Feb 2019 | No Comment

Use of civilian drones in Germany

A study by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) has now revealed that there is clear approval in Germany for the use of civilian drones in civil protection, rescue missions and research work. However, flights for advertising, leisure and parcel delivery purposes are still viewed negatively by at least half of those questioned. .

“Regardless of gender or age, the term ‘drone’ is known to almost everyone, but often retains negative connotations,” explains study leader Maria Stolz of the DLR Institute of Flight Guidance in Braunschweig. “Experience with drones remains rare and is more usually passive, rather than active. There is still relatively little information available to the public on this topic.” Only around 40 percent of those surveyed said that they had ever seen or heard a drone, while just 10 percent had ever flown a drone themselves. The attitude towards civilian drones depends on gender and age, among other factors. Those expressing an interest in this modern technology were predominantly young males. “We were also interested to see whether the respondents changed their attitude over the course of the interview,” says Stolz. “There was a slight shift towards a more positive view.

The researchers were able to establish that there is currently clear approval for the use of drones in civil protection, rescue missions and research work. Around two-thirds of respondents agreed fully or partially with the use of drones in order to ascertain the situation in often inaccessible disaster areas, or to support the police and fire brigade in lifesaving missions by providing situational information or location data.

UAV can help avocado growers by detecting asymptomatic pathogen

Remote imaging can effectively detect a pathogen that endangers the $100 milliona- year Florida avocado industry – even before the trees show symptoms Yiannis Ampatzidis, an assistant professor of agricultural and biological engineering at the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, led recently published research that shows that multispectral cameras can detect laurel wilt on avocado trees. The approach costs less than manually trying to detect the laurel wilt pathogen, Ampatzidis said, though UF/IFAS researchers don’t know yet the cost differential.

Multispectral cameras can capture data within specific wavelengths across the electromagnetic spectrum, said Ampatzidis, who specializes in precision agriculture. Humans can only see very small areas of the spectrum.

DJI Phantom 4 RTK firmware update

DJI released a firmware update for the DJI Phantom 4 RTK. The new firmware promises to resolve a number of minor issues but the focus clearly is on making it a better drone for mapping operations. DJI has added a number of improvements, such as the ability to use the remote controller without a built-in display for use with Mobile SDK apps, a Timed Shooting mode in Photogrammetry and Linear Flight operations, the ability to set the margin of the operation area automatically when planning a Photogrammetry operation and a lot more.

Management of complex forest environments by UAS

Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) offer the potential to provide timely and accurate reference data in forests and other complex environments for research and management applications, according to researchers at the University of New Hampshire.

Researchers, Benjamin Fraser and Russell Congalton with the UNH Department of Natural Resources conducted a study on about 1,300 acres of New England forest to evaluate the effectiveness of UAS to collect accurate map reference data. They noted that while advancements in remote sensing and computer science technologies have provided the ability to map increasingly complex environments, the accuracy of thematic maps based on this data must be assessed against reliable reference data, which can be difficult to obtain because of time and cost restraints.

Thematic mapping relies on imagery from remote sensing to label objects and features in defined groups. It also provides information on land use and cover, which helps identify “both natural and artificial patterns and increase our ability to make informed decisions,” according to the paper. Aerial imagery was collected during June and July 2017 using fixed-wing UAS equipped with a sensor optimized for drone applications.

Validating data quality is a necessary step in the decision-making process when using conclusions drawn from remote sensing, the researchers said, adding that in the past, this has been difficult and costly to accomplish. However, the availability of UAS as low-cost, flexible platforms capable of generating on-demand, highresolution images changes this.

Access program to affordable autonomous drone

Apollo Robotics has announced the immediate availability of early access with its Apollo Development Partner Program. The new program is designed to deliver a fully automated, autonomous surveying platform for professionals. By combining multi-sensoring LiDAR, HD and thermal cameras with artificial intelligence, Apollo can quickly digitize and reconstruct any worksite into a highly accurate and instantly actionable 3D model from a single scan.

Taranis launches automated crop emergence and stand count solution

Taranis has announced the launch of its new solution that calculates and monitors the planting of seeds. It is the first platform to offer farmers and agronomists a scalable answer to plot management strategy.

