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Summary of Inmarsat’s Pop-Up UAV Lab

Authors: Joshua Flood and David Whelan

On Thursday 30th of May 2019, we attended an Inmarsat Pop-Up UAV Lab at the firm’s Old Street headquarters.

Rupert Pearce, CEO of Inmarsat, provided an introduction to the changing dynamics and use cases for aerial unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and noted down several significant developments of the technology. One remarkable example is Zipline’s deployment and delivery of medicines, vaccines and blood to hospital facilities in Rwanda and other African nations.

Shortly after, Rupert announced Inmarsat’s new Aviator UAV 200, a dedicated L-band SATCOM system for UAS.

The light 1.45kg terminal capable of delivering background data services up to 200 Kbps of data, with a 1.35 seconds latency, via Inmarsat’s BGAN coverage. Its streaming class services can deliver up to 180kbps with half HDR.

The new UAV terminal will enable beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) communications, enabling real time control of the UAV via the satcom terminal. It’s a class 4 Swiftbroadband product with Inmarsat offering hemisphere coverage to 5 degrees elevation.

Inmarsat invited several UAS entities to provide some insights into their trials and uses of the Aviator UAV 200.

These companies are listed below:

  • Silent Falcon, based in New Mexico, USA
  • A-techSYN, based in Ireland and Turkey
  • Alpha Unmanned, based in Spain
  • Robot Aviation, based in Norway
  • Flylogix, UK

Before these companies presented and participated in the panel sessions, Inmarsat’s senior UAS management program provided an introduction to its new agile management approach and developing a culture of teams workings within teams rather than its traditional siloed workings. For example, its maritime staff working on maritime projects only, aviation on aviation, government on government and so forth.

Mike Holdsworth and Andrew Legg provided some insight into how Inmarsat plans to develop specialist leaders to target certain areas for UAV solution.

These include:

  • Joe Carr – Mining
  • Steven Tompkins – Agriculture
  • Daniel Cooper – Aid/NGO/Media
  • Mike Holdsworth – Transport
  • Gary Cosby – Energy and Oil and Gas

The presentation then delved into how the Aviator UAV 200 compared to competing IoT trends, comparing an Iridium IoT terminal which weighed 30 grams, which was capable of 0.3 kbps and had a terminal latency of 22 seconds. The Aviator also performed better than Iridium’s 9522B and Aircell Axxess terminal solutions too.

Starburst, an accelerator consultancy, provided an overview of high-performance UAVs highlighting seven areas consisting of mapping and surveillance, infrastructure and energy inspection, insurance cartography, forest monitoring, ecology, search and rescue and humanitarian aid and remote delivery.

In addition, the firm illustrated performance UAVs – civil against competing solutions such as satellite, High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS), general aviation, and helicopter. The primary barriers facing civil UAVs, stated by Starburst, were its expensive nature compared to satellite, limited coverage compared to other platforms, and usage limited by national regulations.

The value chain is dominated by three player types:

  • UAV OEMs and OES
  • UAV providers
  • Data analytic providers

The only company noted in the value chain who is strategically attempting to cover all areas is DJI, the largest Chinese UAV OEM with its renown Phantom and to a lesser extent, Inspire, brand UAVs.

Presently, the key inhibitors for UAVs are its expensive price points compared to satellite, limited yearly flight capacity (100 and 200 hours per year), limited battery technology which is prone to quickly degenerating, and restrictive regulations by aviation bodies in certain countries.

However, one of its key drivers is its enhanced capabilities for certain professions, such as monitoring pipelines.

Starburst predicts approximately 3,100 platform fleets will be active by 2030. In 2018, the firm believed 300 platform fleets were active.

Robot Aviation

Based in Norway, the firm developed UAV inspection capabilities for critical infrastructure assets, such as powerlines and/or search and rescue (SAR). The potential use of Inmarsat’s satcom systems will enable Robot Aviation to reduce mission planning, increase its UAV coverage area and also provide a more robust solution.

The implementation and practical usage of the UAV is still in its early stages and as such Robot Aviation have not yet completed any missions to date.

