CAA launch #shotonmydrone photography competition – sUAS News – The Business of Drones

  • The competition aims to educate people on drone permissions required to fly across towns, cities, and the UK countryside.
  • New research by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) revealed, 80% of drone users are aware that approval is needed to fly a drone in a town or city in most cases – compared to only half of the general public.
  • Drone users can enter the competition to showcase their stunning images from across the UK at
  • Competition partnership with Royal Aeronautical Society will see winning entries exhibited at its prestigious London headquarters

London, October 2021: The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has launched a new photography campaign and competition – #ShotOnMyDrone – to both highlight the amazing images that drones can produce and educate people around using drones safely and responsibly while exploring the UK’s beautiful towns, cities, and countryside.

The competition will run until 31 January 2022 and provides a platform for UK drone users to display their skills. From a safety perspective it is designed to raise awareness of the rules and permissions required to fly a drone and that these vary from the countryside to built-up areas.

Wherever in the UK the participants choose to take their potentially winning competition shot, all entrants to #ShotOnMyDrone must comply with the CAA’s Drone and Model Aircraft Code. This law and advice covers everything users need to know on how to make their flight safe and legal, including how to register as a drone operator and get a UK drone Flyer ID. The competition categories include; urban night, urban day and countryside, for which drone users must have varying levels of approval to enter, with tighter restrictions around flying in built up areas.

First prize in the competition is a DJI Mavic Air drone. Other prizes included special backpacks designed to carry drones from Thinktank and Torvol. The winners in each category will have their images placed on display at the prestigious London headquarters of the UK Royal Aeronautical Society. A selection of the images will also be featured in the Society’s Aerospace magazine.  

Drone use continues to grow, with over 300,000 registered drone and model aircraft users in the UK. New research by the CAA of UK adults revealed that 20% of drone users and half of the general public are unaware that CAA approval is needed to fly a drone in a town or city in most cases.

The survey also showed that two-thirds of drone users would be looking take their ideal drone photo in the countryside, followed in popularity by city centres and then towns and cities. Of those who would prefer to take their photo in the countryside, almost a third (31%) would choose to take the shot over hills or mountains. Over a quarter (28%) would prefer the coast, while one-fifth (19%) would do so at a lake or river. As many as 12% would use the drone to take a photo of a historic building/monument, with 10% opting to photograph a forest or woods.

Drone users can enter the competition at The site will also host entries as they come in to enable anyone to see the images submitted. The highly anticipated competition will be judged by a panel of experts including CAA Chair and keen photographer Sir Stephen Hillier; Anna Henly an award-winning professional photographer; drone pilot and photography tutor; CAA drone inspector and BAFTA award winner John Livesey; and Tim Robinson, from the Royal Aeronautical Society.

A separate award will be given by UK air traffic control provider NATS which will be polling all its colleagues to decide their favourite image.

Jonathan Nicholson, Assistant Director of Communications at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said: “The launch of #ShotOnMyDrone aims to showcase some of the stunning images that UK drone users take while also reminding everyone that whether they’re flying in a town, city, or the countryside, they must comply with our Dronecode and stay safe when flying a drone.”

#ShotOnMyDrone follows the success of CAA’s 400ft Britain drone photography competition in 2017 which received over 1,200 individual submissions from across the UK including James Farley’s winning image of the lighthouse at Point of Ayr in North Wales, captured below 400ft (120m) – the Dronecode limit at which drones can be flown in the UK.

The competitions form part of a wider initiative looking at establishing a safe and responsible attitude toward drone flying to protect the safety of the wider aviation industry and the future success of drones.

To enter the competition, simply visit the competition website Entries close on 31 January 2022. The competition terms and conditions can be read here.

For more information on drone safety and the laws covering drone flying please go to

DroneCAN – sUAS News – The Business of Drones

DroneCAN is the primary CAN protocol used by the ArduPilot and PX4 projects for communication with CAN peripherals. It is an open protocol with open communication, specification and multiple open implementations.

