Nov 2020 | No Comment

IRDAI committee recommends insurance for drones

Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) constituted a Working Group in June 2020 to study and understand the insurance needs of RPAS owners and operators and make recommendations relating to design and development of products meeting the needs of RPAS owners and operators, including Third Party Liability.

The Working Group has now submitted the report. The committee notes that the Draft UAS 2020 has suggested compensation in respect of Third-Party Liability to be on the lines of Motor Vehicles Amendment Act 2019, which in the group’s opinion is partially acceptable in situations like Section 164 of Amendment Act of 2019 (Payment of compensation in case of death or grievous hurt).

However, as per the committee the unlimited liability (Section 166) and Solatium Fund appearing under MV act is a cause of concern to develop a feasible drone insurance ecosystem in view of nonavailability of claim data for drone losses and lack of re-insurance support for unlimited liability.

The report has looked into the insurance requirements of the RPA owners and operators, suggested coverage’s along with draft / specimen wording, factors which affects the pricing (premium) and finally the underwriting considerations which may be followed.

Few suggestions / recommendations have been made on the governance /privacy issues, and if adopted will provide a robust environment in the country for the drone operations.

Marlyn update by Atmos UAV

Atmos UAV has introduced a series of upgrades in Marlyn’s flight planning and control software, MarLynk. The two features which according to the team will have the biggest impact on user experience with Marlyn, are (1) the enhanced corridor mapping to plan more easily and maximize the coverage of long-assets mapping and (2) the new intelligent checklist which is focused on the man-machine interface (MMI) by integrating automated system checks that result in completing the pre-flight procedure faster without compromising on safety.

AUVSI XCELLENCE humanitarian award

WildTrack, a non-profit organization dedicated to non-invasive wildlife monitoring and conservation, has been awarded a prestigious AUVSI XCELLENCE Humanitarian Award. The organization won for pairing its Footprint Identification Technique (FIT) in JMP software with high-resolution drone imagery captured using senseFly eBee X fixed-wing mapping drones.

The ground-breaking project was recognized by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) in the Awards’ Humanitarian and Public Safety category for its innovative use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVS) in monitoring and protecting endangered species, such as black rhino in Namibia.

EGNSS at the core of the drone revolution

The European GNSS (EGNSS) is at the core of the drone revolution and future U-space services. EGNOS and Galileo provide significant added value to drone navigation, positioning, and related applications, and the use of their differentiators will be instrumental in developing new business opportunities. Receiver manufacturers, well aware of the benefits that GNSS can bring to the users, are eager to adopt Galileo and EGNOS and pass on these advantages to their users.

A growing number of drone applications require accurate positioning information. According to the 2019 GSA’s GNSS Market Report survey, almost 50% of drone users expect a horizontal accuracy of below 10 cm and 38% a vertical accuracy of below 10cm. This increased performance is critical for multiple drone applications and is not achievable without any GNSS signal augmentation. The EGNOS Open Service can augment GPS signal to a minimum accuracy of 3 metres in the horizontal and 4 metres in the vertical planes compared to 17 and 37 metres for non-augmented GPS.

EGNSS receivers for drones are already populating the market, with Europe supplying around 12% drone receivers worldwide. Companies like u-Blox, Septentrio, Novatel, and Javad have been the early adopters of Galileo and EGNOS and invested in the technology now revolutionising the drone industry. Thanks to this forward thinking companies, EGNSS is now a standard feature for the drones and to date, there are 190 EGNOS-capable or Galileoready chipsets and modules available in the market.

Drone that can fly in areas with no GPS reception

Earth Analyzer, a startup based in the city of Ayabe, Kyoto Prefecture has developed a drone that can be operated on autopilot in places with no GPS reception, such as below girder bridges or in tunnels. The drone receives location information from sensors set up around places with no GPS signals, which is converted into the same kind of signals used in GPS. This enables the drone to automatically identify its location.

There had previously been no other option but for people to operate drones manually inside buildings and other places where GPS signals could not reach. Although there is also a method to operate drones by equipping them with cameras and lasers and have them fly while analyzing images, this method apparently requires slowing down their speed and there are also limitations on the locations they can be flown.

The new drone system was developed in a joint effort by Earth Analyzer, Tokushima University, and i System Research Corp., a tech firm based in Kyoto’s Nakagyo Ward.

Enhanced functionality in drone surveying software

In release 7.4, Virtual Surveyor has added new functionality to the free pricing level of its popular drone surveying software. The “Valley” plan of Virtual Surveyor now allows users to create engineering CAD models from drone orthophotos and/or LiDAR data sets. It enables surveyors to derive topographic information from drone data that engineers need for construction, mining, and other excavation projects. The software has become popular among surveyors and engineers because its tools allow them to work effectively with drone data.

Freefly and Auterion announce the release of Astro

Freefly Systems, leading drone manufacturers and Auterion, the \open source drone software platform announced the releases of the Astro Enterprise Drone Solution. In partnering, the two companies have combined their respective expertise in hardware and software to build and release the Astro – the best multi use enterprise drone for utility, telco, and infrastructure companies, as well as drone service providers and first responders.

3D mast inspection by Pix4D and SAP

Pix4D has announced that it is starting a joint innovation project with SAP® to open up the market for drone-based, digital 3D inspections for telecommunications companies.

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