Robot Aviation are also developing and producing small to medium sized fixed wing UAVs for other commercial and military use. No further information was provided on the latter point.

The firm’s primary objective is to help the Norwegian SAR organisation with locating missing people. They only have 12 helicopters, and it is very taxing to complete the number of missions required in certain parts of the year. In 2018, the Norwegian SAR organisation completed 1994 missions, 817 of which were SAR.

In the UK, 2636 SAR missions took place in 2018.

Outcomes and Conclusions

With the introduction of Inmarsat’s satcom capabilities it will enable Robot Aviation to save time on mission planning, however, the savings on operational costs are unclear as no missions have been trialled.

It is also believed safety for the end-user will be increased and there will be less operational risk for those undertaking the SAR missions.

Silent Falcon

Based in New Mexico, USA.

The firm offers a class 2 small UAS which utilises solar electric for long endurance flights. Solar panels are located on the aircraft’s wings and top body enabling the system to fly for up to 8 hours, in optimal conditions. Relying solely on battery, the UAS’s flight time is limited to 4 hours.

Its primary applications are combatting wildland fire, land management, wildlife management, search and rescue, emergency management and intelligent surveillance and reconnaissance for border control, maritime, anti-poaching and narcotic interdiction.

They have been working to get the FAA’s 107 waiver. This allows them to fly UAVs BVLOS and at greater than 400 feet (133 metres) altitude. The FAA have been willing to grant such waivers for firefighting, search and rescue, incident awareness and analysis and utility and other critical infrastructure restoration.

A-techSYN

Formed in 2013, the firm has 40 employees spread across Turkey and Ireland.

Its UAS system is an endurance drone, with flight times around 6 hours, and the use of a satcom systems allows it to be really maximise upon BVLOS applications such as pipeline inspections. Inmarsat and Cobham’s systems offers several advantages, one of which is the ability to fly close to the line and also transmit data from the UAS to headquarters live.

From A-techSyn’s perspective, its UAS solution is much more cost effective than using a helicopter, faster to deploy than a helicopter, safer than manned aircraft and thus increases safety for pipeline personnel. It can also use a fleet solution therefore deploying multiple UAVs over a pipeline route, and in effect, monitoring sections of a pipeline 16 hours a day, a flight operation every two hours. The firm has quoted BOTAS (Turkish state-owned company responsible for the country’s oil and gas pipelines) for a 3-year contract.

Alpha Unmanned Systems

Founded in 2014, the company sells and operates its UAV helicopter products. Indonesia and Israel are its main markets, addressing agriculture inspection and border control surveillance verticals.

Last year, the firm launched an Advanced Engineering service, and will launch a ResponseDrone, AlphaSecurityandDefense.com and new Alpha 900 models in 2019.

One of the key benefits for Alpha’s drones using the Aviator 200 UAV is the reliability of the connection. Radio Line-of-Sight is not always possible for the circumstances its clients require the drone to be used in.

The Alpha 800 is gasoline powered and has a range of 50km via radio. Its autonomous flight range is 3 hours and has a payload of 3kg. The firm has accumulated more than 3,000 hours of flight time.

With only a limited payload capacity of 3kg, the Aviation UAV 200 takes up half the platform’s weight capabilities. Nevertheless, future models will have greater payload carrying capacities, states Alpha.

Furthermore, satcom pricing will always be more expensive than direct radio link and service operators will likely use satcom as a back-up solution where radio is not possible.

One possibility is businesses moving to a leasing model, and potentially satcom costs could be incorporated into that leasing model.

