FILTER POSTS SHOW ALL AVIATION MARITIME
FILTER POSTS SHOW ALL AVIATION MARITIME

Our Fine Tethered Friends

In VC’s Commercial and UAV report, the section detailing Technical Requirements (chapter 2), discussed in some detail the alternative of tethered drones. Recent articles in the media have shown that this niche market is developing apace.

Tethered UAVs on building sites for use with surveillance cameras make good economic sense. The basic problem with dirigibles is that payload capacity is limited. One cubic metre of Helium in a balloon can only lift roughly 1 kg which must include its own frame weight and the weight of its tether so to put a camera at 150m (say) probably requires an inflatable of 20m3. It might be possible to tether one to the top of a tower crane and reduce the size if the site has a tower crane. Helium is also a very leaky gas so top-ups are a necessary evil.

One interesting use of tethered dirigibles is as repeater relays for relaying commands to a fixed wing UAV flying over a large cattle station or ranch. Six tethered dirigibles at 150m on the horizon with repeater relays for command signals would allow the survey UAV to patrol an area several times the area of greater London which is quite useful for larger cattle stations in Australia which exceed this area by several times and even some of the ranches in Canada and the USA which almost approach this area.

The commercial world is cottoning on to the techniques that have already been used by military forces all over the world. Raven Aerostar has been making aerostats for military applications for several decades. They offer technological solutions for Integrated Situational Awareness (ISA) which is essentially a tethered blimp with a camera, radar and communication package.

AT&T have now tested a flying cell tower (delightfully called ‘The Flying COW’ – Cell On Wings) that can provide 4G coverage for 100 Km, essentially the area of Paris, France or Bronx County in New York City. It is tethered to a vehicle-based ground station which continuously powers the device and, using a fibre cable, sends and receives data. AT&T see the uses for this in Disaster Monitoring and Recovery and temporary set-ups such as music festivals.

EE says it is deploy a fleet of Allsop “helikite” drones over the next three years to extend wireless coverage in rural areas and when its 4G network goes down or needs more capacity. These are presently used by the military for surveillance and communication enhancement. Of particular benefit is their all-weather capability, the aerodynamic profile allowing overflight to continue in rain, snow and wind. EE expects to launch its first drone this year to coincide with a music festival such as Glastonbury that draws tens of thousands of fans to a remote location overloading the local network. Additionally, these Helikites have been used by ships in remote locations such as the Arctic and have been deployed for land and infrastructure surveys.

Another interesting potential for Helikites is in agriculture. Drone surveys for precision agriculture and forestry tend to be a single flight survey at a particular time of the day using Infra-red cameras, LiDAR and ordinary photometry. This provides an invaluable snapshot to indicate plants in distress and allow planning for remedial action. A permanent survey vehicle, such as a Helikite, would allow crop monitoring over 24 hours or longer which allows the agricultural engineer to pinpoint many more areas for crop yield improvement.

Last month, Bronx Fire Department, the largest fire department in the United States, deployed a tethered drone for blaze assessment on a building in Bronx County.

On 6th of March 2017, a building in Bronx County caught ablaze. The conflagration needed four units to tackle it and it posed significant dangers to firefighters. Normally the firefighting team would survey the fire from adjacent high-rises to optimise their team deployment. On this occasion the department used a Hoverfly Technologies drone to take high-resolution colour and thermal infrared footage that gave them a clear understanding of the fire spread so allowing for safe access. Hoverfly use Yuneec drones and a lightweight tether to power the drone and transmit and receive data.

Tethered drones can give prolonged surveying capability. During Catastrophe Remediation and in emergency situations, persistent surveillance allows the rescuing service to effectively strategise their deployment so saving lives and property. The ground power allows more heavy duty lift motors than would be possible with battery power which gives greater payload but that payload includes the weight of the tether so the Hoverfly combination is limited to 150m height. In addition, the tether limits manoeuvrability.

