The Government of India has released the discussion draft of the National Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Traffic Management Policy framed by the UTM Committee constituted under the Ministry of Civil Aviation. This policy is drafted under the overarching framework of the Draft UAS Rules 2020 and in the unlikely event of any incongruence; the Draft UAS Rules 2020 shall prevail. The draft National Unmanned Aircraft Traffic Management policy paper has sought comments from various stakeholders.
The Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management (UTM) system plans to provide flight planning capabilities, facilitate flight authorisation, provide real-time situational awareness, provide weather and terrain data apart from managing the unmanned aircraft system (UAS) traffic.
The need for UTM Systems is now being felt as drones will soon need to fly alongside manned aircraft so there is a need to maintain high levels of aviation safety in such scenarios, apart from which integrating drones in current Air Traffic Management (ATM) systems may be complex and expensive.
This draft document comes in the backdrop of several instances globally of drones coming in the way of aircraft taking off or landing at busy airports affecting their operations. www.thehindubusinessline.com
T-Mobile and global professional drone racing property The Drone Racing League (DRL) have announced a broad-reaching partnership to advance 5G-powered drone technology. As part of the multi-year deal, T-Mobile has made an investment in DRL via the company’s T-Mobile Ventures fund, and the Un-carrier has signed on as the league’s exclusive U.S. 5G Wireless partner. Together, T-Mobile and DRL will innovate 5G racing drone technology to create the first integrated 5G racing drones, with the aim of authentically building them into the sport. DRL will develop first-of-its-kind, custom racing drones powered by T-Mobile 5G, during the 2021 DRL Allianz World Championship Season. www.t-mobile.com
Kongsberg Geospatial has announced the release of the Modular ISR Data Analysis and Storage (MIDAS) solution. It is a Processing, Exploitation and Dissemination (PED) Solution for rapid intelligence analysis of data from tactical drones.
MIDAS was developed to provide a rapid capability for the exploitation and further distribution of drone sensor data.
Kongsberg Geospatial’s MIDAS addresses the “lack of standards” problem that the vast majority of tactical UAVs encounter – no standards-compliant PED capability for their organic sensor data. MIDAS provides a fully standardscompliant system that allows intelligence analysts to exploit sensor data in near real-time, from where the drone is being operated – without having to wait for post mission analysis from headquarters. www.kongsberggeospatial.com
Congressmen in the U.S. have rejected a House version of the National Defense Authorization Act which would ban the purchase of Chinese drone tech by U.S. federal agencies or with federal funding.
Manufacturers, government agencies, and public safety agencies that utilize public funding have been awaiting the outcome of negotiations on the National Defense Authorization Act. A version of the Act in the House of Representatives called for a broad prohibition on “procuring any commercial off-the-shelf drone or covered unmanned aircraft, or any component thereof for use in such a drone or unmanned aircraft, that is manufactured or assembled by a covered foreign entity, including any flight controllers, radios, core processors, printed circuit boards, cameras, or gimbals.”
The provision could have affected drone programs across the country: and two former House representatives were among those who spoke out against the ban, saying that “these proposals have been developed in a haphazard and far-reaching manner that will lead to unintended consequences.” The Senate version of the NDAA did not contain the ban on foreign drone tech.
Now, the conference committee, responsible for reconciling differences between the House and Senate proposals, has rejected the ban in the version of the NDAA that will be voted on. https://dronelife.com
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has concluded the second phase of its Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Traffic Management Pilot Program (UTM/UPP).
The agency ended the phase with virtual demonstrations in partnership with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and two UAS Test Sites: the Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership (MAAP) and the New York UAS Test Site(NYUASTS).
The UPP results will provide a proof of concept for UTM capabilities and serve as the basis for policy considerations, standards development and the implementation of a UTM system. The demonstrations showcased emerging UTM capabilities that will support beyondvisual- line-of-sight (BVLOS) operations
Each event attracted more than 100 participants and included local and state elected officials and representatives from international civil aviation authorities. Both test sites collaborated with drone operators and local public safety agencies to demonstrate scenarios that featured various complex UTM capabilities working together to support BVLOS operations with increasing volumes and densities. https://www.faa.gov/
Dedrone announces partnership with Vodafone and AWS
Dedrone, Vodafone, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) have entered into a partnership to provide airspace security for critical infrastructure. Sites of critical importance, including airports, stadiums, correctional facilities, energy facilities, corporate headquarters, government buildings, and military installations, can now seamlessly upgrade their security programs with Vodafone Business and Dedrone. By using Vodafone Business’s Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) solution, organizations can accelerate the delivery of Dedrone’s counter-drone solution.
The MEC solution will be rolled out from the spring of 2021, starting with the first commercial centre in London, UK, and with other locations in the UK and Germany to follow. https://aws.amazon.com
Flirtey and Vault Health has announced a partnership to test drone delivery of the first FDA authorized saliva test for COVID-19.
Vault Health distributes a COVID-19 saliva test kit that can be used at home under supervision from a health professional through video call. Using Flirtey’s drones to deliver the test kits to homes will eliminate exposure risks and create further convenience, especially for those who do not live in proximity to on-site testing locations.
The Vault Health COVID-19 Test Kits have been added to Flirtey’s existing drone delivery test program underway in the Reno, NV area. Through the partnership, which will begin immediately, Vault Health will send kits to distribution centers based on historical market demand data. www.flirtey.com
Hardware-agnostic drone APIs by FlytNow
FlytBase, Inc has announced the release of hardware-agnostic cloud-based drone APIs, enabling enterprises to easily integrate drones with their business applications.
FlytNow API is a collection of endpoints to help developers quickly integrate drones with other enterprise applications and to create custom workflows to suit business requirements. This is targeted at enterprises looking to deploy fullyautomated drones at scale, via integration with sub-systems, powered by a reliable cloud platform. https://flytnow.com
In a step to strengthen the drone ecosystem of India, the finance ministry has given the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) approval to set up a Drones Directorate. Currently, the Directorate consists of eight DGCA officials. The Directorate, while primarily focusing on managing the drones’ ecosystem in the country, will also look into delays in rolling out permissions, managing drone training schools and fast tracking drone certifications.
Department 13 joins Australian Industry & Defence Network
Department 13 has placed its industryleading advanced drone technology in front of global defence and security sectors after being recognised as a member of the Australian Industry & Defence Network (AIDN).
It marks yet another milestone for the Australian drone technology company since it re-launched earlier this year to service government, private and public sector enterprises. https://department13.com