Airspeeder and Celeros Team Up for Next-Level eSports Racing

We are excited to announce the world’s first crewed racing eVTOL series, Airspeeder, has entered Celeros – a new mixed-reality AAA racing game with an innovative in-game economy that supports real-world social and environmental impact projects.

It has always been our mission to raise public awareness and excitement about the possibilities of Advanced Air Mobility. Following yesterday’s broadcast deal with DAZN, the creation of an Esports and Gaming side to Airspeeder only strengthens this mission. We’re excited for a whole new generation of gamers to become Airspeeder Pilots and for the world to experience Flying Car Racing.

Developed by the creators of Gran Turismo, WipEout, and Need for Speed, Celeros promises a dynamic and authentic racing experience.

Through Celeros and our partnership with Saltwater Games, we are bringing the world of Airspeeder racing to gamers worldwide. In the AirspeederXR game within Celeros players can earn in-game digital assets and use them to invest in real-world causes, delivering sustainable impact through a balanced economic model that relies on investments in social and environmental causes.

By enrolling in the Celeros Academy, you can learn more about configuring your Airspeeder, including understanding the Collision Avoidance Systems, motors, batteries, and propellers needed to enhance the AirspeederXR racing performance.

Celeros is not just another racing game, it is a home for racing and a pathway for real-world pilots.

We’re dedicated to creating a world-leading gaming experience that combines modern and future motorsport with an innovative game economy that supports real-world environmental projects. We’re using the latest technology to build a community where gamers can come together to race and learn, all while making a positive impact on our planet. With Celeros, players will be able to enjoy the excitement of competitive mixed-reality racing while also engaging in Play2Impact, a groundbreaking initiative that allows gamers and partners alike to make a real difference in the lives of millions of people.” – Len Findlay, CEO of Saltwater Games

Celeros will push the envelope of what is achievable when gamers come together, revolutionsing impact through gameplay. The first doors into the world of Celeros are now open and we’re inviting people to take part in a new pilot academy to learn more about the AirspeederXR Race Series and the vehicles they will be able to fly.” – Matt Pearson, CEO of Airspeeder

Spain’s Alpha Unmanned Systems announces completion of its first investment round

This is the first external financing that has entered the company based in Madrid which manufactures unmanned UAV helicopters

Alpha Unmanned Systems (AUS) an unmanned helicopter (UAV) manufacturer based in Madrid, announces the closing of its first seed round of external investment capital. With sales to nine countries and growing, this is the first external funding to enter the company since its inception nine years ago. This first round, which was led by Dr.Joseph Menaker, co-founder of UAV Factory, will be used to enhance Alpha’s product development and expand its sales and marketing efforts. Also participating in the seed round as investors were Tobias Webster, former CEO of UAVNavigation and current Director of International Business Development at Alpha and Javier Castaño, co-founder of Agnitio and current CFO of Alpha.

Eric Freeman, Alpha’s co-founder and CEO, said, “Alpha is very pleased and optimistic about the support and investment from one of the industry’s leading experts in Joseph Menaker. Joseph knows a lot about the challenges and opportunities in building a fast-growing UAV company. His extensive experience in UAV manufacturing and sales is extremely helpful to us.

The UAV industry is challenging and complex on many levels, and Alpha is dedicated to learning from the best in the industry.”

Dr.Joseph Menaker, says, “Alpha Unmanned Systems is one of the few small independent UAV manufacturers in existence, with outstanding technology and an excellent team of professionals
ready to expand production and distribution of their devices. I am pleased to know that my experience in this industry is going to be able to help further develop Alpha and take it to the next level of quality manufacturing.”

Founded in 2014 with Spanish capital and headquartered in Madrid, AUS has made direct international sales to both institutional organizations (governments and the Armed Forces) and private entities, with highly demanding and recurring clients in Spain, Israel, USA, Greece, Indonesia, Georgia, Turkey, European Union, etc. With a highly qualified professional team, and with a clear commitment to its niche market, Alpha is in the “top three” of its sector of activity worldwide.

Its newest product, the Alpha 900, is a helicopter designed and manufactured primarily for missions in the marine environment. With a powerful combustion engine that gives it great autonomy and payload capacity (up to 4 hours and can carry payloads of up to 4 kg), the A900 can take off and land autonomously on and from moving vessels with limited space (small deck). In addition, it is built “STANAG Compliant”, so that all critical systems are redundant. All this makes it a perfect technology for navies, coast guard and/or intelligence operations, surveillance, target approach and/or reconnaissance at sea.

Qii.AI wins contract to provide its Corrosion Detection Technology for use by Canada’s Department of National Defense

Qii.AI, the provider of AI-assisted digital inspection software, announced today that it has entered into a license and AI customization agreement with Canada’s Naval Engineering Test Establishment (“NETE”) to provide the Qii platform for use in the Royal Canadian Navy’s ship inspection program.

Using the Qii.AI system, ship inspections from drone imagery can be completed in a fraction of the time taken for traditional methods.  Artificial Intelligence then accelerates the process even   more by automating the detection and measurement of issues in need of remediation, like corrosion or other problems.  

