British Engineers Reveal Ground-Breaking Electric Uncrewed Concept Vehicle

BAE Systems and Malloy Aeronautics have announced plans to explore the development of an all-electric ‘heavy lift’ uncrewed air system (UAS) as a potential new solution to deliver cost-effective, sustainable rapid response capability to military, security and civilian customers.

The all-electric powered concept vehicle will be designed with a top speed of 140 kilometres per hour and the ability to carry a class-leading 300kg payload with a range of 30 kilometres.

The cutting-edge technology could be used for a range of applications such as performing ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore movements to support military and security operations and logistics. Emitting zero carbon, the uncrewed system could help revolutionise military operations where there is a requirement to carry heavy loads, helping to keep military personnel out of harm’s way in dangerous situations or disaster zones, whilst reducing the environmental impact of our armed forces. 

The companies are exploring opportunities to collaborate on capability, design, manufacture and marketing of the concept vehicle.

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SNAPCHAT’S FLYING CAMERA

Snap takes another stab at hardware with a selfie drone called Pixy

By Alex Heath

MoreMore than five years after it released Spectacles, Snap is back with a second hardware product. And this time it flies.

Yes, Snap made a drone. Called Pixy, the small yellow puck takes off from your hand, follows you around, and captures video that can be sent back to Snapchat. It’s Snap’s attempt at making a drone that’s friendlier and more approachable than other products on the market — and it may hint at the more advanced, AR-powered future Snap is building toward.

Pixy is available online for $230 in the US and France starting Thursday. Unlike most existing drones, it’s small and light enough to fit in a pant pocket. There isn’t a controller; it takes off from and lands on an outstretched palm, and it uses six pre-programmed flight patterns that are accessible through a dial on the top of the device.

Why on earth would Snap, which primarily operates an ephemeral messaging app, make a selfie drone? It’s the first question I pose to CEO Evan Spiegel.

“Because we’re a camera company,” he tells me recently over video chat. Snap has brandished that tagline since 2016 when the company changed its name from Snapchat to Snap and released its first pair of Spectacles. “Our mission is to empower people to express themselves, live in the moment, learn about the world, and have fun together. And this product does exactly that.”

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Eindhoven living lab to test five use cases for autonomous drone services over six months

The Dutch High Tech Campus Eindhoven (HTCE) in the Netherlands started the first demonstrations of autonomous drone services in March 2022. HTCE is one of the consortium partners of the EU-funded FF2020 project that is developing a state-of-the-art geospatial UAM ecosystem by incorporating UAM within the geospatial data infrastructure of cities. Besides Eindhoven, FF2020’s solutions will also be tested in another four living labs during the project: Milan (Italy), Oulu (Finland), Tartu (Estonia) and Zaragoza (Spain).

The drone operations will continue until the end of September 2022. The five use cases tested on campus focus on security support, building inspection, meal delivery, express shipping and emergency automated external defibrillator (AED) delivery.

The first use case involves the use of drones for campus surveillance to assist security personnel. In the second use case, drones will be scanning and inspecting buildings to assess their condition. The remaining three use cases concern the last-mile delivery of goods such as meals, packages and AEDs to the rural part of campus.

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Spain hosts mass drone flight tests to prepare for a future where unmanned aircraft rule the skies

Image shows drones at sunset. Researchers in Spain have conducted a mass drone flight test to trial a new traffic management system for UAVs 

By Aisling Ní Chúláin 

Some bad news is in store for those irritated by the unmistakable buzzing of electric drones: they’re not going away anytime soon. In fact, they are set to become only more ubiquitous.

If estimates from SESAR – a European partnership tasked with overhauling European airspace and air traffic management – are to be believed, by 2050 there could be close to 7.5 million personal and commercial drones zipping through European skies.

To prepare for this new reality, researchers in Spain are testing out a new system that will, hopefully, keep these drones from crashing into each other.

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A new and outlandish delivery drone concept can carry 100 pounds up to 80 miles

It uses a cargo pod as an airfoil.