Conclusion

  • As yet, no tangible benefits for the use of a satcom were revealed. Nevertheless, clear use cases for and why UAS service providers would use a satcom terminal as a communication channel are apparent.
  • SAR and critical asset inspection/surveillance seem to be the initial starting verticals for UAS incorporating satcom communications.
  • It is unlikely we will see much demand from media and other services, such as marketing material for real estates shots. It is also unclear the demand that agriculture will present for satcom UAS.
  • One significant potential market for UAS is likely to be goods delivery; particularly in regions with less developed infrastructure, such as some African and South American nations. UAS BVLOS may present a useful opportunity to compensate for any deficits in traditional infrastructure, hence such regions could provide a fertile market and an opportunity to demonstrate the capabilities of UAS BVLOS.
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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="4775|full" max_width="" style_type="" blur="" stylecolor="" hover_type="none" bordersize="" bordercolor="" borderradius="" align="none" 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/2019/07/inmarsatpopup-1200x600-2.png[/fusion_imageframe][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=""] Authors: Joshua Flood and David Whelan On Thursday 30th of May 2019, we attended an Inmarsat Pop-Up UAV Lab at the firm’s Old Street headquarters. Rupert Pearce, CEO of Inmarsat, provided an introduction to the changing dynamics and use cases for aerial unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and noted down several significant developments of the technology. One remarkable example is Zipline’s deployment and delivery of medicines, vaccines and blood to hospital facilities in Rwanda and other African nations. Shortly after, Rupert announced Inmarsat’s new Aviator UAV 200, a dedicated L-band SATCOM system for UAS. The light 1.45kg terminal capable of delivering background data services up to 200 Kbps of data, with a 1.35 seconds latency, via Inmarsat’s BGAN coverage. Its streaming class services can deliver up to 180kbps with half HDR. The new UAV terminal will enable beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) communications, enabling real time control of the UAV via the satcom terminal. It’s a class 4 Swiftbroadband product with Inmarsat offering hemisphere coverage to 5 degrees elevation. Inmarsat invited several UAS entities to provide some insights into their trials and uses of the Aviator UAV 200. These companies are listed below:
  • Silent Falcon, based in New Mexico, USA
  • A-techSYN, based in Ireland and Turkey
  • Alpha Unmanned, based in Spain
  • Robot Aviation, based in Norway
  • Flylogix, UK
Before these companies presented and participated in the panel sessions, Inmarsat’s senior UAS management program provided an introduction to its new agile management approach and developing a culture of teams workings within teams rather than its traditional siloed workings. For example, its maritime staff working on maritime projects only, aviation on aviation, government on government and so forth. Mike Holdsworth and Andrew Legg provided some insight into how Inmarsat plans to develop specialist leaders to target certain areas for UAV solution. These include:
  • Joe Carr – Mining
  • Steven Tompkins – Agriculture
  • Daniel Cooper – Aid/NGO/Media
  • Mike Holdsworth – Transport
  • Gary Cosby – Energy and Oil and Gas
The presentation then delved into how the Aviator UAV 200 compared to competing IoT trends, comparing an Iridium IoT terminal which weighed 30 grams, which was capable of 0.3 kbps and had a terminal latency of 22 seconds. The Aviator also performed better than Iridium’s 9522B and Aircell Axxess terminal solutions too. Starburst, an accelerator consultancy, provided an overview of high-performance UAVs highlighting seven areas consisting of mapping and surveillance, infrastructure and energy inspection, insurance cartography, forest monitoring, ecology, search and rescue and humanitarian aid and remote delivery. In addition, the firm illustrated performance UAVs – civil against competing solutions such as satellite, High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS), general aviation, and helicopter. The primary barriers facing civil UAVs, stated by Starburst, were its expensive nature compared to satellite, limited coverage compared to other platforms, and usage limited by national regulations. The value chain is dominated by three player types:
  • UAV OEMs and OES
  • UAV providers
  • Data analytic providers
The only company noted in the value chain who is strategically attempting to cover all areas is DJI, the largest Chinese UAV OEM with its renown Phantom and to a lesser extent, Inspire, brand UAVs. Presently, the key inhibitors for UAVs are its expensive price points compared to satellite, limited yearly flight capacity (100 and 200 hours per year), limited battery technology which is prone to quickly degenerating, and restrictive regulations by aviation bodies in certain countries. However, one of its key drivers is its enhanced capabilities for certain professions, such as monitoring pipelines. Starburst predicts approximately 3,100 platform fleets will be active by 2030. In 2018, the firm believed 300 platform fleets were active. Robot Aviation Based in Norway, the firm developed UAV inspection capabilities for critical infrastructure assets, such