Drones set to conquer UK’s energy market as ‘landmark’ project takes off

Drones are poised to reinvent the manner in which members of the energy sector conduct inspections as a new UAV scheme takes to the skies. The large-scale project, Pathfinder, is working across electricity and gas networks and is coordinated by international innovation scout, the Energy Innovation Centre (EIC). The three-year programme is being led by Wales & West Utilities in collaboration with Cadent, National Grid Gas Transmission, Northern Gas Networks, Northern Powergrid, Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks and UK Power Networks. The designated government Pathfinder project, which is the first-of-its-kind in the UK, will work with the CAA to explore
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World’s first autonomous drone-in-a-box system deployed at power plant

The world’s first autonomous drone-in-a-box system has taken off to carry out round-the-clock operations at a power plant facility. Enel, an Italian multinational manufacturer and distributor of electricity and gas, has completed deployment of Percepto’s Sparrow drone system for use at its Torrevaldaliga Nord power plant in Italy. The multipurpose drone platform will support operation and maintenance activities at the site. The Sparrow will fly in automated mode under the supervision of an operator who can take control of the device at any moment as Italy’s regulatory framework does not currently allow fully-autonomous drone flight. The drone carries a permanent
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A day at the Fire Service College with Sky-Futures and NATS

NATS Sky Futures
NATS, the UK’s leading provider of air traffic management services, and Sky-Futures, a commercial drone-based inspection services and training provider, have officially taken their partnership to the skies. The partnership, which was first announced earlier this year and looks to ‘change the landscape of drone training in the UK’, was launched at the Sky-Futures Training Academy in Gloucestershire yesterday with a host of industry leaders in attendance. The launch day featured various drone strategy workshops, live demonstrations showcasing emergency services and enterprise scenarios. As businesses and public services increasingly seek to embrace the benefits of drone technology, the NATS/Sky-Futures partnership
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INDUSTRY SPECIAL: How the US’ drone integration programme will shape the development of the UAV industry

A raft of drone leaders are preparing to hit the ground running as a first-of-its-kind drone integration programme takes off in the US. The UAS Integration Pilot Program, which is being run by the U.S. Transportation Department with guidance from the FAA, will see 10 selectees develop use-cases in partnership with industry leaders. The UAS Integration Pilot Program is an opportunity for state, local and tribal governments to partner with private sector entities, such as UAV operators or manufacturers, to accelerate safe UAS integration. The programme is expected to foster a ‘meaningful dialogue’ on the balance between local and national
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DJI hushes Phantom 4 with 60% noise reduction model

dji phantom
Chinese technology company DJI has extended its range of UAVs with the addition of a noise-slashing model. The DJI Phantom model Pro+ V2.0 has been designed to benefit commercial users, as well as consumers, with enhanced video capabilities and improved flying experience features. The newly-designed unit has reduced noise by 60% compared to its predecessor and boasts simultaneous wireless connectivity. The P4P V2.0 uses DJI’s OcuSync transmission technology for high-resolution and low-latency digital video transmission and boasts 30 minutes of flight time, 7km transmission range, a five-directional obstacle sensing system and 1'' CMOS sensor. Retaining its iconic white airframe, the
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The flying taxi takes off in record-breaking untethered test

workhorse surefly
Workhorse’s new passenger drone, which hopes to pave the way for autonomous transport solutions, has made history as it takes off with its first passenger for the first time. SureFly, a division of Workhorse, successfully hovered a foot above ground for a few seconds before touching back down its two-person, eight-rotor air taxi. The SureFly passenger drone is designed for a short hop application with an estimated 70-mile range and an on-board redundant backup battery system. The SureFly drone was first unveiled at the Paris Air Show in June last year The SureFly drone completed a successful manned and untethered
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Lockheed Martin steps up Indago 3 capabilities

Lockheed Martin’s Indago 3, a small quadrotor unmanned aerial system, has been upgraded with high resolution infrared sensors capable of day or night operations. The Indago 3 quadrotor UAS weighs less than five pounds and can be airborne in three minutes. Depending on payloads, Indago 3 can fly up to 50 minutes at a cruise speed of 25mph and can operate at temperatures as low as 30-degrees below zero, and as high as 120 degrees. “Providing an infrared capability for Indago further enhances the uses for this small but powerful system,” said Rich Bonnett, Indago program manager with Lockheed Martin
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DJI and Microsoft join forces to ramp up advanced drone technology for enterprise

dji and microsoft
DJI, the world’s leader in civilian drones and aerial imaging technology, has inked a deal with Microsoft to enhance its enterprise drones’ capabilities. The framework will look to bring advanced AI and machine learning capabilities to DJI drones, helping businesses harness the power of commercial drone technology and edge cloud computing. Through this partnership DJI is releasing a software development kit (SDK) for Windows that extends the power of commercial drone technology to the largest enterprise developer community in the world. Roger Luo, president at DJI, said: “Using our new SDK, Windows developers will soon be able to employ drones,
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Solar-powered UAV with ability to fly for a year prepares for 2019 take off

A new solar electric unmanned aerial vehicle, which has the potential to fly for up to a year, has taken a leap closer to reality following a new agreement between BAE Systems and Prismatic. Engineers from the two organisations will collaborate on the development of the new solar-powered high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) UAV, known as PHASA-35, and are working to prepare their first aircraft for flight tests in 2019. The technology is being designed to offer a year-round service for a wide range of needs, including surveillance and vital communications to remote areas, using only the sun to power the aircraft
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FIVE MINUTES WITH: Nishita Dewan, Nesta’s lead on the Flying High Challenge

Nishita Dewan
Three months on from from the launch of Nesta’s Flying High Challenge and the industry is eagerly awaiting the results from the five chosen regions. The Flying High Challenge, funded by the Government and run by Nesta in partnership with Innovate UK, is designed to maximise the economic and social benefits of UAVs in UK cities. By collaborating with five selected cities, the Flying High Challenge will support each one to develop plans based on local community needs. While the programme is still in its first phase, Commercial Drone Professional met with the project’s lead at Nesta, Nishita Dewan, who
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