In this month’s edition of theunmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) roundup, we touch on a number of topics, including UAV-related research from DARPA, a proposed drone tracking system, a $1.9 million fine issued by the FAA, a cargo drone delivery project in Africa, and a new mandate from the FAA on recreational drones.
New uses of UAVs being studied by DARPA
DARPA is launching a program for the use of air-recoverable swarms of UAVs, each with coordinated and distributed capabilities.
The U.S. military program is called "Gremlins," and will focus primarily on the technical challenges associated with the in-air launch and recovery of multiple UAVs from mannedaircraft, according to UPI. Additionally, the program will look at new operational capabilities and air operations architectures, as well as cost considerations.
"An ability to send large numbers of small unmanned air systems with coordinated, distributed capabilities could provide U.S. forces with improved operational flexibility at much lower cost than is possible with today’s expensive, all-in-one platforms—especially if those unmanned systems could be retrieved for reuse while airborne," the agency said.
NASA working with British government on UAV tracking system
The British government is working withNASA to develop a tracking system that aims to significant decrease the number of drone-related incidents.
The proposed system, according to International Business Times, will track and trace drones that fly lower than 150 meters, for both UAVs that are being operated by hobbyists and commercial pilots. The government and NASA intend to have a prototype by 2019, but the government reportedly has the capability to make the tests before 2019.
FAA names two top executives
The Federal Aviation Administration has appointed Marke "Hoot" Gibson and Earl Lawrence to two new executive-level positions that were created to help guide the agency’s unmanned aircraft systems airspace integration effort.
Gibson will become the senior advisor on UAS integration, a position which will focus on external outreach and education, interagency initiatives and will take an enterprise-level approach to managing UAS integration by the FAA, according to the AUVSI. Lawrence has been named the director of the UAS integration office, a position similar to the one vacated by Jim Williams, who served as manager of that office. The position will lead the agency’s efforts to manage UAS integration into the national airspace.
U.S. House hearing held to discuss UAV safety
The U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's Subcommittee on Aviation held a hearing to discuss issues related to UAV safety. Witnesses for the hearing, which is titled, "Ensuring Aviation Safety in the Era of Unmanned Aircraft Systems," included FAA Deputy Administrator Michael Whitaker; James Hubbard of the U.S. Forest Service; Air Line Pilots Association President Tim Canoll; Rich Hanson of the Academy of Model Aeronautics; and Stanford University Professor Mykel Kochenderfer.
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