User blog: Bruce McPherson
OTTAWA – The federal government is fining a rogue drone pilot for flying the device over downtown Toronto as crowds celebrated the Raptors‘ historic NBA championship win – and again during the victory parade four days later.
Transport Canada says it will serve up a fine of $2,750 to the individual, who was not identified, following its investigation into the incidents in mid-June.
The earthbound pilot broke multiple rules, steering the drone within 30 metres of another person and through the controlled airspace of Toronto’s skyscraper canyons – which sit within three nautical miles of an airport. The Transport Department says the violator flew the remote-controlled device – which was not registered – despite lacking drone pilot certification.
Transport Minister Marc Garneau says safety is his “No. 1 priority” and that pilots “must never put people or aircraft in danger.”
Celebrations after the Raptors’ historic win against the Golden State Warriors on June 13 carried on late into the night in Canada’s biggest city.
The daytime victory celebration on June 17 saw an estimated two million people flood the downtown core in an event that drew criticism for its planning, with some bystanders caught in the crossfire when gunfire erupted near city hall, injuring four.By Staff The Canadian Press
AN ISIS terrorist blew himself up when the drone bomb he was operating ran low on battery — and flew back.
The idiotic killer was targeting allied forces after the Battle for Mosul in northern Iraq.
He had customised his weapon to carry plastic explosive and planned to detonate it by troops based in the city.
But his plan backfired because he had forgotten to sufficiently charge the device.
Civilian drones — as weaponised by ISIS — automatically ‘boomerang’ back to their point of launch when they start to run out of power.
They are programmed to return to prevent owners losing their machines.
UK troops — including the SAS — are training Iraqi soldiers as part of Operation Shader and are plagued by drone attacks.
A security source said: “We receive intelligence from locals about enemy activity and tactics.
“We learned this idiot had wired up his drone with explosives but was killed when it’s batteries ran low and it flew home.
“With a weak signal for some reason it detonated over his head.
“This caused quite a laugh for us but the drone threat is very real. The fighter killed himself last year due to his own ineptitude, but is still keeping moral high today.” ISIS has become advanced in its use of drone weapons, which it dubs its ‘air force’.
The battle for Mosul ended officially in 2017 but British troops are still training Iraqis there.
Although the battle for the city was won, the drone threat is ongoing.
Customised commercial versions — such as the £1,200 Chinese-made DJI Phantom — are used as flying bombs or to carry munitions to drop.
The source said a common, simple and effective tactic is to push a hand grenade — with pin pulled — in a steel tube attached to the aircraft.
Once over the target the drone is remotely dipped so the grenade slides out of the tube, releasing the trigger mechanism.
Some grenades are adapted with fins attached to help them fly more accurately.
Iraqi security forces then came up with their own response, by attaching shuttlecock feathers to their own grenades, again dropped by drone, to help guide the munitions to the ground.
The source added: “Drone warfare is hugely effective for insurgents.By Stephen Moyes
The drone operations accomplished a series of records and important achievements. The drones flew a total distance of 263 km over marine areas, in 24 flights, averaging a distance of 11 km away from operators in Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) ops, and landed on the ocean every time, successfully gathering data of illegal fishing activities and for marine ecology efforts, demonstrating that the technology works and can be replicated to similar environments and projects.
The drones were equipped with a dual setup of cameras: a forward-looking camera with video downlink to long distances. The camera panned left to right in order to scout great portions of land or water or to lock-on on a point of interest while the drone loitered, which allowed a semi-permanent view of a particular area. The camera also recorded HD video which turned out very useful for post-flight analysis by the marine biologists and the enforcement team.
The second camera captured vertical imagery that was used to create high resolution orthomosaics which revealed further details of the area surveyed. The images were later geo-referenced and the data captured identified environmental issues, such as accumulation of plastic debris, and of sargassum seaweed which can cause deoxygenation of the water and block out sunlight, or fishers past activity, for example. The combined information provides a clear picture of how the atolls are being used by both animals and illegal fishers. The knowledge is then utilized to make changes or recommendations on the policies governing the use of the marine area, as well as for prosecution of the illegal activities.
The drones were normally launched from a beach, but the expedition team also successfully launched the drones from a small boat on numerous occasions.
For additional details read the full report here.
The Amphibious version of the Aeromapper Talon allows maritime operations by autonomously belly landing on water. It’s the perfect solution for scouting, data collection and mapping thanks to its dual camera set up and long-range video link, up to 2hr endurance and demonstrated BVLOS capabilities up to 30kms from the operators.
