Europe Wants UAS for Migrant Route Surveillance

2016-04-19

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 EUs 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, EMSAs 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. Navys Air Systems Command and Northrop Grumman are developing the unmanned MQ-4C Triton, a variant of Northrops 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.




FAA Finalizes Rules for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems

2016-06-21
FAA Finalizes Rules for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems
Today, the Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration has finalized the firstoperational rules for routine commercial use of small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS or “drones”), opening pathways towards fully integrating UAS into the nations airspace. These new regulations work to harness new innovations safely, to spur job growth, advance critical scientific research and save lives.

Embry-Riddle Consumer Guide to sUAS for Novices

2016-06-17
Embry-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.

DroneDeploy Users Map 3,000,000 Acres

2016-06-09
DroneDeploy 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.

Companies Team for UAS Inspection of Wind Turbines

2016-06-01
Companies 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.

DARPA Demo Day at the Pentagon

2016-05-15
DARPA Demo Day at the Pentagon
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency yesterday hosted DARPA Demo Day 2016 at the Pentagon, giving the Defense Department community an up-close look at the agency’s portfolio of innovative technologies and military systems.

FAA Enables Section 333 UAS Registration Online

2016-04-25
FAA Enables Section 333 UAS Registration Online
What’s not to like about an automated government system thats faster, simpler and more user-friendly than the paper-based system it supplements?

AUVSI Study of FAA Exemptions Published

2016-04-17
AUVSI Study of FAA Exemptions Published
The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) has released an interactive analysis that finds 38 types of business operations have been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly unmanned aircraft systems commercially in the National Airspace System (NAS). According to the report that analyzed more than 3,000 FAA exemptions, aerial photography received the most, followed by real estate and aerial inspection. The report also finds that exemptions have been approved in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

Senate Bill Calls for Certification of Unmanned Aircraft

2016-03-26
Senate Bill Calls for Certification of Unmanned Aircraft
The Senate’s version of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2016 has finally made it out of committee, and it contains 65 pages of requirements for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). Some of these provisions go to the heart of the Federal Aviation Administrations (FAA) philosophy for dealing with unmanned aircraft. If enacted, the legislation could have a profound impact on the development of this industry.

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.


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