Drones & airplanes: Mitigating the culture clash



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.

[Read more…]

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.

[Read more…]

Lone Star UAS Center conducts drone test flights

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi’s Lone Star Unmanned Aircraft Systems Center (LSUASC) will conduct a series of flight missions the week of June 23. Researchers will run missions each day through Thursday with the university’s RS-16 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

This follows on an announcement from the FAA that the Texas UAS research site is the fourth of six to become operational.

[Read more…]

Pilots? We don’t need no stinking pilots


Haven’t you heard? Pilots are no longer required, at least not on board the aircraft. Welcome to the world of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

No pilots? Is nothing sacred anymore? I remember my first flights as pilot in command in both a helicopter and an airplane. It was me and the aircraft against the laws of nature. I was not overseeing flight management systems — I strapped on the aircraft, and it became part of me.

[Read more…]