Relationship with UAVCAN

DroneCAN was created to continue the development of the widely used UAVCAN v0.9 protocol. This protocol has proven itself as robust and feature-rich and has been widely deployed in the commercial drone industry and enjoys broad support among industry partners. The proposed introduction of the UAVCAN v1 protocol involved changes to UAVCAN that increased complexity and did not offer a smooth migration path for existing deployments. After extended discussions within the UAVCAN consortium it was decided that the best solution was to continue development of UAVCAN v0.9 under the name DroneCAN.

Key Features

The first version of DroneCAN, known as DroneCAN v1, is identical to the existing UAVCAN v0.9 protocol. This means that the large number of existing UAVCAN v0.9 devices used throughout the drone industry are already DroneCAN v1 compliant. Features inherited from UAVCAN v0.9 include:

  • detailed protocol specification
  • DSDL message description language for message description
  • DNA (dynamic node allocation) for assignment of CAN node IDs
  • multiple open DSDL compilers that produce C and C++ bindings
  • rich python implementation
  • feature rich graphical user interface for diagnostics and device configuration
  • mature implementations in ArduPilot and PX4 autopilots
  • AP_Periph and PX4 cannode toolkits for easy creation of feature rich peripherals

Continued Evolution

DroneCAN is a continually evolving protocol. Starting with DroneCAN v1 the protocol will evolve to add new features to assist in the widespread adoption of CAN throughout the UAV industry. The DroneCAN project is committed to ensuring this evolution is done in a manner which retains compatibility with existing DroneCAN devices. Key features planned for DroneCAN in the near future:

  • support for FDCAN, allowing for higher data rates and larger frame sizes
  • a node capability message to allow the DNA server to determine both the hardware and software capabilities of connected nodes, to facilitate smooth transitions to updated protocol versions
  • support for extending messages definitions while retaining compatibility with existing implementations
  • a comprehensive re-work of existing DSDL message structures to improve efficiency and flexibility


The DroneCAN project has an active development community.

Joining DroneCAN

If you would like to publicly support the DroneCAN project then please fill in the application form

AAIB investigation to Tekever AR5 Evolution Mk 2, G-TEKV – sUAS News – The Business of Drones

While orbiting south of the runway in preparation for landing, both the unmanned aircraft’s engines shut down unexpectedly. The External Pilot on the ground, who was visual with the aircraft, took control and landed it without further incident.

The dual-engine shutdown was likely to have been caused by an on-aircraft data error. Various safety actions, including improvements to the aircraft’s hardware and software, and the Ground Control Station software, have been taken to reduce the risk of a reoccurrence.

History of the flight

The unmanned aircraft, G-TEKV, was returning to Lydd Airport from a flight over the English Channel. Flight operations were conducted from a Ground Control Station (GCS) where the crew control the aircraft from takeoff to landing and operate the payload to fulfil the mission objectives. The GCS contained two stations, the flight GCS (fGCS) and the mission GCS (mGCS). The fGCS focused on all aspects of the control of the aircraft platform, whereas the mGCS focused on the mission goals and operation of the payload.

The GCS was manned by the Mission Commander (MC), the oncoming Internal Pilot (IP), the off-going IP, and the Payload Operator (PO). An External Pilot (EP)1
and a Maintenance Technician (MT) were positioned at the side of the runway abeam the intended touchdown position for the aircraft and both could communicate with the IP through airband radios.

While the aircraft was orbiting off the coast prior to transiting back to the airfield, the two IPs conducted a handover; the off-going IP remained to act as a second pilot to assist with the conduct of the remainder of the flight. Meanwhile the EP advised that the wind favoured a landing on Runway 03 with a light crosswind.

The aircraft transited towards the airfield at 700 ft amsl to remain clear of the cloud and icing. On reaching Echo Point, overhead the airfield (Figure 1), the aircraft entered an orbit while the IP, assisted by the off-going IP, proceeded to load the mission waypoints for a landing on Runway 03.

