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Tag Archives: drones

FAA: Commercial Drones to Soar to 442,000 by 2021

March 28, 2017 — 

The commercial, non-hobbyist UAS fleet is expected to grow from its current level of 42,000 up to between 442,000 and 1.6 million by 2021, according to forecasts by the FAA. Pilots of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) vehicles are expected to increase in number from 20,000 to between 200,000 and 400,000 by 2021.

“Predictions for small UAS are more difficult to develop given the dynamic, quickly-evolving market,” the government reported. “The FAA’s non-hobbyist (commercial) UAS fleet size forecasts contain certain broad assumptions about operating limitations for small UAS during the next five years based on the basic constraints of the existing regulations: daytime operations, within visual line of sight, and a single pilot operating only one small UAS at a time.”

The forecasts contain differing assumptions about how quickly the regulatory environment will evolve, enabling more widespread routine uses of UAS for commercial purposes.

During the panel, “Unmanned Aerial Systems: The Next Frontier,” at NATE UNITE 2017 earlier this year, Gretchen West of the Commercial Drone Alliance said UAS has been slowed in the tower industry by the Trump Administration’s government-wide regulatory reform initiative. The FAA’s Small Unmanned Aircraft Rule (Part 107) needs modifications to allow growth for the drone industry, she noted.

“We are in a stumbling block position with the FAA and other government agencies,” West said. “At the end of the day, the drone industry is not going to stop because the FAA is stuck. That is going to force the federal government to act, because otherwise they are going to lose complete control over this industry.”

The FAA utilizes a variety of economic data and projections to develop its annual forecast, such as generally accepted projections for the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The FAA annual forecast is consistently considered the industry-wide standard of U.S. aviation-related activities. The report looks at all facets of air travel including commercial airlines, air cargo, private general aviation and fleet sizes.

Verizon Adds Drone Company to IoT Portfolio

Feb. 16, 2017 — Verizon continued its venture into the unmanned air space with the purchase of Skyward, which provides drone operations management. Terms of the transaction have not been disclosed. Skyward provides operations management services for commercial drone businesses that are designed to improve safety and lower operating costs.

“Through this acquisition, businesses small and large will now have a single source for integrating, managing and wirelessly connecting their drone operations – linking all the people, projects and equipment involved into one clear and efficient workflow,” said Mike Lanman, senior vice president – Enterprise Products and IoT at Verizon.

Earlier this year, Verizon announced its Airborne LTE Operations (ALO) initiative to push adoption of in-flight wireless connectivity through simplified certification and connectivity of wireless drones.

“This acquisition is a natural progression of our core focus on operating in innovative, high-growth markets, leveraging our network, scale, fleet management, device management, data analytics and security enablement capabilities and services to simplify the drone industry and help support the adoption of IoT,” Lanman said.

Skyward founder and CEO Jonathan Evans said that Skyward’s drone operations management platform and Verizon’s network would be a good combination for delivering enterprise solutions.

In connection with the transaction, GCA Advisors LLC acted as financial advisor to Skyward, and Perkins Coie LLP acted as legal advisor.

NATE Unveils 2nd Edition of Unmanned Aerial Systems Safety Resource

The National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE) has officially released the 2nd Edition of the NATE Unmanned Aerial Systems Operations Around Vertical Communications Infrastructure resource document.

The 2nd Edition of this valuable safety resource is a by-product of collaboration between the NATE Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Committee and other prominent representatives from the commercial UAS industry. The intended focus of the document is on UAS operations around wireless infrastructure, cellular towers, broadcast towers and utility structures. The 2nd Edition also incorporates updates from the new guidelines and provisions associated with the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Rule 107 for the commercial utilization of UAS technologies.

“NATE is the industry leader in the integration and utilization of UAS around communications infrastructure,” stated Executive Director Todd Schlekeway. “The 2nd Edition of this safety document will serve as a go-to resource for all workers and stakeholders in the industry to use as a guide in order to expand the safe and efficient commercial operation of UAS,” added Schlekeway.

