviation industries, the federal government, and other stakeholders. The group will advise the Department on which aircraft should be exempt from registration due to a low safety risk, including toys and certain other small UAS. The task force also will explore options for a streamlined system that would make registration less burdensome for commercial UAS operators. While the task force does its work, the FAA will continue its aggressive education and outreach efforts, including the “Know Before You Fly” campaign and “No Drone Zone” initiatives with the nation’s busiest airports. The agency also will continue to take strong enforcement action against egregious violators.
More UAV surveillance needed following Nepalese earthquake
After the earthquake in April 2015, 15 UAV teams were deployed to Nepal to collect surveillance data and to carry out mapping work, but more still needs to be done in order to assess the true degree of the effects caused by the disaster.
A team from the Qatar Computing Research Institute’s UAViators Humanitarian UAV Network has carried out work using rotarywing UAVs such as the DJI Phantom. This included performing 60 flights in Kathmandu in September, authorised by the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal.
In six months’ time, the team is planning to also test some fi xed-wing systems in Nepal. Patrick Meier, director of social innovation at the institute and founder of UAViators, is calling on more teams with a desire to help to join them. www.flightglobal.com/
Malaysia has a new Unmanned Aerial Vehicle-Remote Sensing (UAV-RS) system to obtain information for monitoring natural disasters, resources management and land clearance. Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau said the UAV-RS would improve the efficiency of obtaining information of the Earth’s surface. “This RM3 million project was first researched in 2008 to then be developed in 2013 and fully operational by 2014. The system has now clocked a total of 180 hour 4 minutes flight time. “Developed by the Remote Sensing Malaysia Agency (ARSM), Multimedia University (MMU) and UST Sdn Bhd, the system is equipped with radar sensors, an optical sensor system and a ground control station,” he said. He said the 185 kg drone could transfer data in real-time, has a service ceiling of 3 km within a 100 km radius for up to four hours. www.nst.com.my