Begun-the drone wars have_MKII.

By Dan Parsons, via his blog the runway centreline -  Wink

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Quote:JANUARY 29, 2019
What is Urban Air Mobility? An Airport Operator Primer

Dan Parsons

Just in case you’ve missed the news recently, drones are a big deal. Drones are a multi-billion dollar business, they are disrupting traditional business models and, most importantly for airport operators, they can literally just disrupt business. And, as you can imagine, just following the news doesn’t give you a necessarily clear or complete picture of our potential future with these things.

I’d like to jump in and look at one particular area (not even the cool flying part) of this phenomenon and it’s relationship to airports but before we do, I feel like it is necessary to scan the field and sort through some of the complexity.

We’ve Had UAVs, UASs, RPAS and now We’ve Got UAM?

There seem to be a million acronyms when it comes to drones. And a million mistakes when referring to them. I’ve already done it twice in this post and I’m only into my first sub-heading. Not all names and acronyms are really interchangeable.

Unmanned Aerial “something” seemed to be the early name adopted for these aircraft that lacked an on-board pilot. They were usually referred to as vehicles (UAVs) because they came in a vast array of configurations using different methods of producing lift. Then the purpose of the vehicles got in the way and they morphed into systems (UASs) or platforms (UAPs). And then sometimes, the “A” doesn’t even stay consistent with air, aircraft, airborne or autonomous all thrown into the mix.

The next complicating factor is control. If the device still has a human pilot manipulating controls in something close to real-time then this is a Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPA or RPAS). The opposite is a device which operates without direct control either through a preprogrammed list of instructions or through a set of responses to detected signals - this is a drone.

But this isn’t a discrete distinction. The device could be a little bit of both. In one system I was familiar with, the vehicle operates as a drone for over 90% of its operation. It flies a calculated path over an area defined by the user and then in the last phase of flight, it became a piloted aircraft for the landing. A pilot could also intervene at any point but the aerial mission will be lost at that point.

Urban Air Mobility (UAM) is a different term altogether. This is all about a potential application of these technologies and even some existing aircraft technologies - such as piloted helicopters. Concepts being put forward tend to involve drones but not unmanned drones. This concept is all about getting people around our land-vehicle-congested cities.

Flying Cars

For me, the dream started in the final minutes of “Back to the Future” - “where we’re going, we don’t need roads”. For plenty of other people, it’s been longer and more than just dreaming. But so far, truly sustainable personal flying vehicles for movement within a city have not eventuated.

Perhaps the drone has been the key. Traditional pilot standards, traffic patterns, take-off landing infrastructure requirements and aeronautical technology have been roadblocks (if you’ll pardon the pun) to realising this dream. But the development of drones has overcome a lot of these issues - no pilot, vertical take-off and landing plus light-weight materials, electric motors, telemetry and lots of other cool things. On the small scale side, we’ve seen deliveries by drones, search and rescue with drones and swarms of drones create pictures in the sky. All these developments have become lessons learned for the Urban Air Mobility proponents.

Air Taxis

This term has been used in aviation before to mean on-demand, small aircraft charter. This small sector of the industry looks about to be taken over by UAM which has a lot more in common with its land-based namesake.

The UAM vision involves some form of airborne vehicle moving people around a city on-demand. The vagueness of this definition is due to the variety of solutions on the table or, even, in play. Airbus-company, Voom has introduced a helicopter-based service in two “mega” cities which appears similar to Uber. Using an app, customers can book a flight and be in the air within minutes, apparently.

The glamourous version of this service involves a pilotless rotor-based aircraft seating two passengers taking off vertically, zooming off to where they need to go by the most direct route possible. Uber, in particular, is looking for close integration with it existing business to make up the distance between door and UAM-base.

[Image: UAM+Proponent+Concepts+%26+Offerings.jpg?format=750w]
From left - Airbus’ Voom & VahanaUber’s Elevate Partners Karem & Embraer, and Volocopter (there are lots more)

Issues Galore

Obviously, there is still work to do. Technology work on the aircraft, interactions between such aircraft and existing airspace users and getting the travelling public used to pilotless rotor-based aircraft will be focus for most of the industry over the next few years.  Some of these issues get bigger as we get closer to the airport but airport-downtown travel is likely to be a big part of this future market - it already is for Voom.

In this series of posts, I’m going to look at considerations airport operators should have on their radar now when thinking about the future of their “landside” business. I’m going to come at it from the point of view that we want to harness this industry in advance rather than have air taxis landing on the apron in a couple of years and no way of transitioning those passengers through into traditional aircraft and vice versa.

Exploring Airport Operator Impacts & Opportunities

First, I’m going to have a look at potential physical requirements for accommodating these aircraft. We’ll have a look at currently international standards of helicopters and vertical take-off and landing aircraft as well as mock-ups of what the operators are thinking off. 

