In this month’s edition of the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) roundup, we touch on a number of topics, including Google Alphabet, AUVSI safety comments, a UAV that dives into the water, and a Sony prototype drone.
Google launches Alphabet
Google announced a corporate restructure which will see company founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin operate as CEO and president of newly-formed "Alphabet" brand.
Alphabet is set to operate as the parent company for sub-companies including research-focused life sciences (Google contact lenses), Calico (Fighting age-related disease), Google Ventures, Google Capital, and the company’s robotics division. Also under the wing of Alphabet will be Google’s X Lab, which will focus on driverless cars, Google Glass, and UAV delivery.
Specifically, its UAV project, “Project Wing” aims to rapidly deliver products across a city using UAVs. This project was initially announced in August of 2014, but at that time, had been in development at Google for about two years, with full-scale testing being carried out on Australia.
Read more on CNN.
AUVSI president: Drone safety top priority
In an article written published in USA Today, Brian Wynne, AUVSI president stresses the importance of drone safety and the need for the stricter enforcement of rules.
UAVs, or drones, have the potential to bring tremendous societal and economic benefits. The promises of UAVs is clear, and there is a lot at stake, which is why the recent uptick in irresponsible behavior is concerning, said Wynne.
“Drones flying too close to airports, manned aircraft and wildfires are likely being flown by consumers who just don’t know any better. However, all UAS stakeholders have a responsibility to ensure the safety of the nation’s airspace.”
"With that in mind," he added, "there’s more to be done immediately to counter the irresponsible behavior of some operators."
Read more on USA Today.
FAA allows nighttime operation in North Dakota
The Federal Aviation Administration has approved expanded operations at the Northern Plains Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site in North Dakota that will allow for night flight tests throughout the state.
The approval was granted under a certification of authorization.
"The addition of night flying opens up the opportunities for industry partners to test sensor payloads in all lighting conditions," said Robert Becklund, executive director of the Northern Plains UAS Test Site.
Night flights, according to the AUVSI, are one of the sticking points for many of the entities that have submitted comments to the FAA on its proposed small AUS rule, which is due to be finalized sometime around the new year. AUVSI has submitted comments that stress a risk-based, technology-neutral approach to regulating UAVs in the national airspace.
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