What is the Drone Integration Pilot Program and How Will It Advance the Use of Drones?
For that question, we go directly to the source. Earl Lawrence is Director of the UAS Integration Office at the FAA. Since 2015, he has led the FAA’s efforts to safely and effectively integrate UAS into the nation’s airspace. One of the programs that he oversees is the Drone Integration Pilot Program. Announced in October, the pilot program is a White House initiative that partners the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) with local, state and tribal governments and private sector interests to safely explore the further integration of drone operations. In this edition of the Drone Radio Show, Earl talks about the objectives of the Drone Integration Pilot Program and the role that the 10 pilot communities will play in integrating drones into the national airspace.
How close are we to routine beyond visual line of sight flights?
For one company, it begins this year. Mark Nisbet is the North Dakota Principal Manager for Xcel Energy, a utility power company based in Minneapolis. The company provides power to millions of homes and businesses across eight Western and Midwestern states. In April of 2018, Xcel Energy was granted authorization to fly drones beyond visual line of sight. It will be the first utility in the nation to routinely fly beyond the operator’s line of sight when it begins surveying transmission lines near Denver this year.
In this edition of the Drone Radio Show, Mark talks about Xcel, its history of using drones and the plans for flying beyond visual line of sight. Joining Mark is Nick Flom, the Executive Director of the Northern Plains UAS Test Site and West Shover, UAS Sector Development Manager for the Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corporation. Together, they talk about the partnerships in North Dakota that have made this possible and how it serves as a benchmark for the Industry moving forward.
When can we expect to see drone deliveries?
If we ask today’s guest, he would say it’s already happening. Joel Ifill is the CEO of DASH Systems a California based company that designs, manufactures and deploys low cost one-way delivery drones built from the ground up to operate in today's air logistics network. The delivery drones can be mounted to any commercial aircraft, helicopter or UAV, allowing fast and rapid deployment into any environment. In this edition of the Drone Radio Show, Joel talks about creating a precision drone delivery service, how it supported recovery operations in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria and he future of drone delivery.
What might the next generation UAV engines look like?
Alec Schlonik is co-founder and CEO of LiquidPiston, a Connecticut based company that is revolutionizing next-generation engine development. The company develops and licenses compact & efficient power solutions based on an optimized thermodynamic cycle and a new type of rotary engine architecture. The patented high-efficiency cycle is the biggest leap forward in combustion engine technology over the last 85 years. It holds great promise as the preferred future propulsion solution for both military and heavy commercial drones. Alec has a PhD in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence from MIT, and has spent a decade-plus reinventing the rotary engine that Felix Wankel created in 1960 and Mazda is bringing back to life in 2019. In this edition of the Drone Radio Show, Alec talks about Liquid Piston, it’s revolutionary engine and the potential value and impact on the military and commercial UAV sectors.
What can we expect at this year’s Drone Focus 2018 in Fargo North Dakota?
That’s one of the questions that we will explore in this edition of the Drone Radio Show. Anthony Molzahn is co-founder of Project Phoenix, a Fargo based software company developing the world’s first universal business web service and toolset that every developer will use. At the 2017 Drone Focus conference in Fargo, Anthony announced the company was working on Aegis Flow, an aerial/drone pilot for-hire application. The function of Aegis Flow connects pilots to posted jobs from companies and individuals who will pay for images or videos of specific locations. The application will be revealed at this year’s Drone Focus event on May 3031. While preparing for the conference, Anthony was asked to be a member of the Host Committee and to lend his leadership in developing the content and speakers for the event. In this edition of the Drone Radio Show, Anthony talks about Aegis Flow and what makes it different from other drone marketplaces. We’ll also talk about Drone Focus and how Anthony went from an attendee at last year’s event to becoming a member of the 2018 Drone Focus Host Committee.