A Glossary of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Terms

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Here is a glossary of terms for unmanned aerial vehicles.

2.4 Ghz: The frequency used by digital (spread spectrum) radio communications in our applications, including 2.4Ghz RC, bluetooth and some video transmission equipment. This is a different band than the older 72 Mhz band that is used for analog RC communications. To avoid radio frequency conflict is it often a good idea to use 72 Mhz radio equipment when you are using 2.4 Ghz onboard video transmitters, or use 900 Mhz video when using 2.4 Ghz RC equipment.

AHRS: Attitude and Heading Reference System.

AMA: Academy of Model Aeronautics. The main US model aircraft association. Generally hostile to amateur UAVs, which are banned on AMA fields. But each AMA chapter and field may have slightly different policies, and it’s possible to test airframes and some technology on AMA fields without violating the association’s rules.

APMArduPilotMega autopilot electronics

  • ArduCopter: Rotary-wing autopilot software for the APM and Pixhawk electronics
  • ArduPlane: Fixed-wing autopilot software for the APM and Pixhawk electronics.
  • ArduPilot: The overall autopilot project that ArduCopter, ArduPlane, and ArduRover live within
  • ArduRover: Ground and water autopilot software for the APM and Pixhawk electronics

Arduino: An open source embedded processor project. Includes a hardware standard originally based on the Atmel Atmega (and other 8-bit) microprocessor microcontroller and necessary supporting hardware, and a software programming environment based on the C-like Processing language. See the official website.

BEC:  Battery Elimination Circuit. A voltage regulator found in ESCs (see below) and as a stand-alone product. Designed to provide constant 5v voltage for RC equipment, autopilots and other onboard electronics.

BASIC Stamp: A simple embedded processor controller and programming environment created and sold by Parallax. Often used to teach basic embedded computing and the basis of our autopilot tutorial project. Parallax also makes the very capable Propeller chip.

Bluetooth: A wireless technology standard for exchanging data over short distances (using UHF radio waves in the ISM band from 2.4 to 2.485 GHz) from fixed and mobile devices, and building Personal AreaNetworks (PANs). Originally conceived as a wireless alternative to RS-232 data cables. It can connect several concurrent devices.

Bootloader:  Special code stored in non-volatile memory in a microprocessor that can interface with a PC to download a user’s program.

COA:  Certificate of Authorization. A FAA approval for a UAV flight (More information [PDF]).

Eagle file:  The schematic and PCB design files (and related files that tell PCB fabricators how to create the boards) generated by the free Cadsoft Eagle program. This is the most common standard used in the open source hardware world, although, ironically, it’s not open source software itself. Needless to say, this is not optimal, and the Eagle software is clumsy and hard to learn. One hopes that an open source alternative will someday emerge.

DCM:  Direction Cosine Matrix. A algorithm that is a less processing intensive equivalent of the Kalman Filter. More information.

DSM / DSM2 / DSMX: Spektrum, an RC equipment maker, refers to their proprietary technology as “Digital Spectrum Modulation.” Each transmitter has a globally unique identifier (GUID), to which receivers can be bound, ensuring that no transmitter will interfere with other nearby Spektrum DSM systems. DSM uses Direct-Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS) technology.

DSSS: Direct-Sequence Spread Spectrum is a modulation technique. As with other spread spectrum technologies, the transmitted signal takes up more bandwidth than the information signal that modulates the carrier or broadcast frequency. The name ‘spread spectrum’ comes from the fact that the carrier signals occur over the full bandwidth (spectrum) of a device’s transmitting frequency..

EEPROM:  Electonically Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory. A type of non-volatile memory used in computers and other electronic devices to store small amounts of data that must be saved when power is removed, e.g.,static calibration/reference tables.  Unlike bytes in most other kinds of non-volatile memory, individual bytes in a traditional EEPROM can be independently read, erased, and re-written.

ESC:  Electronic Speed Control. Device to control the motor in an electric aircraft. Serves as the connection between the main battery and the RC receiver. Usually includes a BEC, or Battery Elimination Circuit (BEC), which provides power for the RC system and other onboard electronics, such as an autopilot.

