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MEPs approved an agreement reached between Council and Parliament negotiators in November 2017 on EU-wide principles for drones and drone operators to ensure a common level of safety and give operators and manufacturers the predictability to develop products and services. Currently most drones fall under differing national rules, which can hamper market development.
Under new rules, drones would need to be designed so that they can be operated without putting people at risk. Based on risk related to, for example, the weight of the drone or area of operation, the drone would need additional features, such as automated landing in case the operator loses contact with the drone or collision avoidance systems. Some drone operators would be required to go through training before they can operate a drone.
To help identify the drone operators if there is an incident, operators of drones would need to be on national registers and their drones marked for identification. This would not apply to operators of the smallest drones.
Based on the key principles, the EU Commission is tasked with developing more detailed EU-wide rules, such as maximum altitude and distance limits for drone flight, and which drone operations and drones would need to be certified based on the risk they pose. The rules would also determine which operators need additional training and to be registered and which drones would need to have additional safety features.
Currently, drones lighter than 150kg fall under the jurisdiction of national authorities and therefore manufacturers and operators are subject to different design and safety requirements.
Civil drone technology could account for an estimated 10% of the EU aviation market within the next 10 years (i.e. about €15 billion per year). According to the Commission, the drone industry could create some 150,000 jobs in the EU by 2050. www.europarl.europa.eu
Delair, a leading global supplier of commercial drone solutions, has announced an agreement with Cansel, a full-service provider of surveying and mapping solutions to the Canadian market. Cansel becomes the first Canadian reseller of Delair UX 11 long-range drone.
Leica Geosystems has announced its latest UAV, the Leica Aibot. The UAV is a multi-rotor airframe based on DJI’s aerial platform, the M600 Pro, and is designed for fast acquisition of 3D mapping data.
The solution is fully integrated with Leica Geosystems’ current suite of software solutions, including Cyclone and Cloudworx. Users can now leverage Leica Infinity for point cloud, surface model, and orthophoto generation for current workflows in construction and surveying.
SimActive and Brazil’s Portal Produtos Agropecuários (Portal) are working together with local farmers to provide them with as much functional data regarding their farmland as possible, so that these businesses can maximize profits and increase seasonal yields. For Portal, that means creating aerial mapping of farmland. This is then turned over to SimActive who can, through its Correlator3D software, process those maps into detailed, informative data. This process allows a farm’s crop management to be strategized more efficiently. www.thedrive.com
The Gurugram forest department, India has completed the drone mapping of two villages in the first phase to check encroachment or illegal activities in the Aravallis. During the mapping process a team of forest, wildlife and technical officials, detected illegal sand mining in Sakatpur and Tikli villages.
Trucks, laden with sand, were spotted leaving these villages, a forest official said. Before the mapping teams could get hold of the sand miners, they drove away, the official added.
“The mining surveillance system enables us to get a satellite view of quarrying sites and any illegal activity taking place in the Aravallis.” Vinod Kumar, additional principal chief conservator of forest, Gurugram, said. www.hindustantimes.com
Insitu, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Boeing Company has received a first-of-its kind contract from the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) to provide fire suppression services within the contiguous 48 states and Alaska using its ScanEagle Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS).
UAS will assist in combatting wildfires using geospatial mapping and full motion video.
Per the contract, Insitu will support manned aerial operations including fire suppression, search and rescue, emergency management, and other operations as needed on a “call when needed” basis. insitu.com
Firestorm UAV Inc. has announced its position as the sole supplier of an innovative handheld search and rescue sensor intended for all types of field-rescue operations. The mobile TigerStrike Lite hardware pairs with Firestorm’s unique iRDF™ technology to position the company as the foremost expert and manufacturer of mobile ISR search and rescue signal readers.
The TigerStrike Lite mobile device reads three different types of distress signals: personal locator beacons (PLBs), emergency locator transmitters (ELTs) and the emergency position indicating radio beacons (EPIRBs) used in maritime applications. To find a signal’s location, the TigerStrike Lite device simply takes a single vector reading from two fixed locations. Generally this is all that is required to pinpoint a signal to within an accuracy of five degrees. The signal’s location can then be sent via an Android-based smartphone to the operational base of choice. www.fsuav.com
REIN, an insurtech company focused on creating new insurance solutions around the emerging risks posed by robotics, mobility and online ecosystems, is announcing the launch of its first digital portal, DroneInsurance.com. It provides a smart and paperless drone insurance experience, offering dynamic policy solutions to address the unique risks, pain points and insurance needs of commercial drone operators.
DJI has announced a new collaboration with Axon, a provider of connected law enforcement technologies.Under the partnership, DJI drones will be sold directly to public safety and law enforcement agencies worldwide through the new Axon Air program.
vHive, the developer of cloud-based AI that enables enterprises to deploy autonomous drone hives for the acquisition, management and processing of field data, has announced the availability of a fully automated workflow for high-accuracy data products. vHive currently provides solutions to companies in a variety of industries ranging from telecom towers, to rail, bridges and civil engineering. In many cases vHive customers require high accuracy data products, including high relative-accuracy (intrinsic to a map or model) and absolute-accuracy (geographic location). www.vHive.ai
Drone startup Atmos UAV has closed it’s next investment round with investment firm Disruptive Technology Ventures (DTV). Atmos has developed an industrial drone that is a clever crossover between an airplane and a helicopter. The drone can already be found flying all over the world to help professionals in mapping large areas of land. The series A of undisclosed amount enables the startup to further scale up their distribution, product development and support organisation. DTV, the fund of amongst others Ad Scheepbouwer (former CEO of TNT) and the founders of cybersecurity leader Fox-IT (Ronald Prins & Menno van der Marel) will support Atmos by fuelling growth and international roll-out.