According to Qii.AI CEO, Michael H. Cohen, there is potential for the technology that Qii.AI is providing to the Canadian Navy to be applied broadly across military and non-military shipping assets, and that he hopes this is the first of many such engagements with the Canadian Armed Forces as well as NATO partner forces, saying:

“We are extremely proud of the success we have had so far in working with the Canadian Navy through its Sandbox program, to bring this project to this point, and we are extremely excited to commence work customizing the full spectrum of our technological capabilities, from thermal, to visual, to sonar, to fit the Navy’s unique needs.  We’re very confident that once we have shown the efficiency and accuracy that we can add for Canada’s naval inspection program, other branches of the military and partner militaries will take notice.”

While the Qii.AI platform provides the data analytics, the visual data gathering part of the Navy’s new ship-inspection program will be carried out using small inspection drones from Skydio. 

Skydio cofounder and CEO Adam Bry, said, “autonomous drones will revolutionize naval inspections by creating comprehensive digital copies of vessels. Skydio 3D Scan automates the capture process, and partnering with Qii.AI enables an end-to-end AI-driven workflow to help operators make better decisions faster. We are excited to help build this program for the Royal Canadian Navy, and are looking forward to more success in this sector.” 

About NETE – The Naval Engineering Test Establishment (NETE) is the Department of National Defence’s principal naval test and evaluation centre. NETE provides independent verification and validation, as well as expert test and evaluation services to the Royal Canadian Navy and other National Defence organizations from coast to coast. This ensures the engineering safety and effectiveness of naval equipment.

About Qii.AI – Qii.AI is a web-based platform that empowers remote, collaborative inspections of critical infrastructure and other assets such as bridges, dams, and ships.  Qii.AI uses computer vision and machine learning to improve the inspection process with computer-assisted detection and quantification of corrosion, cracking, delamination, and other problems in steel and concrete structures.  Qii.AI is the world’s first visualization software for infrastructure inspection data that merges below the waterline (sonar) data with above-the-waterline (visual, thermal) data, to provide a single, wholistic view of your asset. 

About Skydio – Skydio is the leading U.S. drone manufacturer and world leader in autonomous flight. Skydio leverages breakthrough AI to create the world’s most intelligent flying machines for use by consumers, enterprises, and government customers. Founded in 2014, Skydio is made up of leading experts in AI, robotics, cameras, and electric vehicles from top companies, research labs, and universities from around the world. Skydio designs, assembles, and supports its products in the U.S. from its headquarters in San Mateo, CA, and manufacturing facilities in Hayward, CA, to offer the highest standards of supply chain, manufacturing and data security. Skydio is trusted by leading enterprises across a wide range of industry sectors and is backed by top investors and strategic partners including Andreessen Horowitz, Linse Capital, Next47, IVP, Playground, and NVIDIA.

Flying Lion and Iris Automation add Airspace Awareness Capabilities for Drone as First Responder (DFR) Programs

Drone service provider, Flying Lion, Inc., and safety avionics technology innovator, Iris Automation have entered into a new partnership to provide Drone as First Responder (DFR) programs with enhanced airspace awareness. This partnership will see the addition of Iris Automation’s Casia G ground-based detect and alert system to the Flying Lion suite of services.

With over 22,000 DFR flights logged to date, Flying Lion has vast experience working closely with leading law enforcement agencies to provide rapid emergency response and aerial assessment through DFR program including for Chula Vista PD, Redondo Beach PD, Santa Monica PD, and Beverly Hills PD.

In order to comply with current FAA requirements, Flying Lion and these DFR programs have been utilizing human remote pilots in command (RPICs) and visual observers (VOs) to allow for BVLOS operations in their cities. While this has been necessary to comply with FAA certificate of authorizations (COAs) for these agencies, it is not optimal for ongoing or large-scale DFR operations. DFR programs enable the immediate dispatch of a drone in response to a 911 call for the purpose of real-time aerial situational awareness, in advance of, and to support ground units to enhance community and first responder safety.

With the implementation of Casia G, the next generation of DFR programs will have the capability to create a volume of surveilled airspace to conduct drone operations without the need for human visual observers. Casia G is a small, passive, low-power, weather-hardened device that can be installed anywhere there is a clear view of the sky. This can be a rooftop, street light pole, cellular tower, or other vertical structure. Casia G detects cooperative aircraft using ADS-B and non-cooperative aircraft using Iris’ patented computer vision and artificial intelligence software. Once an aircraft is detected, two concepts of operation are possible:

  1. Casia G alerts the Remote Pilot in Command (RPIC), providing the classification and location of the detected aircraft. The RPIC then initiates an avoidance maneuver and resumes the mission once the detected aircraft is clear of the operational area.
  2. Casia G sends an automated collision alert to the uncrewed aerial system’s command software, resulting in the system automatically executing a pre-programmed avoidance maneuver.