FHSS  Frequency-Hopping Spread Spectrum is a method of transmitting radio signals by rapidly switching a carrier among many frequency channels, using a pseudorandom sequence known to both transmitter and receiver.advantages over a fixed-frequency transmission: Advantages: 1. Spread-spectrum signals are highly resistant to narrowband interference. The process of re-collecting a spread signal spreads out the interfering signal, causing it to recede into the background. 2. Spread-spectrum signals are difficult to intercept. A spread-spectrum signal may simply appear as an increase in the background noise to a narrowband receiver. An eavesdropper may have difficulty intercepting a transmission in real time if the pseudorandom sequence is not known. 3. Spread-spectrum transmissions can share a frequency band with many types of conventional transmissions with minimal interference. The spread-spectrum signals add minimal noise to the narrow-frequency communications, and vice versa. As a result,bandwidth can be used more efficiently.

FPV: First-Person View. A technique that uses an onboard video camera and wireless connection to the ground allow a pilot on the ground with video goggles to fly with a cockpit view.

FTDI: Future Technology Devices International, which is the name of the company that makes the chips. A standard to convert USB to serial communications. Available as a chip for boards that have a USB connector, or in a cable to connected to breakout pins.

GCS: Ground Control Station. Software running on a computer on the ground that receives telemetry information from an airborne UAV and displays its progress and status, often including video and other sensor data. Can also be used to transmit in-flight commands to the UAV.

GIT: A version control system for software developers. The DIY Drones team use a Git-based service called GitHub.

 Hardware-in-the-loop simulation: Doing a simulation where software running on another computer generates data that simulates the data that would be coming from an autopilot’’s sensors. The autopilot is running and doesn’t “know” that the data is simulated, so it responds just as it would to real sensor data. Hardware-in-the-loop uses the physical autopilot hardware connected to a simulator, as opposed to simulating the autopilot in software, too.

I2C: Inter-Integrated Circuit. A serial bus that allows multiple low speed peripherals, such as sensors, to be connected to a microprocessor. More information.

IDE: An integrated Integrated development Development Environment, such as the Arduino editor/downloader/serial monitor software. Often includes a debugger.

IMU: An inertial Inertial measurement Measurement Unit. Usually has at least three accelerometers (measuring the gravity vector in the x, ,y and z dimensions) and two gyros (measuring rotation around the tilt and pitch axis). Neither are sufficient by themselves, since accelerometers are thrown off by movement (ie, they are ““noisy”” over short periods of time), while gyros drift over time. The data from both types of sensors must be combined in software to determine true aircraft attitude and movement. One technique for doing this is the Kalman filter (see below).

Inner loop/Outer loop: Usually used to refer to the stabilization and navigation functions of an autopilot. The stabilization function must run in real-time and as often as 100 times a second (“inner loop”), while the navigation function can run as infrequently as once per second and can tolerate delays and interruptions (“outer loop”).

INS: Inertial Navigation System. A way to calculate position based on an initial GPS reading followed by readings from motion and speed sensors. Useful when GPS is not available or has temporarily lost its signal.

ICSP: In Circuit Serial Progammer. A way to load code to a microprocessormicrocontoller. Usually seen as a six-pin (two rows of three) connector on a PCB. To use this, you need a programmer, such as this one, that uses the SPI (Serial Peripheral Interface) standard.

Kalman Filter: A relatively complicated algorithm that, in our applications, is primarily used to combine accelerometer and gyro data to provide an accurate description of aircraft attitude and movement in real time.More information for more.

LOS: Line of Sight. Refers to a FAA requirement that UAVs stay within a pilot’s direct visual control if they are flying under the recreational exemption to COA approval.

LiPo:  Lithium Polymer battery, aka LiPoly. Varients include Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) battery. This battery chemistry offers more power and lighter weight than NiMh and NiCad batteries.

MAV: Micro Air Vehicle. A small UAV. More information.