as powerlines and/or search and rescue (SAR). The potential use of Inmarsat’s satcom systems will enable Robot Aviation to reduce mission planning, increase its UAV coverage area and also provide a more robust solution. The implementation and practical usage of the UAV is still in its early stages and as such Robot Aviation have not yet completed any missions to date. Robot Aviation are also developing and producing small to medium sized fixed wing UAVs for other commercial and military use. No further information was provided on the latter point. The firm’s primary objective is to help the Norwegian SAR organisation with locating missing people. They only have 12 helicopters, and it is very taxing to complete the number of missions required in certain parts of the year. In 2018, the Norwegian SAR organisation completed 1994 missions, 817 of which were SAR. In the UK, 2636 SAR missions took place in 2018. Outcomes and Conclusions With the introduction of Inmarsat’s satcom capabilities it will enable Robot Aviation to save time on mission planning, however, the savings on operational costs are unclear as no missions have been trialled. It is also believed safety for the end-user will be increased and there will be less operational risk for those undertaking the SAR missions. Silent Falcon Based in New Mexico, USA. The firm offers a class 2 small UAS which utilises solar electric for long endurance flights. Solar panels are located on the aircraft’s wings and top body enabling the system to fly for up to 8 hours, in optimal conditions. Relying solely on battery, the UAS’s flight time is limited to 4 hours. Its primary applications are combatting wildland fire, land management, wildlife management, search and rescue, emergency management and intelligent surveillance and reconnaissance for border control, maritime, anti-poaching and narcotic interdiction. They have been working to get the FAA’s 107 waiver. This allows them to fly UAVs BVLOS and at greater than 400 feet (133 metres) altitude. The FAA have been willing to grant such waivers for firefighting, search and rescue, incident awareness and analysis and utility and other critical infrastructure restoration. A-techSYN Formed in 2013, the firm has 40 employees spread across Turkey and Ireland. Its UAS system is an endurance drone, with flight times around 6 hours, and the use of a satcom systems allows it to be really maximise upon BVLOS applications such as pipeline inspections. Inmarsat and Cobham’s systems offers several advantages, one of which is the ability to fly close to the line and also transmit data from the UAS to headquarters live. From A-techSyn’s perspective, its UAS solution is much more cost effective than using a helicopter, faster to deploy than a helicopter, safer than manned aircraft and thus increases safety for pipeline personnel. It can also use a fleet solution therefore deploying multiple UAVs over a pipeline route, and in effect, monitoring sections of a pipeline 16 hours a day, a flight operation every two hours. The firm has quoted BOTAS (Turkish state-owned company responsible for the country’s oil and gas pipelines) for a 3-year contract. Alpha Unmanned Systems Founded in 2014, the company sells and operates its UAV helicopter products. Indonesia and Israel are its main markets, addressing agriculture inspection and border control surveillance verticals. Last year, the firm launched an Advanced Engineering service, and will launch a ResponseDrone, AlphaSecurityandDefense.com and new Alpha 900 models in 2019. One of the key benefits for Alpha’s drones using the Aviator 200 UAV is the reliability of the connection. Radio Line-of-Sight is not always possible for the circumstances its clients require the drone to be used in. The Alpha 800 is gasoline powered and has a range of 50km via radio. Its autonomous flight range is 3 hours and has a payload of 3kg. The firm has accumulated more than 3,000 hours of flight time. With only a limited payload capacity of 3kg, the Aviation UAV 200 takes up half the platform’s weight capabilities. Nevertheless, future models will have greater payload carrying capacities, states Alpha. Furthermore, satcom pricing will always be more expensive than direct radio link and service operators will likely use satcom as a back-up solution where radio is not possible. One possibility is businesses moving to a leasing model, and potentially satcom costs could be incorporated into that leasing model. Conclusion
  • As yet, no tangible benefits for the use of a satcom were revealed. Nevertheless, clear use cases for and why UAS service providers would use a satcom terminal as a communication channel are apparent.
  • SAR and critical asset inspection/surveillance seem to be the initial starting verticals for UAS incorporating satcom communications.
  • It is unlikely we will see much demand from media and other services, such as marketing material for real estates shots. It is also unclear the demand that agriculture will present for satcom UAS.
  • One significant potential market for UAS is likely to be goods delivery; particularly in regions with less developed infrastructure, such as some African and South American nations. UAS BVLOS may present a useful opportunity to compensate for any deficits in traditional infrastructure, hence such regions could provide a fertile market and an opportunity to demonstrate the capabilities of UAS BVLOS.
[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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]

