New York’s 50-Mile UAS Corridor to Test 5G Network for Drones

By J. Sharpe Smith

5G is coming to the New York State 50-mile unmanned aircraft systems corridor between Syracuse and Rome, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced last week. What is said to be the first FAA-designated UAS test site with a bespoke 5G network will be installed by the MITRE Engenuity Open Generation 5G Consortium, which is a collaborative effort to accelerate 5G use cases for Uncrewed Aircraft Systems (UAS) programs, public safety, remote healthcare, smart cities, and autonomous vehicles.

NUAIR, a New York-based nonprofit UAS organization, manages New York’s 50-mile unmanned aircraft systems corridor and will help to implement the 5G network. With coordination from NUAIR, the corridor will include an experimentation hub with more than 100 square miles dedicated to 5G beyond-visual-line-of-site testing and long-range flight paths.  

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Matternet’s automated drone-docking station makes its real-life debut in Switzerland

No one knows exactly how drone delivery will fit into the future of logistics, but one thing is for sure: The aircraft aren’t going to drop off important payloads directly onto someone’s lawn. Matternet’s Station, an automated landing space and payload control tower, may be the solution, and the flower-like structure has finally made the jump from render to reality at a medical facility in Switzerland.

The Station was teased early last year, but one never knows with these concept renders whether the final result will be anything like the idea. In this case it’s dead on, looking for anything like a prop from a ’60s sci-fi flick.

The unusual shape serves a purpose, however, providing a safe place for a cargo drone to land and swap its battery out, protected from the elements and the type of ne’er-do-wells who would snatch a medical payload from an innocent robot.

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Hammerhead eV20 Cargo Drone Can Carry Spot the Robot Dog in Its Luggage Compartment

by Cristina Mircea

The Commercial UAV Expo Americas is one of the most important events in the drone industry, having first dibs on all the breakthroughs and releases in the field. This year’s edition brought some really cool UAS (unmanned aircraft systems) in the spotlight and the Hammerhead eV20 is one of them. 6 photos

The eV20 is a delivery drone developed by Airlogix, a company headquartered in Delaware, which also has a research and development center in Ukraine. Its new VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) is an electric drone propelled by four tilt electric motors with a maximum thrust of 104 lb (47 kg) each. 

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Healthcare Logistics Turns Futuristic with Drone Blood Delivery

Wingcopter

By Brielle Jaekel

The current pandemic exposes many gaps in the healthcare supply chain, leading many to look for innovative solutions. Wingcopter undergoes drone delivery testing for blood samples to help this.

Wingcopter completes a successful test transport of blood samples in Germany via drone delivery, speeding up important healthcare drop offs in rural areas. Without technologies such as this, life saving deliveries can be difficult in rural areas, making innovative projects like this so timely. The journey for the Wingcopter drone was roughly 16 miles, or 26 kilometers, in just 18 minutes with a pneumatic tube including 250 grams of blood samples in tow. 

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India kicks off ‘Medicine from the Sky’ BVLOS drone delivery trials

By Ishveena Singh

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The state of Telangana in India is beginning trial runs for the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines, medicines, and other healthcare items using drones from today. For this “Medicine from the Sky” project, logistics company Blue Dart has teamed up with drone delivery startup Skye Air Mobility and UK-based Unified Traffic Management (UTM) technology platform Altitude Angel.

India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has granted the Government of Telangana a conditional exemption from drone regulations for its “Medicine from the Sky” project, which is being supported by World Economic Forum, Healthnet Global, and Indian think tank Niti Aayog. Eight consortiums have been approved to carry out BVLOS drone delivery trials.

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These are the next-gen hydrogen-powered drones Hyundai is working on

By Ishveena Singh

Hyundai Motor Group says it wants to become completely carbon neutral by 2045. To achieve this goal, the company is making investments in cleaner transportation and greener energy solutions. Among other things, these investments would include a couple of next-generation drone platforms.

Hyundai’s drone plans combine both ground-based uncrewed autonomous vehicles and urban air mobility solutions. The drones will utilize what Hyundai is calling a “Fuel Cell e-Bogie.” Inspired from the rail industry, these Fuel Cell e-Bogies will house a fully enclosed system with hydrogen fuel cell propulsion and independent four-wheel steering.

