Under the concept, operators, government agencies and individual citizens would have access to the data. The recent test results are expected to provide momentum for proposed package delivery to consumers and many other drone uses currently stalled by regulatory hurdles. U.S. air-safety and law-enforcement officials have balked at approving extensive commercial drone operations without reliable identification techniques. In addition to Wing, which is slated to demonstrate fledgling-package delivery procedures in Virginia this year, the flights included drone-service companies AirMap Inc. and Kittyhawk. With three of the burgeoning industry's leading companies backing the approach and promising to step up testing, proponents hope to persuade the Federal Aviation Administration to loosen flight restrictions before completion of full-fledged rule making expected to take years.
Drones will start getting digital identification certificates under a new service being launched on Tuesday that hopes to bring trust and verification to the skies. The Drone IDs will be SSL/TLS certificates from DigiCert issued through AirMap, a provider of drone flight information data, and will first be available to users of Intel's Aero drone platform. Under the system, drone owners receive the digital ID in the form of an SSL/TLS certificate when they register for AirMap services. The ID is different from the identification number issued to drone owners by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and isn't part of any government scheme. Initially, the IDs will be used to authenticate drones into AirMap's system, which provides data about local weather and obstacles that could impede a drone's flight.
Fifty years ago, Mike Sanders watched with awe and anticipation as the crew of Apollo 11--Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins--splashed down in the Pacific Ocean. Landing men on the moon and returning them safely to the earth was a seminal moment in the history of flight, and it had a profound effect on then 7-year-old Sanders, who now heads the Lone Star UAS Center of Excellence & Innovation at Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi. Looking back, Sanders says he never expected the day to come when he would be working with NASA on anything, let alone another chapter in the history of flight. But this year, he landed in the middle of one of the most important aeronautical projects of this generation: an effort to build a safe and effective unmanned aircraft system traffic management (UTM) platform. In August, Texas A&M–Corpus Christi's Lone Star UAS Center of Excellence and its partners' workers stood alongside NASA scientists and engineers as they flew 22 small physical and digital drones above and between tall buildings in five areas of Corpus Christi.
China's Shaanxi province is famous for being the start of the Silk Road, an ancient trade network where silk and spices were transported by camel across the Asian continent. Soon, the central Chinese province will be recognized for a different form of transport. Chinese e-commerce provider JD.com said Monday it is developing heavy-duty drones capable of delivering payloads weighing one ton or more, which it plans to deploy in Shaanxi. JD, China's No. 2 e-commerce company after Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., in 2016 started delivering small packages via drone as a way to bring online orders to shoppers in remote rural villages. Its fleet of about 30 drones have already been bringing shipments to customers in the remote areas of Beijing, and in Sichuan, Jiangsu, Shaanxi and Guizhou provinces, which are home to more than 230 million people.
When the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released its Part 107 commercial drone guidelines in August, more than 3,000 people immediately signed up to take the test to become pilots. Those were just the early adopters. Now UAVs are becoming a valuable tool across a wide variety of industries; construction, security, land conservation, archaeology, forensic investigation, and mapping are just a few examples. Accordingly, there are new apps that help businesses use drones as more than just flying cameras. There are apps for flight planning, compliance, insurance, and even tree counting, but these apps have been offered in a fragmented way.