Droneport: FAA Approves Test of Drone Power Line Exams

Droneport is reporting the “FAA has approved San Diego Gas & Electric’s test program for the examination of rural power transmission lines with drone-mounted HD cameras.” SDGE will fly sub-one-pound quadcotpers in “four rural test sites 70 miles east of San Diego in the McCain, Valley. The drones replace manned helicopter inspections that cost nearly as much per flight hour as the drone system’s total cost.”

Unmanned Aircraft Systems hold tremendous potential

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By MICHAEL TOSCANO

From Amazon to Google to Domino’s Pizza, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) have been drawing significant attention in recent months.  Amazon plans to launch a “Prime Air” delivery system, while Google aims to use UAS to bring internet to the developing world. Before we know it, even your pizza may be delivered by UAS.

This potential commercial use of UAS underscores how the innovative technology will transform the way industries operate. UAS can do everything from advancing scientific research and responding to natural disasters to locating missing persons and helping to fight wildfires. With safe and responsible integration, unmanned aircraft demonstrate tremendous potential while helping boost local economies and creating jobs.

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Drones & airplanes: Mitigating the culture clash

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By BRAD HAYDEN

When strange newcomers appear on the threshold of any environment, the friction between them and the established residents stems from incomplete understanding of the prerequisites for safety and survival of both.

By any name — unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), unmanned aircraft system (UAS), remotely piloted vehicle (RPV) — this is the situation facing drones that aspire to commercial operations in the U.S. National Airspace System (NAS).

The aviators and their passengers who now populate the NAS are naturally concerned with this potential influx and what it means for their safety. Everyone should take a deep breath and relax.

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Clever copters can learn as they fly

SHEFFIELD, England — Flying robots that can show true autonomy and even a bit of politeness in working together and venturing into hostile environments are being developed by engineers at the University of Sheffield.

The research paves the way for robots to work intelligently alongside humans in ways that are currently familiar only through science fiction films, according to university officials. They note the robots could play important roles in crisis situations such as search and rescue missions, or operate in environments where it would be dangerous for humans to work.

Using simple flying robots, called Quadcopters, the team, based in Sheffield’s Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering (ACSE), has created software that enables the robot to learn about its surroundings using a forward facing camera mounted at the front of the machine.

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