INVASION of DOMESTIC DRONES New UAV & ROBOTS coming to a City Near You

INVASION of DOMESTIC DRONES   New UAV & ROBOTS coming to a City Near You


INVASION of DOMESTIC DRONES – New UAV & ROBOTS coming to a City Near You

When is a drone not a drone? When the people who manufacture them say so. That’s their hope, at any rate.

That perception doesn’t bode well for burgeoning drone companies looking to shake up the civil aviation sector and convince government regulators — and the public — that unmanned vehicles can be used off of the battlefield in new, safe and uncontroversial ways.

Critics fear that drones could endanger commercial air travelers and question whether the unmanned aircraft are reliable enough to fly in domestic airspace. Wide use of unmanned vehicles also has raised privacy concerns among groups worried that the planes could be used for intrusive surveillance missions.

“The fact that drones are so heavily associated with, let’s say, ‘highly controversial overseas uses’ I think has hurt drones’ image domestically,” Stanley said. “But if people keep in the back of their heads how terrible this technology can be, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.”

Developers at all stages of the drone supply chain are pushing to soften the industry’s reputation. A drone flying above a vineyard can tell which grapes will yield the best wine, said Jonathan Downey, chief executive of Airware, which develops autopilot controllers for commercial drone makers. In one case, he said, a winery was able to boost its profits after using a drone to identify the highest-quality grapes for a special batch instead of unknowingly mixing them into a lower-quality product.

Filmmakers are aggressively seeking more access to drones. Summer blockbusters are growing increasingly reliant on acrobatic aerial footage, said Tom Hallman, an aerial cinematographer. But helicopters with human pilots can be too unwieldy for some missions or too costly.

The film industry’s flirtation with drone technology is a highly visible example of how the market for unmanned systems is growing. But private companies aren’t the only ones looking to deploy unmanned systems.

A team of U.S. Air Force Academy graduates has designed the Pipe Snake, a telescoping robot that can climb vertical plumbing shafts and even navigate curved pipes to locate victims of natural disasters. The Pipe Snake can carry medical supplies or other payloads, giving victims in inaccessible places a shot at immediate attention while first responders figure out what to do next.

But for now, the industry’s ability to take to the skies is limited. That’s because the FAA grants certificates allowing unmanned vehicles to fly in U.S. airspace on a case-by-case basis. The agency won’t complete development of a process to grant licenses more broadly until 2015 — part of a wider congressional mandate to integrate drones into U.S. airspace protocols. 
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This week, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) took over Washington, DC’s convention center for its annual Unmanned Systems show. Once mostly a government- and defense-focused event, the conference has ramped up in size and scope in anticipation of the Federal Aviation Administration’s decision on how to “integrate” unmanned aircraft into civil airspace.

And about the “d” word—the members of the AUVSI want us all to drop the word “drone.” In the press room, the password for the Wi-Fi network was “It’snotadrone.” The word drone has taken on too much political baggage, thanks to news reports of the US’ drone war against terrorists. And indeed, the unmanned aircraft and other vehicles at Unmanned Systems were largely of the kinder, gentler variety, though the biggest booths still belonged to companies selling to the US military and other customers who wear camouflage.
the FAA has issued a limited number of “Certificates of Airworthiness” (COAs) to non-federal government agencies, other public institutions, and universities. The only commercial market in the US for drones is the movie industry, which buys helicopter drones for low-cost aerial shots. “You sell one, and then you’re done,” a representative of one civil drone manufacturer told me
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