Quote from Flying Lion President & Founder, Barry Brennan
“Flying Lion is proud to partner with such a forward-thinking organization as Iris Automation, to provide a safer environment to conduct DFR operations. The Casia G technology for BVLOS drone flights breaks new ground for public safety – it not only saves time and resources but also allows first responders to better protect the communities they serve.”

Multiple Casia G nodes can be deployed to cover any operational area, enabling drones to cover an entire municipality. DFR program managers can then enjoy BVLOS operations of multiple UAS from multiple launch points, enabling minimum response time. In addition, the ability to fly routine BVLOS missions enables the centralized management and operations of the UAS, and integration into 911 dispatch and real-time crime center operations.  There are more than 18,000 municipal police departments in the USA, and only 200 of them have access to an aerial asset. BVLOS operation of drones enables the remaining 17,800 departments to not only have access to an aerial asset, but within existing budget constraints – relieving pressure on the human capital in police operations.

Quote from Iris Automation CEO, Jon Damush
“Casia G provides an inexpensive and effective way for customers to take advantage of BVLOS flight through increased airspace awareness without the use of visual observers. The new types of DFR programs are a perfect example, and working with Flying Lion and its incredible work across law enforcement to offer these solutions is an important step.”

Iris Automation and Flying Lion will be exhibiting at the National Public Safety UAS Conference, March 14-15, 2023 in Williamsburg, VA.

About Flying Lion
Flying Lion, Inc. (FLI) is a drone service provider to Law Enforcement, Public Safety Agencies and Municipalities. Founded in 2014, Flying Lion provides on-demand drone air support, training, staffing, and FAA consulting with a specialty in Drone as First Responder (DFR) operations. Flying Lion has conducted over 22,000 DFR missions of which over 10,500 were conducted Beyond Visual Line of Site (BVLOS).

About Iris Automation
Iris Automation is dedicated to creating an aviation environment where no two aircraft ever collide in mid-air. We leverage innovative AI-based vision technology that enables uncrewed and crewed aircraft to mitigate the risk of airborne collisions – vital for safe, scalable, and efficient operations across countless industries. Iris’ onboard and ground-based Casia systems give operators the situational awareness and automation needed to safely navigate an increasingly complex and congested airspace. We work closely with civil aviation authorities globally as they implement regulatory frameworks to advance safety and efficiency in aviation.

SIGMADESIGN partners with Pendleton UAS Range to offer support services
FlyGuys Drone Services Partners with LCP Media

 FlyGuys Drone Services and LCP Media announced today that the companies have entered into a strategic partnership that will generate a unique real estate digital marketing experience, exponentially increasing property sales nationwide. Under the partnership, FlyGuys will provide additional drone pilots from their nationwide network to capture aerial photography and videography for LCP Media clients to create a personalized virtual marketing experience.

The agreement brings together two nationwide technology companies to capture aerial images to market nationwide commercial and multifamily properties, create a unique customer experience and generate property sales. FlyGuys is a nationwide drone services provider, and LCP Media is a national visual media technology company.

“We’re excited about the LCP Media partnership with FlyGuys. Our innovative product offerings in the visual media space are a natural extension of FlyGuys’ industry-leading drone services. We are very much looking forward to a successful partnership,” says Nick Harter, LCP Media’s Vice President of Sales and Strategic Partnerships.

“LCP Media has done a beautiful job building out a world-class business that delivers 3D animation videos, virtual tours, property videos and photography to their clients worldwide. We at FlyGuys are thrilled to be partnering with LCP to be part of their work in delivering quality products and services to their clients,” says Adam Zayor, FlyGuys’ Founder and CEO.

Customers of LCP Media will be able to capture a new perspective of their property listings and show prospective buyers a personal view of the surrounding area through FlyGuys’ proprietary drone software.

About FlyGuys

FlyGuys is a nationwide drone services company that delivers aerial data collection solutions for many commercial industries and public sector entities. From RGB and Infrared to LiDAR and Multispectral sensors, we offer consistent quality data collection at standardized prices. Our geospatial experts and network of drone pilots are ready for deployment when and where you need us. We are committed to providing excellent client service and professional solutions to meet and exceed your expectations. For more information, please visit

About LCP

LCP Media (Lights Camera Pixel) is a national visual media technology company based in Chicago. We provide a full menu of services, including virtual tours, professional photography and drone services, professional and drone photography, 3D renderings, video animations, virtual staging and floor plans. LCP Media is an innovative leader in creating unforgettable virtual real estate experiences by combining unrivaled technology solutions with our unparalleled customer service. Simply put, we deliver an unreal experience from start to finish. So real, it’s Unreal! For more information, please visit

The Early Adopters

The utility industry entered the commercial drone game early, enabling quicker expansion into more applications.

Data collected from drones, ground crews and helicopters can be assessed using Cyberhawk’s cloud-based software, iHawk. Photo courtesy of Cyberhawk.

In the nearly 10 years since Dominion Energy first began deploying drones, the team has bult up more than 150 use cases—and Nate Robie, manager of the Unmanned Systems Group, expects that number will continue to grow.

