Tag Archives: Drone
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Transportation Department has sent two proposed rules to the White House to regulate the increased use of unmanned aerial vehicles, the agency said on Tuesday as it prepared to unveil the winners of new drone pilot projects.
One of the new rules would allow drones to fly over people while the other would allow for remote identification and tracking of unmanned aircraft in flight. After both are formally proposed, it would take months or even more than a year before they are finalized.
Current rules prohibit nighttime drone flights or operations over people without a waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA has no requirements or voluntary standards for electrically broadcasting information to identify an unmanned aircraft.
The FAA has said regulations are necessary to protect the public and the National Airspace System from bad actors or errant hobbyists. Several incidents around major airports have involved drones getting close to aircraft.
The National Transportation Safety Board said in December a September collision between a small civilian drone and a U.S. Army helicopter was caused by the drone operator’s failure to see the helicopter because he was intentionally flying the drone out of visual range.
The helicopter landed safely but a 1-1/2 inch (3.8 cm) dent was found on the leading edge of one of its four main rotor blades and parts of the drone were found lodged in its engine oil cooler fan.
Later on Tuesday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao will unveil the winners for 10 drone projects involving cities, universities, an Indian tribe, counties and states. Reuters reported Tuesday that major technology and aerospace companies including Amazon.com Inc, Apple Inc, Intel Corp, Qualcomm Inc and Airbus SE are vying to take part in the new slate of drone tests.
The wide interest in the U.S. initiative, launched by President Donald Trump last year, underscores the desire of a broad range of companies to have a say in how the fledgling industry is regulated and ultimately win authority to operate drones for purposes ranging from package delivery to crop inspection.
Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Richard Chang
(Reuters) – Major technology and aerospace companies including Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O), Intel Corp (INTC.O), Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O), Raytheon Co (RTN.N) and Airbus SE (AIR.PA) are vying to take part in a new slate of drone tests the United States is set to announce on Wednesday, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The wide interest in the U.S. initiative, launched by President Donald Trump last year, underscores the desire of a broad range of companies to have a say in how the fledgling industry is regulated and ultimately win authority to operate drones for everything from package delivery to crop inspection.
The pilot program will allow a much larger range of tests than are generally permitted by federal aviation regulators, including flying drones at night, over people and beyond an operator’s line of sight.
The U.S. Transportation Department is set to announce 10 winning state, local or tribal governments to host the experiments out of 149 applicants. Secretary Elaine Chao will make the winners public on Wednesday. The governments in turn have partnered with companies who will play a role in the tests.
At least 200 companies applied as partners in the program, a U.S. official said.
Companies including Apple Inc (AAPL.O), Boeing Co (BA.N) and Ford Motor Co (F.N) have also expressed interest in the program, the sources said, though it was unclear whether they all had joined applications and what they would be testing.
Qualcomm confirmed it is on at least three applications, and Intel said it hopes to participate in the program. The other companies did not immediately answer requests for comment.
Changes to U.S. policy that result from the tests are not expected for some time. Package delivery, which can be particularly complex, might not take place until later on during the program.
Earl Lawrence, who directs the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s unmanned aircraft systems integration office, told a Senate panel on Tuesday that many of the other projects “could go forward under the FAA’s existing rules, including with waivers where appropriate.”
He said after “the 10 selections for the pilot program are announced, the FAA will be reaching out to other applicants, as well as interested state and local authorities, to provide additional information on how to operationalize their proposed projects.”
The FAA is also working on proposed regulations to ensure the safety of drones and their integration into U.S. airspace.
The initiative is significant for the United States, which has lagged other countries in drone operations for fear of air crashes. That had pushed companies like Amazon to experiment overseas.
In the United Kingdom, the world’s largest online retailer already sends some packages by drone. It completed its first such mission in late 2016, taking 13 minutes from click to delivery.
Reporting by Jeffrey Dastin in San Francisco and David Shepardson in Washington; Additional reporting by Stephen Nellis and Paul Lienert; editing by Chris Sanders and David Gregorio
The Trump Administration said Wednesday that unspecified local and state agencies as well as tribal authorities would help the federal government to create a set of drone regulations for commercial flights.
The U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration, which oversee drones in the national airspace, released rules in Aug. 2016 for how businesses can use drones for tasks like aerial photography or to monitor farms. However, many states and local governments have enacted their own drone rules that in many cases conflict with current FAA regulations.
Although the FAA has approved some companies to use drones to photograph property damage, for example, doing so could potentially violate local privacy laws if drones take pictures of nearby homes without their owners’ consent.
This mishmash of local and federal drone rules in addition to the hurdles to businesses of obtaining FAA approval for commercial drone flights has caused some companies like Amazon amzn and Google goog to move their test flights to countries like United Kingdom and Australia where laws are more lax.
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The Trump Administration’s drone program is intended to make it easier for companies to test drones by having local authorities, tribal government, companies, and the federal government work together. It’s also designed to give businesses more flexibility to fly drones at night, beyond the sight of human operators, and over people’s heads—things that are currently banned without approval but important to making drone deliveries a reality.