The only truly amphibious multipurpose fixed wing drone in the market today, it can sustain repeated operations in salt or fresh water. Ideal for applications such as:
- Marine research and conservation
- Search and rescue
- Water quality monitoring
- Off-shore infrastructure inspection
- Coastal surveying
- Marine management
More information about the Aeromapper Talon Amphibious
Wreckage of a WING LOONG II reportedly shot down by a Turkish-made laser weapon in Libya in early Aug 19
Over the weekend I was intrigued to read a report posted by Army Recognition on 12 Aug entitled ‘Turkey uses laser weapon technology to shoot down Chinese UAV Wing Loong II in Libya,’ referring to an incident from 3 Aug 19. I tweeted about it, asking the question about why it had gone past largely unreported by mainstream commentators and traditional defence and aerospace press. It picked up quite a lot of interest over the weekend but nobody was able to add any further credibility to the initial source.
As this was of professional interest to me I did a little bit of reading to establish what was known about the reported engagement as this would represent the first use of a laser-based weapon to successfully shoot down an armed, unmanned combat ISR platform in combat. It was even more interesting due to the role-call of countries and actors directly or indirectly involved: Libya, GNA, LNA, UAE, Turkey, China - and not the usual major power proponents of military innovation.
It is reported that a UAE-operated, Chinese-manufactured MALE RPAS UCAV was engaged and shot down by a Turkish-built directed energy weapon, a vehicle-mounted laser, in Libya.
The USA and Russia may have more advanced directed energy weapons (DEW) programmes, however as the author of the Army Recognition article, Alexander Timokhin, points out: “ground-based combat vehicles with tactical-level lasers are not being built and used in Russia or the United States. This is done by the Turks.”
Libyan GNA forces had issued a statement and crash site photographs via Facebook on 3 Aug claiming they had shot down the RPAS near Misrata, reproduced here. It was also picked up by Akshita Aggarwal on Twitter the same day. But the incident has received very little mainstream commentary or analysis in the past fortnight in spite of, or perhaps due to, the involvement of non-traditionally dominant players in a complex theatre that attracts surprisingly little media coverage.
The US does not expect to install a production-standard laser-based weapon until 2021, on the destroyer USS Preble, although USS Ponce deployed to the Gulf in 2014 with AN/SEQ-3 Laser Weapon System and was authorised to employ it defensively.
In the UK a contract for the so-called Dragonfire laser weapon demonstrator was awarded in 2017 to an industry grouping managed by dstl and including UK-based weapons heavyweights. This demonstration was limited to assessing viability of laser weapons technology from the perspective of SWAP and effectiveness and is due to deliver a prototype capability demonstrator before the end of 2019.
In parallel to the capability demonstration, MoD is moving ahead with a procurement programme for directed energy weapons including laser, but has yet to get as far as the demonstration phase, only releasing a Prior Information Notice in Jul 19 and not expecting to move to trials until 2023.
Turkish manufacturers Aselsan and Roketsan have both sold production-standard DEW C-UAS systems. iHLS comment that the Turkish system used in this 3 Aug engagement in Libya was mounted on an off-road armoured car chassis and equipped with a Turkish-made optoelectronic guidance system that allows accurate aimpoint selection and holds the laser energy to the same point throughout the engagement, employing a continuous radiation mode without long interruptions to the “pumping” of the laser. If the reports are credible, this incident marks the realisation of a new threat vector to MALE RPAS operations that we should anticipate to proliferate rapidly outside the control of the ITAR regime.
Senior ISR Expert at Inzpire Ltd | UK ISR Warfare School graduate | RAF Reserves Officer
he number of mid-air conflicts between drones and crewed aircraft rose in the first half of this year in most parts of Canada, with Ontario leading the way by far, according to new statistics obtained by CBC News.
Transport Canada says between Jan. 1 and June 30, there were 33 "incidents" between drones and airplanes in Ontario's skies. During the same period in 2018, there were 24, and 25 in the first six months of 2017.
Transport Canada defines an incident as a conflict between a crewed aircraft and a drone that "poses a risk to aviation safety."
"More drones are flying, so there's more probability that incidents could be reported to the department," said Ryan Coates, manager of Transport Canada's remotely piloted aircraft systems task force. "They've just increased in numbers by the thousands."
- 'Brazen' drone footage of Raptors parade 'a slap in the face' to professional operators, pilot instructor says
During the same time period, the number of drone-airplane conflicts has risen in other regions across Canada, with the exception of Quebec, where they've dropped since the first half of 2017, from 11 incidents to six this year.
Even so, there has only been one case of a drone striking a crewed aircraft, according to Coates.
- In late 2017, a passenger plane and a drone collided over Quebec's Jean Lesage airport. There were no injuries and the plane landed safely.