MAVLink: The Micro Air Vehicle communications Link protocol used by the ArduCopter and ArduPlane line of autopilots. More informaiton on MAVLink.

Microprocessor: A microprocessor incorporates the functions of a computer’s central processing unit (CPU) on a single integrated circuit or at most, a few integrated circuits (system clock, memory, peripheral device drivers).

Microcontroller: A microcontroller (sometimes abbreviated µC, uC or MCU) is a small computer on a single integrated circuit containing a processor core, memory, and programmable input/output peripherals. Program memory in the form flash or EEPROM is included on the chip, as well as a typically small amount of RAM. Microcontrollers are designed for embedded applications, in contrast to the microprocessors used in personal computers or other general purpose applications.

NMEA:  National Marine Electronics Association standard for GPS information. When we refer to “NMEA sentences”, we’re talking about ASCII strings from a GPS module that look like this:$GPGGA,123519,4807.038,N,01131.000,E,1,08,0.9,545.4,M,46.9,M,,*47

OSD: On-screen Screen Display. A way to integrate data (often telemetry information) into the real-time video stream the aircraft is sending to the ground.

PCB: Printed Circuit Board. In our use, a specialized board designed and “fabricated” for a dedicated purpose, as opposed to a breadboard or prototype board, which can be used and resused re-used for many projects.

PCM: Pulse Coded Modulation. A method used to digitally represent sampled analog signals. It is the standard form of digital audio in computers, Compact Discs, digital telephony and other digital audio applications. In a PCM stream, the amplitude of the analog signal is sampled regularly at uniform intervals, and each sample is quantized to the nearest value within a range of digital steps. Primarily useful for optical communications systems, where there tends to be little or no multipath interference

PIC: Pilot In Command. Refers to a FAA requirement that UAVs stay under a pilot’s direct control if they are flying under the recreational exemption to COA approval. See Line of Sight above.

PID:  Proportional/Integral/Deriviative control method. A machine control algorithm that allows for more accurate sensor-motion control loops and less over-control. More information.

Pixhawk: The next-gen 32-bit autopilot, which succeeded APM. A collaboration between 3D Robotics and the PX4 team at ETH, the technical university in Zurich

POI: Point of Of Interest, also known as Region of Interest. Designates a spot that a UAV should keep a camera pointed towards.

PPM: Pulse Position Modulation. Signal modulation in which a set number of message bits are encoded by transmitting a single pulse in one of possible 2(number if message bits) time-shifts.

PWM: Pulse Width Modulation. The square-wave signals used in RC control to drive servos and speed controllers.

ROI: Region of Interest. Also known as Point of Interest (see above)

RTL: Return To Launch. Return the aircraft to the “home” position where it took off.

Shield: a specialized board that fits on top of an Arduino to add a specific function, such as wireless data or GPS

SiRF III: The SiRF is a technology company that has developed a standard used by most modern GPS modules. Includes SiRF III binary mode, which is an alternative to the ASCII-based NMEA standard described above.

Sketch: The program files, drivers and other code generated by the Arduinio IDE for a single project.

SVN: Short for the Subversion Version-control Number repository used by the DIY Drones (in the past) and other teams for source code.

Thermopile: An infrared detector. Often used in pairs in UAVs to measure tilt and pitch by looking at differences in the infrared signature of the horizon fore and aft and on both sides. This is based on the fact that there is always an infrared gradient between earth and sky, and that you can keep a plane flying level by ensuring that the readings are the same from both sensors in each pair, each looking in opposite directions.

UAV: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. In the military, these are increasingly called Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), to reflect that the aircraft is just part of a complex system in the air and on the ground. Ground-based autonomous robots are called Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs) and robot submersibles are called Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs). Robot boats are called Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs).

WAAS: Wide Area Augmentation System. A system of satellites and ground stations that provide GPS signal corrections, giving up to five times better position accuracy than uncorrected GPS. More information.

ZigBee(related: Xbee): A wireless communications standard, which has longer range than bluetooth but lower power consumption than WiFi.

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The Top Five Things You Need to Know about Drones and GIS

3d-topo

The mere mention of “drones” conjures thoughts of bombs and missiles raining down on unsuspecting bad guys. However, most of today’s drones, more accurately described as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are or will be focused on generating data to solve peace-time applications.

UAVs range in size and cost from Northrop’s Global Hawk at $200M, with an endurance of 32 flying hours, to the $40 Powerup paper airplane driven by a small electric motor and controlled from a smartphone using Bluetooth. This article will focus on “prosumer” UAVs, smaller craft used for capturing remotely-sensed information. These aircraft are generally priced under $5,000 and in our opinion will be the game changers with respect to generating data for GIS applications.

1. The Technology

Over the last 15 years a confluence of technology has transformed radio controlled (RC) model airplanes, the kind hobbyists have been flying for decades, into unmanned aerial vehicles. Specifically, the ability to acquire GPS signals enables drones to fly autonomously. Prior to this capability, RC model airplane pilots needed to have visual contact with their plane. If they couldn’t see it in flight, they couldn’t control it. In most cases this fact limited the flight area to less than a couple hundred yards. Adding GPS receivers to drones enables pilots to control their UAV without seeing the entire flight path.

More recently, Wi-Fi technology has been added to the UAV mix in the form of First Person View (FPV). Drones with Wi-Fi cameras, such as GoPro and integrated cameras from DJI and Parrot, stream near real-time video of the flight to a smartphone or tablet. In other words, even though you may not have visual contact with the UAV, as it autonomously flies a waypoint route, you see what the drone “sees” as it flies. This capability allows pilots to alter the flight path, for further inspection, or build a new set of waypoints for the next flight.

2. Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Components

Multi-rotor copter UAVs typically have several components: an aircraft, a gimbal and a payload or instrument(s) attached to the gimbal. Without these components the aircraft is more a hobbyist model airplane than a drone.

The gimbal is a device attached between the drone and the payload the aircraft is carrying. It is a stabilizing platform that, for the most part, eliminates vibrations that cause what is called the “jello effect.” DJI’s Phantom 2 UAV with a Zenmuse H3-D3 gimbal and GoPro camera are pictured in Figure 1. Gimbal and camera are also shown separately.

Also pictured below are 3D Robotics’ fixed wing 3DR Aero drone and Lehmann Aviation’s LA100 with a GoPro camera. Fixed wing UAVs are more stable in flight and therefore they may not require gimbals.

Figure 1

It’s important to remember that drones make data collection affordable but the UAV payload does the actual process of gathering data. Depending on the application, payloads can be action, inferred, or thermal cameras, high precision barometers or multispectral, LiDAR, or hyperspectral sensors.
Much of the data gathered by UAVs needs to be processed. Ortho-correction, mosaicking and terrain extraction are just some of the data processing software tools available from various developers. Considering that software is an integral UAV component, many advocates feel the name should be changed from unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to unmanned aerial system (UAS).
3.The Applications
Drones will not create new GIS applications but will rapidly expand existing markets because they can access data less expensively than current methods. In other words, it will be far less costly to task a drone to gather inferred data from a forest flyover than, as in the past, to use a pilot and plane to collect the same data.
The following is a partial list of industries that will be disrupted by the use of aerial robots: remote sensing, weather monitoring, oil and gas exploration, transmission line monitoring, surveying, filmmaking, precision farming, terrain extraction, ortho-mosaicking, digital image analysis and 3D topographical imagery analysis.
The images of Figure 2 are from Skycatch’s website. They illustrate some of the applications that use UAV instruments as data gathering tools.

