In today's roundup from the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) which highlights some of the latest news and headlines in unmanned vehicles and robotics, Amazon tests a communication system between UAS, Airobotics receives remote operation, out-of-sight UAS flight certification in Australia, and AUVs are deployed for hydrographic mapping services Brazil.
Amazon tests traffic management system for UAS
In an effort to prevent mid-air UAS collisions, Amazon is now testing an air traffic management system.
The new traffic management system would allow UAS to communicate regardless of who is operating them.
“We will always prioritize safety first within our system,” says Bob Roth, a director with Amazon Prime Air, via the Dayton Daily News. “People both on the ground and in the air are the most important to protect. We’re building a traffic management system with this as our guiding principle.”
Currently, regulators and others in the industry are working with the low-altitude traffic management project to test how different UAS from different operators can fly together. For the trials, Roth and his team have worked with NASA and Single European Sky ATM Research.
According to a blog post on Amazon’s Day One website, via the Dayton Daily News, air traffic differs from ground traffic because cars have specific mapped out routes like roads that must be followed.
There are no paths already paved in the air for UAS, so automated technology would give air control experts like the FAA the ability to track UAS and ensure no fly zones in times of emergency.
Airobotics receives waiver to operate UAS BVLOS from Remote Operations Center in Australia
Airobotics has announced that it recently obtained the first and only Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) approval in Australia to operate automated UAS from its Remote Operations Center (ROC) beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) with no aircrew needed at the client site.
Remote pilots are located at a designated Remote Pilot Station (RPS) within Airobotics Australia’s ROC. They are operating more than 1,000 kilometers away from onsite systems at the customer sites.
According to Airobotics, this new “man on the loop” level of operations allows human operators to supervise flights without the need for “man in the loop” pilots to intervene in flight operations.
“This landmark approval is a major achievement for Airobotics and its future growth across Australia. Removing aircrews from potentially dangerous environments, like mines, enables customers to extract maximum value and reduce risk from their business operations by leveraging technology and automation,” explains Niv Russo, Airobotics’ vice president of aviation and compliance.
“This progression marks the next step for Airobotics as we continue to break new ground in unmanned drone technology to deliver safer and more accurate, data-driven solutions.”
Airobotics recently received another landmark waiver just last month, when it became the first company in the United States to receive a Certificate of Waiver (CoW) from the FAA that combines three elements: flying BVLOS for automated UAS operations, over human beings, with a visual observer that is not required to keep a visual line of sight on the UAS.
The waiver, which allows Airobotics to operate from its Remote Operations Center in Scottsdale, Arizona, will primarily be used within the mining sector, but it will also be used for other industrial facilities in the U.S. as well.
Ocean Infinity to use its AUVs for mapping and inspections in Brazil
Ocean Infinity has announced that its partner, Brazilian offshore consulting company Cepemais, has been awarded a contract to provide high-resolution hydrographic mapping services to Brazilian national oil company Petrobras.
During the project, which is for the Campos, Espirito Santo and Santos basins, offshore Brazil, Ocean Infinity will work under contract to Cepemais to map an area of 5,000 square kilometers and inspect 12,000 kilometers of pipelines using its AUVs.
Ocean Infinity’s AUVs will operate from the company’s ‘Island Pride’ vessel, and will work in water depths between 50 and 3,000 meters. Cepemais will interpret and report on the data that Ocean Infinity collects during the project.
Work is expected to begin mid-2019, and the contract lasts for three years.
“We are delighted to be supporting Cepemais on this important Petrobras project,” says Oliver Plunkett, Ocean Infinity’s CEO.
“Working on a project of this scale is a clear endorsement of our technology and highlights how the oil & gas industry recognizes that through the deployment of multiple AUVs, we can deliver the highest quality data, safely, quickly and more cost effectively than ever before.”
Ocean Infinity’s AUVs can operate in water depths from five meters to 6,000 meters. Since they are not tethered to their host vessel during operations, the AUVs can go deeper and collect higher quality data for the search.
The AUVs are built to conduct successful operations thanks to being equipped with a variety of tools, including side scan sonar, a multi-beam echo-sounder, a synthetic aperture sonar, and a turbidity sensor.