- Greifswald University Hospital, German air ambulance service DRF Luftrettung and Wingcopter successfully test the safe transport of blood samples by drone
- Use of Wingcopters can significantly speed up emergency care in rural areas
Greifswald/Germany, September 14, 2021 – 26 kilometers (16 miles) between Greifswald and Wolgast – that is the distance over which Wingcopter drones recently transported blood samples in the Northeast German federal state of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania. The flights were carried out by Greifswald University Medical Center in cooperation with DRF Luftrettung and Wingcopter as part of the MV|LIFE|DRONE Challenge project of the hospital’s Department of Anesthesiology. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Energy, Infrastructure and Digitalization of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania and intends to improve structures of regional emergency care by integrating Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) into the rescue chain and emergency medical transports.
The flights beyond the pilots’ visual line of sight (BVLOS) carried a pneumatic tube including 250 grams of blood samples. The Wingcopter completed the 26-kilometer route in an average of 18 minutes, nearly twice as fast as ground-based transport. The use of Wingcopter drones could thus significantly speed up emergency medical care in rural areas and help save lives. In the event of a blood transfusion being necessary at short notice, for example, blood samples from Wolgast District Hospital must be transported to Greifswald University Hospital for analysis in order to determine the appropriate donor blood.
Ansgar Kadura, co-founder and CSO of Wingcopter, comments: “With this project, we have demonstrated that we can also improve medical care and quality of life in rural areas in Germany. With our new unmanned aerial vehicle, the Wingcopter 198, this can be carried out even more efficiently in the future. We look forward to continued collaboration with the project team at the Department of Anesthesiology as part of the MV|LIFE|DRONE Challenge and beyond.”
The goal of Greifswald University Medical Center is to establish permanent flight connections between the medical center in Greifswald and hospitals in the surrounding area as soon as possible. Drones are also to be used to support first responders on site, for example by quickly transporting medications, transfusions, or emergency medical equipment such as defibrillators to the scene of an accident.
“We are continuing to work towards the goal of shortening long distances in the region for the benefit of our population. Key to this is the integration of new technologies into existing rescue and care systems as part of comprehensive care concepts,” emphasizes Dr. Mina Baumgarten, project manager of the MV|LIFE|DRONE-Challenge project, adding: “The next step on the way to realizing this must be to transfer tests into longer-term use under real-world circumstances; the conditions in the region are ideal for this.”
Wingcopter is a German manufacturer and service provider of eVTOL unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) dedicated to improving and saving the lives of people worldwide through meaningful commercial and humanitarian applications. The startup is focused on optimizing medical supply chains. In the future, Wingcopter will also deliver packages, tools, and spare parts, as well as food and groceries. Thanks to its patented tilt-rotor mechanism, the Wingcopter 198 can take off and land vertically like a multicopter, while flying long distances as efficiently and quickly as a fixed-wing aircraft, even in rain and wind.
In 2020, Wingcopter was named a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum. Wingcopter’s investors include Xplorer Capital, Futury Capital, Hessen Kapital III, and Corecam Capital Partners.
More information can be found at www.wingcopter.com as well as Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
About the MV|LIFE|DRONE Challenge project
The MV|LIFE|DRONE-Challenge (MVLD-Challenge) is a project of the project partners University Medical Center Greifswald and DRF Luftrettung funded by the German Federal Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Energy, Infrastructure and Digitalization of the German state of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania. The goal of the project is to improve structures of regional emergency care by integrating unmanned aerial vehicles (UAS, Unmanned Aerial Systems) into the rescue chain and into medical emergency transports.
MVLD-Challenge takes up preliminary work on prototypical technology solutions and elaborates legal frameworks, deployment concepts and operator models, taking into account climatic and specific regional requirements in Germany. The region of Vorpommern-Greifswald, as the center of research activity, serves as a model region for the reorganization of preclinical emergency care in strategic, sustainable networks.By PRESS
The U.S. Navy is developing an uncrewed, solar-powered aircraft known as Skydweller that is designed to remain airborne for 90 days at a stretch. It was revealed Thursday that the drone will be equipped with state-of-the-art analytics from Palantir Technologies to rapidly process the vast amounts of data it collects literally on the fly. The aircraft, being developed by U.S.-Spanish company Skydweller Aero, will be provide the capability to persistently watch wide expanses of oceans as never before.