- In November 2016, two flight attendants were injured when a Porter Airlines flight dove suddenly on its approach to Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.
"The crew observed a 'drone' type object on a collision course with the aircraft," the captain reported in documents obtained under a freedom of information request. "The object was described as: solid, dark, about 5-8 feet in diameter, and shaped like a doughnut."This chart shows the number of reported drone incidents posing a risk to aviation safety, region by region. (Transport Canada)
Emails between employees at Porter Airlines and Transport Canada investigators speculate the object could have escaped from a U.S. military base near Watertown, N.Y., where "they launch and test-fly drones." Ultimately, the object was never positively identified.Mike Smee - CBC News
Automatic Drone Charging In Outdoor Environments
Berlin, Germany, August 9, 2019 — Skysense today announced the launch of its long-awaited new High Power Outdoor Charging Pad product line.
After months of testing and the first successful deployments in Norway and Finland, Skysense today announced the launch of its new High Power Outdoor Charging Pad product line.
The autonomous charging station has been engineered as a turnkey solution that works out of the box. It is made of a weatherproof inox steel landing platform and an added payload of only 45 grams.
The system boasts 500W of power at a consistent 92% efficiency making it by the fastest and most lightweight turnkey solution for automatic drone charging on the market.
Skysense Outdoor Charging Pad features a rugged stainless steel conductive platform which has been designed to be permanently installed Outdoors, ensuring functionality in wet and harsh environments.
The company states that its proprietary Wired Charging Technology, charges the drone batteries at the maximum allowed charging rate:
“When a drone land on a wireless charging platform, it is very difficult to predict how long is going to take to recharge since the landing accuracy heavily affects the wireless charging efficiency. Skysense Wired Charging Technology is reliable and the company decided to be the first company to guarantee charging times of one (1) hour for LiPo batteries up to 10,000mAh.”
For the following three weeks following this announcement, you may take advantage of Skysense’s promotional offering granting 20% discount off all Outdoor Charging Pad product line. If you would like to secure your discount, you may contact Skysense through their website:
Skysense is a Qualcomm Ventures-backed startup building charging stations for NASA, enterprises, and startups, operating autonomous drones in the security, inspections, agriculture, and logistics markets. More information can be found on the company’s website: http://www.skysense.co
The U.S. Air Force selects Ascent Vision Technologies to provide a full suite of counter drone vehicles.
Bozeman, Montana – Ascent Vision Technologies (AVT) was recently awarded a contract to deliver a full suite of counter-drone vehicles to the U.S. Air Force. This unique capability, known as the eXpeditionary Mobile Air Defense Integrated System or X-MADIS, was selected by the Air Force after 18 months of testing, trials, and evaluation across multiple military services and operational spectrums. The total contract value exceeds $23mm and deliveries will begin later this year.
The mission of the X-MADIS is to detect, locate, track, identify and defeat small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) by combining the capabilities of radar, optics, radio frequency detection and electronic command and control mitigation of the aircraft. The X-MADIS is unique in that it accomplishes the mission while the unit is static or on-the-move.
This most recent contract award was the latest step in a three-year run for AVT’s expansion into Counter UAS (CUAS) operations and its dedicated research, development, testing and fielding of purpose-built CUAS components and integrated systems. AVT was founded and led by combat veterans of the US military and its focus remains the survivability of deployed service members.
In the past 2 years, worldwide incidents of negative drone-related activity have exploded from combatants using commercial off-the-shelf drones on the battlefield, to the intentional disruption of civilian airports. During the last 24 months, AVT has been awarded over $60 million in product and service-related contracts in support of multiple anti-drone initiatives for the US and allied militaries.
Recently, a variant of the MADIS family of systems, the L-MADIS which in use by the USMC, downed an Iranian drone in the Persian Gulf as it harassed a US Navy vessel. This was the latest event in an 18-month series of successful MADIS deployments in which it successfully countered enemy UAS in theatre.
“We are honored that the U.S. Air Force selected X-MADIS to combat the increasing threat of nefarious UAS activity against our military. The safety, security and survivability of our Airmen is paramount in the current UAS threat environment,” said Lee Dingman, President and Chief Commercial Officer for AVT.
AVT CEO Tim Sheehy added, “With the growing threat of weaponized sUAS employed on the modern battlefield, the need for effective and reliable counter UAS technology is crucial.
We are proud to have our technology ready to protect our Airmen from insidious sUAS attacks.”
The defense team of W. S. Darley & Co. (Itasca, IL – aka “Darley Defense”) was instrumental in shepherding the contract process for this award.
