NASA seeks participation in UAM working groups

The working groups will complement other NASA and industry efforts, including the UAM Grand Challenge series. Through them, the organization aims to align on UAM terminology, challenges, barriers, and solutions; develop a NASA-curated “book of requirements” for UAM technology, systems, and operations; and support discussions of regulatory and standards development activities, among other goals.

Participants will also “receive consistent updates regarding the current state of the UAM ecosystem, allowing them to determine where they can provide the best value to their organizations and industry,” NASA says.

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NASA rebrands UAM Grand Challenge to embrace ‘advanced air mobility’

According to NASA officials, both “advanced air mobility” and “national campaign” better reflect the goals of the undertaking, which is planned as a series of field demonstrations to evaluate the readiness of new types of aircraft and airspace management systems. The demonstrations will progress in stages to encompass a full range of scenarios under varying weather and traffic conditions — including, but not limited to, scaled urban air taxi operations.

“We’ve talked mostly over the past couple of years about ‘urban air mobility,’” said NASA AAM mission manager Davis Hackenberg in the web conference that served as a virtual kick-off for the agency’s AAM Ecosystem Working Groups (a substitute for an in-person event that was canceled due to coronavirus concerns). “We’d always intended to include other types of [mobility], whether that was rural or urban, but the name I think was getting in the way a little bit.”

The more inclusive term “advanced air mobility” encompasses a wider range of transformational applications enabled by electrification and automation, whether performed by eVTOL aircraft, electric conventional take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, or small drones. These might include cargo transportation or aerial work operations, in addition to the large-scale air taxi operations that have become synonymous with “urban air mobility.”

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NASA, Agility Prime team up on eVTOL supply chain development

As a first step, the NASA Aeronautics Research Institute (NARI) and the Air Force’s Agility Prime program have issued a request for information (RFI) seeking inputs from “suppliers and manufacturers of all types of parts, sub-systems, and systems” of AAM vehicles — a term that encompasses a variety of novel eVTOL aircraft, including those designed for urban air mobility (UAM). “The intent is to map and share the current AAM supply chain via an electric platform, model and simulate the network’s ability to scale, and ensure that the industry has the human capital to meet future needs,” the RFI states. “The electronic platform, and modeling and simulation capabilities will also help connect original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) with current and aspiring aerospace suppliers.”

RFI respondents are asked to submit basic information about their companies, plus feedback on several topics including challenges in sourcing parts, downstream suppliers, and raw materials; and challenges in finding the human capital required to build the AAM/UAM ecosystem.

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China adapts surveying, mapping, delivery drones to enforce world’s biggest quarantine and contain coronavirus outbreak

China’s government, in enforcing the world’s largest quarantine to contain the coronavirus outbreak, has adapted and co-opted industrial drones to help ensure that an estimated 50 million residents are kept at home and indoors across a dozen cities.
The software flying the drones made in Shenzhen is being rewritten to adapt their applications for disease detection and crowd management. The vehicles will use thermal sensors, high-definition zoom lenses, loudspeakers and chemical spray jets for disinfecting large areas, according to two makers of industrial drones.

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Spain is the first European country to use agricultural drones to fight COVID-19

Spain has been one of the most deeply affected countries in the world by the coronavirus. As of today at 1:30 EDT, it’s had 102,136 cases and 9,053 deaths.

So the Spanish Military Emergency Unit is deploying agricultural drones to spray disinfectant around large outdoor areas as well as inside large vehicles.

The Spanish military is using both DJI’s AGRAS MG-1 and the DRONEHEXA XL by Spanish drone maker DroneTools. DJI’s drones make up 75% of the global drone market.

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Japan to introduce licensees for BVLOS drone flights

Japan to introduce licensees for BVLOS drone flights
The news comes from government sources on Monday who said the government hopes to have the system up and running by 2022. The BVLOS licenses will also be age-restricted and you must pass both practical and written test to get receive the license.

The licenses will only be active for some time with renewal tests required to keep the license. Illegally flying drones with an active license will result in the extermination of the license and a possible fine for the illegal flight.

A panel discussion will be used to come up with the exact logistics of the licenses which will be put into a report this week. The government is hoping to submit the bill next year in plans to release the licensing system in 2022.

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Japan to establish licensing system for out-of-sight drone flights

The license, which the government hopes will be introduced in fiscal 2022, will be age-restricted, and will require operators to pass both a written and practical examination.

The licenses will be only valid for a certain period of time and will have to be renewed. Illegal drone use will lead to the cancellation or suspension of a license.

A public-private panel discussing how to facilitate the use of drones will propose the license system in a report to be complied Tuesday, the sources said.

The government plans to finalize the details and submit a bill to revise the civil aeronautics law to the Diet next year, they said.

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Leonardo extends its training services capabilities to rotorcraft unmanned aerial systems

Leonardo is extending its training services capabilities to include rotorcraft unmanned aerial systems (UAS) to provide 360° training solutions to its growing customer base for maximised mission effectiveness and safety. The Company has recently obtained an Authorized Training Organization Certificate for UAS released by ENAC (Italian National Civil Aviation Authority). With this certification Leonardo is now able to supply training services for light and very light category remotely piloted systems (up to 25 kg) through its Helicopter Training Academy headquartered in Sesto Calende (Northern Italy). 
This certification heavily adds to the overall quality level and versatility of training services provided by Leonardo, making the Company the world’s first rotorcraft OEM with this capability –  it is expected to be recognised by EASA in 2021. This latest service addition allows Leonardo to respond to the evolving market demands by those helicopter operators who are increasingly using small UAS for their missions, including those carrying out disaster relief and emergency response tasks.

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UniSA working on ‘pandemic drone’ to detect coronavirus

The drone will be fitted with a specialised sensor and computer vision system that can monitor temperature, heart and respiratory rates, as well as detect people sneezing and coughing in crowds, offices, airports, cruise ships, aged care homes and other places where groups of people may work or congregate.
The UniSA team led by Defence Chair of Sensor Systems  Professor Javaan Chahl, who holds a joint appointment DST, will work with Draganfly Inc, a North American drone technology company, to immediately start integrating commercial, medical and government customers.
Professor Chahl, working alongside Dr Ali Al-Naji and Asanka Perera, achieved global recognition in 2017 when they demonstrated image-processing algorithms that could extract a human’s heart rate from drone video.

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