Drone News of the Week March 24

drone news of the week March 24Read or listen to all of the headlines in one place: excerpts from the DRONELIFE drone news of the week of March 23, 2023.  Click on the titles below for the full story.

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German delivery drone company Wingcopter and ZAL Center of Applied Aeronautical Research GmbH have announced a development partnership to explore green hydrogen as a potential power source for Wingcopter’s electric drones. The partners will also develop a sustainable hydrogen-based propulsion system, which will be produced by Wingcopter and installed in its delivery drones.

passenger eVTOL

©︎GMO Internet Group, used with permission

Passenger eVTOL in Japan: LIFT Aircraft Completes First Piloted Flight with HEXA

This week, LIFT Aircraft conducted the first-ever piloted eVTOL demonstration flights in Japan using its HEXA aircraft. The flights were performed in collaboration with Marubeni Corporation, a partner of LIFT Aircraft in the development and advancement of Japan’s eVTOL market, as well as with the participation of GMO Internet Group.

Red Cat Invests in Firestorm Modular UASRed Cat Invests in Firestorm Modular UAS: 3D Printed, Payload Agnostic

Military technology company Red Cat Holdings has made a major financial investment in Firestorm, the developer of the first fully Modular Unmanned Aerial System (MUAS) to be 3D printed and payload agnostic.  Firestorm is establishing a new class of fixed-wing UAS with 30-day repetitions, commitment to open-system architectures, and an approach to manufacturing enabling flexible scaling of production.

Drone flying in the mountains. Original public domain image from Wikimedia Commons

Ice Protection for Drones: CAV Systems Files Patent

CAV Ice Protection Limited, an airborne ice protection solutions supplier and part of the CAV Systems Group, has filed for a patent for a solution for small uncrewed aerial systems (sUAS) that could dramatically improve the operation of commercial drones in cold climates. The company’s engineers designed a concept ice protection system (IPS) that prevents the build-up of ice on the rotor blades of a drone or sUAS, which it is currently looking to bring to market.  “This is an industry first, nobody has previously demonstrated an ice protection system that works for this size of aircraft, and we’re not aware that anybody else is working on one,” said CAV Systems’ VP of Engineering Alex Baty.

EASA High Level Conference on Drones: Drone Strategy Makes Europe “A Safe and Attractive Place” for Investment

This year’s theme for the conference is “Back to the Future of Safe UAS Regulations:” EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky says the theme points to the value of keeping sight of the progress made in drone regulations so far. “It’s good to have a look back at what we did – so that we can look forward to what we plan to do in the future.” The publication of the European Drone Strategy 2.o: “A Drone Strategy 2.0 for a Smart and Sustainable Unmanned Aircraft Eco-System in Europe” was a major milestone for EASA in 2023.  Henrik Hololei, European Commission, Director General for Mobility and Transport says that the document’s 19 flagship recommendations and risk-based operational approach were developed with two objectives: to develop a predictable regulation environment that supports development and investment in the drone industry, and to strengthen Europe’s defense network.

Auterions new drone OSAuterion’s New Drone OS Simplifies ISR Missions

Open source operating system developer Auterion has released new and improved versions of the Auterion Operating System (OS) and the Auterion Mission Control (AMC), providing simplified operations and an enhanced user experience for users performing Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) operations. The integration of Auterion’s platform components, the precise trajectory patterns and payload command triggers made possible by AMC, and the onboard software-managed payload behavior make conducting operations within extended and dynamic environments significantly easier.

Drones in Europe: Is the Sky the Limit, or is it Regulations? From the Floor of Amsterdam Drone Week

Today at Amsterdam Drone Week, Nathanal Apter of Swiss-based consulting firm UASolutions discussed the prospects for drone operations at scale in Europe.   Apter says that regulations are a topic that sometimes get too much attention – and sometimes not enough – when talking about getting drone operations to scale. Europe’s risk-based approach to regulations is party defined by a SAIL (Specific Assurance and Integrity Level) Score.  Roughly speaking, very simple and low-risk operations  – like agricultural ops in sparsely populated areas – have a low SAIL score, and more complex operations, such as drone swarms or flight in densely populated areas, have higher SAIL scores.

Can Drones Test AI Designed for Spacecraft? Space Park Leicester’s Drone Lab

Space Park Leicester has announced the successful launch of a drone making use of revolutionary AI equipment for use in spacecraft.  The equipment leverages an innovative design approach to enable AI algorithms to be dramatically reduced in size. The solution is suitable for embedded computing devices utilized in satellites, drones, autonomous driving and robotics, and has applications in cloud detection, disaster, flood, crop, and pollution monitoring alongside situational awareness, spacecraft anomaly detection and maritime surveillance.

Who Wants Urban Air Mobility? From the Floor of Amsterdam Drone Week

Urban air mobility is a hot topic in the drone industry.  We’ve seen the images, the test flights, the prototypes, and the plans for vertiports everywhere. As real implementation gets closer, however, a panel of experts from state and local departments of transportation, community engagement consultants, and air traffic control discussed the question their stakeholders want answered: Who wants urban air mobility?   From the floor of Amsterdam Drone Week, the California perspective on implementing urban air mobility.

Urban Air Mobility in the APAC Region: The Drivers Behind Participation

At Amsterdam Drone Week today, a panel of experts in urban air mobility discussed the opportunity in the Asia Pacific – and the drivers behind bringing UAM to the region.   Diana Cooper is the Global Head of Policy at Supernal, a Hyundai company developing eVTOL for the commuter market.  Cooper says that there are some major drivers behind the growth of urban air mobility in the APAC region: political, economic, and environmental.

DRONELIFE and DroneTalks Recap: UAM, U-Space, and Getting to Scale with Commercial Drone Ops

DRONELIFE and DroneTalks do a quick recap, from the floor of Amsterdam Drone Week.   DRONELIFE  met up with Eszter Kovács, the CEO & co-founder of DroneTalks Group and Aerial Cities at Amsterdam Drone Week!  DRONELIFE Editor Miriam McNabb speaks with host Eszter Kovács about the themes and topics they saw covered: urban air mobility, U-Space, and the path to commercial drone operations at scale.  Check out the episode below:

drones for wind turbine inspectionDrones for Wind Turbine Inspection: ONYX Insight and Nearthlab Partner on Predictive Maintenance

Predictive maintenance solutions (PdM) provider ONYX Insight has announced a partnership with autonomous drone solution company Nearthlab to provide wind farm operators with a whole turbine predictive maintenance solution. The two companies are coming together to grant large operators capabilities that address issues of labor, resources and inflation facing the industry. The partnership will cover North America, with ONYX Insight licensed to utilize Nearthlab’s Zoomable software in the assessment of the health of wind turbines.









Miriam McNabb

Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry.  Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.


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