Rise of the Drones
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Rise of the Drones
Investigating the future of unmanned aerial vehicles.
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Drone makers want FAA to start use now

Drone makers want FAA to start use now | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

Drone makers are encouraging the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to allow unmanned aircraft to fly over rural areas before a broader integration with commercial airplanes is completed.

The Arlington, Va.-based Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) said the FAA should let non-military drones fly on a "limited basis" because tests of their impact on other airplanes is taking too long to complete.

 

"The FAA has been working on this NPRM since 2009," AUVSI President Michael Toscano wrote in a letter to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. "Most recently, the FAA this month indicated that the small [Unmanned Aerial System] rule is now expected to be published in November 2014 – almost four years late."

 

"Whether it is helping farmers improve crop yields, assisting first responders with search and rescue missions or advancing scientific research, UAS are capable of saving time, saving money and most importantly, saving lives," Toscano wrote. "The industry, meanwhile, is poised to boost local economies and create jobs. AUVSI’s economic impact study found that, in the first decade following integration, the UAS industry will create more than 100,000 jobs and $82 billion in economic impact. However, each day that integration is delayed will lead to $27 million in lost economic impact.

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NASA Flies Decommisioned Drones Over Active Volcano, Because Sure, Why Not

NASA Flies Decommisioned Drones Over Active Volcano, Because Sure, Why Not | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

NASA has found a good use for three military UAVs — in this case, Aerovironment RQ-14 Dragon Eye drones — on loan from the U.S. Marine Corps. Equipped with sensors and cameras, the drones were sent on 10 separate flights into the miasma of sulfur dioxide rising up from the crater of the volcano known as Turrialba near San Jose in Costa Rica.

 

The overall hope is that the data collected by the drones will form computer models that can help safeguard airspace systems, improve climate predictions, and minimize the dangers for those who live near volcanoes. Of course, even drones would be useless if a volcano erupted in the middle of Los Angeles.

 

Matthew Fladeland, airborne science manager at NASA’s Ames Research Center, summed things up:

 

“This project is great example of how unmanned aircraft can be used for beneficial civilian purposes — in this case for better understanding Earth system processes and the impact of volcanism on our atmosphere. By taking these retired military tools, we can very efficiently and effectively collect measurements that improve NASA satellite data and aviation safety.”

 

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Drone learns from humans how to navigate a forest - DIY Drones

Drone learns from humans how to navigate a forest - DIY Drones | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
From the ROS blog:
The Robotics Institute at CMU has been developing systems to learn from humans. Using a Machine Learning class of techniques called Imitation Learning the group has developed AI software for a small commercially available off-the-shelf ARdrone to autonomously fly through the dense trees for over 3.4 km in experimental runs. They are also developing methods to do longer range planning with such purely vision-guided UAVs. Such technology has a lot of potential impact for surveillance, search and rescue and allowing UAVs to safely share airspace with manned airspace.
ddrrnt's insight:

Watch the video at DIYdrones to see the drone fly through an unstructured environment. 


More re: Autopilot

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US approves drones for civilian use

US approves drones for civilian use | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued certificates for two types of unmanned aircraft for civilian use. The move is expected to lead to the first approved commercial drone operation later this summer.

 

Both the Scan Eagle and the PUMA received “restricted category type certificates”which permit aerial surveillance. Prior to the FAA’s decision, the only way the private sector could operate UAS in US airspace was by obtaining an experimental airworthiness certificate which specifically restricts commercial operations.

 

The PUMA is expected to support emergency response crews for wildlife surveillance and oil spill monitoring over the Beaufort Sea to the north of Canada and Alaska. The Scan Eagle will be used by a major energy company off the Alaskan Coast to survey ice floes and migrating whales in Arctic oil exploration areas.

 

The issuing of the certificates is seen as an important step to integrating UAS into US airspace. Both drone operations will meet the requirements of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, which includes a mandate to increase Arctic UAS commercial operations.

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Hackers claim new air traffic system can be hijacked

Hackers claim new air traffic system can be hijacked | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

The FAA is already in the process of rolling out its Next Generation Air Transportation System, of NextGen, a state-of-the-art program that will keep tabs on every plane in US airspace using GPS technology in lieu of relying on traditional radar. In the wake of a series of incidents where GPS signals were spoofed, though, serious problems could emerge in the coming years.


"If I can inject 50 extra flights onto an air traffic controller's screen, they are not going to know what is going on," Canadian computer consultant Brad Haines told NPR last year. Because Haines and others can emulate unencrypted and unauthenticated GPS signals sent from imaginary planes, he says NextGen stands to warrant some upgrades before it’s ready for the rest of the world.


"If you could introduce enough chaos into the system – for even an hour – that hour will ripple though the entire world's air traffic control,” Haines told NPR.


Haines’ ideas are outrageous, but not exactly out of this world. Just last year, a Texas college professor spoofed, or faked, GPS signals in order to hijack an unmanned aerial vehicle right in front of the US Department of Homeland Security. The United States stands to have as many as 30,000 UAVs, or drones, flying overhead by the end of the decade. When Todd Humphreys of the University of Texas at Austin spoke with RT though, he said those aircraft could come down if hackers have their way.


“The navigations systems of these drones have a variety of sensors,” Humphreys told RT, “…but at the very bottom is a GPS unit — and most of these drones that will be used in the civilian airspace have a civilian GPS unit which is wide open and vulnerable to this kind of attack. So if you can commander the GPS unit, then you can basically spoon feed false navigation information to the navigation center of these drones.”


“Spoofing a GPS receiver on a UAV is just another way of hijacking a plane,” the professor added in an interview with Fox News.


14 Jan 2013


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UAVs in civilian airspace moves closer - News - Shephard

UAVs in civilian airspace moves closer - News - Shephard | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

A new strategic partnership between the UK’s National Aeronautical Centre (NAC) and Oklahoma State University’s Multispectral Laboratory (UML) could pave the way for the use of UAVs in civilian airspace. The partnership, announced on 22 November, aims to provide data and experience necessary to establish national safety standards for the construction, testing and control of civilian UAS that will enable them to operate in civilian airspace under regulated conditions (...)


Ray Mann, managing director of West Wales Airport said: ‘This is an extremely important development that will deliver many benefits, as well as maintaining both our facilities at the leading edge of this burgeoning sector of aerospace. I am very pleased this special working relationship has been created with Oklahoma and believe our experiences at the NAC will be a major contribution to our work together.

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