13 Takeaways from The White House Workshop

2016-08-08

13 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.

The workshop, hosted by the Office of Science and Technology Policy, outlined some interesting use cases for drone technology that the Federal government is leading the way on, as well as an aggressive agenda for boosting the profile of drones in the U.S. economy. Here are 13 interesting facts that came out of the workshop.

1.The FAA has registered more than 520,000 drone operators in the last eight months. “To put that in perspective, we have only 320,000 registered manned aircraft on the aircraft registry of the United States and it took us 100 years to get there,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.

2.The size of the consumer Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) market is estimated to be approximately $16 billion. The commercial UAV market is projected to reach $4 billion by 2020. Over the next decade, the estimates are that drones will contribute approximately $80 billion to the U.S. economy.

3.To be able to safely operate multiple drones at once is going to become a critical factor for commercialization. Potential uses for multiple drones include search-and-rescue operations, delivery, or inspections of large structures, such as bridges. Current tests have successfully managed 100 drones through a single operator console. Work is underway to be able to scale that to potentially 1,000 or more drones, according to Intel Corp. CEO Bryan Krzanich.

4.There remain a number of significant regulatory challenges to integrating drones into the national airspace system, including privacy, spectrum usage, safety, and scalability. We are literally at the edge of developing drones that operators cannot run into other objects, Krzanich said.

5.Lockheed Martin has developed ground collision avoidance software for the F-16 fighter jet in the event of pilot loss of consciousness or control. That software has saved at least two pilots during recent operations. That type of technology can be applied to an unmanned system to prevent it from entering a restricted area, said Robert Ruszkowski, director of Advanced Air Dominance and Unmanned Systems Aeronautics at Lockheed Martin. I think there’s a lot of technology thats on the shelf, its ready to go and its been proven.

6.Drones have become a critical tool for the Department of Interior, which manages 500 million acres of land in the U.S. and 1.7 billion acres on the outer continental shelf. Drones are contributing to Interiors various missions of fire suppression, mine inspections, oil spill response, and critical infrastructure monitoring.

7.The future of unmanned systems at Interior includes a mix of in-house and contractor operated UAVs, a cloud strategy for data processing, and a 50 percent increase in DOI aviation users. By FY 2019, DOI will have in place procedures for rapid data processing of UAV-acquired data using the cloud. This will dramatically reduce the time needed to process imagery at a local office.

8.DOI will share near-real-time fire location information with the public by July 2017 as part of a multifaceted effort to prevent unauthorized drone incursions over active wildfires.

9.The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is actively researching high-altitude, long-endurance UAVs that can be used for real-time weather data in the event of a problem with a satellite system.

10.Within the next year, NOAA plans to deploy an optionally piloted UAV. This is a medium-altitude aircraft that will be used to collect precise gravity measurements. NOAA collects gravity measurements across the entire United States and converts them into vertical elevation data of the surface. That data is used for flood plain mapping and preparing for hurricanes, tsunamis, and storm surges along coastal areas.

11.Within the next few years, were looking at how to use [UAVs] to collect weather data in real time and be able to put that data into our weather forecast models, said Robbie Hood, NOAAs unmanned aircraft systems director. NOAA has a study underway now using both a high-altitude UAV and a UAV that can be launched from a manned aircraft that can fly above storms and provide higher resolution data than is currently available via satellites.

12.NASA and the FAA are launching a data exchange working group under the UAS Traffic Management (UTM) Research Transition Team (RTT) to address the challenge of coordinating information between operators, entities that use UTM to perform services, and the FAA. This group will develop a consistent format for data to be shared across the affected parties with recommendations slated for release in FY 2017.

13.The United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General plans to publish new findings and analysis on the publics rapidly evolving opinion of drone delivery as a potential future logistics technology.



Antimatter Space Propulsion Possible within a Decade

2016-03-15
Antimatter Space Propulsion Possible within a Decade
Dreams of antimatter space propulsion are closer to reality than most rocket scientists could ever imagine, says former Fermilab physicist Gerald Jackson. In fact, if money were no object, he says an antimatter-driven spacecraft prototype could be tested within a decade. To that end, next month, Jackson and his Chicago-based Hbar Technologies firm are launching a $200,000 Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund the next phase of its antimatter propulsion research.

FAA Announces Effort to Expand the Safe Integration of Unmanned Aircraft

2016-02-28
FAA Announces Effort to Expand the Safe Integration of Unmanned Aircraft
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is establishing an aviation rulemaking committee (PDF)with industry stakeholders to develop recommendations for a regulatory framework that would allow certain UAS to be operated over people who are not directly involved in the operation of the aircraft.

Australian Researchers Navigate with Drones in Antarctica

2016-02-18
Australian Researchers Navigate with Drones in Antarctica
Flying drones in Antarctica is not easy. A 100-110 degree difference between true and magnetic north at this location complicates navigation. There’s zero terrain protection against the strong headwinds that cut through like a knife, theres snow, and drone batteries discharge quickly in the freezing conditions.

UAS Project to Increase Snowpack in Nevada Mountains

2016-02-12
UAS Project to Increase Snowpack in Nevada Mountains
A new industry-academic research partnership will bring together Nevada’s top atmospheric scientists and leading unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) engineers, designers, and data experts to develop and test innovative applications focused on increasing snowpack depths in the Lake Tahoe region.

Invitation to Review NATO UAS Airworthiness Requirements

2016-02-07
Invitation to Review NATO UAS Airworthiness Requirements
The US Government has issued an Invitation to the Unmanned Aircraft Industry for Review and Comment Period on Edition 1 of NATO Standardization Agreement (STANAG) 4703 Light Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Airworthiness Requirements.

Bonded Cellular Technology for Wireless Video Transmission Available for Commercial UAS Operations

2016-02-02
Bonded Cellular Technology for Wireless Video Transmission Available for Commercial UAS Operations
TRIDENT, from FlyMotion integrates LiveU‘s technology for live video acquisition, management and distribution over IP with FlyMotion’s capabilities as a FAA 333 approved UAS solution provider.

FAA Registers 300,000 Unmanned Aircraft Owners During First 30 Days

2016-01-25
FAA Registers 300,000 Unmanned Aircraft Owners During First 30 Days
Nearly 300,000 owners have registered their small unmanned aircraft in the first 30 days after the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) online registration system went live. Owners who registered in the first month received a refund for the $5 application fee.

US Army Special Ops Want Multi-Intelligence UAS

2016-01-23
US Army Special Ops Want Multi-Intelligence UAS
Army aviation special operators want new unmanned aircraft systems that can carry multiple sensors to collect vital intelligence from the battlefield and they’re working with the Army to achieve the capability, Brig. Gen. Erik Peterson, the Army Special Operations Aviation Command commander, said last Thursday.

DHS Privacy Suggestions on Agency Drone Programs

2016-01-12
DHS Privacy Suggestions on Agency Drone Programs
As technology continues to blur the lines between privacy and security, the Homeland Security Department has several suggestions to help agencies consider civil rights and liberties issues when setting up their respective unmanned aircraft system programs.

Air Bases Report Increase in Near-Collisions with Drones

2016-01-04
Air Bases Report Increase in Near-Collisions with Drones
Rogue toy drones – a hot-selling Christmas gift this season and last are starting to interfere with military operations at several bases across the country. With sales of consumer drones expected to approach 700,000 this year, military officials say they are bracing for the problem to get worse and are worried about the potential for an aviation disaster.


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