Two other suppliers of tethered drones are Powerline and Cyphyworks. Both use the DJI Inspire drone and address the same market as Hoverfly.

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[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="no" equal_height_columns="no" menu_anchor="" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" background_color="" background_image="" background_position="center center" background_repeat="no-repeat" fade="no" background_parallax="none" parallax_speed="0.3" video_mp4="" video_webm="" video_ogv="" video_url="" video_aspect_ratio="16:9" video_loop="yes" video_mute="yes" overlay_color="" video_preview_image="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" padding_top="" padding_bottom="" padding_left="" padding_right=""][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" layout="1_1" background_position="left top" background_color="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" border_position="all" spacing="yes" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" padding_top="" padding_right="" padding_bottom="" padding_left="" margin_top="0px" margin_bottom="0px" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_direction="left" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" center_content="no" last="no" min_height="" hover_type="none" link=""][fusion_imageframe image_id="4994|full" max_width="" style_type="" blur="" stylecolor="" hover_type="none" bordersize="" bordercolor="" borderradius="" align="center" lightbox="no" gallery_id="" lightbox_image="" lightbox_image_id="" alt="" link="" linktarget="_self" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_direction="left" animation_speed="0.3" animation_offset=""]http://217.199.187.200/valourconsultancy.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Combined-picture-1024x555-1.png[/fusion_imageframe][fusion_separator style_type="default" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" sep_color="#ffffff" top_margin="20" bottom_margin="20" border_size="" icon="" icon_circle="" icon_circle_color="" width="" alignment="center" /][fusion_text columns="" column_min_width="" column_spacing="" rule_style="default" rule_size="" rule_color="" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_direction="left" animation_speed="0.3" animation_offset=""]In VC’s Commercial and UAV report, the section detailing Technical Requirements (chapter 2), discussed in some detail the alternative of tethered drones. Recent articles in the media have shown that this niche market is developing apace. Tethered UAVs on building sites for use with surveillance cameras make good economic sense. The basic problem with dirigibles is that payload capacity is limited. One cubic metre of Helium in a balloon can only lift roughly 1 kg which must include its own frame weight and the weight of its tether so to put a camera at 150m (say) probably requires an inflatable of 20m3. It might be possible to tether one to the top of a tower crane and reduce the size if the site has a tower crane. Helium is also a very leaky gas so top-ups are a necessary evil. One interesting use of tethered dirigibles is as repeater relays for relaying commands to a fixed wing UAV flying over a large cattle station or ranch. Six tethered dirigibles at 150m on the horizon with repeater relays for command signals would allow the survey UAV to patrol an area several times the area of greater London which is quite useful for larger cattle stations in Australia which exceed this area by several times and even some of the ranches in Canada and the USA which almost approach this area. The commercial world is cottoning on to the techniques that have already been used by military forces all over the world. Raven Aerostar has been making aerostats for military applications for several decades. They offer technological solutions for Integrated Situational Awareness (ISA) which is essentially a tethered blimp with a camera, radar and communication package. AT&T have now tested a flying cell tower (delightfully called ‘The Flying COW’ – Cell On Wings) that can provide 4G coverage for 100 Km, essentially the area of Paris, France or Bronx County in New York City. It is tethered to a vehicle-based ground station which continuously powers the device and, using a fibre cable, sends and receives data. AT&T see the uses for this in Disaster Monitoring and Recovery and temporary set-ups such as music festivals. EE says it is deploy a fleet of Allsop “helikite” drones over the next three years to extend wireless coverage in rural areas and when its 4G network goes down or needs more capacity. These are presently used by the military for surveillance and communication enhancement. Of particular benefit is their all-weather capability, the aerodynamic profile allowing overflight to continue in rain, snow and wind. EE expects to launch its first drone this year to coincide with a music festival such as Glastonbury that draws tens of thousands of fans to a remote location overloading the local network. Additionally, these Helikites have been used by ships in remote locations such as the Arctic and have been deployed for land and infrastructure surveys. Another interesting potential for Helikites is in agriculture. Drone surveys for precision agriculture and forestry tend to be a single flight survey at a particular time of the day using Infra-red cameras, LiDAR and ordinary photometry. This provides an invaluable snapshot to indicate plants in distress and allow planning for remedial action. A permanent survey vehicle, such as a Helikite, would allow crop monitoring over 24 hours or longer which allows the agricultural engineer to pinpoint many more areas for crop yield improvement. Last month, Bronx Fire Department, the largest fire department in the United States, deployed a tethered drone for blaze assessment on a building in Bronx County. On 6th of March 2017, a building in Bronx County caught ablaze. The conflagration needed four units to tackle it and it posed significant dangers to firefighters. Normally the firefighting team would survey the fire from adjacent high-rises to optimise their team deployment. On this occasion the department used a Hoverfly Technologies drone to take high-resolution colour and thermal infrared footage that gave them a clear understanding of the fire spread so allowing for safe access. Hoverfly use Yuneec drones and a lightweight tether to power the drone and transmit and receive data. Tethered drones can give prolonged surveying capability. During Catastrophe Remediation and in emergency situations, persistent surveillance allows the rescuing service to effectively strategise their deployment so saving lives and property. The ground power allows more heavy duty lift motors than would be possible with battery power which gives greater payload but that payload includes the weight of the tether so the Hoverfly combination is limited to 150m height. In addition, the tether limits manoeuvrability. Two other suppliers of tethered drones are Powerline and Cyphyworks. Both use the DJI Inspire drone and address the same market as Hoverfly.[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Cruise Line Connectivity and Partnering Opportunities