The idea of an ‘eternal aircraft’ that uses sun power by day and batteries by night has been around for more than 20 years. NASA’s giant HELIOS prototype flew to over 90,000 feet in 2001, but, like most subsequent solar aircraft, it was comparatively fragile and broke up in flight in 2007. This fragility has been a running problem in solar aircraft development and has repeatedly led to programs being delayed or cancelled, notably Google’s Solara 50, which crashed in 2015, and Facebook’s Aquila, which suffered the same fate 2016.
However, Skydweller comes from more robust and proven stock, as it is based on the crewed Solar Impulse 2 aircraft, which flew around the world in stages in 2016. The current Skydweller prototype is the Solar Impulse 2 airframe, which has been modified for uncrewed operation.
The solar-powered drone will fly missions of up to 90 days without landingSKYDWELLER AERO
“Solar Impulse spent over a decade developing an airworthy design sufficient for a human pilot and flight over densely populated areas to successfully complete their mission,” Skydweller Aero CEO Robert Miller told me. “We purchased the IP, processes, information, test articles, and a design legacy of over 1,250 flight hours, including a successful circumnavigation.”
Because the Solar Impulse team worked to the safety standard of manned aircraft, and because they had to deal with the weight of a human being — whereas solar aircraft like the Zephyr only carry a few pounds of payload – they had to build it far stronger.
The crucial difference between the current model and the original Solar Impulse 2 is, of course, that it is uncrewed. That removes the limitations that come with having a human who can only stay airborne for a few days at a time in a cramped capsule. It also frees up a lot of capacity.
“When we remove the cockpit, we are enabling true persistence and providing the opportunity to install up to about 400 kilograms [880 pounds] of payload capacity,” says Miller.
The Navy is developing Skydweller under its Autonomous Maritime Patrol Aircraft program. This will carry sensors, communications and electronic warfare equipment on missions lasting for up to 90 days.
“This technological leap will allow a single Skydweller aircraft to more effectively perform the mission of numerous manned & unmanned ISR [intelligence. Surveillance and reconnaissance] /configurable assets, eliminate risk to human pilots, and provide a level of persistence not available anywhere else in the military inventory, or the world,” according to a recent budget document.
Currently the U.S. Navy operates the giant MQ-4C Triton drone for long-range surveillance missions. This has a bigger wingspan than a 737 airliner, and a conventional turbofan engine giving an endurance of 30 hours, impressive by the standards of crewed aircraft but not compared to the 90 days that Skydweller offers. The Triton is also extremely expensive at over $240 million each. The new solar aircraft are a fraction of the size and a fraction of the cost – but they will also be much smarter in terms of onboard brains.
Skydweller Aero announced Thursday that it’s teaming with Palantir Technologies, a publicly traded U.S. company specializing in big data analytics. Skydweller will use Palantir’s Foundry platform to handle and fuse complex data collected by its sensors.
“By using Palantir Foundry, we will be able to quickly analyze - and get the most value – out of the large amounts of data we'll be processing,” says Miller.
Palantir technology, credited with helping find Osama bin Laden, has a formidable reputation in the defense intelligence sector. Palantir was called 'Silicon Valley's most secretive unicorn' and credited with giving the military 'a god's-eye view of Afghanistan.' The company's ability to make sense of the rising tide of big data has seen it go from strength to strength — though it has yet to turn a profit.
Skydweller will carry day and night imaging cameras, plus imaging radar and other sensors. The Foundry software will help make sense of the data, not just by helping identify objects.
For example, the companies say that rather than relaying video back to operators so they can try to figure out if a black rectangle showing against the water is a ship, it can fuse the data from multiple sensors to confirm and provide details that cannot be picked out by radar or video alone. This might, for example, not just confirm that there is a ship, but that there is high confidence the vessel is a Chinese Type 052D destroyer at a specific location moving SSE at 23 knots.
Having this type of analysis on board should provide actionable intelligence faster. It also avoids the bandwidth limitation that causes so many problems for other intelligence-gathering drones. Satellite communications can only carry so much information, and while other drones might store data for analysis when they land, anything collected is liable to be out-of-date after a three-month mission.
Pre-processing also means that the aircraft only needs to pass back a small quantity of relevant data, rather than endless high-resolution video of empty sea. A small team of operators and analysts will be able to handle a large fleet of drones.