Meanwhile, the EP reported to the GCS that he could hear the aircraft but was not visual with it. The MC instructed the IP to descend the aircraft to 600 ft
at which point the EP confirmed that the aircraft was visual and clear of cloud.
With the aircraft established at 600 ft in the orbit at Echo Point and the mission points uploaded, the IP informed the EP that the aircraft was set up for the landing. The EP acknowledged and the IP switched the aircraft to route mode2 to proceed with the approach and landing on Runway 03. After the aircraft completed two more orbits, the crew in the GCS noticed that it did not appear to leave the orbit at the expected point to establish itself downwind.

As the aircraft flew the final orbit, the EP outside was expecting the call ‘downwind’ from the GCS team. He noticed the aircraft level its wings, as expected when departing the orbit, but observed the nose drop more than normal. At this point the EP became aware that he was not able to hear the aircraft’s engines. He operated the throttles and confirmed that there was no engine response. The EP switched to fly-by-wire (FBW)3 mode, took control of the aircraft, confirmed control response, and instructed the MT to inform the GCS about the complete loss of engine power.

While this was happening, the flight team in the GCS was first alerted that something was amiss when they observed the aircraft fly on a westerly heading towards the runway and not along the expected track to establish itself downwind parallel to the runway.

None of the team reported seeing or hearing any alarms or warnings. The MC noticed that the height of the aircraft appeared low, and the off-going IP then noticed that the displayed parameters for both engines indicated zero rpm.

The MC, unaware that the EP had already taken control of the aircraft, gave instructions to the IP to advise the EP to do so and went outside the GCS to observe the aircraft. The MT advised the IP that the EP had already taken control and so, from that point on, the IP provided speed information to the EP until the aircraft had landed.

The EP assessed the conditions and positioned the aircraft on final approach; it landed without further incident.

June 2020 event

This event followed a related one that occurred in June 2020 where, during an integration ground test of equipment onto a new AR5 aircraft at the manufacturing and development site in Portugal, both engines shut down, uncommanded by either the GCS or the EP.

Full report here

SwissDrones Flies in Malta: BVLOS Flights Over Water

SwissDrones MaltaSwissDrones Completes Test Flights in Malta

by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian M. Crosby

This week, Transport Malta Civil Aviation Directorate (Transport Malta), Malta’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), and SwissDrones, a global manufacturer of long-range unmanned helicopter systems, oversaw a sequence of long-range Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) flights over water for diligent maritime patrol, search and rescue, and surveillance mission simulations. Further flights were directed in order to test and verify communication and sensor payloads.

The operations were able to take place due to the cooperation of Transport Malta, Malta Communication Authority, Malta Air Traffic Services, Enterprise Malta, Indis Malta, and the San Lawrenz local council.

The flights were carried out in accordance with European Union Safety Administration (EASA) regulations for unmanned aircraft under the Specific Category, with full authorization from Transport Malta.

“The Malta archipelago offers an ideal geographical location for flight testing in demanding maritime conditions over long distances,” said SwissDrones CEO Ulrich Amberg. “Additionally, the nation is a growing hub for robotics and aviation with world-class infrastructure and excellent government support, making it perfectly suitable for establishing a new base of operations.”

“We are impressed with SwissDrones’ meticulous and professional approach to conducting flight operations, as well as the unsurpassed engineering and quality of their aircraft,” said Charles Pace, Transport Malta CAD’s Director General for Civil Aviation. “We thank them for selecting Malta for their maritime testing and validation and look forward to ongoing collaboration.”

SwissDrones MaltaThe SDO 50 V2 Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) unmanned helicopter system was deployed by SwissDrones. The model is designed for a multitude of long-range missions in adverse weather conditions, day and night, at high altitude, and a large spectrum of temperatures, without any risk to the crew.

The unique design features of the aircraft allow for a payload capacity of up to 45 kg (including fuel), long endurance at over 3 hours, stable flight patterns, the ability to carry single or multiple high-quality sensors, and a multitude of safety features. Autonomous take-off and landing procedures and autonomous flight patterns are both enabled by an integrated autopilot system.

