VSR700 prototype performs first autonomous free flight
The prototype of Airbus Helicopters’ VSR700 unmanned aerial system (UAS) has performed its first free flight. It performed a ten-minute flight at a drone test centre near Aix-en-Provence in the south of France. It derived from Hélicoptères Guimbal’s Cabri G2, is an unmanned aerial system in the 500-1000 kg maximum take-off weight range.
This is a significant step in the programme following the first flight in November 2019 when the prototype was tethered to comply with regulatory requirements. To enable this free flight, Airbus Helicopters implemented geofencing, a virtual perimeter, which enabled and justified a flight clearance from airworthiness authorities for free flight. The flight test programme will now evolve to progressively open the flight envelope. www.airbus.com
Drone technology transforms ABP’s asset management
Associated British Ports (ABP), the UK’s leading and best-connected port owner and operator, announced it has successfully embedded drone technology into its asset management practices and policies, following an 18 month program. It utilised PwC’s specialist drone digital transformation team to support drone adoption and transformation in asset management, while Aerodyne Group, a DT3 (Drone Tech, Data Tech and Digital Transformation) solutions provider, was selected as ABP’s drone service provider, bringing its extensive experience and world-class technology to bear. www.abports.co.uk
Percepto has announced that it’s onsite autonomous drone has passed level 5 hurricane testing at the Florida International University Wall of Wind. The box can withstand winds of up to 150mph making it one of the most rugged AI drone-in-a-box on the market for all weather conditions. The drone platform is already able to land in high winds and in snow.
The innovation allows customers like Florida Power and Light (FPL) to react immediately in the aftermath of a hurricane, assessing and fixing any damage without endangering their staff, when the weather is still very challenging in the state where the most residents per year experiencing outages.
FPL’s goal is to eventually put a dronein- a-box at every substation, transmission yard, plant and solar facility, according to Eric Schwartz, manager of FPL’s aerial intelligence response.
Percepto’s system is approved by the FAA for flights two miles Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLoS) and FPL’s waiver from the FAA enables the solution to cover the entire facility with regular, preprogrammed autonomous flights over the plant’s 11,000 acres. https://percepto.co
Safe integration of drones from ground to sky
EVA and Unifly have announced that they are joining forces. Together, the two partners provide an end-to-end solution for the drone services market by combining EVA’s drone infrastructure (portable Vertical Stations) and Unifly’s cutting-edge UTM technology.
Through this partnership, EVA and Unifly help streamline the safe integration of drones into the airspace and offer operators – private organizations and government agencies alike – an easy-todeploy solution to support their operational needs. www.unifly.aero
NUAIR validates AVSS drone parachute recovery system
Following vigorous testing, completed in collaboration with NUAIR, the drone parachute recovery system by Aerial Vehicle Safety Solutions (AVSS) for the DJI M200 series has been validated as compliant with industry standards.
The parachute recovery system (PRS-M200) is a safety product for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), commonly referred to has drones, which automatically deploys a parachute if the drone malfunctions in the air.
This is the third parachute standard validation performed by NUAIR and the first for the DJI M200 series, advancing the potential for commercial drone package delivery and routine flights over people. www.nuair.org
VECTOR-400 – a new compact autopilot
UAV Navigation has launched a new product known as the VECTOR-400, a compact autopilot which has been designed specifically for Aerial Targets (Unmanned Aerial Targets, UAT).
It features a robust enclosure and a militarygrade connector designed to withstand the harshest environments, in accordance with MIL-STD 810 and MIL-STD 461. It is able to continue a mission in case of individual sensor failure and even when subject to jamming, maintaining accurate estimations of attitude and position. It features advanced algorithms for stall prevention and the ability to carry out an efficient gliding maneuver in case of engine failure.
The VECTOR-400 uses an Air Data Attitude and Heading Reference System (ADAHRS) and Inertial Navigation System (INS) developed by UAV Navigation, which provides high precision attitude information and which allows reliable navigation even under the most demanding circumstances. The AHRS gives the VECTOR-400 the capability to operate in GNSSdenied environments (less than 30 m/min drift) and also to execute highly dynamic maneuvers. www.uavnavigation.com
US Air Force awards DroneShield contract for base defense
DroneShield Ltd has announced that the United States Air Force (the “USAF”) has awarded DroneShield a contract to deploy multiple units of DroneShield’s DroneSentryTM, an integrated detectand- defeat counterdrone (C-UAS) system, at the Grand Forks Air Force Base, protected by the 319th Security Forces Squadron of the USAF (the “319th SFS”). As part of the contract, the USAF acquired an option to acquire additional systems following the initial deployment.
DroneSentryTM utilizes DroneShieldCompleteTM, an intuitive and feature-rich user interface for alerting, tracking and reporting drone activity within the coverage area. The system will receive regular firmware updates, including the Company’s upcoming cutting edge Artificial Intelligencebased firmware rollout, planned for late 2020. www.droneshield.com
First commercial BVLOS permit by Terra Drone Indonesia
Terra Drone Indonesia has obtained a license to operate a long-distance mission or better known as Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS), issued by the Directorate of Airworthiness & Aircraft Operations (DAAO), Director General of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Transportation of the Republic of Indonesia. By obtaining this permit, Terra Drone Indonesia will be able to fully utilize the maximum potential use of drones, especially for missions such as surveys, surveillance, and patrols. www.terra-drone.co