The current U.S. Navy contract covers development and demonstration of the aircraft’s abilities to carry out extended missions and operate autonomously. If successful, we may see large numbers of solar aircraft carrying out persistent surveillance with worldwide reach – and not just over the oceans.By David Hambling
The Chinese company Shenzhen DJI Sciences and Technologies Ltd. (DJI) was placed on the Department of Commerce’s Entity List in December 2020 for its role I supporting China’s human rights abuses.
We write to request that the Department maintain and enforce DJI’s status
on Entity List and investigate DJI’s drone pricing which has eroded the domestic manufacturing base.
Reporting over the past few years suggests that DJI drones may have been used by Chinese security forces in Xinjiang engaged in human rights abuses. Prior to reporting in 2020, the DJI website outlined a deal for ‘strategic cooperation’ to provide police drones to the public security bureau of Xinjiang.
The content was removed after reporters inquired about it. Later that year, the Department placed DJI on its Entity List—along with 76 other companies—and criticized China’s use of “ubiquitous surveillance to repress its citizens in Xinjiang.”
Additional evidence emerged revealing drone footage of men shackled and blindfolded at a train station in Xinjiang in 2019. We are gravely concerned that DJI drones may have been used to perpetuate human rights abuses and with attempts to cover up their potential involvement.
This record of complicity and perfidy underscores that DJI should remain on the Department’s Entity List until it can prove it has disassociated itself from these abuses. Unfortunately, consumers looking for alternatives to buying DJI products have few options. In 2020, DJI had 77% of the American consumer drone market.
Its next closest rival had less than 4% of the market. DJI was able to attain its monopoly through extremely low pricing. Reports indicate that DJI dropped its prices for consumer drones by as much as 70% in 2015.6 Since then, three of their largest competitors stopped production of consumer drones. The result has been a dramatic oss of domestic production capability, according to an official from the Department of Defense.
These tactics have harmed consumer choice while making DJI the default consumer drone provider in the United States. We respectfully request that the Department of Commerce investigate DJI’s pricing of its consumer drone products and its successful effort to drive competitors out of the market.
DJI deserves additional scrutiny by the Department of Commerce for its history of complicity with human rights abuses and its market tactics. We ask that DJI remain on the Department’s Entity List and that the Department investigate its pricing of consumer drones which has harmed American consumers. Thank you for considering our requestsBy PRESS
Sandnes – Today, Nordic Unmanned revealed the ground-breaking Staaker
BG-300 Railway Drone application, which alternates between an unmanned aerial vehicle and unmanned ground vehicle whilst on railway tracks to perform rail maintenance and inspection.
Inspection and condition-based rail maintenance are key factors when planning for increasing the capacity and use of a train service. The work is dirty and potentially dangerous; therefore, maintenance is usually conducted at night or when there is no planned traffic, meaning maintenance occupies train service time and there is potentially a lack of consistent data that maps out the current state of the railway.
The Railway Drone can precision lubricate rail switches and inspect critical parts of the railway and its surroundings whilst driving on the track, collecting data with state-of-the-art cameras and sensors attached. When it encounters oncoming traffic, it will autonomously fly to the side of the track and let traffic pass. The Railway Drone can cover more than 200 km of rail in one mission using energy from hydrogen fuel cells.
“Our ambition is to make rail maintenance and inspection far more efficient, safe and
environmentally friendly. We’re already working with railways, and we see extremely exciting opportunities for drones in this market. Rail infrastructure will form a sizeable part of our 2025 growth strategy” says Knut Roar Wiig, CEO of Nordic Unmanned.
The Staaker BG-300 Railway Drone is the latest addition to our Staaker family of products and is specifically developed in cooperation with a large European national railway infrastructure owner.
We expect to start delivering full commercial services with The Staaker BG-300 Railway Drone in the first half of 2022 in Europe.
- Knut Roar Wiig, CEO, +47 92 66 66 59, email@example.com
- Pål Kristensen, Project Leader Staaker Railway Drone, +47 95 82 79 98, firstname.lastname@example.org
- 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.
ALTI Unmanned Aircraft Systems was named the winner of a Gold Stevie® Award in the Company of the Year – Aerospace & Defense category in The 18 th Annual International Business Awards® today.
The International Business Awards are the world’s premier business awards program.
