Archives: Drones

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Why Utility Companies Love Drones

It’s true. Utility and power companies really love using drones. While it seems like drones are everywhere now, with trillions of dollars’ worth of industrial infrastructure aging across the country, worker safety and terrorism concerns, climate change putting strain on power grids, manufacturing facilities and oil and gas production, drones offer a cheaper and more … Continue Reading

“Drones are the Next Internet” Says the FAA

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) administrator, Dan Elwell, said last week, “Drones are going to do for aviation what the internet did for information,” and called on the industry to work with the FAA to fully integrate drones into the National Airspace System. Elwell made this statement at the InterDrone conference held last week in Las … Continue Reading

Close to 2,000 FAA UAS Waivers in Two Years

Last week, on the two-year anniversary of the small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) rule (or Part 107), a report was released by the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) stating that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted approximately 2,000 waivers since the inception of Part 107. Part 107 sets forth certain parameters and … Continue Reading

FAA Investigates Near Drone-Helicopter Collision

Last week, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) began investigating a YouTube video that shows a helicopter almost colliding with a drone right off the coast of Hollywood Beach, Florida. In the video, the drone is heading west towards the coast before its camera turns south and the helicopter is seen in the distance; the helicopter … Continue Reading

Kansas DOT Launches First BVLOS Flight in FAA Pilot Program

Last week, the Kansas Department of Transportation (DOT), in coordination with 30 other Kansas groups, flew a drone beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) as part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Integration Program (IPP). Kansas-State Polytech Flight Operation Manager Travis Balthazor said, “Currently, we’re restricted to a visual line of … Continue Reading

National Security, Technical and Legal Challenges for Counter-UAS Technology

National security concerns related to drones range from illicit intelligence gathering to smuggling drugs and guns over the border or into prisons, to attacks like those conducted by terrorist groups. However, currently, unmanned aerial systems (UAS) counter technology (or counter-UAS) legal authority is limited. Only the Department of Defense (DOD) and Department of Energy (DOE) … Continue Reading

New Milestone in U.S. Drone Delivery

Last week, in Blacksburg, Virginia, two-year old, Jack Smith—made history. Only six minutes after a technician from Alphabet Inc.’s Wing clicked the “Confirm Order” button on a smartphone app, a drone operated by the company flew from a simulated store about a mile away, hovered over Jack’s lawn and lowered the popsicle he had ordered … Continue Reading

Using Drones For Business? Don’t Forget About Insurance

The use of drones use has grown rapidly in recent years, especially in the commercial sector, where the Federal Aviation Administration projects that the number of units in the commercial small drone fleet will exceed 420,000 units by 2021. As businesses continue to incorporate drones into their everyday operations, they also will want to set … Continue Reading

First Known Drone Attack in Venezuela

Last weekend, in Venezuela, the Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro, was attacked by two armed drones carrying explosives that were detonated while Maduro was delivering a speech on live television during a military ceremony. Although Maduro was not struck by the explosives, his administrative officials called it an assassination attempt. This drone attack was the most … Continue Reading

100,000 Remote Pilot Certificates Issued

As of last week, more than 100,000 Remote Pilot Certifications have been issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for individuals to fly commercial and recreational (those not qualifying as “model aircraft”) drones. This number of remote pilots is only after the final Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) rule went into effect on August 29, … Continue Reading

FAA Issues Statement Clarifying its Authority

In light of the rise in use of drones in the national airspace, there has been some confusion regarding the Federal Aviation  Administration’s (FAA) authority over navigable airspace and federal preemption for state and local drone laws. In response, the FAA released a statement regarding federal versus local drone rulemaking authority. In that statement, the … Continue Reading

Uniform Law Commission Proposes New Drone Legislation

New model legislation introduced by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (Uniform Law Commission) seeks to give property owners the right to the airspace above their property from 200 feet and below. In 1946, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that the airspace belonged to the federal government; in 1962, a court decision … Continue Reading

DJI Enhances Geofencing Flexibility in its Drones

DJI, a leading drone manufacturer, has announced its strengthened commitment to enterprise drone users with new improvements to its geofencing system. Professional drone pilots with authorization to fly in sensitive locations can now use a streamlined application process to receive unlocking codes within 30 minutes. DJI’s geofencing systems uses GPS and other navigational satellite signals … Continue Reading

FAA Questionnaire Seeking Input of Drone Operators

A few weeks ago the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) sent a questionnaire to each person who has registered a commercial drone—that is, for purposes other than recreational or hobby use. The survey also included those registered under government departments and first responders. The FAA’s goal is to collect information on drone flight activities under Part … Continue Reading

Drone Regulations Withstand Challenge

The United States government’s ability to police hobbyist drone use was upheld by an appellate court last week. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected arguments by John Taylor, a drone hobbyist, who successfully overturned the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) system for registering unmanned aerial systems (UAS or drones) last year. Judge … Continue Reading

Wild-Fire Plagued Cities Look to Drones

With Independence Day fireworks now coming to an end, many cities in the Western United States are talking about the wildfire liability that comes with the use of fireworks over drought-stricken land. The alternative to fireworks? Well, possibly drones. This year in Aspen, Colorado, the city put on its annual Fourth of July show using … Continue Reading

Report Says Large Companies Using Drones See Positive ROI in Under a Year

Skyward, a provider of drone operations management software and consulting services, recently released the results of a Blue Research survey indicating that one in ten U.S. companies with revenue more than $50 million are utilizing drones. Of those companies, 92 percent have realized a positive return on investment (ROI) in one year or less. Additionally, … Continue Reading

New Report Says FAA Should Revise its Drone Risk Assessment Processes

A new report issued by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine says that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) should revise its approach for safety risk assessments for the technology associated with implementation of drones into the national airspace. Specifically, the report says that the FAA’s overly conservative approach to safety risk assessments can … Continue Reading

FCC Proposes Fine Against HobbyKing for Non-Compliant Drone Devices

Recently, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposed a $2.8 million fine against HobbyKing for allegedly marketing to amateur drone operators non-compliant models of devices used to relay video feed from the drones. Specifically, HobbyKing, a Hong Kong-based drone distributor, allegedly markets drones that transmit video in unauthorized radio frequency bands, and operate at excessive transmission … Continue Reading

Lawmakers Push for Legislation to Heed Threats Posed by Drones

Last week, federal officials testified at a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing claiming that the statutes that constrict the government’s ability to counter reckless or malicious drone use, including the ability to test and research different methods of counter-UAS technology, are outdated. From the use of drones to deliver explosives by Islamic State … Continue Reading
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