Figure 2a. Monitoring Real-time ortho maps

Figure 2b. Building 3D topo maps

Figure 2c. Measuring vegetation (NDVI)

Figure 2d. Terrain extraction

Figure 2e. Image captured by 3D Robotics 3DR Aero – Click to rotate image 360 degrees

4.The Market
Once regulations are in place, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) forecasts the UAS industry could raise the domestic economy by at least $13.6B and, within the next three years, create 70,000 new jobs. The AUVSI further estimates the economic benefit could be more than $82B by 2025.
According to a May 11, 2014 Wall Street Journal article 3D Robotics sells about 2,000 autopilots per month to drone manufactures or hobbyists and, according to Chris Anderson of 3D Robotics, DJI sells three times that amount.
In a related Wall Street Journal article dated July 8, 2014, Estes-Cox Corporation sold 500,000 remote controlled nanodrones. They are 1.8 inches square and sell for $40.
Funded UAV Companies
The following is a partial list of U.S. companies that have received venture funding (Crunchbase source):
  • Airware – $40.4 M
  • 3D Robotics – $35M
  • Skycatch – $19.7M
  • Crescent Unmanned Systems $250,000
The following is a partial list of U.S. companies that have received crowd-funding (Kickstarted source): 
  • Flexbot -$500,000 with 4,670 funders
  • Airdroids – $929,212 in pledged money
  • PowerUp – $1.23M
5.The Barriers to Success
The biggest immediate problem the U.S. UAV industry has is government regulation, or perhaps more accurately stated “lack of regulation.” Drone flights in Canada, Australia, Japan and many European countries are already regulated. This means unmanned aircraft organizations in these countries know where, what and when they can fly.
In the United States, the FAA controls the National Airspace System (NAS). It has long exempted noncommercial flights of unmanned model airplanes from rules that govern private and commercial aircraft. Although UAVs are also unmanned, the FAA wants more control over commercial flights of these vehicles. In the recent past it has sent warnings, threatened lawsuits and, in at least one case, attempted to levy a $10,000 fine against a commercial drone pilot.
The Wall Street Journal article of July 21, 2014 reported:  “Despite the FAA’s threats, more than 1,000 farmers attended a recent trade show in Decatur, IL, called the Precision Aerial Ag Show. A report by the Midwest Center for Investigative Journalism found that the value of using drones to manage crops – identifying diseases and pests, for example – outweighs the legal risks. But it also reported that farmers were told that many of the most advanced drones are not available in the U.S. because of the risk of FAA prosecution against manufacturers.”
Some regulations are supposed to be in place by the end of this year; the remaining framework will be added in 2015. Until these regulations become law, the U.S. UAV industry is in somewhat of a holding pattern.
Aside from the regulatory concerns, there are technical challenges. Multi-copter drones have limited range; most can fly no more than 25 to 30 minutes. Fixed wing aircraft have a longer range but they require a catapult or some type of runway.
Another confounding issue is infrastructure. Drones can gather data autonomously but most UAVs still require a pilot to oversee the flight and facilitate landings and takeoffs. This is especially true for fixed wing drones. In other words, even after the regulations are in place and the range problems are mitigated, there won’t be enough qualified pilots to provide the needed services.
Bonus Section: Autonomous Flight
If gathering data via UAV flights is going to change from the expensive and skilled process it is now, to a procedure that new users can easily adopt, it must be simple to use. As an example, precision farming won’t be accepted by farmers in mass if they need to become expert pilots, have an in-depth knowledge of complex aerial digital imagery, normalized differential vegetation index (NDVI) software or have to rely on third-party crop consultants. Autonomous flight solves most of these issues because it automates the process.
Figures 3a and 3b, provided by Lehmann Aviation, illustrate how a UAV flight path and data collection points can be set by simply clicking the route on a Web-rendered map. Once the course is complete, data can be automatically acquired in regular intervals. Principal responsibilities of the operator are only to change batteries and download the data. In other words, the operator does not need to be a skilled pilot.

Figure 3a. Flight path – autonomous UAV

Figure 3b. Example of UAV flight path and data collections points

Summary

For the most part, UAVs discussed in this article are not going to develop new markets but the technology is disruptive because it will dramatically enlarge existing markets. Inexpensive drones, or more specifically the instruments they carry, are data engines that will collect data, consume data, or collect and consume data. Once the FAA regulations are in place and autonomous flights are proven reliable we will see a dramatic increase in data collected and used for GIS applications.