By  Chris Young

The CCY-01Cyclotech

Is that a UFO?

Austria-based vertical propulsion company Cyclotech partnered with Japanese delivery firm Yamato to develop a concept for an unusual delivery drone using Cyclotech’s thrust vectoring propulsion system.

The concept aircraft, called CCY-01, flies using six of Cyclotech’s unique CycloRotors and the company says it will be capable of precision landing in confined space at the same time as handling challenging wind conditions.

Cyclotech’s cylindrical rotors spin around at high speeds while several blades alter their angle to direct thrust. The company has performed its first free flight test using its system, which allows aircraft to rapidly redirect thrust. During that flight test, it used four Cyclorotors arranged in a manner that made its aircraft look almost like a flying car with wheels instead of a traditional drone.

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FedEx testing autonomous drone delivery to cut the cargo middle mile

FedEx will begin testing autonomous cargo drone delivery with Elroy Air.

By Dashveenjit Kaur

The shipping giant wants to put the Chaparral aircraft through real-life testing by next year, within its middle-mile operations—a range of 300-500 miles. 6 April 2022 

  • The Chaparral aircraft is an eVTOL drone delivery cargo system that can autonomously pick up 300-500 pounds of cargo and air-deliver by up to 300 miles
  • The test would involve moving shipments between sortation locations
  • Both companies have worked together since 2020 with FedEx providing Elroy Air insight into its needs and preference

Just two months after Elroy Air, the company that developed the first end-to-end autonomous vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aerial cargo system, unveiled its pre-production aircraft — the Chaparral, shipping giant FedEx Corp plans to put it through real-life testing by 2023. The autonomous cargo drone which is made to carry between 35-to-225kg of goods for delivery over a distance of up to 480km, would be tested between the perimeters of FedEx’s sortation locations.

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FedEx’s newest cargo plane is an autonomous drone

Testing out autonomous flight.

By Sasha Lekach 

FedEx is trying out a new delivery tool.

Starting next year, the delivery company is testing out an autonomous cargo drone from Bay Area aircraft startup Elroy Air. The hybrid-electric vertical take-off and landing plane (that means it doesn’t need a runaway and is more like a helicopter) will take packages between FedEx Express sorting facilities.

For now, the autonomous drone will stick with middle-mile logistics between FedEx buildings instead of dropping packages off at people’s doors or picking up from merchants. Elroy was originally focused on autonomous air taxis for passengers but now is dedicated to autonomous cargo delivery.

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World’s longest 165-mile ‘drone superhighway’ proposed in the UK

By Ishveena Singh

A UK consortium has revealed its blueprint to build the world’s largest and longest “drone superhighway,” connecting towns and cities across the nation. The 165-mile (265 km) Project Skyway is being hailed as “the most ambitious transport project proposed for the UK since the advent of the railway network in the 18th century.”

Led by Unified Traffic Management (UTM) software provider Altitude Angel, the consortium says it would initially connect the Midlands with the Southeast to cover cities such as Reading, Oxford, Milton Keynes, Cambridge, Coventry, and Rugby. In the second phase of the project, the superhighway could be extended to Southampton on the south coast and Ipswich on the east coast.

The idea is to enable businesses in these regions to develop and grow through the commercialization of new drone-based products, processes, and services. However, a decision on whether the project would receive the green light is not expected for a few weeks at least.

But that’s not stopping Richard Parker, CEO and founder at Altitude Angel, from calling the proposed drone superhighway a harbinger of the second transport revolution in Britain. Here’s Parker:

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Skyports takes off with $23 million to scale up drone services

The London-based startup will scale its drone services operations in new and existing markets, building on active operations in the U.K., Europe, and Asia drone operations markets

By Megha Paul

London-based electric air taxi infrastructure and drone services provider Skyports has raised $23 million. The first close of its Series B round saw the participation of existing institutional shareholders, including Deutsche Bahn Digital Ventures, Groupe ADP, Solar Ventus, Irelandia and Levitate Capital, and new investors such as Japanese conglomerate Kanematsu Corporation, global industrial property group Goodman Group, Italian airport platform 2i Aeroporti, Ardian’s Infrastructure Fund and F2i Italian Infrastructure Fund, and US-based VC firm GreenPoint.