Over the years, the cruise line industry has experienced a period of continuous evolution in regards to integral communications and information technologies. Many stakeholders are leading this charge, since broadband connectivity is becoming a crucial component whereby many passengers decide which cruise line offers the greatest connection of all. The idea of people going on a family/solo cruise to “escape” from ther routine and other obligations is fast becoming outdated.

Nowadays, passengers, along with crew, are demanding superior levels of connectivity and bandwidth at port, near port, and on board. Major cruise companies are aware of this consumer pattern and have diverted efforts towards a systematic level of collaboration and innovation in the industry. In synergy, satellite communication providers and cruise line operators are working together to capitalise on opportunities based on infrastructure, expertise, passenger experience, and efficiencies offered by partnering.

With more than 25 million global passengers projected to cruise this year, carrying aboard multiple sensor-enabled devices with them, cruise line operators are determined to enable the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) at sea to cure the urgency of costly manned processes and fragmented data management. Yet, its applicability requires a single unification of limitless data systems and a sharing architecture that facilitates end-to-end communications and industry optimisation.

In other words, the confluence of business and technical fashions in the pursuit of interoperability and standardisation of systems builds on incremental connectivity ashore, which is a detour to reach inexpensive and blazing-fast Internet connection for exigent passengers at sea. As an exemplification, it is imperative to observe how three top-tiered cruise line companies – Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, Carnival Corporation, and Royal Caribbean Cruises – have announced strategic agreements with key satcom solution providers to respond to the demands of IoT at sea and meet the performance expectations of guests/crew on board.

To meet the growing demand for ship connectivity, EMC (now part of Global Eagle) has entered into a long-term strategic agreement with Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings for the provision of high throughput satellite (HTS) links, infotainment, and other terrestrial services. Through major investments in new multi-band antennas that are allocated in multiple strategic angles and Wi-Fi infrastructure, Norwegian Cruise Line has achieved competitive advantage using Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSAT) technology to have rich access to C-, and Ku-band frequencies at sea.

Auxiliary investments in terrestrial broadband networks and web browsing accelerating tools (in this case, EMC’s patented SpeedNet technology) were also implemented in the provision of superior passenger experience and online traffic management. Norwegian Cruise Line has strongly upgraded its Wi-Fi infrastructure to allow not only absolute, ship-to-shore connectivity, but also to develop smart switching technologies that enables passengers/crew to keep browsing using terrestrial links at port, while holding on to satellite links for operational and other core management priorities.