Robie describes drones as a workforce multiplier, increasing safety and enhancing efficiencies for both inspections and operations. The technology is a key part of the industry-wide effort to make the bulk power system more reliable, with asset inspection a main focus.

Drones, typically carrying RGB, thermal or LiDAR payloads, are looking for defects in boiler tanks at power generation facilities, detecting radiation interference at substations, identifying anomalies on transmission poles and monitoring vegetation encroachment in right of ways, to name a few routine applications. Reports and repair orders are generated based on what’s discovered during the flights, helping utilities better maintain their equipment and ultimately prevent outages.

Because utilities were early adopters—many of the big players have had programs for upwards of five years—there’s been a recent expansion of drone use at scale, said Sean Guerre, executive director of the Energy Drone & Robotics Coalition. The number of linemen cross-trained as pilots deploying drones in their daily operations has significantly grown, with many utilities offering vigorous training and certification programs. There’s a high comfort level with the technology and an understanding of what it can do for the industry, particularly as we move toward more automation and a regulatory framework for BVLOS flights.

As drone adoption continues to grow across the industry, so too does the opportunity for new use cases. In recent years, UAS have been deployed for rope pulling, as part of wildfire prevention programs and as surveying tools for environmental monitoring. More complex applications, such as attaching equipment from a drone to a power line, have also become possible.

“It’s not just accepted in the industry, said Corey Hitchcock, program lead at Southern Company. “It’s almost expected.”


Drones are now more routinely being flown for inspections inside power generation facilities, gathering data in confined spaces and GPS-denied environments, Guerre said. The systems can help spot various defects, from flaws in pump valves to corrosion inside a vessel, allowing them to better predict when it’s time to take an asset out of service for repair, or to replace it.

“It’s not just accepted in the industry. It’s almost expected.”

Corey Hitchcock, UAS program lead, Southern Company

Southern Company is starting to do more drone work in radiological containment areas, Hitchcock said, performing inspections in the “deep, dark places” inside power plants so humans don’t have to. This not only enhances safety, particularly in nuclear power plants where radiation dose is a concern, it also eliminates the costs associated with erecting scaffolding and equipment downtime.

“If something breaks at a power plant and has to come offline, you’re not generating electricity, which isn’t good for companies whose business it is to sell electricity,” Hitchcock said. “In the past, we had to wait several days for a boiler to cool and to build scaffolding. With a drone, we can identify or rule out problems, saving us a lot of time and allowing us to get the right part.”

Repairs are made faster, shortening outages, and scaffolding can be contained to just the area that needs repaired, rather than covering the entire asset.

This response has been made easier with the Elios 3 from Flyability, Hitchcock said, which uses LiDAR point clouds to navigate once it’s inside a boiler. Before, a drone could collect imagery and video to identify flaws, but it couldn’t tell the operator exactly where those flaws were. Now, they can fly the drone and model at the same time, what Hitchcock describes as a game changer.

Drones are also being deployed to perform inspections after radiation leaks, Hitchcock said. In fact, it’s now the go-to tool, where it was once an afterthought.

Dominion relies on UAS for boiler inspections as well, with the technology also leveraged to inspect infrastructure outside power-generation facilities, Robie said. Construction monitoring, water tower inspections and volumetric measurements are among other applications. They use both quadcopters to hover for close inspections and fixed-wing drones to map large areas.

Dominion recently received a waiver from the FAA that covers more than 40 facilities across seven states, allowing the team to fly the Skydio X2 drone BVLOS without an additional crew member or technology to detect other aircraft. Skydio’s AI technology makes it possible to fly the drone closer to structures, enhancing the data obtained during inspections.

Drones also can deployed for inspections at hydroelectric facilities or dams, said James Pierce, manager of UAS and inspections for Ameren. And the company isn’t just responsible for the dam; it also must maintain shoreline permitting around the reservoir. UAS provide detailed inspections that assist with that activity.

Other robotics, such as crawlers and rovers, are finding their place at these facilities as well, Guerre said. They can perform inspections on a variety of assets in a set, repeatable pattern, as well as examine a perimeter around the plant as a means of security.

Drones and ground robotics can be used in combination, Guerre said, for more efficient inspections. A crawler might be deployed to handle a boiler inspection, while a quadruped robot is sent to look for corrosion on internal pipelines and the drone checks for flaws on a stack.

Submersibles also play a role, Robie said, and can be deployed on a dam, for example, to gauge soil sediment or inspect the infrastructure. They can be used inside water-holding tanks or other liquid holding vessels as well.

Energy companies are also leveraging robotics for their renewable assets, deploying crawlers designed specifically for wind turbine inspection and to monitor solar panel operations, as examples.


Drones have become a key enabling technology for scaling power grid inspection services across transmission and distribution lines, which span thousands of kilometers, including assessing the condition of substations, Cyberhawk Chief Revenue Officer Patrick Saracco said.

Substation buildings are large and difficult to access, U.K.-based National Grid Condition Monitoring Manager Mark Simmons said, so deploying drones to inspect them makes sense. Drones can fly overhead rather than crews having to work via elevated platforms.

