UK

Government’s Defence and Security Accelerator seeks ‘wider community’ proposals for small-drone use in the military

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A competition document from the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) is seeking proposals for innovative approaches to developing and evaluating the military utility of a drone swarm. DASA wants low-cost, small Unmanned Air Systems (UAS) to operate as a collaborative mission capability as part of military missions. £2.5m has been made available to fund one or more swarming UAS Integrated Concept Evaluations to accelerate from a minimum of Technology Readiness Level 3 or 4 to TRL 6 or 7. The competition document 'Many Drones Make Light Work', described how UAS are currently in widespread use with a range of defence
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Commercial Drone Professional to launch special edition print magazine

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Commercial Drone Professional has announced that it will publish a special edition print magazine next month. The publication will be released as part of the Commercial UAV show which runs from November 14-15. The magazine will focus on a variety of topics relevant in the industry right now including, insurance, regulation and flight infrastructure. It will also feature in-depth coverage of CDP’s trip to DJI’s AirWorks Conference in Dallas, Texas next week. In addition to the new content, stories that have recently featured both online and in the daily e-newsletter, including the exclusive reports on Skyports and Women Who Drone,
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Imperial College London may have found answer to drone collision issue

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Researchers at Imperial College London have found that the ancient art of origami could be used to protect in-flight drones from collisions. Without hindering flight performance, experts have taken inspiration from origami to equip drones with lightweight, impact-absorbent cushioning to protect them from bumps and scrapes. The research, published in Science Robotics, shows how drones equipped with the Rotary Origami Protective System incur less force and damage during a collision, and are thus able to keep flying after impact with obstacles. Lead author Dr Pooya Sareh, who led the research at Imperial’s Department of Aeronautics and now directs the Creative
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Road repairing drone could solve the UK’s pothole problem

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Drones could soon be used as road repair devices following research from students at the University of Leeds. The news comes after councillors in Flintshire proposed an implementation of the technology to fix its £40m pothole repair backlog. According to a report by the BBC, the council began to consider the alternative solution after seeing researchers from the University of Leeds demonstrate a drone that sprays asphalt from a 3D printer. The Local Democracy Reporting Service described how labour councillor Paul Shotton raised the idea when councillors discussed repair delays during an environment scrutiny committee meeting on Tuesday. The same
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Wiltshire police drone department scoops top national award

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The drone unit at Wiltshire Police has received a top national award following its operational support over the last twelve months. The Special Constabulary Drone team took home the Technical Innovation Award at the Home Office Lord Ferrers ceremony yesterday. The team of volunteers within the unit scooped the prize for providing 24/7 on-call cover to operational policing. The group act as an eye in the sky for the police service in incidents such as missing people, road traffic collisions dangerous environments such as collapsed buildings and firearms. The team, who have now been operating for over a year and
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Aircraft drone inspections could become industry norm by 2020

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Aircraft inspection by drone could become mainstream within the next three years according to one industry specialist. Christian Suttner, co-founder and managing partner of start-up incubator Starburst, thinks the industry should expect to see roll-outs by the end of 2019. UK-based firm easyjet was an early adopter of drone based inspections and according to a report from MRO-Network, Suttner believes the industry will start to see it more and more. Speaking to MRO Europe in Amsterdam, Suttner said: “The second wave is coming. It will take them another year to work out their processes and another year for full roll
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Microwave beams could prove key in keeping drones airborne for longer

New research has found that microwave beams could be used to keep drones in the air for longer. Researchers at Queen’s University Belfast have been developing technology which could see microwave beams powering drones from the ground. According to a report from The Engineer, this kind of technology breakthrough could open the door to continuous flight. This new method will oppose existing wireless power transfer methods which require very close proximity. The report from The Engineer goes on to describe how the new project, funded by the EPSRC and involving Qinetiq, is developing a technology that can transfer over 200W
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West-Lothian groundworks firm buys GPS drone to help with on-site work

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West Lothian building firm Mullholland Contracts has bought a GPS-enabled drone to help with day to day on-site work. The groundworks, surfacing and utility contractor will use the drone to monitor site progress and generate models and maps for its clients. According to a report from Insider, the company has acquired a full drone pilot certification from the Civil Aviation Authority as well. The report goes on to describe that the DJI Inspire 2 will be used to assist with the monitoring of earthworks, the tracking of site progress, and the generation of up-to-date maps for clients. Finance director at
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Flock gives industry insight on its short term insurance trends

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London-based insurance firm Flock has given industry insight on the trends it sees from its short term insurance offering. The company, which launched in January, provides its short-term plans via a mobile app called Flock Cover. In its eight month of operation, Flock has found that on average, Drone pilots compare around 15 different risk dependent quotes before signing up for a policy. Flock analyses hyperlocal weather data and environmental variables when preparing a quote, alongside static information such as the drone pilot’s profile. It then puts its data through a group of algorithms to calculate a flight risk metric
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Local council makes ‘health and safety’ plans to ban drones in parks

Leicester City Council is making an update to its laws which will see the strict regulation of drones in its local parks. Pilots breaking the new rules could face being asked to leave the area or a fine of up to £500. LeicestershireLive reported that the drones could be banned as part of a shake-up of local by-laws to prevent problem behaviours in public places. By-laws are are enforced at the discretion of parks department staff or police officers. The council has said that the change in regulation comes as part of a plan to increase the public safety and
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