The capital will enable the company to consolidate its position in the advanced air mobility infrastructure and drone operations markets.

Offering advanced air mobility (AAM), the startup builds and operates take-off and landing infrastructure for​ air taxis, and partners with electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) passenger and cargo vehicle manufacturers to enable safe, sustainable, and efficient flight operations within urban and suburban environments.AD

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“World’s first” hydraulic hybrid multicopter can fly up to 560 miles

By Chris Stonor

A classic case of “a drone with a difference”. Scottish-based company, Edinburgh Flowcopter, which specialises in Industrial Heavy-Lift Drones, has come-up with a unique concept – an unmanned craft that “runs aviation-certified combustion engines which will drive digital-displacement pumps designed for harsh environments, providing control bandwidth to fly,” reports inceptivemind.com.

The company’s initial aim is to assist helicopter operators, in particular, to optimise freight, surveying and search & rescue. The ability to fly in harsh weather over rough and inhospitable terrain is one of its primary selling points as well as long distances compared to its more vulnerable and less distance-flown electric counterparts. This robustness has Scotland written all over it, although such a craft could be helpful in the many remote and harsh environments around the world.

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Spright and Interpath Laboratory Launch Medical Drone Delivery Pilot Service

Spright, the drone division of Air Methods, announced today that it has partnered with Interpath Laboratory to launch a first-of-its-kind drone delivery network that will transfer lab specimens. The first proof-of-concept test flight was last week with the Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center to Interpath’s main medical laboratory location in Pendleton, OR.

The proof-of-concept initiative is expected to greatly reduce the turnaround time of critical diagnostic test results for clinics like Yellowhawk and Interpath patients, while also improving patient satisfaction, and enabling healthcare providers to implement follow-up care in a timelier manner.

The project, working with the Pendleton UAS Test Site team, will use a Wingcopter 198 drone leveraging beyond line of sight (BVLOS) technology to perform the 15-mile flight from Yellowhawk to Interpath’s clinical laboratory in Pendleton.

The current process for laboratory services takes patient samples throughout the day, then batches them together for pick-up by gasoline-powered vehicles in the evening for delivery to Interpath. These vehicles typically drive thousands of miles each day across the region to pick-up specimens from numerous clinics, hospitals and facilities.

In contrast, the new drone-delivery initiative will enable samples to be repeatedly picked up and delivered to Interpath throughout the day, providing a green solution that removes gasoline-powered vehicles from roads and lessens local traffic.

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ABB to provide charging infrastructure for Lilium’s electric passenger-carrying drone

BY MARK ALLINSON 

ABB E-mobility has agreed to provide the charging infrastructure for Lilium’s high speed regional air network, using electric passenger-carrying drones, scheduled for commercial launch in 2024.

Lilium has plans to launch networks in Florida, Germany, and Brazil. As part of the agreement, ABB will develop, test and supply the MegaWatt fast charging infrastructure necessary for the quick turnaround times needed for electric aviation.

The ABB charging points are designed to be capable of fully charging batteries in approximately 30 minutes, and charging up to 80 percent in 15 minutes, enabling the 20-25 flights per aircraft per day planned across Lilium’s global vertiport network. 

The initial range of a 7-Seater Lilium Jet is expected to be 155 miles with an average speed of 175 mph.

Frank Muehlon, president of ABB’s E-mobility division, says: “Combining Lilium’s mission to grow sustainable aviation with ABB’s global market expertise and leadership in e-mobility and charging infrastructure is a win for the environment and a win for passengers.

“Moreover, we see this planned partnership as an important commitment to all relevant charging standards that are adopted by multiple electric ‘vehicle’ manufacturers.

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