Typically, asset managers are looking for radio frequency interference (RFI) during these inspections, Simmons said, because it indicates equipment is in distress. A specialized payload must be flown on the drone to detect RFI and locate its source.

National Grid is also involved in a project to develop a payload for live insulator testing across both substations and overhead lines, Simmons said. This application helps avoid system outages while also providing a bigger sample size.

Encroachment is another area drones can address, Guerre said, whether it’s monitoring vegetation to ensure it’s not contacting lines, which could lead to outages or spark a wildfire, or serving as security to make sure nothing is in the right of way that doesn’t belong.

A National Grid drone during inspection. The system uses highly automated drones flown BVLOS to gather detailed close-quarter data. Photo courtesy of Ameren, Saxon Unmanned and National Grid.

Then there are the transmission towers. Drones can look for corrosion or any type of flaw around a transformer, Guerre said, such as the way the line and equipment attaches to the pole or broken screws.

Drones can provide an in-depth look at each individual structure, Robie said, and the various components. Frayed lines, chipped or cracked insulators, broken cotter keys and rust are among the many deficiencies they spot.

The Ameren UAS team primarily provides imagery and infrared analysis for state-mandated pole inspections in Missouri, Pierce said, covering more than a million poles on four to six year cycles.

“We fly 120,000 poles a year, producing inspection reports which eventually take the form of work orders to address any reliability issues discovered,” Pierce said. “We do similar inspections for our transmission company. We use UAS to ensure reliability and prevent outages, flying different shot patterns and covering long stretches of corridor.”

Before drones, National Grid relied on helicopters for these types of inspections, like other energy companies, but the challenge was the aircraft couldn’t get everywhere because of proximity to buildings or livestock, missing 10 to 15% of the assets, Simmons said. There are no right of ways in the U.K., so it’s common for livestock—particularly horses and sheep—to roam in the field under towers. The company started using drones to address this challenge in 2017.

Inspection and survey, Simmons said, are the primary reason for most flights, flying high-end cameras, radar, vision optical sensors and infrared cameras. The technology has come a long way in just five years, now enabling UAS to follow automated flight paths, build a 3D way point, fly a tower and then fly the exact same path on a different day. The goal is to not only look for various defects that could lead to issues, but to determine where the assets are on the end of life curve to work out the optimum time to not only replace individual components, but entire assets.

Photo courtesy of Florida Power and Light.

Florida Power and Light (FPL) began its drone program in 2016, using the technology as a tool to help them work safer and smarter, said Eric Schwartz, manager of technology and innovation for FPLAir, the company’s drone program. Poles and wires are among the items on the inspection list, moving from crews driving along looking up at lines to spot defects to the aerial perspective drones provide.

“In the poles and wires business, drones have revolutionized how we do our assessments and allowed us to be more precise.”

James Pierce, manager, UAS and inspections, Ameren

“They were really only assessing one quadrant out of the entire pole because they couldn’t get up on top and look down, and they weren’t looking from the other side of the neighborhood or block,” Schwartz said. “In the poles and wires business, drones have revolutionized how we do our assessments and allowed us to be more precise.”

From left, Dominion Energy’s T.F. Butler, UAS Program Coordinator, and Alexis Ramsey, Unmanned Systems Operator, launch a drone to map a Dominion Energy power station and to provide visual inspections of hard-to-reach areas of the site. Photo courtesy of Dominion Energy Services, Inc.

The team flies thermal and RGB sensors looking for cracks, corrosion from salt spray, termite damage, pole rot and hot spots that indicate there’s risk of an outage, he added.

Crews no longer have to regularly walk in backyards or drive along roads to find the damaged components, weathering and broken poles that could lead to outages, Pierce said. Drones can quickly identify defects so operators create work orders and prioritize repairs.

“When drones became an option for us in 2016, we proved you can capture so much more data from above, looking down,” he said. “A lot of problems are on the top of the pole. That’s where the weather hits, like snow sitting on top of a pole. That’s readily visible from above. And the detail drones provide have had amazing results as far as reliability of the system is concerned.”


Drones have also found their place in storm response, allowing utilities to quickly find damage and start repairs. Emergency response caught on quicky after the 2017 hurricane season, which included Irma in Florida, Schwartz said, and has become routine.

A lot of the work is done before a storm makes landfall. Drones can map an area in good weather, and then be sent out to map it again after a storm, Southern Company’s Hitchcock said. Change detection software can show crews exactly where they need to be and the equipment they need to bring.

LiDAR is also being flown for pole and wire assessment pre-storm, with FPL leveraging the technology for hardening. The company is a leader in a program that started after the 2004/2005 hurricane season. The goal was to redesign the entire system of lines on the distribution side to withstand 150 mph plus winds.

“When poles go down, it’s the longest bottleneck and lead time to get electricity back on,” Schwartz said. “It’s easier to put wire back up. Flying LiDAR helps with pre-engineering to get a better understanding for design and redesign jobs.”

FPL’s newest drone, FPLAir One, is designed for these and other large-scale flights. The fixed-wing drone is the size of a small aircraft, can fly up to 1,000 miles and operate in tropical storm-force winds.

