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Feb 2018 | No Comment

Belgocontrol to assist drone users

Belgocontrol and the Belgian Civil Aviation Authority (BCAA), together with the company Unifly, are developing two digital platforms to assist both recreational and professional drone users in their activities. All applications will be operational by the end of this year.

A first application will result in a website for the general public where a map will play a key role. This map indicates all areas that are prohibited for drones (temporary or permanent). The website also provides general information and useful links, and should already go live this spring. Besides the map functionality, a mobile app will offer a number of practical features. For example, recreational drone users will be able to prepare and validate their flight – in view of the applicable restrictions – and indicate when they will start and stop their flight.

South African national drone association announces action plan for 2018

The Commercial Unmanned Aircraft Association of Southern Africa (CUAASA), an affiliate of the Commercial Aviation Association of Southern Africa (CAASA), hosted its Annual General Meeting on Saturday 27 January 2018 and set out a plan of action for 2018.

In his opening remarks, Dean Polley, President of CUAASA, emphasised the continuous struggles that the South African RPAS industry faces with regards to obtaining a Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems Operating Certificate (ROC), a requirement, as per the Civil Aviation Regulations Part 101, that is needed to operate any RPAS in a commercial capacity in South African airspace. To date, only 20 ROC’s have been issued by the Regulator since the new laws came into effect in July 2015. There are currently around 340 ROC applications pending with the SACAA. The delays and excessive backlog have been attributed to two major factors:

1) The SACAA does not have the required capacity to effectively implement the regulations. “The current system and processes are failing the industry”, said Polley. Current ROC holders are also affected by delays with millions of rands in economic losses being suffered, directly attributable to application processing delays.

2) The second major factor is that every new applicant requires an Air Service License (ASL), which unnecessarily adds to the complexity of applications and the increased timelines for processing.

During 2017, CUAASA, together with CAASA, submitted proposed amendments to the Air Service Licensing Act, which will see the waiver of an Air Service License for RPAS below a weight of 25 kg.

“The economic impact has been significant, and according to leading Economist, Dr Roelof Botha, at the beginning of 2017, it was estimated that the cumulative loss in business that the RPAS industry in South Africa has suffered since the enactment of Part 101 amounts to approximately R2 billion. This has been borne out in the dossier prepared by CUAASA representing the losses incurred by legal ROC holders. The estimated contribution to national unemployment was approximately 25,000+ lost jobs”, said Polley. www.cuaasa.orgDrones

Atlas Dynamics & Luxriot partnership

Atlas Dynamics, a next-generation aerospace company providing autonomous UAV solutions, has announced its partnership with Luxriot, developer of topquality, high-performance Luxriot Evo Video Management Software, to develop drone-based solutions for the defense, security and first response markets.

Major software upgrade by Dedrone

Dedrone has announced their next generation software upgrade, DroneTracker 3. It is the industry’s first airspace security solution that includes automated summary reporting for instant diagnosis of drone airspace activity. Dedrone’s software is a machine learning network using information from a proprietary database, DroneDNA. DroneTracker gathers intelligence from various sensors, including radio frequency and Wi-Fi scanners, microphones, and cameras, DroneTracker 3 can detect drones over a mile away from a protected site and determines the communications protocol of the drone, its flight path and the location of the pilot.

Indian Railways to deploy drones to monitor projects

Drones will now monitor railway projects, aid in crowd management and oversee maintenance work across its zones, railway officials said. Cameras (UAV/ NETRA) will be used for various railway activities especially project monitoring and maintenance of tracks and other railway infrastructure, the national transporter said in a statement. It shall also be used to assess preparedness of non- interlocking (NI) works, crowd management during fairs, to identify scrap and also for aerial survey of station yards. It is going to be instrumental in providing real time inputs related to safety and maintenance of tracks and other railway infrastructure.

DARPA working on collaborative autonomy for UAVs and Drones

DARPA’s Collaborative Operations in Denied Environment (CODE) program conducted successful Phase 2 flight tests with teams led by Lockheed Martin Corporation (Orlando, Fla.) and the Raytheon Company (Tucson, Ariz.). The Agency has also awarded Phase 3 of the program to Raytheon to further develop CODE capabilities and validate them through a series of planned flight tests.

DARPA’s CODE program aims to extend the capability of the U.S. military’s existing unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) to conduct dynamic, longdistance engagements of highly mobile ground and maritime targets in contested or denied battlespaces. Multiple CODEequipped unmanned aircraft would navigate to their destinations and find, track, identify, and engage targets under established rules of engagement-all under the supervision of a single human mission commander.

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