About Ascent Vision Technologies (AVT)
AVT specializes in innovative systems for counter UAS; air defense; ISR (intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance); and target acquisition for the defense and aerospace industry. AVT is a world-leading provider of CUAS solutions. The X-MADIS, eXpeditionary Mobile Air Defense Integrated System, is a proven fully integrated solution that detects, locates, tracks, identifies and defeats sUAS for fixed site and on-the-move mission. AVT
designs and manufactures high-performance, multi-sensor, gyro-stabilized imaging systems for airborne, ground and maritime domains, which are fielded in over 50 countries.
For more information on the X-MADIS system visit:
Professional users of prosumer-grade UAVs can now hover and land their drones precisely – for drone-in-a-box, autonomous charging, indoor operations, remote inspection missions and many other commercial use-cases.
Precision landing i.e. the ability to accurately land a drone on a landing platform has until now been available mainly for commercial-grade drones – particularly those running Ardupilot or PX4 autopilots. However, FlytBase now brings this powerful capability to prosumer grade drones (eg. the DJI Mavic and Phantom series, including all variants) that are SDK-enabled.
Fully autonomous precision landing is best delivered via a vision-based approach that leverages the inbuilt downward-looking camera and intelligent computer vision algorithms while avoiding the need for external sensors, cameras, and companion computers. The ability to configure and manage this capability over the cloud in real-time, customize the visual markers, and integrate with the ground control station makes it well suited for enterprise drone fleets.
Furthermore, commercially beneficial drone missions need the ability to land the drone precisely on any target location of interest or importance – not just on the home location. In fact, regardless of the landing location, there also needs to be a closed-loop that checks and ensures that the drone did indeed land precisely where intended.
Precision landing can be further complicated due to operations in environments with weak or no GPS signals (such as dense urban areas with tall buildings, warehouses, retail stores, etc.), or landing on moving platforms. FlytDock enables the UAV to accurately loiter and land in such scenarios, including night landings and low light drone operations.
For long-range, long-endurance, repeatable, BVLOS missions, customers need to deploy fully autonomous drone-in-a-box (DIAB) solutions, which require the drone to take-off, hover and land very accurately – along with automatic charging, environmental protection and remote control. The challenge is that existing DIAB offerings are overpriced to the point where production deployments are commercially unviable. The good news for customers is that prosumer drones are rapidly maturing along the technology S-curve, and are available at extremely compelling price points – thus driving enterprise DIAB solutions towards off-the-shelf drone hardware coupled with intelligent software that is built on an open architecture with APIs, plugins and SDKs. This combination – coupled with 3rd party charging pads and docking stations that use precision landing technology, and a cloud-based GCS – results in an integrated, cost-effective DIAB solution, at price points potentially one-tenth of the existing drone-in-a-box products.
Indoor drone operations may not need full DIAB solutions – instead, inductive or conductive, API-enabled charging pads may be sufficient. Nevertheless, they too require precision landing seamlessly integrated into the workflow to enable autonomous charging – including the ability
and robustness to navigate in no-GPS environments. Coupled with remote configuration & control over the cloud or a local network, and fail-safe triggers, such precision landing capability can drive large-scale indoor drone deployments.
Remote asset inspections, for example autonomous inspections of wind turbine farms located in far-off rural areas, may not require BVLOS permissions if granted regulatory waivers as part of FAA pilot programs. However, the ability to takeoff and land precisely from outdoor charging
pads or docking stations is a key capability for such asset monitoring missions, which may need to be conducted weekly or monthly per regulatory / maintenance mandates. Nitin Gupta, FlytBase Director, commented,
“We continue to expand the hardware-agnostic capabilities of our enterprise drone automation platform with this latest enhancement to FlytDock. Precision landing is now available to a customer segment that has been severely under-served so far. In fact, most commercial drone missions do not need expensive, monolithic drones, and can instead be reliably executed with off-the-shelf, SDK-enabled drones. Hence, we believe it is important to make our intelligent plugins available to drone technology providers and system integrators who are building cost-effective UAV solutions for their customers.
Prosumer-grade drone fleets can now be deployed in autonomous enterprise missions – with the ability to navigate and land reliably, repeatedly, accurately.”
To procure the FlytDock kit for your drone,
visit https://flytbase.com/precision-landing/, or write to email@example.com.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today introduced an update of B4UFLY, its app for helping pilots and less experienced operators ensure drone flights are safe and compliant with federal law.
The previous version of the app made it confusing at times to understand whether it’s legal to fly a drone, but the update, led by drone company KittyHawk, makes it easy to understand if it’s OK to fly with commands like “Good to Go”, “Warning”, and “Do Not Fly”, a trio meant to give users a red, yellow, or green light.