The team plans to fly the drone to create a 3D twin of the entire state, and then use the drone in a box solution from Percepto to look at the distribution network and overhead lines for pre-engineering of the hardening program, Schwartz said. AI will be leveraged for change detection.

Pulling rope is another application born out of storm response.

“You can use a drone to pull rope when you need to get a power line across an obstacle, maybe water or other terrain,” Hitchcock said, noting Southern Company uses a rope release mechanism designed in-house. “That practice was developed in the mountains of Puerto Rico during hurricane Maria.”


As the technology continues to advance, standardized inspections will become more automated, Simmons said. Remote pilot inspections will become the norm, with complete autonomy on the horizon.

Hitchcock sees drone in a box solutions standing by at facilities like substations, and UAS eventually replacing helicopter patrols for linear inspections.

“You’ll still see some manual operations, but with a drone in a box solution on board a majority of our post-events will be done autonomously,” he said. “As the substation or distribution operation sees the call come across the consul, the drone will already be online trying to determine what caused the problem.”

“When drones became an option for us in 2016, we proved you can capture so much more data from above, looking down.”

James Pierce, manager, UAS and inspections, Ameren

Utilities are also starting to look into corona ultraviolet detection sensors that can tell if electrical connections are not configured efficiently, Pierce said.Methane is another area of interest in the proof of concept stage, Robie said.

More intrusive inspections are starting to come online as well, including developing a sensor that allows testing on insulators on overhead lines while they’re live, Simmons said. Crews would have to be onsite to operate these types of specialist sensors, but most other inspections will still happen remotely.

Large scale, high-endurance UAS will continue to become more cost-effective, Schwartz said, making highly autonomous BVLOS flights more feasible. Drone in a box solutions will handle the granular level cracks and fractures, zooming in on equipment like insulators.

Alternative fuel sources, such as hydrogen, are also in play, Robie said, as the industry looks to continue to improve efficiencies and ultimately the power system with the help of drones.

“What we’d like to do is be able to cover more of our footprint and inspect various assets in one flight rather than going from an electric transmission right of way to another mission in a solar field,” he said. “The goal is to have one flight where we can inspect various infrastructure to get that data to the multiple businesses we service quicker.”

Photo courtesy of Skypersonic.

r/drones - Off-grid cabin with the Mavic 3
Husqvarna and GreenSight partner to launch first major golf and sports turf management software to incorporate autonomous mowing systems – sUAS News – The Business of Drones

Husqvarna and GreenSight Inc. have entered into a strategic partnership to combine their unique technologies and create a comprehensive solution that empowers turf managers to heighten the quality of turf care, use less natural resources, and greatly reduce costs in their overall management practices. The solution, TurfCloud combined with Husqvarna Automower, will initially serve large-scale outdoor facilities such as golf courses and sports turf facilities. Numerous trials have yielded impressive results that have created new efficiencies and reduced labour needs.

Husqvarna, a global leader in outdoor equipment design and manufacturing, is the pioneer of robotic mowing and has changed the way professionals maintain their turf with the iconic Husqvarna Automower and Husqvarna CEORA robotic mowers. GreenSight, a leader in robotics for agriculture and defence, is defining the benefits of daily drone imaging at golf and sports turf facilities with TurfCloud, GreenSight’s industry-leading cloud-based turf management platform. TurfCloud also allows turfgrass professionals to proactively monitor and manage their turf and their teams.

“Our low noise, emission-free Automower® combined with the GreenSight’s suite of digital management tools, sensors and imaging is a revolutionary step forward in turf management for golf courses, sports facilities and other public green spaces,” said Jason Connor, Director of Commercial Robotics at Husqvarna. “Our EPOS™ technology provides unparalleled flexibility and eliminates the need for physical boundary wires, making the Automower® a perfect complement to the GreenSight digital solution.”

“Bringing together two leaders in the ground and aerial robotics is a natural partnership that has resulted in an industry-changing turf management solution,” said James Peverill, GreenSight CEO. “Integrating Husqvarna’s robotic mowers into our TurfCloud golf course management system creates an efficient and effective solution for golf course superintendents and turf managers that makes their jobs easier while improving turf quality and easing staff resource constraints. The new platform brings together the turf manager’s drone imagery, sensor data, agronomic tools, labour, and robotics planning systems; into one revolutionary integrated digital command centre.”

About Husqvarna
Husqvarna is a brand within Husqvarna Group. Since 1689, Husqvarna has manufactured high-performing products and delivered industry-changing innovations such as anti-vibration and automatic chain-break on chainsaws, as well as robotic mowers. Today, Husqvarna offers a broad range of high-performing outdoor power products for parks, forests and gardens, and represents technological leadership in key areas; chainsaws, trimmers, ride-on mowers and robotic mowers. Husqvarna products are sold in more than 100 countries, mainly through servicing dealers. Visit here to learn more.