Similar efforts were also led by Carnival Corporation to further enhance guest-onboard experiences through major communication upgrades and innovation. The American-British cruise company signed a five-year contract agreement with Harris CapRock in 2013 to supply fully managed communication services to more than 100 ships across its ten global cruise line brands, using a multi-band VSAT system to enable vessels to power high bandwidth and connectivity under a flat-rate fee for social media usage.

Using the latest generation of iDirect communication technology, via hybrid C- and Ku band solutions, Harris CapRock masters the art of VSAT systems and infrastructure based on global coverage, specialised equipment, secured installation, ongoing maintenance, and, more importantly, 24/7 customer support centers to guarantee proactive monitoring and technical support. By expertise, Harris CapRock is committed to delivering highly improved bandwidth and performance with modern stabilised antennas systems in order to provide new services and infotainment solutions onboard.

Royal Caribbean Cruises has also established a strategic agreement with Harris CapRock to equip new Spacetrack stabilised antennas across its entire fleet, using a combination of Ku- and C-band connectivity. The main objective of the agreement is to provide reliable Internet access in order to attract younger passengers, help retain crew, and streamline operations while at sea. The Melbourne-based communications and IT provider has supplemented performance with the provision of advanced VSAT systems to increase bandwidth, reassigning satellite capacity on demand through a more secure and cost-effective angle.

The collaboration likewise integrates O3b’s medium Earth orbit (MEO) satellite systems for two Royal Caribbean ships, Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, to benefit from unmatched capacity, consistency, and coverage. Technically, MEO satellites, which orbit the earth at an altitude of approximately 8,000 kilometers, enable even higher bandwidth services as well as optimised Internet and broadband connectivity without experiencing the traditional satellite delays (lag). This new platform improves overall communications performance and guest/crew online experience through breaking-record Internet speed and reliable Wi-Fi capacity.

For the most part, the aforementioned cases explain how cruise ship operators contrastingly partner with major satcom providers to cope with their most perilous challenge – the fulfillment of passenger expectations. However, the key takeaway is that new global technologies that comprises cloud, IOT, mobile platforms, satellite, and big data management are helping turn connectivity challenges into sustainable end-to-end solutions for the maritime sector.

More importantly, cruise operators are required to keep prioritising technology strategies that encourage innovations to pursue an integrated, fully-managed satellite, wireless, and terrestrial connectivity platform to remain ahead of the curve. The ideal communication solution should also embrace hybrid systems, smart switching functions to increase performance at any given point during the voyage, and supporting applications to enhance passenger experience onboard.

Valour Consultancy will soon commence work on the second edition of its acclaimed report “The Future of Maritime Connectivity”. If you would like to learn more about how you can influence the scope of this research so that it more closely matches your needs, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