Real-time information from the FAA is also incorporated into the app, such as temporary flight restrictions near airports or stadiums as well as more permanent airspace restrictions placed on flight around critical infrastructure, airports, national parks, or military training routes.
In the future, B4UFLY will take into account factors like weather or major events like a public emergency or natural disaster.
B4UFLY is available for download on iOS and Android smartphones. More than 700,000 people have used B4UFLY since its release in 2016. Plans to upgrade the app were initially announced in late February.
Apps like B4UFLY will be crucial as airspace becomes more crowded with drones and other flying machines. The FAA is currently conducting experiments with public and private partners as part of its Unmanned Aircraft System Integrated Pilot Program (UAS IPP).
Experiments underway include drone usage to combat mosquitoes in Florida as well as food deliveries by Uber and 5G amplification by AT&T.
As part of the program, the San Diego Fire Department and Chula Vista Police Department are also deploying telepresence drones to get a view of emergency situations before vehicles on the ground can reach the scene.
In recent advances in commercial services via drones, Alphabet’s Wing began to make deliveries in Australia earlier this year and Finland this summer, while Amazon plans to begin trials of its latest Prime Air delivery drones in the coming months.
Deliveries in urban environments is by many considered to be the holy grail of the drone industry. Swedish software and drone service developer, Everdrone, just completed their first fully autonomous deliveries between two hospitals in central Gothenburg. The flight stretched 4,4 km and was made possible through a first-of-its-kind permit given out by the Swedish Transport Agency. The flight was also unique in the sense that the landing was performed in a GPS denied location between tall buildings and only made possible by Everdrone’s onboard sensor system.
Each year about 7400 transportations are carried out between the three major hospitals in Sweden’s second-largest city, Gothenburg. A large majority of the goods are light-weight with a high value, such as blood bags or laboratory samples. In many situations, time is of the essence for this type of deliveries and during rush hours there is a large risk of traffics jams causing significant delays in the transportation chain.
By collaborating with the Innovation Platform – a department bridging the healthcare, academia and the Life Science industry – Everdrone is researching the possibility of using drones as a mean of transportation between hospitals in the Gothenburg area. “A major step forward in turning the concept into reality was taken last week when we successfully performed a number of fully autonomous drone flights in fully realistic environments”, Mats Sällström, CEO of Everdrone, says. Those flights were performed between Sahlgrenska Hospital and Mölndal Hospital.
“The primary purpose with this project is to evaluate the possibility of time savings, but we also see opportunities when it comes to making transportations more environmentally friendly and also reducing costs“, says Magnus Kristiansson, project manager at the Innovation Platform at Region Västra Götaland. “We are constantly working to improve the healthcare services in the region and one way of doing this is to evaluate new technologies“.
“We see great potential in using autonomous drones in the healthcare sector, but in order to make the concept a reality we must show that the technology works in real life, and that it is safe! This type of demonstration proves that both technology and regulations have matured to a degree that we can now carry out fully realistic flights in an urban environment“, Mats added.
The total flight path in question is 4,4 km (2,73 miles) of which 80% stretches parks and recreational areas, and 20% stretches residential areas. The flights were made possible by Everdrone’s flight system. The drone itself is a standard off the shelf product. Equipped with software and sensor technology developed by Everdrone it gets the necessary capabilities for autonomous BVLOS operations (beyond visual line of sight). Among other things, the system includes the following features:
- Multi-stereo camera technology for 360° sense and avoid.
- Visual positioning through optical flow (aka visual odometry) allowing for safe manoeuvring in GPS denied areas.
- Vision-based landing system for precision landing on ground markers.
- Onboard ADS-B receiver for detection and avoidance of manned aircraft.
- Comprehensive self-diagnostics and fail-safe capabilities using both internal and external data sources.
- Telemetry connection via the mobile network (3G/4G).
- Onboard and remote black box.
The flights performed were fully autonomous, from take-off all the way to the landing that was carried out in a courtyard surrounded by tall buildings.
“A function that is particularly important for missions in urban environments is the ability to carry out extremely high-precision landings in places where GPS reception is not reliable. The landing spot used in this scenario is surrounded by buildings. In such an environment you cannot rely on traditional GPS positioning, it simply isn’t safe enough“, says Maciek Drejak, CTO at Everdrone. “Instead, we have developed a vision-based system that is able to ensure the distance to surrounding obstacles, and also to steer the drone towards a specially designed landing marker on the ground.”
The demonstration program included 8 missions in total and was carried out in Gothenburg, Sweden, between July 9th and 13th 2019. All flights were completed according to plan with all systems operating as expected.