Pakistani makes drones for peaceful use

2011-06-28

Pakistani makes drones for peaceful use
In Pakistan’s commercial hub, a Pakistani is developing his own drone technology despite security challenges arising from the current political climate and the public anger over the US use of the unmanned aircrafts.

Located in a narrow industrial lane in Karachi is the 90,000 square-foot research facility called Integrated Dynamics. There, Raja Sabri Khan, the company’s chief executive, makes unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones. But his are for civilian and scientific research.

But when he tells Pakistanis what he makes, the initial reaction he gets is one of shock. Pakistan is obsessed with just one kind of drone — the Predator — that is used by the United States to kill militants in the country’s northwest.

“The usual reaction I get when I tell people I make drones is: Are you the guy who is making the drones and supplying to the Americans so that they can come back and bomb them over here?” said Khan.

The US drone campaign is hugely unpopular in Pakistan, surrounded by criticism and controversy, and considered flagrant violations of sovereignty.

The United States has made a series of attacks since 2004 in Pakistan’s northwest region as part of its struggle against militancy. According to the New America Foundation, which tracks drone strikes, between 1,561 and 2,461 people have been killed in 254 attacks, mainly in the country’s restive tribal regions.

Pakistani officials have criticised them, saying the strikes anger the public and play into the hands of the militants. But strikes that kill high-profile militants would not be possible without Pakistani intelligence, analysts say.

“One of the major areas is the misconception people might have about drones because the media has propped up the drone as something which is a completely different animal from what I do,” said Khan.

Khan’s markets are primarily the government, armed forces and also foreign exports for search and rescue operations, and agricultural monitoring among others. There are two other Pakistani drone companies, Satuma and East West Infiniti, both based in Islamabad, but they mostly service military clients. Khan’s is the only one specialising in civilian applications.

Khan supplies 12 to 18 drones a year on average, along with two to three support systems. He declined to comment on his total revenue, but said a typical system for a small civilian UAV would cost around $10,000 to $15,000.

But he runs a risky business. A few years ago he had to go into hiding after receiving copies of circulated emails, which accused him of making Predator drones. His company is now spread out throughout Karachi so he cannot be targeted in one location. Part of Khan’s business is trying to create more awareness about civilian drones despite the security challenges. “With the civilian and scientific application, you can change lives,” he said.

But there is no government support for developing indigenous drone technology, he added.
He now works on using drones for insecticide spraying on crops, an operation that would cost less than using a conventional aircraft and could cover large areas quickly —something that would be useful for Pakistan’s agricultural-dominated economy.

Japan has been using remotely piloted helicopters for years for crop spraying. A local non-profit organisation has also asked his company for drones to help monitor the rehabilitation of devastating summer floods of 2010.

“There’s a real answer in this technology to a lot of things that Pakistan can be doing in a more cost-effective manner,” he said. “We need to understand that this technology is there to help, not to kill people.”



Swoop Aero  The Positive Impact of Engineering

2020-04-03
Swoop Aero The Positive Impact of Engineering
Around the world, demands on the profession and practice of engineering are increasingly shifting to reflect new challenges and expectations fuelled by the pressures of globalisation and global insecurity. The role of an engineer is to tackle some of the world’s biggest problems; helping to save lives and create new technological advancements, which can improve the way we live, the way we engage in society, and the way we respond to global issues.

In the last five years, the global healthcare sector has experienced a technological transformation. Engineers have led this movement in order to develop and improve infrastructural links, healthcare facilities, and services that may support dramatic improvements to patient wellbeing, and the reliable provision of essential healthcare supplies to populations around the world. Such examples include 3D printing respiratory ventilators for patients to eliminate the shortfall, or developing an app that allows national health systems to collate data on the spread and containment of an infectious disease.

UAS Operators Cautioned to Not Disrupt Food Supply Chain During COVID-19 Pandemic by Interfering with Low-Flying Ag Aircraft

2020-04-03
UAS Operators Cautioned to Not Disrupt Food Supply Chain During COVID-19 Pandemic by Interfering with Low-Flying Ag Aircraft
ALEXANDRIA, VA – April 2, 2020 As the nation enters the upcoming growing season in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA) is asking all Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) operators to be extra mindful of low-flying manned agricultural aircraft operations.

“The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) declared crop input services to be an essential service during the pandemic. Aerial applicators are inputting nutrients, seeds and crop protection products to crops that will become consumers’ food and fiber supply. We cannot afford even a small disruption in the nations food supply chain during this critical time,” said Andrew Moore, Chief Executive Officer of NAAA. Agricultural aviators perform applications on 28% of cropland nationwide, and their work cannot be delayed because of an unidentified UAS not yielding to them, as is required by law.

First Responder UAS Endurance Challenge Now Open

2020-04-03
First Responder UAS Endurance Challenge Now Open
The National Institute of Standards and Safety Public Safety Communications Research has launched the First Responder UAS Endurance Challenge with prize offerings totalling $552,000. UAS Challenge opened on April 1 for proposal submissions through the website.

The challenge, which will be hosted by ASU Research Enterprise, in partnership with Capital Consulting Corporation in April 2021, was created to crowd-source inventive drone designs that will support first responders. The first window to receive team funding for the challenge extends through April 30.

The result of the First Responder UAS Endurance Challenge will support the public safety community and its stakeholders.