All individuals and organizations worldwide – public and private, for-profit and non-profit, large and small – are eligible to submit nominations. The 2021 IBAs received entries from organizations in 63 nations and territories.
As the ongoing COVID-19 crisis will prevent winners from receiving their awards on
stage during a traditional gala IBA banquet, winners will be celebrated instead during a virtual ceremony on Wednesday, 8 December.
More than 3,700 nominations from organizations of all sizes and in virtually every
industry were submitted this year for consideration in a wide range of categories,
including Company of the Year, Marketing Campaign of the Year, Best New Product or
Service of the Year, Startup of the Year, Corporate Social Responsibility Program of the Year, and Executive of the Year, among others. This year’s competition also featured a number of categories to recognize organizations’ and individuals’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
ALTI Unmanned Aircraft Systems won in the Company of the Year for Aerospace &
Defense – Small category.
ALTI is an industry-leading unmanned aircraft manufacturing company, based in
Knysna, South Africa, with a focus on ultra-long endurance vertical take-off and landing unmanned aircraft. ALTI has been exporting its products around the world since 2012 having sold over 1000 drones internationally. ALTI has grown organically with zero funding over the years and only earlier this year took on an international investor for future growth.
With judges commenting that ALTI Unmanned Aircraft Systems showed a phenomenal growth trajectory from its inception. “I am extremely proud of the work that my team has put in to achieve the results that we have with ALTI, as we have grown, it has been an incredible journey for both myself and everyone involved and we as a team are honored to receive this award” stays Duran De Villiers, Owner & Director of ALTI Unmanned Aircraft Systems.
Stevie Award winners were determined by the average scores of more than 260
executives worldwide who participated in the judging process from June through early
“What we’ve seen in this year’s IBA nominations is that organizations around the world, in every sector, have continued to innovate and succeed, despite the setbacks, obstacles and tragedies of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” said Stevie Awards president Maggie Gallagher. “All of this year’s Stevie Award winners are to be applauded for their persistence and their resilience. We look forward to celebrating their achievements with them during our 8th December virtual awards ceremony.”
Details of The International Business Awards and the lists of Stevie Award winners
are available at www.StevieAwards.com/IBA.
About ALTI Unmanned Aircraft Systems
ALTI is an industry-leading, award-winning unmanned aircraft manufacturing company operating out of Knysna, South Africa, focusing on long-range and endurance vertical take-off and landing unmanned aircraft. ALTI aircraft are designed to fly multiple payloads, complete smart autonomous flight missions and provide the situational awareness needed for demanding security & surveillance operations.
For more information, visit www.altiuas.com
About the Stevie Awards
Stevie Awards are conferred in eight programs: the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards, the
German Stevie Awards, the Middle East & North Africa Stevie Awards, The American
Business Awards®, The International Business Awards®, the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, the Stevie Awards for Great Employers, and the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. Stevie Awards competitions receive more than 12,000 nominations each year from organizations in more than 70 nations.
Honouring organizations of all types and sizes and the people behind them, the Stevies recognize outstanding performances in the workplace worldwide.
Learn more about the Stevie Awards at www.StevieAwards.comBy PRESS
LightWare LiDAR LLC, is now shipping the smallest and lightest scanning LiDAR on the market.
This USA-based company specializes in the design and manufacture of LiDAR sensors for autonomous vehicles and machines. The award winning SF45 scanning microLiDAR™ weighs just 59g but delivers the performance of much larger sensors.
“The SF45 democratizes machine perception, bringing vision, safety and practicality to even the smallest unmanned systems. Machines don’t have 3D perception, so they can’t make sense of unexpected obstacles. Our mission is to save the world’s machines one microLiDAR™ at a time!”, explains Philip Constantine, CEO of LightWare LiDAR LLC.
The SF45 enables a whole new world of applications by providing accurate position, distance and proximity sensing to drones and UGVs. Able to detect obstacles in bright sunlight at 50m, the SF45 delivers a clear understanding of the machine’s environment to either the onboard autopilot or a remote operator.
Constantine expands: “Conventional GPS is often relied upon to provide location information so a drone can follow a pre-determined flight plan. Unfortunately, the real world puts unexpected obstacles in the way. This leads to collisions and the loss of both the drone and its expensive payload. The SF45 keeps a continuous lookout for these hazards and warns of potential collisions, giving the autopilot plenty of time to react.”