The SDO 50 V2 utilizes the Flettner system of coupled dual rotors revolving in opposite directions. Each rotor mast is positioned at a slight angle to the other, allowing the blades to intermesh without making contact. This design feature not only allows for the aircraft’s payload capacity, increased endurance, and stable flight patterns, but also enables the helicopter to function without a tail rotor, saving power and allowing for a substantially higher payload to weight ratio.

“It has been a pleasure working with the Government of Malta,” said the Head of Flight Operations at SwissDrones, Arangan Varatharajah. “Each entity has been incredibly responsive and supportive throughout the entire application processes and we look forward to working closely together in an ongoing capacity.”

Ian attended Dominican University of California, where he received a BA in English in 2019. With a lifelong passion for writing and storytelling and a keen interest in technology, he is now contributing to DroneLife as a staff writer.

Dragon’s Roar” (“Rhuo Ddraig”), wins Chief Scientific Advisor’s Innovation Award for Social Impact at UK Department of Transport (DFT) Innovation Expo – sUAS News – The Business of Drones

Snowdonia Aerospace LLP is delighted to announce that our Connected Places Catapult (CPC) Drone Technology Research & Innovation Grant (D-TRIG) project, “Dragon’s Roar” (“Rhuo Ddraig”), has been selected as the winner of the Chief Scientific Advisor’s Innovation Award for Social Impact at the recent UK Department of Transport (DFT) Innovation Expo.
“Dragon’s Roar” is a collaboration between Snowdonia Aerospace (SAC), Swiftflight Avionics and WaveMobile to integrate an innovative airborne radio technology onto a light drone to create a 4G/5G network-in-the-sky for operation in areas of poor mobile signal connectivity – so-called “not spots” – that can be used by Emergency Services to locate missing persons and coordinate with ground personnel to effect a rescue.

Lee Paul, Snowdonia Aerospace CEO, said: “SAC was one of six SMEs across the UK who were awarded funding to undertake early-stage R & D studies on the integration of drones into UK airspace under the DfT Technology Research Innovation Project. We’re delighted that the selection panel chose SAC as the winner of the Award as the Project provided a strong case for contribution to DfT’s Strategic Priority to improve transport for the end user, there was a realistic roll-out plan illustrating a strong need for the adoption of the proposed technology in the marketplace and the Project provided both short term and long term progression to full commercialisation of the technology being developed.”

Jeremy Howitt, Snowdonia Aerospace Future Flight Lead, said: “We ‘d like to acknowledge the excellent support that we’ve received from O2 Telefonica, Welsh Government, Snowdonia Mountain Rescue, North Wales Police and the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust in the development of this project and we’re very much looking forward to starting flight testing of this exciting new technology over Snowdonia as part of the UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) Future Flight Challenge Phase 3 in early 2022”.

Largest LAANC UAS Service Supplier Powers 70% of All Requests

largest LAANC provider new version of b4ufly notify&flyAloft AI (formerly Kittyhawk) is the largest LAANC provider in the U.S., powering 70% of all LAANC requests.

by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian M. Crosby

Aloft AI, formerly known as Kittyhawk, has announced today that during the month of September 2021, the Aloft UTM powered 70% of all monthly LAANC authorization requests, rendering Aloft the largest LAANC UAS Service Supplier for recreational and commercial operators alike. Through the utilization of its patented programmatic Dynamic Airspace platform, Aloft was able to seamlessly and securely scale operations in order to meet increased customer demand from commercial, recreational, law enforcement, and government users.

According to the FAA monthly report for September, there were fewer than 40,000 LAANC requests over the course of the month, which is more than a 10% decrease from the previous month. Aloft powered more than 25,000 authorization requests during the month, with a 14% month-over-month increase, and 92% of the increase coming from Part 107 operators. LAANC at night has been another prime mover for more activity from commercial operators. Since the launch of v5 of LAANC in August, Aloft has seen approximately 10% of all Part 107 LAANC authorization requests utilizing nighttime operations.