Technology Companies Lead Business Sectors in 2016

I recently came across an article informing me that the technology industry market value had overtaken the finance and energy industries. It stated the technology sector is worth $3.0 billion, business to consumer finance sector $2.7 billion, and consumer goods sector $2.6 billion.

In the piece, an infographic showed the three most valuable companies in the world. Exxon Mobile, Walmart and PetroChina in 2009, in respective order and today’s top most valuable companies, Apple, Alphabet, and Microsoft. Microsoft has been in the top ten since 1996 and Apple has been in there since2010. Note that these are still not the largest companies by revenue. Those companies are still in Retail and Big Oil.

We can take snapshots from history and look at what have inspired investors to part with their money. In 1955, the three most valuable companies in the US were General Motors, Exxon Mobil and US Steel. Big oil and cars remain the biggest companies for the next three decades but steel slowly fades away to be replaced by shopping giant Walmart while all the top tech companies are gradually creeping up the list. What is notable about the tech companies is the market fluctuation depending on the success or failure of their latest product offering – not really a problem suffered by Big Oil or even by the financial giants such as the Banks of China

All this is small fry when compared with the private wealth held by the Rothchilds or the Rockefellers but their holdings are diverse and they influence are lives in a different way.

Drifting back to the purpose of this piece, it is quite easy, in my opinion, to see how technology has become omnipresent in our lives today.

Enterprise and consumer technologies and work practices have changed incredibly in the last eight years. Mobile computing has enable companies to adopt a remote working culture for a large chunk of their employees.

Making savings on expensive large office rentals, amenities and other unnoticeable yet costly building management services.

Even better for employees, workers no longer need to confine themselves to crammed working conditions in cities or towns around the country.

We no longer need to travel extensively for informal meetings and simply can have a telephone conference using such platforms as Skype. This obviously reducing traffic congestion, air pollution and also saves time and traveling costs.

Smartphones, such as Apple’s iPhone, play a role of paramount importance in our lives. From tracking the minutes of walking, exercise activity, to the number of steps we have taken upon this planet. Maybe Tim Peake, the British Astronaut, could argue against that former point.

Mobile operating systems like Apple’s iOS or Android’s Play enable us to access a plethora of services that only the bulky heavy Yellow Pages could hope to almost rival. Additionally, the device apps allow us to access to the daily news, information on hobbies, search references and even express ourselves and listen to others on social media. And this does not include the initial purpose of a phone, to simply call and message people.

Technology has empowered our generation. However, this is not all.

These companies are also heavily involved in other new initiatives that will revolutionise our lives further.

In less than five years, we will witness the legal licensing of driverless cars. Last year, I spent over £2,300 on Uber taxis. Four years of my taxi outlay would easily cover the cost of me purchasing a car with driverless capabilities.

We will see a far greater deployment of commercial unmanned aerial vehicles. Delivering our goods, undertaking engineering and service checks, and augmenting the offerings of many other businesses.

Also, the era of self-automated robotics has started; we will foresee the elimination of menial and laborious tasks taken over by robots. This will enable people to be much more flexible and freer to undertake other activities and progress further. We will see technology companies account for the majority of large corporate giants around the world.

The world is becoming much more transparent, and free flowing in ideas. Technology will provide the backbone for tracking the small details, allowing us to focus on bigger matters. A good example would be the adoption of body-worn cameras could eventually lead to police officers not having to write down a demanding report at the end of their shifts. The video footage and some commentary, from the officers, would suffice.