Not only will this disruption affect the existing GIS data collection process, it will also roll through collateral industries. Vendors of the expensive cameras/sensors and image processing software products will need to adapt to lower prices or witness new competitors enter the market.

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New Mexico: State University, FAA pursue sought-after drone research

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LAS CRUCES, NM  A single white trailer sits near runway 4-22 at the Las Cruces airport, the antenna on top chatting with the 21.5-foot-long Aerostar A drone parked on the tarmac outside.

This is where New Mexico State University’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Flight Test Center, once the lone such federally approved center in the nation, conducts most flight tests and evaluates procedures for unmanned aircraft as drones increasingly become part of everyday life.

Though drones are most often associated with military strikes on suspected terrorists abroad, scientists and CEOs are turning to unmanned aircraft to expand their research and businesses. Amazon founder Jeffrey P. Bezos said he hopes to use small drones to deliver packages. Some photographers use drones to capture weddings. A tourist recently crashed his camera-equipped drone into Yellowstone National Park’s iconic Grand Prismatic Spring, and other parks have reported problems with drones buzzing loudly overhead or crashing into scenic landmarks as tourists try to capture unique photos.

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North Carolina: Drone uses, questions are many

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In the air, droning overhead, the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones) is increasing. Hobbyists, photographers and even news organizations have deployed the remote-controlled flying machines. Amazon has joked about using drones for doorstep delivery.

The fleet overhead has raised questions about technology, privacy and air space safety. So far, many of those are unresolved while the Federal Aviation Administration works out rules for the use of unmanned aerial vehicles. The only current clarity comes in a federal ban on the use of UAVs for commercial gain, but there are legal challenges to even that limit.

In 2013, North Carolina lawmakers passed a two-year moratorium on the use of drones by state or local governments. The budget signed by Gov. Pat McCrory last week set limits for drone use, but any state laws will eventually have to comply with FAA regulations.

At North Carolina State University, members of the Aerial Robotics Club design, build and navigate unmanned aerial vehicles without knowing how they’ll eventually use the skills they are practicing.

“It’s been a massive learning experience,” said student RJ Gritter. “UAVs have blown up in the market.”

Gritter’s team recently claimed first place in an international competition with a drone that can pinpoint targets for search missions and drop rescue supplies.

Kyle Snyder, of the NextGen Air Transportation Center at NC State, is working on ways to integrate drones into an efficient and updated national transportation network.

“There’s a lot of newness to it,” he said. “We’re still trying to figure out how best to manage it, what are the real capabilities and who should have access, who can’t have access.”

That access will be key as drones become more common.

“In the image processing, in the manufacture, in the components, all of this has become more and more inexpensive,” said Dr. Larry Silverberg, associate head of NC State’s Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department.

Privacy advocates worry that drones mean more surveillance of more people in more places, even on private property.

The FAA has the challenge of balancing legal constraints, public and air safety with economic opportunity. Their recommendations are expected by the end of the year.

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Draganfly Innovations Unmanned Helicopter joins Vertical Flight Exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum

Draganflyer_X4-ES

The first life-saving Public Safety operated small Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS) in the world joins the permanent collection at the National Air and Space Museum for all to see.

Saskatoon, SK (PRWEB) August 12, 2014

On May 9th, 2013 at 00:20 hours the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) investigated a single roll-over accident in a rural area of Saskatchewan, Canada. Ground units and a manned helicopter searched for the seriously injured driver for two hours until the RCMP called in the Draganflyer X4-ES sUAS system equipped with a FLIR thermal imaging payload to assist. The seriously injured driver was quickly located using the sUAS. Now this historic event is being preserved for all to see and experience at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space museum.