To complement the SF45, LightWare LiDAR manufactures a family of microLiDAR™ sensors such as the tiny SF000/B (only 8g). Data from these sensors allow drones a safe take-off and precision landing, to hold position near an object being inspected or closely follow terrain without flying into trees.
The microLiDAR™ family is compatible with standard autopilots (Ardupilot/PX4) and API’s are provided for custom controllers, such as RaspberryPi and Arduino.
Constantine goes on to say, “With prices starting at only USD $249, our affordable microLiDAR™ sensors bring perception to autonomous machines so that our customers can do their job safely and reliably.” Constantine adds, “A key advantage of our microLiDAR™ sensors is that they are not cameras, and do not invade the privacy of the public. This is becoming more important as autonomous vehicles and other machines begin to work alongside people in their daily lives.”
AgEagle Aerial Systems Inc. (NYSE American: UAVS) (“AgEagle” or the “Company”), an industry-leading provider of drones, sensors and software, today announced its financial results for the second quarter reporting period ended June 30, 2021.
Commenting on the results, Brandon Torres Declet, AgEagle’s Chief Executive Officer, stated, “Our strong second quarter results reflect our successful execution and emboldens our resolve to build enduring, long-term shareholder value by remaining focused on research and development, building internal talent and collaboration across our brands, and driving the implementation of growth strategies aimed at bringing innovative new solutions to global enterprises. Delivering high performance, full stack, drone solutions to a broad range of industries, including energy, construction, agriculture and government, it is our firm belief that AgEagle can positively disrupt and help to transform how businesses within these verticals operate.”
Financial Highlights for the Three-Months Ended June 30, 2021, and 2020
- Revenues rose significantly to $1.94 million from approximately $16,000 due primarily to new revenue contribution from MicaSense, acquired by AgEagle in late January 2021, and Measure Global (“Measure”), acquired by the Company in mid-April 2021. Revenue growth was also positively impacted by increased sales of our HempOverview platform to the State of Iowa and Florida.
- Second quarter revenues by segment were as follows: sensor sales totaled $1.71 million, software subscription sales totaled $173,000 and drone and custom manufacturing sales totaled $60,000.
- Gross profit margin improved to 50% from 8% largely because of the Company’s strategy to expand its mix of product offerings through the acquisitions of MicaSense and Measure.
- Net loss declined to $4.68 million, or $0.07 loss per share, for the second quarter of 2021. This compared to a net loss – after factoring non-cash charges of $9.07 million associated with the Company’s financing activities in the second quarter of 2020 – of $10.33 million, or $0.31 loss per share.
Financial Highlights for the Six-Months Ended June 30, 2021, and 2020
- For the first six months of 2021, revenues climbed nearly 800% to $3.64 million, up from revenues of $408,000 for the comparable six months in 2020. The increase was attributable to strong sensor sales by MicaSense, coupled with new revenue contribution from Measure. Revenue was also positively impacted by increased sales of the Company’s HempOverview™ platform.
- Revenues by segment for the six months ended June 30, 2021, were as follows: sensor sales totaled $3.38 million, software subscription sales were $196,000 and drone and custom manufacturing sales totaled $60,000.
- Gross profit margin remained unchanged at 54% on compared to prior year period,
- Net loss declined to $7.61 million, or $0.21 loss per share, for the first half of 2021, compared to a net loss of $10.77 million, or $0.44 loss per share, for the first six months of 2020.
- As of June 30, 2021, the Company’s cash position was $39.21 million, compared to $23.94 million cash on hand as of December 31, 2020.
Second Quarter 2021 Operational Highlights
- In mid-April, AgEagle completed its acquisition of Measure, an award-winning aerial intelligence solutions company, in a cash and stock transaction valued at approximately $45 million. Shortly thereafter, Measure co-founder and CEO, Brandon Torres Declet, was named as Chief Operating Officer of AgEagle and appointed as an executive member of the Company’s Board of Directors. In late May, the Board named Declet as AgEagle’s new Chief Executive Officer, replacing the Company’s former CEO.
- In late May, AgEagle entered into an at-the-market sales agreement with Stifel, Nicolaus & Company and Raymond James, under which the Company may sell its common stock, from time to time, for up to $100 million in aggregate sales proceeds in “at the market” transactions. During the month of June, the Company sold 5,271,100 shares of common stock at a stock price between $5.02 and $6.30 per share, raising net proceeds of $28.65 million.