The 2nd Edition of the NATE Unmanned Aerial Systems Operations Around Vertical Communications Infrastructure document is available to the industry as a free resource and accessible to be downloaded on NATE’s website HERE.

NATE also announced today that Art Pregler of AT&T, Christopher Desmond of Verizon Wireless and Crown Castle’s Robert McCoy have officially joined the Association’s UAS Committee. The NATE UAS Committee is tasked with actively monitoring the trends and regulatory environment associated with rapidly evolving UAS technologies and making recommendations to NATE members and the wireless infrastructure community on best practices when it comes to UAS integration.

“We are excited to welcome Art, Christopher and Robert to the NATE UAS Committee,” said Chairman Greg Emerick of Sentera. “These gentlemen represent some of the most prominent companies in the wireless industry and possess invaluable expertise to help move our committee efforts and initiatives forward,” added Emerick.

The NATE Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Committee consists of the following members:

·         Christopher Desmond (Verizon Wireless)

·         Greg Emerick (Sentera)

·         Jim Goldwater (Bob Lawrence & Associates)

·         John Paul Jones (Tower & Turbine Technologies LLC)

·         Robert McCoy (Crown Castle)

·         Jimmy Miller (MillerCo, Inc.)

·         Chris Moccia (Measure)

·         Art Pregler (AT&T)

·         Todd Schlekeway (NATE)

·         Jim Tracy (Legacy Telecommunications, Inc.)

The UAS Committee has pledged to be a source of information by providing timely updates to NATE members and industry stakeholders as key developments continue to emerge in the landscape surrounding Unmanned Aerial Systems.

For information regarding NATE, visit www.natehome.com.


Drone Company Raises $15mm

January 17, 2017 – Measure, a drone as a service operator, has raised $15 million in Series B financing with LionTree Advisors acting as the financial advisor. Measure and its national network of licensed pilots provide turnkey solutions to acquire, process, and deliver actionable aerial data to enterprise customers.

“Drone services is one of the fastest growing technology segments with many promising immense value to industries such as insurance, manufacturing, logistics, oil and gas, retail, government, and media and communications. Cognizant is excited to partner with Measure to bring our world-class digital capabilities, such as advanced data analytics and software development, to enterprise customers looking to create value from data collected via drones,” said Sean Middleton, President of the Cognizant Accelerator, of which Cognizant Ventures is a division.

What’s That In the Sky? It’s an Ad-drone!

November 8, 2016 — 

By Ernest Worthman

Executive Editor
AGL Small Cell Magazine

From the “ya gotta love it files”

    Using drones to deliver anything from Amazon orders to handguns to beer is old news already. So the air is ripe for another creative drone application. How about in-your-face advertising? Is this the end of the road for static billboards and sandwich-sign carrying students? The next generation of billboards will be in your face, literally! Check this out.

Of late, drivers stuck in Mexico City traffic have found themselves being buzzed by a fleet of sign-toting drones. They were touting ads for UberPOOL, part of Uber’s big push into markets across Latin America.

uber-mexico-ya-gotta-love-itAnd they aren’t the only ones. In Buenos Aires, 361 Argentina, working with SushiPop, Argentina’s leading sushi delivery service, sent a drone into the midst of the city’s downtown, holding an ad for the company’s new delivery set, called Black.

This is an interesting concept. You no longer need a billboard at street level to blast you with the typical advertising methods. Now, you can be sitting in an office building, stories up, and have an ad idling outside your window, enticing you to enjoy whatever the advertiser wants.

That’s the creative side. But one has to wonder if such airspace will, one day, be filled up with hundreds of these little interlopers. That can pose some interesting issues. For example, what happens if there are mid-air collisions and drones do a nose dive into pedestrians. Or such collisions spray drone parts all over the populous below? Or what if someone throws something at one, hits it and it injures another person. Can you imagine the scenario if one startles a driver and they run into something or someone, or run off the road?

Frankly, this may just be a passing fad, or have severely restricted operational conditions. To make this work would require so many safeguards that, to me, would make drones so expensive to operate, including uber-liability insurance, that it isn’t likely to happen on any significant scale.