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Drone Highways In The Sky Could Be On The Horizon

Set in 2062, “The Jetsons'” whimsical world of flying cars and robot housekeepers captivated young viewers with a high-tech future. But Hanna-Barbera got it wrong: At least part of that future may be four decades early.

No longer the stuff of science fiction, highways in the sky are a very real proposition. Already, four states have test-run legislation that restricts drones to aerial corridors. Drone companies, states, and the Federal Aviation Administration are working to regulate the national airspace, and many industry advocacy groups, regulators, and operators see a drone “highway” model as the way forward. But they face a sizable and vocal opposition.

“I think people still think of drones as that Jetsonian future and don’t understand how close we are to really scaling them,” Casie Ocaña, marketing director for drone infrastructure company Airspace Link, told Modern Shipper.

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Soar and roll: New robot flies like a drone and drives like a train

By Ishveena Singh

Choo choo! Alternating between an uncrewed aerial vehicle and a robotic ground device, a new drone by Europe-based Nordic Unmanned promises to get maintenance and inspection tasks in the railway industry back on track.

Nordic Unmanned has specifically developed Staaker BG-300 Railway Drone in cooperation with a large European national railway infrastructure owner.

The drone is designed to lubricate rail switches and inspect critical parts of the railway infrastructure while driving on the track. And should it encounter oncoming traffic, the drone can avoid getting flattened by flying to the side of the track and letting the train pass.

Not just that, to give way to an oncoming train, the drone can also switch from one railway track to another – ensuring zero disturbance in regular traffic. The sensors onboard the drone automatically detect changes on the railway, while providing a live data feed to backend decision makers as well.

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UK looks at drones, 3D printing to fix its dimpled roads

By Ishveena Singh

The UK Department for Transport (DfT) is launching a multimillion-pound initiative to improve local roads across England. Among other things, this program aims to explore the use of drones and 3D printing technology when it comes to finding and fixing potholes.

According to a bunch of measures announced by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, new and innovative technology such as drones and 3D printing will take center stage in helping England to perk up its dimpled roads that many have likened to the surface of the moon.  

The condition is so bad that councils in England and Wales had to fill up 1.7 million potholes in the financial year 2020-21 alone – which is equal to one being fixed every 19 seconds. So now, a red-faced government is committing funds to use advanced technology, such as drones to spot defects in roads and 3D printing to repair cracks.

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Qualcomm launches world’s first drone platform with both 5G, AI tech

By Ishveena Singh

Qualcomm has unveiled the world’s first drone platform and reference design that will tap in both 5G and AI technologies. The chipmaker’s Flight RB5 5G Platform condenses multiple complex technologies into one tightly integrated drone system to support a variety of use cases, including film and entertainment, security and emergency response, delivery, defense, inspection, and mapping.

The new solution is purpose-built for autonomous drones, with Qualcomm aiming to give developers an easy-to-use platform to create premium drones right out of the box.

The Flight RB5 5G Platform is powered by the chipmaker’s QRB5165 processor and builds upon the company’s latest IoT offerings to offer high-performance and heterogeneous computing at ultra-low power consumption.

Along with breakthrough camera capabilities that can deliver 4K HDR video, 200MP photo, and 7-camera concurrency, the platform supports 5G and long-range Wi-Fi 6 connectivity to enhance safer beyond visual line-of-sight (BVLOS) flights.

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Connecting the Dots | Drones in space: Satellites seen as key to giving full autonomy to uncrewed aerial vehicles

Danish startup QuadSAT uses specially equipped quadcopter drones as satellite stand-ins to help antenna makers and their customers test and calibrate antennas. Credit: QuadSAT 

by Jason Rainbow 

Advances in commercial drone technology are opening up new growth opportunities for the space industry, which has an often underappreciated synergistic relationship with uncrewed aerial vehicles.

The fast-evolving market for drones attracted $1.4 billion in venture capital investment in 2020, according to data from early-stage space technology investor Seraphim Capital.

That’s roughly double the amount of capital it recorded in 2019, a sign startups looking to provide services ranging from drone deliveries to building inspections are gaining traction.

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