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[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="no" equal_height_columns="no" menu_anchor="" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" background_color="" background_image="" background_position="center center" background_repeat="no-repeat" fade="no" background_parallax="none" parallax_speed="0.3" video_mp4="" video_webm="" video_ogv="" video_url="" video_aspect_ratio="16:9" video_loop="yes" video_mute="yes" overlay_color="" video_preview_image="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" padding_top="" padding_bottom="" padding_left="" padding_right=""][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" layout="1_1" background_position="left top" background_color="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" border_position="all" spacing="yes" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" padding_top="" padding_right="" padding_bottom="" padding_left="" margin_top="0px" margin_bottom="0px" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_direction="left" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" center_content="no" last="no" min_height="" hover_type="none" link=""][fusion_imageframe image_id="5000|full" max_width="" style_type="" blur="" stylecolor="" hover_type="none" bordersize="" bordercolor="" borderradius="" align="center" lightbox="no" gallery_id="" lightbox_image="" lightbox_image_id="" alt="" link="" linktarget="_self" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_direction="left" animation_speed="0.3" animation_offset=""]http://217.199.187.200/valourconsultancy.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/ferry-boat-123059_1920-1024x685-1.jpg[/fusion_imageframe][fusion_separator style_type="default" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" sep_color="#ffffff" top_margin="20" bottom_margin="20" border_size="" icon="" icon_circle="" icon_circle_color="" width="" alignment="center" /][fusion_text]Over the years, the cruise line industry has experienced a period of continuous evolution in regards to integral communications and information technologies. Many stakeholders are leading this charge, since broadband connectivity is becoming a crucial component whereby many passengers decide which cruise line offers the greatest connection of all. The idea of people going on a family/solo cruise to “escape” from ther routine and other obligations is fast becoming outdated. Nowadays, passengers, along with crew, are demanding superior levels of connectivity and bandwidth at port, near port, and on board. Major cruise companies are aware of this consumer pattern and have diverted efforts towards a systematic level of collaboration and innovation in the industry. In synergy, satellite communication providers and cruise line operators are working together to capitalise on opportunities based on infrastructure, expertise, passenger experience, and efficiencies offered by partnering. With more than 25 million global passengers projected to cruise this year, carrying aboard multiple sensor-enabled devices with them, cruise line operators are determined to enable the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) at sea to cure the urgency of costly manned processes and fragmented data management. Yet, its applicability requires a single unification of limitless data systems and a sharing architecture that facilitates end-to-end communications and industry optimisation. In other words, the confluence of business and technical fashions in the pursuit of interoperability and standardisation of systems builds on incremental connectivity ashore, which is a detour to reach inexpensive and blazing-fast Internet connection for exigent passengers at sea. As an exemplification, it is imperative to observe how three top-tiered cruise line companies – Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, Carnival Corporation, and Royal Caribbean Cruises – have announced strategic agreements with key satcom solution providers to respond to the demands of IoT at sea and meet the performance expectations of guests/crew on board. To meet the growing demand for ship connectivity, EMC (now part of Global Eagle) has entered into a long-term strategic agreement with Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings for the provision of high throughput satellite (HTS) links, infotainment, and other terrestrial services. Through major investments in new multi-band antennas that are allocated in multiple strategic angles and Wi-Fi infrastructure, Norwegian Cruise Line has achieved competitive advantage using Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSAT) technology to have rich access to C-, and Ku-band frequencies at sea. Auxiliary investments in terrestrial broadband networks and web browsing accelerating tools (in this case, EMC’s patented SpeedNet technology) were also implemented in the provision of superior passenger experience and online traffic management. Norwegian Cruise Line has strongly upgraded its Wi-Fi infrastructure to allow not only absolute, ship-to-shore connectivity, but also to develop smart switching technologies that enables passengers/crew to keep browsing using terrestrial links at port, while holding on to satellite links for operational and other core management priorities. Similar efforts were also led by Carnival Corporation to further enhance guest-onboard experiences through major communication upgrades and innovation. The American-British cruise company signed a five-year contract agreement with Harris CapRock in 2013 to supply fully managed communication services to more than 100 ships across its ten global cruise line brands, using a multi-band VSAT system to enable vessels to power high bandwidth and connectivity under a flat-rate fee for social media usage. Using the latest generation of iDirect communication technology, via hybrid C- and Ku band solutions, Harris CapRock masters the art of VSAT systems and infrastructure based on global coverage, specialised equipment, secured installation, ongoing maintenance, and, more importantly, 24/7 customer support centers to guarantee proactive monitoring and technical support. By expertise, Harris CapRock is committed to delivering highly improved bandwidth and performance with modern stabilised antennas systems in order to provide new services and infotainment solutions onboard. Royal Caribbean Cruises has also established a strategic agreement with Harris CapRock to equip new Spacetrack stabilised antennas across its entire fleet, using a combination of Ku- and C-band connectivity. The main objective of the agreement is to provide reliable Internet access in order to attract younger passengers, help retain crew, and streamline operations while at sea. The Melbourne-based communications and IT provider has supplemented performance with the provision of advanced VSAT systems to increase bandwidth, reassigning satellite capacity on demand through a more secure and cost-effective angle. The collaboration likewise integrates O3b’s medium Earth orbit (MEO) satellite systems for two Royal Caribbean ships, Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, to benefit from unmatched capacity, consistency, and coverage. Technically, MEO satellites, which orbit the earth at an altitude of approximately 8,000 kilometers, enable even higher bandwidth services as well as optimised Internet and broadband connectivity without experiencing the traditional satellite delays (lag). This new platform improves overall communications performance and guest/crew online experience through breaking-record Internet speed and reliable Wi-Fi capacity. For the most part, the aforementioned cases explain how cruise ship operators contrastingly partner with major satcom providers to cope with their most perilous challenge - the fulfillment of passenger expectations. However, the key takeaway is that new global technologies that comprises cloud, IOT, mobile platforms, satellite, and big data management are helping turn connectivity challenges into sustainable end-to-end solutions for the maritime sector. More importantly, cruise operators are required to keep prioritising technology strategies that encourage innovations to pursue an integrated, fully-managed satellite, wireless, and terrestrial connectivity platform to remain ahead of the curve. The ideal communication solution should also embrace hybrid systems, smart switching functions to increase performance at any given point during the voyage, and supporting applications to enhance passenger experience onboard. Valour Consultancy will soon commence work on the second edition of its acclaimed report “The Future of Maritime Connectivity”. If you would like to learn more about how you can influence the scope of this research so that it more closely matches your needs, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Individual Drone Identification