Previously, Aloft introduced Notify & Fly for B4UFLY on September 7th. By the end of the month, users generated more than 3,600 anonymous airspace notifications. The company notes that they are encouraged by this initial adoption and will strive to continue to evolve the experience based on user feedback to enable more data sharing and flight activity across Aloft’s UTM.

More generally for B4UFLY, across all three platforms of iOS, Android and web, users made roughly 2.4M searches in total during Q3 of 2021, a 55% increase over the previous year. Aloft continues to seek out ways to scale adoption of B4UFLY to encourage a wide range of drone pilots and airspace stakeholders to all come together for the sake of an overall increase in airspace safety and situational awareness efforts.

Ian attended Dominican University of California, where he received a BA in English in 2019. With a lifelong passion for writing and storytelling and a keen interest in technology, he is now contributing to DroneLife as a staff writer

Elroy Air Names Grant Newman Chief Financial Officer – sUAS News – The Business of Drones

Elroy Air, the Aerospace and Logistics company developing the world’s first end-to-end autonomous vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aerial cargo system, today announced that Grant Newman has been appointed to the position of Chief Financial Officer, effective September 28, 2021.

Mr. Newman has an extensive background in finance and aviation. He recently served as SVP, Strategy & Corporate Development at Era Group, Inc., where he led the acquisition of Bristow Group, Inc. The combination formed one of the largest helicopter operators in the world, providing aviation services to offshore energy companies globally as well as commercial and public sector search and rescue services, including for the U.K. Maritime & Coastguard Agency. Following the merger, he served as Treasurer and Head of Investor Relations for the combined company and led the issuance of $400 million in senior secured notes and an $80 million ABL facility.

Prior to his executive roles in the helicopter industry, Mr. Newman was a Director in the Industrials investment banking group at Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. At Deutsche Bank, Mr. Newman led Americas Commercial Aerospace and Global Helicopter Coverage, with responsibilities for business origination and deal execution for a full range of strategic advisory and capital markets assignments including corporate mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, initial public offerings, leveraged buy-outs, high yield bonds and other investment banking offerings. He has been involved in many of the most significant transactions in the commercial aerospace industry over the last decade.

Mr. Newman began his professional career at General Electric Company (GE) from 2001 to 2006, where he had responsibilities for financial planning and analysis related to various GE business lines. During his tenure, Mr. Newman completed GE’s rigorous Financial Management Program and was certified as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.

Mr. Newman holds a Bachelor’s degree with a double major in Economics and Government & Politics from the University of Maryland, a Master of Science degree in Finance from The Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, and a Master of Business Administration degree from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.

David Merrill, CEO of Elroy Air said: “We are excited to welcome Grant to the senior leadership team at Elroy Air as we make significant progress in our aircraft development and deployment capability. The convergence of our technology maturation and our leadership position in VTOL aerial logistics along with the capital markets’ embrace of advanced air mobility presents an opportune time for Grant to join the Elroy Air team. His experience and sophistication in strategic finance will be a competitive advantage for Elroy Air as we move into the market.”

About Elroy Air

Elroy Air is an aerospace and logistics company developing industry-first autonomous aircraft systems and software to expand the reach of express shipping to 1Bn people worldwide. Building on the powertrain, sensing and compute currently enabling the hybrid-electric/autonomous vehicle revolution, Elroy Air’s vertical-takeoff-and-landing (VTOL) aerial logistics systems can operate outside of airport infrastructure and carry 300+ pounds of cargo over 300 miles. These systems evolve the realm of the possible in commercial air cargo, to expand delivery locations and reduce timeframes, provide immediate aid in disaster and fire-fighting situations, and rapid autonomous resupply for troops in the field.

Elroy Air was founded in 2016 by leaders in unmanned aerial systems (UAS), product development and software. The company is financed by top venture capital firms and strategic investors including Catapult Ventures, Levitate Capital, Lemnos, Lockheed Martin Ventures, Marlinspike Capital, Prosperity7 Ventures, Precursor Ventures, Haystack, Shasta Ventures, TenOneTen,, Amplify Partners, Homebrew, Hemisphere Ventures, DiamondStream Partners, E14 Fund, City Light, Side X Side Management, Venture Investment Associates, early Uber employees and pioneering angel investors.