As part of its solution, Taranis flies a drone or aircraft over a field using the company’s patented AI2 proprietary pod, which captures hundreds of sub-millimeter images on a single field, or thousands of images in a given flight. Each image is scrutinized by Taranis’ deep learning engine to quickly identify and count each emerging plant. A second set of algorithms is run to calculate the spacing, density and plant characteristics of each row, while a third set of analysis creates the clear visualization of emergence in the form of a heat map. With available heat maps and easy-to-read reports, customers can review their fields quickly to make timely management decisions.

Virtual Surveyor 6.2 now processes larger drone survey projects

Virtual Surveyor drone surveying and mapping software has added new functionality that enables users to process larger projects without buying more powerful computers or expensive cloud services. Virtual Surveyor 6.2 solves the problem of large files by offering enhanced Clipping and Mosaicking functionality. Users can now merge multiple smaller processed chunks of orthophotos and digital surface models (DSM) into a single project and create smooth edges between these pieces with the new clipping tool. This seamless mosaic can be exported to a new tiff file or serve as the basis for a full area virtual survey. It also offers a 3D Fly Through capability.

Velodyne Lidar and YellowScan lead drone surveying market for highway capacity

Velodyne Lidar, Inc. has announced that the YellowScan Surveyor from YellowScan has utilized Velodyne’s groundbreaking sensor technology to generate precise mapping data for an infrastructure construction project on one of Central Europe’s busiest roadways.

The project was conducted by Ventus- Tech using YellowScan Surveyor to collect data along a 47-kilometer segment of the M1 highway (E60, E65, E75) in northwestern Hungary. The data, gathered by 88 UAV flights over one month, enabled engineers to design a plan to expand the highway from 2+2 lanes to 3+3 lanes. YellowScan Surveyor includes Velodyne Lidar’s Puck™, a compact and versatile sensor that delivers a high-resolution surround view image to accurately measure and analyze any landscape.

China’s SZMID highlights handheld C-UAV systemSource: SZMID

Shen Zhou Ming Da High Technology Co Ltd (SZMID), a Beijing-based company specialising in radio frequency (RF) detection and jamming technology for counter unmanned aerial vehicle (C-UAV) applications, is eyeing export opportunities for its indigenously developed DZ- 02 Pro Portable Jammer Gun.

The DZ-02 Pro is intended to counter commercial multirotor and small fixedwing UAVs, and can disrupt satellite navigation signals – BeiDou Galileo, GLONASS, and GPS systems – as well as RF communications in the 1.56 Mhz-1.62 GHz, 2.4-2.483 GHz, and 5.725-5.85 GHz wavelengths up to a maximum range of 1 km. It is designed to cause a target to hover in place until its power is depleted or activate its return-home protocol.

New York Power Authority investigates LiDAR with drones

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) has received funding to research and integrate LiDAR technology into its existing UAS program for vegetation management inspections along its transmission lines.

In February, NYPA will begin a yearlong pilot project to determine the optimal combination of drone and LiDAR technology for use in utility industry inspections. NYPA’s research and development team will evaluate combinations of drone and LiDAR technology, aimed at keeping the total weight of a drone with LiDAR equipment under 55 pounds in order to comply with the Federal Aviation Administration’s Part 107 regulations for the operation of small UAS. NYPA expects the drone operations to reduce the inspection cycle through improved responsiveness and shorter inspection times and greatly reduce hazards by eliminating the need to place contractors or employees near energized equipment.

FLIR Systems acquires Aeryon Labs for $200m

FLIR Systems, Inc. has recently announced acquisition of Aeryon Labs Inc., a leading developer of highperformance unmanned aerial systems (UAS) for the global military, public safety, and critical infrastructure markets for $200 million.

ConnexiCore and Telarus partnership

ConnexiCore has announced a partnership with Telarus, the largest privately held Technology Services Distributor in the United States, that ultimately positions ConnexiCore’s Drone Flight Services and Solutions through the Telarus agent channel. For Telarus, the partnership positions the company into the Drone/UAS aerial intelligence marketplace.

Airobotics adds lidar into aerial drones

Airobotics has announced introducing lidar capabilities into its commercial aerial drones to provide additional applications for industries such as mining, construction, and industrial infrastructure. Until a few years ago, adding lidar functions to aerial drones was complicated, since the sensors were hefty and required manual data processing. .”

Microdrones acquires Aircam UAV Technology

Microdrones has acquired Aircam UAV Technology (“Aircam”), a 64 employee Chinese company with its main location in Foshan, in China. Aircam has developed a large Chinese and Southeast Asian customer base with a focus on surveying & mapping, utilities, and oil & gas industries.

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