The Draganflyer X4-ES is an electric powered quad-rotor helicopter capable of carrying several different payload systems. In the search and rescue mission, the helicopter was flying with a FLIR TAU camera system transmitting live aerial video to the RCMP officer operating the aircraft during the search. The FLIR camera quickly located three potential heat sources, one of which was the injured driver. With the aid of the aerial perspective and real-time live video feed, the pilot directed rescuers to the injured driver. Had the driver not been located, it was determined that he would have died from the injuries sustained during the crash and exposure to the cold.

Smithsonian’s Nation Air and Space Museum:
The National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is located in Chantilly, Va., near Washington Dulles International Airport. The National Air and Space Museum building on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., is located at Sixth Street and Independence Avenue S.W. Attendance at both buildings combined exceeded 8 million in 2013, making it the most visited museum in America. The museum’s research, collections, exhibitions and programs focus on aeronautical history, space history and planetary studies. Both buildings are open from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. every day (closed Dec. 25).

Headwall Releases New High Resolution Hyperspectral Sensor for UAS

hi-res_spectrometer

Headwall has announced the availability of a new hyperspectral imager targeting very high resolution spectral measurements of 0.1 nm over specific spectral ranges. The imager is particularly suited to agricultural applications as it can measure vegetative fluorescence to measure plant health. The lightweight design means it can be mounted on a UAS.

The ability of the new High Resolution Hyperspec® instrument to analyze chlorophyll fluorescence emissions at extremely high resolution and high throughput gives remote sensing researchers and precision agriculturalists exceptionally valuable data from which to make environmental decisions. The new instrument is smaller, lighter, and more affordable than any other commercially available products and is optimized with robust packaging for airborne and satellite deployment.

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Cubic Wins Contract to Supply Common Data Link for Small UAS

Dept of Energy developing bandwidth efficient common data link for small UAS;

Cubic Corporation has announced that it has been awarded a contract valued at $1.8 million from Idaho National Laboratory to perform Phase one of a two-phase program to provide a common data link (CDL) for unmanned platforms, specifically Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (SUAS). Idaho National Laboratory is a science-based applied engineering national laboratory dedicated to supporting the U.S. Department of Energy’s missions in nuclear and energy research, science and national defense.

Phase one of the CDL for SUAS program requires the five companies selected, including Cubic, to complete a specified portion of the waveform development for a next-generation CDL known as Bandwidth Efficient Common Data Link (BE-CDL Rev B). The BE-CDL Rev B system will be used for Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) and Command/Control (C2) data communications between unmanned aircraft and other military communications devices.

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The Growing Buzz For Drones in Business (VIDEO)


In the Kansas City Business Journal’s Weekly Edition, out Friday, the cover story explores how the demand for drones is growing almost as rapidly as the possible uses for the unmanned aircraft.

From farmers to filmmakers to construction companies, businesses are envisioning ways to put unmanned aircraft systems to work. Among the stories: how KC businesses are finding ways to use — and sell — drones; a look at the struggles federal regulators face keeping their rules as current as the technology; and a degree program in UAS at Kansas State University.

The package includes a story about Tony Lauer, a Shawnee resident who has found a way to wed his high-tech hobby with his grass-roots passion, employing his bought and homemade drones to keep a watchful eye on government and developments.

In the video above, Lauer talks about his fleet of drones and their uses.

Source: http://bit.ly/1uP9kIQ

New Israeli Drone Joins Fighting in Gaza

The Israeli Air Force (IAF) has introduced its Elbit systems Hermes-900 unmanned air system (UAS) into service ahead of schedule to support operation “Protective Edge”.

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According to the original plan the Hermes-900 was scheduled for operational use in 2015. The IAF is operating the Elbit systems Hermes-450 and Hermes -900 unmanned air systems from the same base and in missions that require the flexibility that these two platforms enable.

The two types have been deployed in the IAF’s Palmachim air base in central Israel and according to the IAF are performing intelligence and forces directing missions around the clock.

The Hermes-900 (Cochav) medium altitude long endurance (MALE) UAS is is carrying a large variety of sensor derived from Elbit’s key technologies that have been implemented so far on manned aircraft and ground systems.

 

Source: http://bit.ly/1zDkrne