Of course, this is all surface decoration and could disappear overnight if the economic fundamentals are not there. A huge economic crash and the resulting social unrest, even war, could destroy our dreams and the tools we have to realise them. We live comfortable wired lives at the moment. We must make every effort to keep them.

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I recently came across an article informing me that the technology industry market value had overtaken the finance and energy industries. It stated the technology sector is worth $3.0 billion, business to consumer finance sector $2.7 billion, and consumer goods sector $2.6 billion. In the piece, an infographic showed the three most valuable companies in the world. Exxon Mobile, Walmart and PetroChina in 2009, in respective order and today’s top most valuable companies, Apple, Alphabet, and Microsoft. Microsoft has been in the top ten since 1996 and Apple has been in there since2010. Note that these are still not the largest companies by revenue. Those companies are still in Retail and Big Oil. We can take snapshots from history and look at what have inspired investors to part with their money. In 1955, the three most valuable companies in the US were General Motors, Exxon Mobil and US Steel. Big oil and cars remain the biggest companies for the next three decades but steel slowly fades away to be replaced by shopping giant Walmart while all the top tech companies are gradually creeping up the list. What is notable about the tech companies is the market fluctuation depending on the success or failure of their latest product offering – not really a problem suffered by Big Oil or even by the financial giants such as the Banks of China All this is small fry when compared with the private wealth held by the Rothchilds or the Rockefellers but their holdings are diverse and they influence are lives in a different way. Drifting back to the purpose of this piece, it is quite easy, in my opinion, to see how technology has become omnipresent in our lives today. Enterprise and consumer technologies and work practices have changed incredibly in the last eight years. Mobile computing has enable companies to adopt a remote working culture for a large chunk of their employees. Making savings on expensive large office rentals, amenities and other unnoticeable yet costly building management services. Even better for employees, workers no longer need to confine themselves to crammed working conditions in cities or towns around the country. We no longer need to travel extensively for informal meetings and simply can have a telephone conference using such platforms as Skype. This obviously reducing traffic congestion, air pollution and also saves time and traveling costs. Smartphones, such as Apple’s iPhone, play a role of paramount importance in our lives. From tracking the minutes of walking, exercise activity, to the number of steps we have taken upon this planet. Maybe Tim Peake, the British Astronaut, could argue against that former point. Mobile operating systems like Apple’s iOS or Android’s Play enable us to access a plethora of services that only the bulky heavy Yellow Pages could hope to almost rival. Additionally, the device apps allow us to access to the daily news, information on hobbies, search references and even express ourselves and listen to others on social media. And this does not include the initial purpose of a phone, to simply call and message people. Technology has empowered our generation. However, this is not all. These companies are also heavily involved in other new initiatives that will revolutionise our lives further. In less than five years, we will witness the legal licensing of driverless cars. Last year, I spent over £2,300 on Uber taxis. Four years of my taxi outlay would easily cover the cost of me purchasing a car with driverless capabilities. We will see a far greater deployment of commercial unmanned aerial vehicles. Delivering our goods, undertaking engineering and service checks, and augmenting the offerings of many other businesses. Also, the era of self-automated robotics has started; we will foresee the elimination of menial and laborious tasks taken over by robots. This will enable people to be much more flexible and freer to undertake other activities and progress further. We will see technology companies account for the majority of large corporate giants around the world. The world is becoming much more transparent, and free flowing in ideas. Technology will provide the backbone for tracking the small details, allowing us to focus on bigger matters. A good example would be the adoption of body-worn cameras could eventually lead to police officers not having to write down a demanding report at the end of their shifts. The video footage and some commentary, from the officers, would suffice. Of course, this is all surface decoration and could disappear overnight if the economic fundamentals are not there. A huge economic crash and the resulting social unrest, even war, could destroy our dreams and the tools we have to realise them. We live comfortable wired lives at the moment. We must make every effort to keep them.