In our commercial UAV report, Valour Consultancy laid out a timeline for future Drone Industry Development, both drivers and inhibitors. One of the first items it listed as a driver for development was Individual Drone Identification:

“Commercial companies will welcome and whole-heartedly endorse drone registration and individual drone identification (they will do this for purely selfish reasons). Probability 95% + 5% – 10% Timeline 2016 Q4 to 2017 Q4”

Last week, DJI produced a well-reasoned and thoughtful whitepaper entitled ‘A Call for a Balanced Remote Identification Approach’.

http://www.dji.com/newsroom/news/dji-proposes-electronic-identification-framework-for-small-drones

In this paper, they argue that the privacy of the operator should be respected. To achieve this and respect the interests of privacy of third parties and of other airspace users and to comply with existing legislation and community principles, they suggest a Non-Network Localised ID. It appears that they suggest something similar to an IP address or other identification code being broadcast on the 2.4 GHz or 5.8 GHz bands. In itself, this is an ideal solution for drone manufacturing companies.

In a controlled airspace, a conflict of airspace is said to exist when aircraft are separated by less than 9km horizontally and 1km vertically. In uncontrolled areas, depending on the visibility, 300 metres horizontally and some vertical separation is all that is required. There are some issues that an identification code broadcast will not address however. In urban and suburban conurbations, this would seem to be ideal but it is in these areas that drones are likely to come into the operating space of other air users such as air ambulances, police helicopters, press helicopters and senior executives returning from late lunches at the golf course by company helicopter.

Wi-Fi broadcasts are pretty much line-of-sight and of limited distance. At 300m in clear field communication, the quality of the communication has been measured at 56%. This is reasonable as the communication (broadcast of ID) will be frequent and the content simple and so easily checked.

If we wanted to alert any other air vehicle to the presence of our drone at, say, 600m or around buildings (any buildings at 600m will have lots of glass so the likelihood is that signals will pass through), and in inclement weather, then we need a slightly different system. Experiments of radio transmission through concrete suggest that a thickness of 40cm (or 2 x 20cm) is enough to degrade transmission so that it becomes unreadable. Weather is also an issue as heavy moisture content in the air degrades a signal. More research is needed before a suitable broadcast can be finalised.

