Dubai begins testing drone taxi service


Dubai has announced the first test flight for its taxi drone, which saw the driverless flying transport service hover around 200 metres above the ground during a five-minute flight. The taxi drone was designed by German company Volocopter, and resembles a two-seater helicopter topped by a hoop equipped with 18 propellers, designed for 30-minute flights at maximum. The drone also comes with back-up batteries, rotors, and two parachutes in case of flight failures, and would involve building "voloports" from where passengers would embark and disembark the service. The test flight took place as part of a ceremony for Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed. Following the trial, Volocopter CEO Florian Reuter said the company plans to launch the flying taxi service within five years.

NUAIR Selected Its Key Partners To Develop New York's Drone Testing Corridor


New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announces partners in order to develop the drone testing corridor. SRC/ Gryphon Sensors and Raytheon were awarded to complete the UTM corridor. The project would be including system planning, design, implementation, commissioning and operational support of UTM research. "This partner selection is just the latest advancement in positioning central New York and the Mohawk Valley as leaders in the global market for this cutting-edge technology," says Cuomo. The designed corridor will enable the companies to test both UAS platforms and UTM technologies in real-world settings.

Virtual testing ground helps autonomous drones fly faster


It's not easy to teach drones to fly quickly and safely. You usually have to create an elaborate proving ground with real obstacles, and a single mishap could prove very costly. Have the drones fly around imaginary objects. The school's engineers have created a virtual testing ground, nicknamed Flight Googles, that has drones flying through a simulated landscape in the safety of an empty room. Motion capture cameras around the space track the orientation of the drone and help the system send realistic, customized virtual images to the drone to convince it that it's flying through an apartment or another obstacle-laden environment.

In the Race for Our Skies, a New Drone Testing Program Just Gave a Big Boost to Big Business


Future Tense is a partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University that examines emerging technologies, public policy, and society. On May 9, the Department of Transportation announced the first 10 project sites it chose to participate in its new three-year Drone Integration Pilot Program aimed at expanding the testing of new drone technology in a select number of local, state, and tribal jurisdictions. Selected from 149 lead applicants and over 2,800 private sector "interested parties," they're an eclectic bunch: the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma; projects in the city of San Diego; the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Investment Authority in Herndon, Virginia; the Lee County Mosquito Control District in Florida; the Memphis–Shelby County Airport Authority in Tennessee; the North Carolina, Kansas, and North Dakota departments of transportation; the city of Reno, Nevada; and the University of Alaska–Fairbanks all saw their specific public-private partnership proposals get the greenlight. The projects include plans to test various kinds of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS for short, as they are formally known), including drone-based mapping, inspections, traffic and weather monitoring, commercial and medical delivery, and law enforcement surveillance systems. Selected applicants will be given special attention from the Federal Aviation Administration.

UPS testing drones to deliver emergency medical supplies


Remember when Amazon announced Prime Air drone delivery back in 2013? Following the excited hubbub, other services including UPS scrambled to try out competitive airbone services. But then everyone ran into a slew of logistics and regulations issues, which have taken years to untangle. In the past few months, Google was given FAA approval for drone deliveries and Amazon might bypass regulation entirely for its air shipping. But UPS is going in a different direction: Testing UAVs to ferry emergency medical supplies.