“Overall this is a hugely important step forward,” said attorney Lisa Ellman, who helps run the drone advocacy group Commercial Drone Alliance. “The intent is to open up the skies to commercial drones. It will help us gather data to inform future rule making.”
Still, the Trump Administration revealed limited details about how the new drone program, planned for the next three years, would work. For example, the administration said in a statement, “Prospective local government participants should partner with the private sector to develop pilot proposals,” but it did not say how those partnerships would function.
The DOT said it would evaluate at least five applications in which local authorities and companies will jointly propose plans for potential drone projects in certain municipalities. But, the DOT did reveal how it is determining the appropriate projects or its criteria for how it is selecting participants, likely to be many considering it will include numerous local governments as well as companies with competing interests.
The department also did not say how much the federal program would cost, but it added that the cost would be revealed in the coming days.
Nevertheless, several organizations and companies that are interested in drones are pleased about the Trump Administration’s initiative.
“The beauty of this program is that the White House is allowing everyone from cities to states to tribal authorities to apply,” Greg McNeal, co-founder of drone startup AirMap told Fortune in an email. “States and cities will apply to open the airspace for operations that they’re most interested in, that are the best fit for local conditions and complexities, and that allow them to welcome drone operations that can kickstart their drone economy.”
Drone advocacy group Small UAV Coalition, which represents companies like Google’s parent, Alphabet, and Amazon, also commended the program.
“As the pilot program gets underway, the Coalition looks forward to continuing to work with Congress, the FAA, and all stakeholders to advance long-term FAA reauthorization legislation that will help ensure that the United States fully embraces the immense economic potential and consumer benefits of UAS [drones] technology in the near-term,” the group said in a statement.
But just because the new drone program debuted, doesn’t mean that local authorities, the federal government, and corporate interests won’t butt heads. States are still free to enact their own drone law regardless of Trump’s proposal.
Supporters of Trump’s plan like the Small UAV Coalition, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, and the Academy of Model Aeronautics praised how the new drone program still designates the FAA as the ultimate authority over drones, trumping local governments. One reason these groups like this is because local laws often impede corporate interests especially surrounding privacy laws, thus limiting the ability of companies to launch commercial drone projects.
“We are encouraged that this new program appears to preserve the FAA’s authority over the nation’s airspace,” said Academy of Model Aeronautics spokesperson Chad Budreau.
About why it’s taken so long for such a framework to be developed, Ellman explained that’s just the way Washington D.C. politics works.
“I think when you’re dealing with any major federal government policy, there’s just a lot of ‘I’s’ to be dotted and ‘T’s’ to be crossed,” Ellman said.
Buying a drone for fun just got a little less complicated.
A court ruling has declared that civilians c no longer need to register their non-commercial drones with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
On Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in favor of drone user John Taylor, who filed an initial petition challenging the drone registration rule back in 2015, just days after the FAA’s drone registry went live in December of that year.
The rule required drone hobbyists to pay a $ 5 fee to register their drone with the FAA’s website. Read more…
Attention drone operators: Watch your aim with those things or you could end up in behind bars.
Yeah, we’re serious. Paul Skinner, a 38-year-old Seattle man who accidentally knocked a woman unconscious with his drone back in 2015 has received a 30-day prison sentence along with a $ 500 fine, after being charged with reckless endangerment back in January.
When Skinner, an aerial photographer, flew his two pound, 18-by-18 inch drone — which retailed for $ 1,200 — into a crowd of people at 2015 Seattle Pride Parade, it accidentally fell on top of a 25-year-old woman’s head, knocking her out. Read more…
If you’ve got loads of LEGO bricks lying around and are looking for your next great building project, you’ll want to check out Flybrix. The company’s DIY kits contain all the parts you need to craft your very own custom drone however you like. Each kit includes everything you’ll need to build a quad-, hex-, or octo-rotor airframe: LEGO bricks, motors, propellers, a pre-programmed Arduino-compatible processor on an expandable PCB, and even a LEGO minifig pilot. Once you’ve built your drone, you can control it using your phone and the companion app, which is available for Android and iOS. There’s also…
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Ruby Kavanaugh — remember that name. The eight-year-old golf sensation has a swing that rivals PGA professionals, and recently put it on display for a drone photographer in Australia. Kavanaugh lines up her tee shot and crushes a beauty headed straight for the center of the fairway. Unfortunately, a Yuneec Typhoon H hexacopter happened to be in her path. The apologetic eight-year-old then watched as the $ 1,900 drone dropped from the sky. Of course, not everyone believes the shot to be legitimate. Some have concluded that there’s really no apparent reason the drone plummeted to the ground like it did. The blades were operational, the…
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Want a drone to fly longer and farther? Give it a bigger battery. But that adds weight, which in turn reduces the drone’s flight time. It’s quite a conundrum. It seems like an unresolvable catch-twenty-two, except that someone has finally found a way to use wireless power to keep a drone flying.