- AgEagle announced the integration of Measure’s Ground Control software with Parrot’s ANAFI, ANAFI USA and ANAFI Thermal drone platforms, thereby providing enterprise customers with a world-class, end-to-end solution for readily managing and scaling drone fleet operation workflows.
- In June, AgEagle was added to the Russell 2000® Index following the conclusion of the 2021 Russell Indexes annual reconstitution.
- Measure’s Ground Control was certified SOC2 compliant by Lindford & Company after an extensive audit, allowing the software to be sold to the largest companies in the world with the strictest cybersecurity requirements.
- The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) expanded its licensing of AgEagle’s HempOverview™ SaaS platform, enabling FDACS to leverage the full breadth and power of HempOverview to manage hemp farming registration, real-time best management practices, oversight and enforcement and reporting functions. In addition, FDACS contracted with AgEagle to develop a custom registration software platform to enhance communications, licensing and general compliance relating to the oversight and protection of more than 500 endangered and commercially exploited wild plants native to the state of Florida.
- MicaSense launched a comprehensive outreach effort to its value-added-resellers (VARs) worldwide in an effort to garner increased sales and support for its proprietary sensors, including the Altum™, RedEdge-MX™ and RedEdge-MX™ Blue. MicaSense has global distribution in over 70 countries.
Continuing, Declet said, “We have made significant strides operationally over the past several months, increasing our confidence in our plan to continue investing in the design and development of true leading-edge drones, sensors and software solutions capable of providing our customers with material cost-saving efficiencies, data-backed actionable intelligence and enhanced safety and security for their workforces and worksites. We’ve also recently added key leadership roles to our growing team and are actively seeking many more talented and motivated professionals to join our organization and purpose-driven culture.”
“Looking ahead, we intend to continue to invest in our own innovations, pioneering new and enhanced products and solutions that enable us to exceed the expectations of our customers and support our ecosystem of partners and, most specifically, our value-added-resellers (VARs). Moreover, through our active advocacy efforts and direct involvement with government- and industry-sponsored agencies and organizations, we believe our Company will remain at the forefront of shaping the rulemaking guidelines and regulations that will help to make autonomous flight of unmanned aerial systems safe, reliable, and accessible to more businesses worldwide,” concluded Declet.
For more detailed information on AgEagle’s second quarter financial results, please view the related Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and available at www.sec.gov.
Corporate Update Conference Call and Webcast:
As a reminder, AgEagle’s leadership team will host a live conference call and webcast today, beginning at 11:00 AM Eastern Time. The corporate update will be broadcast live and available for replay here or via AgEagle’s website at https://ageagle.com/events/ shortly after the call concludes.
About AgEagle Aerial Systems Inc.
Founded in 2010, AgEagle is one of the nation’s leading commercial drone technology providers. AgEagle’s mission is to empower The Drone Age™ by providing American-made drone solutions to the world. The Company is leveraging its reputation as one of the industry’s premium technology solutions and aerial data intelligence providers to deliver high performance, end-to-end drone solutions for commercial use worldwide. AgEagle products are proudly manufactured and assembled in the United States. For additional information, please visit our websites at www.ageagle.com, www.measure.com and www.micasense.com.By PRESS
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the UK’s research and innovation agency, has set out its vision for the future of air travel in Britain.
Compiled by leading experts from industry, academia and government, the Future Flight Vision and Roadmap sets out how zero emission air travel within and between British cities could be commonplace within a decade.
UKRI’s Future Flight Deputy Challenge Director Simon Masters said,
“Achieving accessible, safe, sustainable transport will be a key element in the fight against climate change. That’s why in the year of COP26, UKRI is setting out what it thinks air travel should look like in 2030.
“Some of the concepts in this roadmap might seem a little further away than 2030, but the future is closer than you think. We’re already seeing some these ideas put into practice, with the UK’s first vertical takeoff airport months from opening and a hybrid air travel trial taking place in Scotland at this very moment.”
LOWER CONGESTION, LOWER EMISSIONS
One of the key elements of the roadmap is the use of hydrogen or electrically powered aircraft to provide short journeys for up to 10 people. These vertical-takeoff air taxis would eliminate carbon emissions, ease congestion in British cities and reduce journey times for travelers.