The company has attracted a diverse and talented team with industry experience hailing from Uber, Northrop Grumman, Scaled Composites, General Atomics, Skyryse, Honeywell, General Electric, Deutsche Bank, Bristow Group and Airbus as well as academic backgrounds from Embry-Riddle, MIT, Tufts, Georgia Tech, Duke and Stanford.

For more information, follow us on LinkedInTwitterFacebook or Instagram, or visit

Drones & Wastewater Treatment Plants: Improving Safety & Reliability – Skyward

The treatment plants, sewers, and drains that make up wastewater systems are some of our most important infrastructure. Keeping them reliable is essential for public health and environmental protection. 

It’s not an easy job: 62 billion gallons of liquid waste are conveyed and processed by about 16,000 wastewater treatment plants every day. The equipment to do it is complex — pipelines, tunnels, basins, filters, tanks, blowers, UV lamps, pump stations, and more. This infrastructure is used continuously and requires high reliability, otherwise it risks significant ecological and sanitary consequences. As a result, these systems need a lot of inspections, some done daily.

Drones can make this smelly, hazardous work easier. Drones are a tool for getting wastewater infrastructure inspections done faster, while capturing crucial data and protecting workers from risks. 

Here are five key ways drones are or could be used for wastewater treatment plants inspections, and how this versatile technology can help wastewater management companies meet emerging challenges.

Wastewater Statistics

Sources: ASCE and Statista

1. Inspecting sewage tunnels with robotics

Waste can cause concrete and metal erosion in the tunnels and sewage pipelines that convey wastewater to central plants for treatment. Fats, oils and greases can also build up, clogging pipes. Inspections are necessary to detect these issues before they result in leaking, breaks, collapses, or sewer overflows. 

One industry player estimates that sewer inspections conducted by drone are twice as efficient as human inspections and 40 percent less expensive per meter of inspection. Many different types of robots are available for the task, including swimming drones, robots on wheels or treads, and flying drones in cages which allows them to operate in confined spaces.

Improved precision is one of the main advantages of using robotics for sewage tunnel inspections. Legacy methods like rafts or sleds mounted with closed-circuit cameras may only show only one angle as they speed by on the current. Drones can stop, take a closer look, and pinpoint the exact locations of problems. This can reduce the need to send workers into bio-hazardous environments while cutting response time when there’s an emergency like a sewer line break.

2. Using drone thermal sensors to monitor temperatures

Drones mounted with thermal sensors are well suited to quickly monitor surface temperatures, especially when such temperatures differ from the surrounding environment. In Sweden, drones are being used to measure temperatures in wastewater collection tanks and detect runoff water. Such data could alert plant managers to leaks, overflows, or other plant failures, and could help them detect the source of the problem. It can also help identify areas that are losing water or have storm water infiltration.

3. Monitoring and evaluating odors by drone

How bad is that smell? By combining sensors and artificial intelligence, the SNIFFDRONE system knows. This experimental platform being developed in Spain features nearly two dozen chemical sensors and a sampling system mounted on a drone. It is intended to collect chemical samples for lab analysis, predict odor concentration, locate sources, and produce 3D maps displaying the results.

Such aerial odor inspections allow treatment plant managers to quickly assess large areas for odor intensity, reaching places that may be hard to access. Ultimately, it could enable plants to take far more effective actions to control odors and minimize impacts on neighboring communities.

4. Taking samples of wastewater effluent

Another Spanish team has conducted trials using drones for collecting samples of effluent, the water discharged from a treatment plant back into a river or stream. The drones were programmed to take samples from designated locations for further analysis. Uncrewed aircraft are ideally suited for collecting samples and performing other tasks in hard-to-reach or remote areas such as river basins.