Amazon Hires ex-Boeing Exec to Run Prime Air

2020-04-02
Amazon Hires ex-Boeing Exec to Run Prime Air
Amazon has hired a former Boeing executive to run its Prime Air drone delivery business, signaling the retail giant’s plans to expand the unit so that it can eventually start flying regular 30-minute shipments to customers homes.

David Carbon, who left the troubled airline manufacturer amid problems at the factory he ran, joined Amazon this month, according to a company statement. He succeeds Gur Kimchi, who had run Prime Air for the past seven years. Kimchis LinkedIn profile says he continues to work at Amazon.

Pix4D presents the next generation of photogrammetry and analytics software

2020-04-02
Pix4D presents the next generation of photogrammetry and analytics software
Photogrammetry leader Pix4D is announcing today the commercial release of next-generation software addressing the modern-day professional challenges. Developed in close collaboration with customers and partners, Pix4Dsurvey, Pix4Dmatic, Pix4Dinspect, and Pix4Dscan will contribute to revolutionizing the way professional customers operate and deliver their services.

Digital photogrammetry is an essential part of every modern surveyor’s toolkit and has contributed to launching hundreds of new drone mapping businesses around the world.

Pix4Dsurvey and Pix4Dmatic represent the next step in photogrammetry, addressing major challenges in the geospatial industry.

FlytBase and DroneLogBook Partner to Simplify Live, Remote Drone Operations

2020-04-02
FlytBase and DroneLogBook Partner to Simplify Live, Remote Drone Operations
FlytBase, Inc. and DroneLogBook are excited to partner together to help drone operators, service providers and system integrators automate and scale their UAV operations.

The growth of the global commercial drone industry, led by US-based enterprises, federal agencies and tech startups, is expected to accelerate as hardware gets commoditized, regulators remain proactive, and intelligent software enables an increasing number of use-cases. Seamless integration of hardware, software and services will power this growth – the drone ecosystem is fast maturing to provide this to enterprises who are keen to adopt UAVs to create business value.

FlytBase, Inc. provides drone agnostic software solutions to automate and scale drone operations. The FlytBase technology platform allows easy deployment of intelligent drone fleets, connected with cloud-based business applications. FlytBase offerings are compatible with major drone hardware platforms (eg. DJI, Ardupilot, PX4) and come with SDKs, simulator and APIs for reliable testing and seamless integration. FlytBase customers range from sectors such as public safety and energy utilities to warehouses, distribution centers, and air cargo facilities.

Drones are the Ideal Tool for Keeping the Economy Moving Despite Social Distancing. Heres How.

2020-04-02
Drones are the Ideal Tool for Keeping the Economy Moving Despite Social Distancing. Heres How.
As quarantines, shutdowns, and social distancing regulations are implemented around the globe to deal with the current pandemic, drone companies are stepping up to do what they can. Drones are an ideal tool to keep business going despite social distancing measures – but service providers say that they could do much more. Read on for a deep dive on how the drone industry is participating in response to current global challenges; and what needs to happen next.

The following is a guest post by Grant J. Guillot, who leads the Unmanned Aircraft Systems practice at the regional law firm of Adams and Reese LLP. DRONELIFE neither accepts nor makes payment for guest posts.

Northrop Grumman moves to LW30 PROX qualification, M-ACE CUAS testing

2020-04-01
Northrop Grumman moves to LW30 PROX qualification, M-ACE CUAS testing
Northrop Grumman Defense Systems has completed US government testing of its programmable Light Weight 30 mm Proximity Sensing Ammunition (LW30 PROX) round, and is moving towards qualification and fielding of the round to US Army and US Marine Corps air defence echelons within the year.

A company-funded development, which draws on legacy Orbital ATK sensor fuzed weapons technologies, the LW30 PROX is a 30×113 mm radio frequency (RF) proximity-fuzed, high explosive/fragmentation round intended for use with Northrop Grumman M230 Bushmaster variant chain guns (M230, M230 Link Fed, and XM914). Weighing 350 g, including a 245 g projectile, the LW30 PROX round features a PA520 electric primer, a Northrop Grumman-developed programmable proximity sensor, and double base propellant delivering a muzzle velocity of 1,105 m/s.

Zipline: Drones Could Begin Helping U.S. Hospitals Respond to Covid-19 Now

2020-03-31
Zipline: Drones Could Begin Helping U.S. Hospitals Respond to Covid-19 Now
Drone delivery heroes Zipline are already performing thousands of lifesaving drone delivery flights every day in Africa.
The world’s largest drone delivery network, Zipline can boast more than 1 million autonomous commercial delivery miles flown. They are the worlds experts on delivering medical supplies like vaccines, blood and critical medicines, regardless of environment.
They know how to set up bases, scale operations quickly, and work with regulatory agencies. When a base is established, says Zipline, “Each base can make up to 150 deliveries a day, and autonomously micro-target the delivery of more than two tons of cargo a week across an 8,000 sqm area…We can fly more than 20 drones at a time from each base simultaneously taking off, landing and delivering to separate points across an 8,000 square mile area.”

UniSA working on pandemic drone to detect coronavirus

2020-03-30
UniSA working on pandemic drone to detect coronavirus
A ‘pandemic drone’ to remotely monitor and detect people with infectious respiratory conditions is being developed by the University of South Australia (UniSA) in partnership with a Canadian company.

The drone will be fitted with a specialised sensor and computer vision system that can monitor temperature, heart and respiratory rates, as well as detect people sneezing and coughing in crowds, offices, airports, cruise ships, aged care homes and other places where groups of people may work or congregate.


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