The same is true of the increased use of drones by emergency services and for delivering goods. These will provide rapid and convenient access to everyday goods and services, while also supporting emergency services in undertaking complex inspections and operations.
Also in the roadmap are sustainably powered small aircraft to provide short regional flights, providing transportation between towns and cities and serving more remote communities. These would then link in with other transport modes within a city, allowing for a seamless, end to end travel experience.
The publication of the roadmap comes as aviation company Ampaire launches a week of hybrid electric light aircraft flight trials. The company, who are part of the UKRI-funded Sustainable Aviation Test Environment (SATE) project, recently undertook a demonstration flight where one of their hybrid electric EEL aircrafts completed a 30-minute journey from Kirkwall in the Orkney Isles to Wick airport in the North of Scotland.
Over in Coventry as part of its 2021 City of Culture programme the Air-One project, led by Urban-Air Port and supported by Coventry City Council is working on setting up the world’s smallest airport. Specifically designed to support electric vertical take off and landing aircraft this pop-up airport can be deployed in days, in an area 60% smaller than a standard helipad and with minimal impact on the environment.
About the Future Flight Challenge
The aviation system of the future needs more than just aircraft. The world is shaping up for a third revolution in aviation, one that sees greener, more flexible ways to fly. The Future Flight Challenge is a £300 million programme designed to secure the UK’s position at the front of the revolution.
The Challenge aims to transform how we connect people, deliver goods and provide services by speeding up the acceptance of these innovative ways and bringing them into use safely and practically. By combining control and regulation with infrastructure and aircraft systems to create new operating models the Challenge is creating the aviation system of the future.
For more information, go to Future flight challenge – UKRI.
About UK Research and Innovation
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is the largest public funder of research and innovation in the UK, with a budget of around £8bn. It is composed of seven disciplinary research councils, Innovate UK and Research England.
We operate across the whole country and work with our many partners in higher education, research organisations businesses, government, and charities.
Our vision is for an outstanding research and innovation system in the UK that gives everyone the opportunity to contribute and to benefit, enriching lives locally, nationally and internationally.
Our mission is to convene, catalyse and invest in close collaboration with others to build a thriving, inclusive research and innovation system that connects discovery to prosperity and public good.
About Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund
The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund aims to bring together the UK’s world leading research with business to meet the major industrial and societal challenges of our time.
The fund was created to provide funding and support to UK businesses and researchers, part of the government’s £4.7 billion increase in research and development over the next 4 years.
It was designed to ensure that research and innovation takes centre stage in the Government’s modern Industrial Strategy. It is run by UK Research and Innovation.
SATE is the UK’s first operationally based aviation test centre based at Kirkwall Airport in Orkney. Launched as part of UKRI’s Future Flight Challenge which supports the development of greener ways to fly, the project will test different types of low-carbon aircraft to identify the next generation of air services as well as the operational airport infrastructure necessary to support sustainable aviation.
SATE will also address the challenge to improve UK regional air connectivity and helping to decarbonise the Highlands and Islands region, the innovative project will stimulate job creation and use local renewable energy, supporting Orkney’s net-zero ambitions.
Led by Highlands and Islands Airports Limited, the SATE project brings together an international consortium of 13 partners including aviation industry specialists, local Orkney and Caithness businesses, public sector bodies and academia.
Ampaire Inc. is leading the charge in aircraft electrification. The Los Angeles-based company’s mission is to be the world’s most trusted developer of practical and compelling electric aircraft. To start, the company is upgrading existing passenger aircraft to electric power—the quickest and most capital efficient approach to making commercial electric air travel a reality. Ampaire Ltd. is the subsidiary company. For more information, visit www.ampaire.com.By PRESS
Residents of a remote Alaska coastal community will fly unmanned aircraft systems to support the Coast Guard’s oil spill response, fuel tank inspection, and search and rescue efforts.
The project, supported by the University of Alaska Fairbanks, will also provide data to enhance local decision-making on environmental and community issues.
Seven residents of Unalakleet, about 150 miles across Norton Sound from Nome, are participating in the program run by Jessica Garron, an affiliated researcher with the Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration at the UAF Geophysical Institute. Garron is a research assistant professor in the International Arctic Research Center at UAF.
“There is a disconnect between what the Coast Guard can do in Alaska in a spill response type of environment,” Garron said. “One of those problems is a 24- to 48-hour lag time in getting response teams into rural Alaska.