Wastewater treatment plant by drone

5. Creating models to plan for wastewater plant updates

Most wastewater treatment plants are designed with an average lifespan of 40 to 50 years, and the clock is running out for many of these facilities. Drones make inspections of aging assets faster and more cost effective, making it possible to better track real-time conditions.

Drone data can create a digital record of equipment over time, which can help determine maintenance and new building priorities. And when it comes to designing new facilities, drones are a powerful technology for performing highly accurate site surveys and generating 3D models for construction projects.

Other ways drones can help the wastewater sector with resilience

As wastewater management companies deal with aging infrastructure and progressing technologies, drones have the potential to help in many ways:

  • Leveraging thermal sensors at times of low inflow to keep tabs on infrastructure and processes that are sensitive to temperature.
  • Modeling sedimentation and pollutant loads that will impact water treatment and flow rates following heavy rainfall or fires.
  • Quickly assessing damage and triaging repairs following big storms that flood wastewater systems.
  • Protecting wastewater infrastructure from security incidents like intrusions and vandalism that could disrupt operations. (Some drones are being integrated into video management systems for security, allowing mobile visibility into unexpected activity in secured areas.)

One major benefit: safety improvements

Drones can help collect photos, videos, and other data without putting people in harm’s way. This may be especially valuable if there’s a safety incident, such as a chemical spill, sewer system section collapse, pipe break, or suspected gas leak.

Take sewer system inspections. The workforce risks include traffic near manholes, falls, infection from biohazards, insects and biting animals, exposure to flammable or toxic gases, asphyxiation from low oxygen levels, or drowning during high-flow storm events. Drones remove a lot of these risks by keeping the human inspectors out of harm’s way while the robot looks around. They can also reduce the need for costly safety equipment like blowers, scuba gear, breathing apparatus, and winches.

Or consider wastewater plant inspections, which have typically relied on visual observations from technicians walking around and the monitoring of pollutants to determine the level of asset performance. Worker risks here include moving equipment, exposure to chemicals like chlorine, slips, falls, and biological hazards. Uncrewed aircraft can get eyes on asset wear and tear or mechanical failures from the air, eliminating a lot of these dangers. And they can do it with high precision: One recent study found that using drone imagery was 95% accurate in detecting failures in activated sludge assets.

How wastewater treatment plants can get started with drones

More than 238 million Americans count on sewage infrastructure and treatment facilities to collect, treat, and reclaim water, one of our most valuable resources. Drones can help get this important job done more while improving safety, minimizing disruption, and providing rich data from a new perspective.

Interested in launching drones to support your wastewater services? Skyward can help you get off the ground in a matter of weeks. See what it takes with Skyward’s Program Start Package.

Skyward Drone Program Start Package

NUAIR and Aveopt: Integrating Communication Infrastructure into NY Drone Corridor

NUAIR and AveoptNUAIR Integrates Aveopt Communication Infrastructure into NY Drone Corridor

by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian M. Crosby

The Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance, Inc. (NUAIR) has announced that Aveopt Inc. is joining the NUAIR Alliance. Additionally, Aveopt’s Communication Infrastructure Mesh (CIMTM) system concept is being integrated into New York’s 50-mile drone corridor in order to further the reality of safe and secure commercial drone operations. The Aveopt CIMTM incorporates cross-communication between multiple modes of communication such as cellular, satellite and remote sensors, resulting in a multi-redundant, reliable communications network for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) operations. A safe and reliable communications network is essential for a UAS Traffic Management (UTM) system, beyond visual line of sight flight, and commercial drone operations.

“A safe, reliable and functional UTM system cannot be built by one company,” said Ken Stewart, CEO of NUAIR. “It’s going to take a myriad of specialized companies throughout different industries, government support and cross-state collaboration. Aveopt’s cross-communication technology and expertise is a key addition to our Alliance, advancing the reality of safe and reliable commercial drone operations.”

“Mobility, to include Aerial Mobility, is a significant contributor to the enablement of disruptive technologies. Disruptive technologies such as AI, Robotics, Remote Sensing and IoT are expected to contribute substantially to the global economy over the next 10 – 15 years,” said Aveopt Inc. CEO Art Kahn. “We see the NUAIR Alliance as a focal point for the advancement and adoption of AAM/UAM operations. The Aveopt team is proud to have become a member of the NUAIR Alliance.”

Signal availability, strength and reliability all vary by location. The Aveopt CIM™ is engineered to actively monitor the communication signals in the local area where a drone is flying in order to identify the optimal signal in terms of strength and reliability. It then designates that signal as the primary communication source for operations, moving the other signals “down the list” of backup communication networks. The system will also feature the ability to alternate between service providers to obtain the most reliable signal for safe drone operations.

Safety and reliability remain crucial elements in establishing a UTM system and routine commercial drone operations such as package and medical deliveries. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and NASA continue to look to NUAIR and the UAS industry for assistance in the establishment of rules, regulations and systems needed to safely incorporate unmanned aircraft into the national airspace system.

Read more about NUAIR, the NY Drone Corridor, flight over people, and UTM.

DRONERESPONDERS Florida Public Safety Coordination Group: Working Together to Use Drones Effectively

Florida Public Safety CoordinationA new collaborative initiative with AIRT and AUVSI will help DRONERESPONDERS bring statewide resources together.  The Florida Public Safety Coordination Group will help agencies develop a statewide framework to support the use of drones and other unmanned systems in public safety.

by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian M. Crosby

The leading 501(c)3 non-profit organization supporting the use of unmanned systems for public safety and disaster response, The Airborne International Response Team (AIRT), has entered into a partnership with the AUVSI Florida Peninsula Chapter, Inc, a 501(c)6 non-profit organization and subdivision of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), the world’s leading non-profit organization dedicated to the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and robotic vehicles, for the launch of a new public safety initiative assisting Florida’s first responders.

The two organizations are collaborating in order to develop a framework for supporting statewide public safety and emergency services organizations utilizing unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and other uncrewed, remotely piloted, and autonomous technologies used to help save lives and protect property.

Under the banner of AIRT’s DRONERESPONDERS non-profit program, the DRONERESPONDERS Florida Public Safety Coordination Group will create a template for public safety agencies and emergency services organizations to work directly alongside industry, government, and academia through the combined expertise of AIRT and AUVSI members at the regional level.

DRONERESPONDERS Public Safety Coordination Groups (DPSCGs) will operate in the U.S. at a statewide level with the backing of AUVSI chapters and other designated partners. The main goals of the DPSCGs will be to support the education, adoption, and use of remotely piloted, uncrewed, and autonomous systems by public safety and emergency service organizations at the state level, increase awareness and understanding of the value of drone technology by the public with a focus on underserved communities, and provide a system for government to directly collaborate with industry and academia at the regional level to foster innovation and better serve the community in times of emergency and crisis.

“We have witnessed an incredible proliferation in the use of unmanned technologies by public safety agencies at the state and local level,” said John Lambert, President of the AUVSI Florida Peninsula Chapter.  “Our collaboration with DRONERESPONDERS will help us support our first responders who are using these systems while also allowing us to better educate the general population about the value these systems can provide during emergencies and disasters.”

The DRONERESPONDERS Florida Public Safety Coordination Group will be led by a team of UAS program managers from public safety agencies all over Florida. Sgt. Robert Dooley, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Program Coordinator for the Florida Highway Patrol, will serve as the first point of contact for Florida law enforcement agencies operating UAS, and Rich Gatanis, Firefighter, Hazardous Materials Technician, and UAS Program Coordinator for the Southern Manatee Fire & Rescue District, will act as the liaison for fire rescue departments operating drones and robotic systems.

“This new collaboration combining the power of the DRONERESPONDERS network with AUVSI regional chapters will establish a new model for government, industry, and academia to work together for the greater good,” said DRONERESPONDERS Director Chief Charles Werner (ret.). “We are excited to establish this model in Florida before expanding to other states.”

Read more about DRONERESPONDERS, AIRT, drones in public safety, and drone training resources for first responders.