In Forbes, Tanya Mohn touches on the benefits of drone innovation in highway and transportation settings. "The March 2018 survey found that of the 44 state DOTs that responded, 20 said they currently incorporate drones, or unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), into their daily operations to gather photos and videos of highway construction projects. In addition to photography, 14 states also reported using them for surveying, 12 for public education and outreach, 10 for bridge inspections, eight for emergency response, six for pavement inspections, five for scientific research, two for daily traffic control and monitoring and one to conduct high-mast light pole inspections."
General Aviation News reports on new rules issued by the Federal Aviation Administration regarding small unmanned aircraft operations. "When you are at the controls of a drone, always avoid manned aircraft and never operate in a careless or reckless manner. You must keep your drone within sight. Alternatively, if you use First Person View or similar technology, you must have a visual observer who always keeps your aircraft within unaided sight (for example, no binoculars). Neither you nor a visual observer can be responsible for more than one unmanned aircraft operation at a time."
The Drive reports on the use of a drone to save a man's life in the Ozark Mountains. "According to KSPR, the drone was in the air and collecting vital data within seven minutes, letting the first responders know just how much manpower they’d need, or how time-sensitive the situation actually was. 'It speeds the recovery process probably ten times over because you know if there are resources that you don’t have at the scene you can call those resources in,' said Baird. Like many of us, Baird’s experience with quadcopters began as a hobby, but quickly became a tool."
ConstructionEquipment.com reports that the FAA is testing automatic approvals for low altitude UAS operations at air traffic facilities covering 500 airports. "If your company uses drones to view, map or monitor construction projects, getting approval to operate your commercial drones in controlled airspace is about to become easier and safer. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced it is expanding tests of an automated system that will ultimately provide near real-time processing of airspace authorization requests for unmanned aircraft (UAS) operators nationwide. Under the FAA’s Part 107 small drone rule, pilots or operators planning to fly in controlled airspace under 400 ft. must receive an airspace authorization from the FAA. Until recently, this involved a 19-step manual application process."
The Star reports on a new drone academy that is being utilized to inspect infrastructure and reduce costs in the Ivory Coast. The training is being offered at a new "drone academy" which has been set up by the Ivorian Electricity Company (CIE) in order to revolutionise the inspection of its infrastructure and ultimately to reduce costs. Although common in Europe, the use of drones is still in its infancy in West Africa although the commercial market for unmanned aircraft is expanding. The aim is for CIE – which is majority-owned by France's Eranove Group, a key provider of water and electricity in West Africa – to train around 20 local pilots to inspect its high-voltage lines which criss-cross the country, stretching more than 25,000km (15,500 miles).
Phys.org reports on the first paper to use drones to record the movement of animals within groups. "Andrew Berdahl of the Santa Fe Institute, his long-time collaborator Colin Torney of the University of Glasgow, and their co-authors used drones to collect overhead footage of caribou migrating to and from mainland Canada and Victoria Island. Then they extracted trajectories of each individual caribou and used those trajectories to quantify how social influence impacts fine-scale movement patterns within the herd. 'New technologies, like the drones and computer vision we used in our study, are really exciting because they give us the ability to collect movement data on every single individual in a group simultaneously,' says Berdahl. 'That means we can now unravel the important role that social interactions play in guiding migratory movements.'"
Southwest Research Institute-led team developing UAS to use in Japan's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant