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Europe Wants UAS for Migrant Route Surveillance
EU border patrol agency Frontex announced Friday that it is in talks with industry for using remotely piloted aircraft for maritime surveillance, adding drones to its existing portfolio of satellite and sensor technologies for monitoring vessel traffic and migrant flows.
“While at the moment there is no European legislation that allows the use of remotely piloted aircraft in shared airspace, the preliminary discussions were meant to explore the feasibility of extending the pool of assets providing aerial surveillance services,” the agency said.
It intends to conduct its first operational tests of the aircraft later in 2016.
The agency’s operations have progressively expanded over the course of the last two years as an unprecedented migrant crisis has shaken European politics; the European Commission has proposed folding Frontex into a new European Border and Coast Guard with expanded authority and twice as many personnel, and the measure is making its way through the EU’s legislative process. At present, Frontex is dependent upon individual member states’ coast guards, with widely varying assets, capabilities and practices. Analysts suggest that a unified EU coast guard and border force is a longstanding dream of European federalists.
The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), in collaboration with the European Space Agency and Portuguese drone manufacturer Tekever, has already announced plans to test maritime surveillance drones for maritime domain awareness and ECA sulfur emissions monitoring.
“Member states are struggling to enforce the low-sulfur directives,” said Leendert Bal, EMSA’s head of operations, speaking to the Wall Street Journal in November. “And there are a lot of concerns by shipowners that there is no level playing field. So we need to do as much measuring as possible, and drones will help us do more measurements.”
Earlier this month, the European Commission requested a budget of about $25 million annually to support EU-operated migrant-monitoring maritime drones – to be operated by EMSA. In negotiations, Germany objected to the plan on the grounds that EMSA is a maritime safety authority, and it is pushing for drone operations to be handled by Frontex for border patrol purposes.
Maritime UAVs are already in operation in the U.S. for national security missions, with more and larger models under development.
The U.S. Coast Guard operates Predator drones with the U.S. Border Patrol for surveillance and interdiction, and is testing the Boeing Insitu ScanEagle system, an eight-pound payload ship-launched system with optical/infrared sensors and an endurance of 24 hours.
For military applications, the U.S. Navy’s Air Systems Command and Northrop Grumman are developing the unmanned MQ-4C Triton, a variant of Northrop’s highly successful Global Hawk UAV. The Triton has a claimed operating radius of 2,000 nm and a maximum payload of 6,000 pounds, including built-in radar and infrared telemetry instruments. It is nearing a decision for small-scale initial production.
Analysts Frost & Sullivan have suggested that growing interest in maritime surveillance technology – including drones – could make it a $56 billion sector of the defense industry by 2022.
2017-04-25Swarms of Drones Test New Dogfighting Skills
Aerial dogfighting began more than a century ago in the skies over Europe with propeller-driven fighter aircraft carried aloft on wings of fabric and wood. An event held recently in southern California could mark the beginning of a new chapter in this form of aerial combat.
2016-08-0813 Takeaways from The White House Workshop
The White House launched a new effort Tuesday to help increase the use of drones and showcased how government agencies have become a proving ground for a wide array of new drone concepts and technologies.
2016-07-24New Report: Drones in Public Safety and First Responder Operations
It may not seem like it, but drones are still in their infancy and only proving themselves through the rigorous testing done privately, commercially, and by state and federal government agencies. Despite the tangible benefits that drones can provide, the public has mixed sentiments about their use by law enforcement, firefighting, and search & rescue operations.
2016-07-14Drone World Expo – Exclusive Interviews – Mark Bathrick
We wanted to find out more about the team behind Drone World Expo – what makes them tick, what motivates them and what are the secrets behind the success of the event. We interviewed Advisory Board member Mark L. Bathrick who directs a nationwide aviation services business for the U.S Department of the Interior (DOI) overseeing the safe operation of over 1,200 contracted and government-owned manned and unmanned aircraft across a wide range of business applications.
2016-07-03Rwanda Readies Life-Saving Drone Delivery System
This summer, small autonomous airplanes will begin carrying life-saving blood to 20 hospitals and healthcare centers across Western Rwanda, Africa, in one of the first-of-its-kind drone-based delivery demonstrations.
Beaverton, Oregon-based drone startup DroneSeed created a drone with a device that fires seeds into the ground using compressed air in an effort to reforest the Pacific Northwest, and eventually forests around the world.
2016-06-21FAA Finalizes Rules for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems
Today, the Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration has finalized the first operational rules for routine commercial use of small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS or “drones”), opening pathways towards fully integrating UAS into the nation’s airspace. These new regulations work to harness new innovations safely, to spur job growth, advance critical scientific research and save lives.
2016-06-17Embry-Riddle Consumer Guide to sUAS for Novices
A research team at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Worldwide Campus has created the first-ever comprehensive consumer guide to small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) for novice users–those individuals interested in purchasing their first small remote controlled or autonomous multi-rotor flying aircraft.
2016-06-09DroneDeploy Users Map 3,000,000 Acres
At the Drones Data X Conference in San Francisco, Mike Winn, co-founder and CEO of DroneDeploy, announced in his keynote that our users had achieved a new industry milestone: 3,000,000 drone mapped acres across 120 countries.
2016-06-01Companies Team for UAS Inspection of Wind Turbines
Two companies involved in aerial wind inspection services, HUVRdata, based in Austin, TX and EdgeData based in Grand Forks, ND, announced a collaboration to deliver a suite of wind industry data intelligence tools and credential processes to optimize the use of this technology within the wind industry.
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Swarms of Drones Test New Dogfighting Skills
Swarms of Drones Test New Dogfighting Skills
2012-04-05 Hydrogen-powered Fuel Cell Flies ScanEagle