China’s biggest courier service awarded first licence to deliver by drone

China’s largest private courier service has secured the country’s first license to deliver packages via drones following a successful pilot period. Shenzhen-based SF Holding now has the ability to use drones to deliver goods in pilot areas designated by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). The permit, which was awarded to the company after a trial last June, will see unmanned aerial vehicles provide a new way to navigate remote locations, while also improving delivery times of packages to rural areas, according to local press reports. Some 70% of China is difficult to access by road due to mountains,
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Demand for public venue defence sees Airspace raise £14m for new drone protection venture

A leading manufacturer of drone defence systems has raised $20m (£14.9m) to develop new technology that will strengthen the protection of public venues from enemy drones. Airspace Systems drummed up support from a Series A funding round led by Singtel Innov8, the venture capital arm of Singtel with participation from s28 Capital and previous investors Shasta Ventures and Granite Hill Capital Partners, to reach the $20m target. Now with the funding the company will produce the Airspace Command Center (AC2), a comprehensive drone defense system, at scale and expand its Silicon Valley-based machine vision, navigation and systems teams. Jeff Karras,
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New Airbus drone promises to reduce aircraft downtime

Airbus has just demonstrated a new drone designed to be used in aircraft maintenance to speed up and improve the quality or airplane inspections. Airbus’ Advanced Inspection Drone can be used inside a hangar and is designed to accelerate and facilitate visual checks, “considerably reducing aircraft downtime and increasing the quality of inspection reports”. The new inspection process claims it will take only three hours, including 30 minutes of image capture by the drone, and will improve operator safety. By contrast, traditional aircraft visual inspection can typically last up to one day. The new product consists of a smart, automatic
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DJI ramps up digital sales presence with Worldpay contract

International UAV hardware manufacturer DJI has confirmed a partnership with global payment processing Worldpay in a bid to expand its ecommerce capabilities. With the global drone market expected to be worth more than $11.2 billion (£8.05 billion) by 2020, and growing consumer interest across Europe and in countries like Australia and Japan, DJI signed a deal with Worldpay to enhance its online trading capabilities. The payment provider will assist DJI connect with customers in different parts of the world, making its products more accessible for creators, travellers, photographers and those using drone technology for their work. Christina Zhang, treasurer at
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Airbus reports successful maiden voyage of self-piloting aircraft

Airbus Vahana
International aeronautics company Airbus’ latest innovation has officially taken off after it successfully completed a fruitful first test flight. Vahana, the all-electric, self-piloted, vertical take-off and landing aircraft, built by Airbus’ innovation outpost in Silicon Valley, managed to stay aloft for 53 seconds during its test flight in Oregon last week. Airbus’ Alpha One, which was constructed as part of project Vahana, reached a height of five meters (16 feet) before descending safely. Its first flight was fully self-piloted and the vehicle completed a second flight the following day. Project Vahana started in early 2016 as one of the first
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VIDEO: NASA and Boeing’s new technology takes off

NASA has successfully applied a new technology in flight that allows aircraft to fold their wings to different angles while in the air. The recent flight series, which took place at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California, was part of the Spanwise Adaptive Wing project (SAW). The SAW project, which aims to validate the use of a cutting-edge, lightweight material, was designed to test if the unit would to be able to fold the outer portions of aircraft wings and their control surfaces to optimal angles in flight. SAW co-principal investigator, Othmane Benafan, explained: “We wanted to see: can
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AirSpaceX primed to create multi-billion dollar market as it unveils futuristic public transport solution

AirSpaceX is confident it will revolutionise public transport with its “flying taxi” by as soon as 2026. The MOBi-ONE is the latest step towards being able to act out Back To The Future, as the vehicle boasts its able to outclass any other form of transport, freeing up the roads on the ground. “AirSpaceX CEO Rimanelli is confident the vehicle will be ready for demonstration by 2020 and up and running in the 50 busiest cities in America by 2026.” “There is an urgent need for innovation in urban mobility, and I believe on-demand air mobility will go a long
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New passenger drone ‘grounded by drizzle’ ahead of big reveal at CES trade show

workhorse surefly
Workhorse’s new passenger drone, which hopes to pave the way for autonomous transport solutions, was unable to embark on its maiden voyage at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week because of ‘inclement weather’, which was described by some as ‘drizzle’. The SureFly passenger drone been granted permission to fly by regulators just last week but had to be grounded on safety considerations ahead of its big reveal at the international trade technology showcase. But the company has said it hopes to execute its maiden flight soon and industry experts have praised the ‘wise decision’ to ground
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Boeing unveils cargo UAV capable of carrying 250kg payload

boeing evtol cav
Boeing has taken what it calls a ‘major step in its electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing (eVTOL) strategy’ after launching a new cargo UAV which is designed for logistical applications and can carry 250kg payloads. The company’s multi-copter UAV prototype is part of its development in autonomy and electric propulsion technology. In less than three months, a team of engineers and technicians across the company designed and built the cargo air vehicle (CAV) prototype. It successfully completed initial flight tests at Boeing Research & Technology's Collaborative Autonomous Systems Laboratory in Missouri. Powered by an environmentally-friendly electric propulsion system, the CAV prototype is outfitted with
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TeAx adds thermal imaging capabilities to drones as market demands shift

TeAx has unveiled its smallest and lightest solution to hit the drone market yet - and as well as being able to stream thermal imaging it also utilises an Ethernet interface. The commercial drone company's latest product is able to optimise live data streaming to FLIR Tau 2 cores and FLIR Vue Pro / R cores. Being designed for two existing drone models, the ThermalCapture IRnet brings real-time access in drone flight operations to thermal imaging data. However, next to real-time access, it also stores the full 14bit radiometric thermal data on a microSD card. Real-time access remains available whilst radiometric data
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