About GreenSight
Headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, GreenSight is a full stack developer of small, unmanned aircraft, robotics systems, avionics hardware and AI/autonomy software for commercial and defense applications. Building on its GreenSight Robotics Platform, the company has successfully executed projects and deployed automated robotics solutions with over 400 companies and government agencies since its founding in 2015. GreenSight maintains one of the world’s largest networks of automated intelligence drones that has executed over 12,000 remotely operated flights and counting since the system was commercially launched in 2016. Visit to learn more.

CHIRP Edition 4 May 2022
Nordic Unmanned reinforces its position in Europe by investing in leading Belgian drone company DroneMatrix

Nordic Unmanned has entered into an agreement giving the company control of 55 per cent of the shares in DroneMatrix, a leading drone technology company in Belgium. The investment will strengthen Nordic Unmanned’s position in Europe, complement existing solutions in every market vertical, and accelerates the growth and development of DroneMatrix.

“The partnership with DroneMatrix enables both companies to scale their commercial offerings through new services and solutions. DroneMatrix’s fully autonomous AI-powered Drone-In-A-Box solution will add significant value to all our verticals, especially the Security vertical. Furthermore, the fact that the technology is proven, with success in the Port of Antwerp-Bruges, ensures immediate scalability that will affect the Nordic Unmanned order backlog and 2022 revenues positively. The solution will immediately be added to Nordic Unmanned’s portfolio and be added to our LUC flight permit,”

Knut Roar Wiig, CEO Nordic Unmanned

Leading European drone technology company

DroneMatrix is a leading European drone technology company implementing Drone-In-A-Box solutions, including autonomous drones, intelligent docking stations and proprietary AI-based software allowing autonomous drones to detect and follow objects. Drone-In-A-Box is emerging as a growth segment within the drone industry. It represents the next phase of industry development as it allows for centralized, remote operations of drones, enabling rapid upscaling of lightweight drone operations.

DroneMatrix was recently awarded a breakthrough contract by the Port of Antwerp-Bruges. The three-year service contract, commencing in the third quarter of 2022, includes six Drone-In-A-Box units distributed across the port. The drones will be used for autonomous monitoring of the port. In addition, the drone solution will be used on-demand to inspect for oil leaks, assist in emergency situations, rail inspections and parameter control. This contract represents the largest of its kind awarded so far in Europe and opens for multi-client sharing of the service and data collected.

“DroneMatrix is ready for a partnership with a solid, like-minded, and ambitious business partner to realise the promising opportunities and enable future ambitious growth plans. We have found a solid partner in Nordic Unmanned, the global leader in drone systems and services. The partnership enables us to scale our company and solutions while continuing running the operations and shaping our identity,”

DroneMatrix CEO Lander Vanwelkenhuyzen

Capital for scale-up and further development of the company

Nordic Unmanned will, through share purchase and an equity issue, obtain control of 55 per cent of the shares of DroneMatrix. The share purchase of EUR 0.975 million will be settled on closing, expected at end of Q2. The EUR 1.5 million equity contribution will be fully paid before the end of 2022. The contributed equity will ensure capital for the scale-up and further development of the company.

The transaction reflects a valuation of DroneMatrix on an enterprise value basis of EUR 3 million. Within the next three years, Nordic Unmanned will acquire the remaining shares based on a pre-agreed performance-based valuation matrix, with a minimum valuation of EUR 3 million and a maximum valuation of EUR 8 million on an enterprise value basis. Until then, the outstanding 45 per cent of the shares remain with the founders of DroneMatrix, the Vanwelkenhuyzen family.

Founder Frank Vanwelkenhuyzen, CEO Lander Vanwelkenhuyzen and the current management team will continue to oversee the operations and the future development of the company.

“We are very excited about the identified synergies between Nordic Unmanned and DroneMatrix. The combination of Drone-In-A-Box solutions and our BG Rail and BG Cargo drones will enable us to advance our planned services within rail, and cargo delivery onshore and offshore. The Nordic Unmanned Operation Centre will remotely control the Drone-In-A-Box operations. In addition, Nordic Unmanned will gain access to the Benelux market for our existing portfolio of solutions and services,”

Knur Roar Wiig, CEO Nordic Unmanned

DroneMatrix had revenues of EUR 324,000  and a gross margin of 77 per cent in 2021. Revenues for 2022 are expected to double.

“DroneMatrix has been at the forefront of the development of Drone-In-A-Box solutions for a number of years. They have tested the use case with early adopters, and it is now believed that several industries are ready to take on board this new technology in the very near future. We see a significant increase in interest and use cases around the DroneMatrix solution and believe that the timing is perfect for accelerating the rollout of these products to a wider market,”

Steffan Lindsø, CTO Nordic Unmanned

The existing solution is currently deployed and operating in the Port of Antwerp and on a large solar power plant in Spain.  

Disclosure regulation

This information is subject to the disclosure requirements pursuant to section 5-12 of the Norwegian Securities Trading Act.

About Nordic Unmanned

Nordic Unmanned delivers comprehensive data solutions through industry leading expertise, to assist both public and private customers in the transition to unmanned technology. The focus is to support demanding clients by collecting time-critical data with the use of unmanned technology.