And then there is the issue of power. Broadcasting ID over 300m (say) at 10s intervals (say) in addition to normal command and control and even video streaming, can up power consumption for the control portion of power expenditure considerably. This shortens flight time, not significantly and not enough to disturb anyone using a drone to take photos or just enjoying the pleasure of flying one. However, if you are using the drone as a tool and you now require one or two extra sorties in an 8 hour work day to achieve the same surveying coverage, this increases cost for spare/stand-by batteries and man-power costs. Any holistic appraisal of drone productivity needs to be cognisant of these factors.

When we say the flight time is less or rather the power consumption increases but not significantly, we are talking around 0.5% increase (using a very rough rule-of-thumb calculation). That may not seem significant but remember that it is only the insignificant curvature of the Earth by 0.00025% that stops the Earth from being flat.

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In our commercial UAV report, Valour Consultancy laid out a timeline for future Drone Industry Development, both drivers and inhibitors. One of the first items it listed as a driver for development was Individual Drone Identification:

“Commercial companies will welcome and whole-heartedly endorse drone registration and individual drone identification (they will do this for purely selfish reasons). Probability 95% + 5% - 10% Timeline 2016 Q4 to 2017 Q4”

Last week, DJI produced a well-reasoned and thoughtful whitepaper entitled ‘A Call for a Balanced Remote Identification Approach’.

http://www.dji.com/newsroom/news/dji-proposes-electronic-identification-framework-for-small-drones

In this paper, they argue that the privacy of the operator should be respected. To achieve this and respect the interests of privacy of third parties and of other airspace users and to comply with existing legislation and community principles, they suggest a Non-Network Localised ID. It appears that they suggest something similar to an IP address or other identification code being broadcast on the 2.4 GHz or 5.8 GHz bands. In itself, this is an ideal solution for drone manufacturing companies.

In a controlled airspace, a conflict of airspace is said to exist when aircraft are separated by less than 9km horizontally and 1km vertically. In uncontrolled areas, depending on the visibility, 300 metres horizontally and some vertical separation is all that is required. There are some issues that an identification code broadcast will not address however. In urban and suburban conurbations, this would seem to be ideal but it is in these areas that drones are likely to come into the operating space of other air users such as air ambulances, police helicopters, press helicopters and senior executives returning from late lunches at the golf course by company helicopter.

Wi-Fi broadcasts are pretty much line-of-sight and of limited distance. At 300m in clear field communication, the quality of the communication has been measured at 56%. This is reasonable as the communication (broadcast of ID) will be frequent and the content simple and so easily checked.

If we wanted to alert any other air vehicle to the presence of our drone at, say, 600m or around buildings (any buildings at 600m will have lots of glass so the likelihood is that signals will pass through), and in inclement weather, then we need a slightly different system. Experiments of radio transmission through concrete suggest that a thickness of 40cm (or 2 x 20cm) is enough to degrade transmission so that it becomes unreadable. Weather is also an issue as heavy moisture content in the air degrades a signal. More research is needed before a suitable broadcast can be finalised.

And then there is the issue of power. Broadcasting ID over 300m (say) at 10s intervals (say) in addition to normal command and control and even video streaming, can up power consumption for the control portion of power expenditure considerably. This shortens flight time, not significantly and not enough to disturb anyone using a drone to take photos or just enjoying the pleasure of flying one. However, if you are using the drone as a tool and you now require one or two extra sorties in an 8 hour work day to achieve the same surveying coverage, this increases cost for spare/stand-by batteries and man-power costs. Any holistic appraisal of drone productivity needs to be cognisant of these factors.

When we say the flight time is less or rather the power consumption increases but not significantly, we are talking around 0.5% increase (using a very rough rule-of-thumb calculation). That may not seem significant but remember that it is only the insignificant curvature of the Earth by 0.00025% that stops the Earth from being flat.

[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]