“This project is working to train a workforce to provide situational awareness during emergency response events,” she said, “as well as to support the Coast Guard’s mission of performing bulk fuel storage inspections while simultaneously providing workforce development opportunities in support of localized, science-based decision-making.”
The unmanned aircraft systems, or UAS, project runs through April 2022 and is funded by the Arctic Domain Awareness Center, a Center of Excellence in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The UAS project was born from a program initiated by the Native Village of Unalakleet. In 2018 the group received funding from the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Tribal Resilience and Ocean and Coastal Management and Planning Program to assess the use of unmanned aircraft systems and online tools to improve local decision-making.
That program was led by John Henry Jr., deputy director of the Native Village of Unalakleet; Margaret Hall, associate director of the national nonprofit Model Forest Policy Program; and Garron. Henry, who is joining six other Unalakleet residents in the training, and Hall are co-investigators in the project.
Henry said the BIA grant funding had two elements.
“One was to address future climate-related ocean and coastal management planning challenges that tribes may incur, and the second is to build long-term resilience through the establishment of a self-sustaining, localized and ongoing data collection and analysis program.”
To do so, the project team chose nine scientific study areas to assess based on Henry’s local insight: coastal erosion, river and sea flood preparation, infrastructure, water quality, air quality, cultural and historical site identification, extractable resources, wildlife, and plant community.
Unmanned aircraft were seen as useful for supporting local decision making in several of those areas.
“The unmanned aircraft systems might be able to offer the ability to build on the traditional ecological knowledge that is passed on by elders and other members of the community,” Hall said.
“This project is also hopefully an economic development opportunity for some of the members of the Norton Sound area, especially Unalakleet at this time,” she said. She noted that other Native villages in the region such as Elim, Shaktoolik and Golovin could eventually choose to pursue their own program or participate in this current one, if expanded in the future.
One major area in which the program can benefit the region is the detection and response to an oil spill, Hall said. The Norton Bay Intertribal Watershed Council has expressed concerns about heightened potential for spills as marine traffic increases year-round due to continuing declines in annual sea ice and about the emergency response time to an incident. Oil spills in the Bering Strait are also of increasing concern to the Coast Guard and other government entities that would be called upon to respond to an oil spill.
The UAS program launched in February, and the participants were selected in March. Each has a background that will prove helpful in the array of potential UAS uses, including environmental monitoring, hazardous materials handling, tank inspection, information technology and repair work.
The first virtual FAA training for UAS operation occurred in April; the final session occurred in early June. The participants will be taking their Federal Aviation Administration Part 107 certification exam in Anchorage. One participant has already been certified.
Flight protocols for various mission scenarios will be developed over the summer by the Unalakleet pilots, UAF researchers and Coast Guard personnel.
Smaller training aircraft have been procured for initial hands-on work with Garron’s team this fall. Operational aircraft for the program will be purchased in August or September and will be used for data collection flights after completion of hands-on training.
The program’s leaders hope the Unalakleet project can serve as a model and be replicated elsewhere in Alaska and in Coast Guard sectors in the Lower 48.By PRESS
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TISDALE, Sask. — Mounties say a man is in hot water for landing a helicopter to pick up a cool treat in a Saskatchewan town.
RCMP said in a news release Tuesday that they received a complaint on July 31 that a helicopter had landed in a high-traffic parking lot in Tisdale, which is about 215 kilometres east of Saskatoon.
They said the helicopter blew up dust and debris through the area that includes schools and an aquatic centre.
An investigation determined the landing was not an emergency.
Police said a passenger left the helicopter and went into a nearby Dairy Queen restaurant to buy an ice cream cake.
Officers said the pilot, who is a 34-year-old man from Leroy, Sask., had a licence to fly the helicopter but landed in an illegal spot.
The man, who has not been named, was charged with dangerous operation of an aircraft and is to appear in court next month.
Kiara Broeckel, who works at the Dairy Queen, said store employees didn’t know the customer had arrived by helicopter until the RCMP news release.
Since then, she said town residents have visited to ask if there is going to be another fly by and if the ice cream cakes are really worth a helicopter trip.
“Apparently they are,” said Broeckel. “I wouldn’t think you would take a helicopter to go get ice cream, but I guess some people do."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Aug. 11, 2021.
The Canadian Press