Founded in 2014, the company has offices in Sandnes, Oslo and Frankfurt, and has quickly become one of Europe’s leading providers of unmanned systems and services, with operations across the continent. The company is ISO 9001-2015 certified by DNV-GL for the operation, maintenance and sales of unmanned systems and sensor technology. Nordic Unmanned is listed on Euronext Growth Oslo (NUMND).

About DroneMatrix

DroneMatrix is a leading hi-tech company building and implementing the next generation of aerial robotic technology. These automated intelligent drone solutions are safe, reliable and flexible to implement in any kind of industrial environment.

Central in the offering is a highly reliable ‘drone-in-a-box’ technology (YACOB), characterized by high quality and highly reliable data connectivity and controlled based on a flawless and comprehensive Command & Control UOM platform, the Aerial Robotic Worksystem (AR-WS).

DroneMatrix is the founding father of unmanned drone technology in Belgium and is responsible for the development of the commercial air layer operated by aerial robotics (6th NeTWorK).  DroneMatrix is committed to making its mark in a growing global unmanned market through important references and solid partnerships.

Founded in 2015 by the family Vanwelkenhuyzen and located in Hasselt, Belgium.

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FAA and AURA to Support Critical Communications in National Airspace
FAA and AURA to Support Critical Communications in National Airspace

AURA Network Systems (AURA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have entered into a four-year Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) to help determine performance standards for Air Traffic Control (ATC) voice communications supporting unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) within the national airspace system (NAS). The project is essential to eventual regulations empowering applications ranging from cargo flights to infrastructure inspections and first-responder operations.

The FAA agreement is a strong start for AURA in 2022 and follows an impressive 2021. The company’s milestones last year included being selected by the FAA to a special rulemaking committee tasked with regulating beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) aircraft, as well as a Federal Communications Commission ruling allowing the company to expand its network to foster UAS operations at all altitudes across the nation. AURA has also been selected by NASA as a National Campaign partner to work towards integrating air taxies, cargo-delivery aircraft and revolutionary air-vehicle concepts into the national airspace system (NAS).

The joint FAA-AURA effort expected to get underway this month is designed to better inform RTCA DO-377 Minimum Aviation System Performance Standards (MASPS) for Air Traffic Control (ATC) voice communications supporting UAS operations within the NAS. RTCA (previously Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics) develops technical guidance for both government regulatory authorities and industry.

“AURA considers it a privilege to continue working with the FAA and other federal agencies to enhance the commercial viability of the UAS market,” said Cofounder and CEO Bill Tolpegin. “We look forward to utilizing our secure, private network to deliver our ATC voice solution and, ultimately, our beyond visual line of sight capabilities to support advanced levels of autonomy for safe UAS integration into the national airspace.”

AURA Cofounder and President Tamara Casey pointed out that the public-private partnership will focus on research with the FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center, located near the Atlantic City International Airport in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey. She noted, “This collaboration with the nation’s premier transportation system laboratory allows us to continue building our partnerships with both regulators and innovators on the path to unlocking the tremendous potential of UAS.”

The joint project will test latency and evaluate voice quality/speech intelligibility of air-to- ground radio-path transmissions between UAS pilots and FAA voice-switch air traffic controller positions. The provision of ATC voice communications relayed through an unmanned aircraft is a unique offering of AURA, and integration with the FAA voice systems is an essential step toward gaining regulatory approval for the service.

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Swoop Aero and UAVAid enter a strategic partnership in Sierra Leone – sUAS News – The Business of Drones

UAVaid and Swoop Aero have entered into a strategic partnership for air logistics services in Sierra Leone.

Swoop Aero’s autonomous eVTOL aircraft will be integrated in UAVaid’s mixed-fleet drone offering in Sierra Leone and complement UAVaid’s long-range fixed-wing HANSARD drones.

“As sustainable drone logistics continues to cement its place in LMIC and high resourced markets alike, combining complementary technology opens opportunities to deepen the role of air mobility in supply chains,” said Swoop Aero’s CEO and co-founder Eric Peck.

“Integration is key to solving complex supply chain challenges. That’s why, in all our operations, we ensure our platform seamlessly integrates to generate real impact – be that with adjacent logistics solutions, existing supply chain systems, processes and technology or the local health system and communities.  We are excited to have the agility of the Swoop Aero platform support UAVaid’s service offering in the Sierra Leone market, complementing the capabilities of their long-range fixed-wing Hansard drone.”

“With market-leading safety record and eVTOL capabilities, we are delighted to be able to complement our long-range HANSARD platform, with Swoop Aero’s eVTOL systems in the Sierra Leone market.  This partnership brings new and exciting capabilities to our service offering and, by broadening the range of use-cases we can support in this market, we are able to provide solutions to an even wider range of needs experienced by the local population, particularly around medical logistics.  This may include medical sample collection for disease surveillance or improved diagnostic testing” said UAVAid co-founder James Ronen.

“With such a good fit of complementary technologies, we look forward to working with Swoop Aero and expanding the scope of collaboration between us in this and other markets.”