After this, I’ll be taking a Lean Six Sigma view off passenger management. This technology is truly disruptive as it will also have us reconsidering our labels of airside and landside and so on.  Lastly, I’d like to look into the off-airport opportunities and challenges that are not particularly new but interesting, nonetheless. 
MTF...P2  Tongue


“Police have started an investigation after a commercial drone understood to be worth almost $500,000 was shot down in a rural part of the ACT”.

P7 - Alas, not the Purdy - but I applaud the shot. Straight shooting is a lost art in the ACT, nice to see it back..... Big Grin

Drone Wars Update.

Via ABC News:

Quote:Drone 'flyer's licence' to be launched in time for Google's world-first delivery service in Canberra

By Jake Evans

Updated Wed at 4:12pm

A burrito is delivered to a Canberra home as part of the drone delivery trial. (ABC News)

Australia's aviation safety authority will establish a "flyer's licence" and mandatory registration for drones from July this year, coinciding with a world-first drone food delivery business to be run out of Canberra.

Key points:
  • Drone flyer data will be kept in a database to track users
  • Those with drones of more than 250g will have to pass an online education course
  • A drone delivery service is set to begin operation in Canberra once CASA approves it
For the first time, anyone in Australia who wants to fly a drone will have to be accredited by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, making it easier for police to track down miscreants.

"It will certainly give us big advantages in terms of complaints or reports of drones being flown improperly or against the safety rules," CASA spokesman Peter Gibson said.

"We'll have a starting point to know who flies drones in that area, what sort of drone they fly."

Prospective flyers of drones weighing more than 250 grams will need to pass an online education course and register their drone, according to policy documents prepared by CASA.

Video: CASA's Peter Gibson says a "flyer's licence" will be required for drone pilots from July. (ABC News)

Flyer data would be kept in a database, finally allowing Australian authorities to get a picture of how many drones are flown in Australia, who is flying them and where.

Quote:"For the first time we'll have an overall picture of the drone sector … probably there are tens of thousands, possibly even 100,000, but at this point we don't know," Mr Gibson said.

CASA said the cost of registration would vary for different types of drones and whether they were used for fun or profit.
It estimated it would cost $20 annually per person for recreational drones and for some model aircraft operators.
The annual fee for each commercial drone would likely range from $100 to $160.

World-first delivery service to begin in Canberra

[Image: 10885044-3x2-700x467.jpg]
James Ryan Burgess is the CEO of Project Wing. (ABC News: Jake Evans)

CASA is still developing a full real-time network that can track drones like it does aircraft.

But it said, with operators like Google preparing to launch skyward in Australia, it needed to be ready for a complicated network of drones flying above Australia's cities.

Google's parent company Alphabet last year began trialling the use of drones to deliver burritos, coffee and medication in a suburb on the fringes of Canberra.

It has now built a permanent warehouse headquarters in the more central suburb of Mitchell, under the name Project Wing, where it plans to begin its first ongoing commercial operation — once CASA approves it.

Like any commercial operator, Google is already licenced to fly by the safety authority.

But as the drone industry rapidly grows, CASA said it needed to develop a system to manage all flyers, including those doing it just for fun.

Quote:"Clearly the unmanned traffic system is the key to safe and efficient drone operations, and all the players that are working in these areas are developing their own systems," Mr Gibson said.

"We are working on that already … it's not simple."

In an inquiry into drone delivery in the ACT, community groups have strongly objected to the technologies, saying their noise moved locals to tears.

That inquiry continues today.
Quote:Eyes Turned Skyward: CASA’s New Drone Registration Requirements

From July 2019, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) will require mandatory registration for all commercial drones regardless of weight and recreational drones weighing more than 250 grams.

Key changes include:
1.Registration will be on an annual basis and cost
approximately $20 for recreational drones and between $100 to $160 for each
commercial drone.
2.All drone operators without a current remote
pilot licence must pass an online accreditation course.
3.All drones must be registered by 1 November

These changes will be in addition to the current drone regulations which require any ‘commercial’ drone operator to be licensed and certified by CASA. A drone is deemed ‘commercial’ if any form of remuneration (for hire or reward) is provided in exchange for flying the drone.

[Image: nff-drone-technology-agtech-innovation-1024x683.jpg]

Farmers operating drones (under 25kg) on their property have been previously exempt from CASA’s licencing requirements, but will now need to register and be accredited before 1 November 2019.

CASA’s new requirements seeks to address the ongoing drone disruptions in regulated airspaces such as airports and military bases.

Flyer data would assist Australian authorities to more effectively track drone usage in Australia and identify unauthorised drone operations.

The use of commercial drones is on the rise in Australia, notably with Google’s first food delivery service launching in Canberra.

While the current implications for the agriculture industry is limited to registrations and accreditation, the future of drone airspace regulation is likely to increase in the coming years.

/Public Release. View in full here.

MTF...P2  Tongue

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