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PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2015 3:10 pm 
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The FAA (Federal Aviation Association) is formatting new rules about use of drone aircraft. The majority will require a licensed operator, and a registration certificate with serial numbers and such. The small "toy" drones may be exempt.
Too many instances of a near-miss with commercial aircraft, and "crash" landings.
The official ruling may be issued sometime before December 2015.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2015 6:12 am 
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The FAA has finalized some rules about UAS use (unmanned aerial system) and as of Dec. 21, 2015, are in effect.
February 19, 2016 is the deadline for registration. Failure to do so can incur heavy fines and other penalties.
**Any person who will own or operate the drone must be 13 years of age or older.
**If the drone weighs more than 1/2 pound or less than 55 pounds, it must be registered.
**Severe restrictions on where the drone is allowed to fly outdoors are mandated.
**Any similar vehicle over 55 pounds must be registered as commercial or standard aircraft.
http://www.faa.gov/uas/registration/

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2015 4:08 pm 
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Just happened to hear a mild twist (radio station)on an old Christmas fable.. with a flavor toward drones at Christmas time.
You may want to hear the story.. Dave Ross is the narrator.
http://www.kiroradio.com/listen/9996508/

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2016 7:34 am 
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Still a lot of minutia to be worked out before this becomes anything more than a publicity stunt.

Flirtey makes first urban drone delivery in FAA test, beating Amazon to the punch

by Alan Boyle on March 25, 2016 at 5:07 pm

A startup named Flirtey says it’s executed the first FAA-approved urban drone delivery in the United States, in a test that could blaze a trail for Amazon and other companies that want to do the same thing.

The GPS-guided drop-off to an unoccupied house took place on March 10 in Hawthorne, Nev. The package of supplies, including bottled water, emergency food supply and a first-aid kit, was lowered by a rope to the house’s front porch from a hovering hexacopter. A drone pilot and several visual observers were on standby in case something went wrong, but they weren’t needed, the company said.

“Conducting the first drone delivery in an urban setting is a major achievement, taking us closer to the day that drones make regular deliveries to your front doorstep,” Flirtey CEO Matt Sweeny said today in a news release about the test.

Flirtey has already used drones to deliver textbooks in Australia and auto parts in New Zealand, but its grand plan is to crack the market in the United States. That’s why it’s been participating in limited tests sanctioned by the Federal Aviation Administration at specified sites. Last July, Flirtey conducted a similar test for rural drone delivery in Virginia.

The latest flight tested the drone’s ability to navigate around buildings, power lines and streetlights to make a precision drop-off in a populated area. Flirtey’s partners for the test included the Nevada Advanced Autonomous Systems Innovation Center at the University of Nevada at Reno, the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems and NASA.

Flirtey is practicing with food, water and emergency supplies because it’s interested in the markets for humanitarian relief, online retail and food delivery.

Chris Walach, director of operations for the FAA-designated Nevada UAS Test Site, said the Flirtey team “excelled in all aspects of safe flight operations in the National Airspace System.”

“This was by far one of the most successful UAS operations we ran, and represents an advanced level of test and development of new UAS technology, flight planning, innovation and mission execution by Flirtey,” Walach said.

The FAA has been involved in a wide range of tests to study how small-scale unmanned aircraft systems behave in a variety of rural and urban settings, how they work when they range beyond a drone operator’s line of sight, and how they can be programmed to avoid sensitive areas and other aircraft.

The results of the tests are being fed into the FAA’s rule-making process. Regulations for commercial drone operations are expected to be released later this spring. Once that happens, Flirtey is likely to be joined in the drone delivery marketplace by Amazon and other heavyweights, including Walmart and Google.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2016 9:10 am 
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Rakuten will test drone delivery on golf course after investing in Japanese drone firm

Quote:
... NHK reports that, from May, Rakuten and ACSL will pilot a service that brings refreshment, balls and more to golfers at a course in Chiba. The concept is simple: golfers can order drinks, snacks or other items via a smartphone app, with the items then sent over from the clubhouse via a drone....

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2016 9:57 am 
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BrevCampagnolo wrote:
Rakuten will test drone delivery on golf course after investing in Japanese drone firm

Quote:
... NHK reports that, from May, Rakuten and ACSL will pilot a service that brings refreshment, balls and more to golfers at a course in Chiba. The concept is simple: golfers can order drinks, snacks or other items via a smartphone app, with the items then sent over from the clubhouse via a drone....


this is kind of where I see the fist real usages of drones - within already defined private business space.
a golf course is a fantastic proving ground, as it already is heavily invested into with precision GPS and is (relatively) sparsely populated. even if the drone is off by a few meters it can be programmed to deliver in more-open spaces. I think there'll be some very interesting exception handling issues once they start trying to roll it out to more and more complex urban settings. truthfully, I think it's impossible to account for all the issues a delivery drone will encounter. backup and secondary delivery locations will need to be utilized and hashed out, as well as an understanding that there'll be a decent amount of "lost" product being delivered. should be fun.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2016 4:25 pm 
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Possibility of drones having some use in OPEN, UNOCCUPIED areas.. but there yet is no miniature sensing/control system similar to what is on vehicles, to detect people, animals or other obstructions.
For use in citified areas, likely a total ban unless the craft has "eyes" on board, so the operator has visual control.
Already too many close encounters with commercial aircraft!

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2016 6:59 am 
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Karlsweldt wrote:
...but there yet is no miniature sensing/control system similar to what is on vehicles, to detect people, animals or other obstructions.


sure there is - has been for quite some time. I saw a video from a kid from MIT (at least a year ago) that built one into a small drone plane which could fly through trees/etc. by itself with no prior knowledge of the area. his system was a custom algorithm, and used a pair of cameras that he bought from a store...nothing too extreme, but effective. a commercial enterprise could surely miniaturize and expand on that system greatly.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2016 9:53 pm 
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Drone delivery is entirely possible, and I suspect will happen in citys that allow it, but I think in order for it to be safe there would need to be a regulatory framework which wouldn't be easy to put in place - pilot/operator accreditation, equipment approvals, collision avoidance tech (already running in some retail cars) will help. However, I think movement of all the drones should be limited to certain prescribed corridors/tunnels and co-ordinated via a live central database and that would be harder to achieve.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2016 5:34 am 
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There is one serious issue with drones and/or any other aircraft. FAA Rules state that planes flying East to West use one altitude range.. West to East another. And if North to South, a different altitude range. And yet another range if South to North. Mix in those half-way flight directions, and the skies become taller than a "Dagwood Sandwich"! Each flight path has a 'climb' or 'dive' alternative, if coming into too close proximity. Turbulent air patterns can cause loss of control otherwise.
Serious computing power would be needed on-board every craft, regardless of autonomous or manned, to calculate the virtual meeting point of two craft, flying different paths.. and monitoring transponders, to avoid a mid-air collision.

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