Drone Information of the Week August 18 DRONELIFE Headlines

Pyka Pelican Spray

Read or listen to all of the headlines in one place: excerpts from the DRONELIFE drone news of the week ending August 18, 2023.  Click on the titles below for the full story.

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Pyka Inc., a UAV designer and manufacturer based in Oakland, California, announced that their Pelican Spray crop-protection aircraft has received FAA approval. With a gross weight of 1125 lbs, the highly automated UAS is the heaviest to ever receive FAA authorization for commercial use in the United States. In conjunction with an agricultural aircraft operator certificate, farmers can start using the Pelican to enhance operations.  The Pelican is powered by four electric engines totaling 100kw and features swappable batteries and a carbon airframe.

Does Michigan’s Ban on Drones for Hunting Apply After the Game is Downed?

It’s clearly unsporting to use a drone equipped with thermal imagery to identify game: and prohibitions on drone use for hunting were some of the earliest state drone laws enacted. In  Michigan, SB 54 and 55 were initiated in 2015: and prohibit the use of water or aerial uncrewed vehicles in hunting and fishing.  That law – not particularly detailed in wording – is now being challenged.  Is it only illegal to use a drone to find live game before hunting, or is it also illegal to use a drone to find downed game, after the hunters have stowed their weapons?

Commercial UAV Expo Adds Advanced Airspace Summit to Agenda

After already breaking summer registration records, the organizers of the Commercial UAV Expo, set to be held in Las Vegas from September 5-7, have announced the addition of a new Advanced Airspace Summit, held Sept. 6, to their already-stacked agenda.  The Advanced Airspace Summit is designed to answer the most important questions about the future of advanced air mobility: how to cultivate the public trust, build better airspace awareness, and why that matters to the future of the industry as a whole.

Archer Aviation Scores $215 Million in New Funding, Midnight Gets Special Airworthiness Certificate

Archer Aviation, an advanced air mobility company based out of Santa Clara, California, recently announced $215 million in new funding from Stellantis, Boeing, United Airlines, and ARK Investment Management, accelerating their path to market. At the same time, they announced that their Midnight eVTOL received its Special Airworthiness Certificate from the FAA, allowing for test flights to begin. This important step followed the December reveal of airworthiness criteria from the FAAand after a July visit from the Federal Advanced Air Mobility interagency working group, and should shore up investor confidence that their aggressive release timeline (Archer has announced they seek to have a product on the market as soon as 2025) can be achieved.

Asylon Robotics Demonstrates Remote BVLOS Operations: 1 Pilot, 6 Drones

Norristown, Pennsylvania-based security drone company Asylon Robotics recently announced successful flight tests demonstrating the potential of their automated BVLOS solution and supporting regulators as the FAA designs new standards for BVLOS flight. Partnering with Anzen Unmanned, a firm focused on advanced drone safety engineering and approvals, the FAA has sought real-world test cases to help determine minimum requirements, which gave Asylon the opportunity to demonstrate its unique autonomous UAV security solution to regulators. These successful showcases are a clear signal of how far BVLOS operation has come and could be key to the future of the wider UAV space.

Shield AI, Sentient Vision Partner on New, Powerful Wide Area Search Tactical UAV

Shield AI, an American defense company focused on AI pilot design and development, has just announced a partnership with Australia-based Sentient Vision Systems to provide a wide area motion imagery (WAMI) solution for the US Department of Defense, the Australian Armed Forces, and other international customers. Using Shield AI’s VBAT UAV as a platform, the two companies will jointly develop and release a ViDAR-enabled, wide area search capable unit to enable it to intelligently classify, track, and read-and-react to targets across a varied mission set.

84 Year Old Couple Have Set the World Record for Drone Delivery [VIDEO]

This is what drone delivery is supposed to do: help people get the things they need, quickly and easily.  When Google’s Wing drone delivery company set up a trial in Christianburg, VA in 2019, it may have been a novelty for some users – and Susie Sensmeier, now 84, was one of the first customers in the U.S. to receive a drone delivery.

The London Heliport Adopts Altitude Angel UTM Technology: Part of the New Aviation Ecosystem

UTM (Unified Traffic Management) technology leader Altitude Angel has announced that The London Heliport will be deploying its Approval Services platform. This platform enables drone operators, and soon eVTOL pilots as well, to request and pay for operations digitally through the heliport’s airspace with the touch of a button.

As A2Z Drone Delivery Releases New Rain-Proof Aircraft, We Ask CEO Aaron Zhang What it Will Take to See Wide Adoption in the US [DRONELIFE Exclusive]

Los Angeles-based A2Z Drone Delivery began their business with an innovative delivery winch – an idea first conceived at Brown University, when Founder and CEO Aaron Zhang figured out a new way to deliver cookies around campus.  The project resulted in a commercially viable mechanism that allows companies like Walmart to gently release packages at their destination without landing, reducing much of the risk and complexity of flight in suburban areas.

AirMatrix, IN-FLIGHT Complete SAIL 4, BVLOS Drone Ops Over Urban Areas: Pushing the Boundaries of Complex Missions

In partnership with remote traffic management software leader AirMatrix, advanced drone operator IN-FLIGHT Data conducted one of the world’s first urban signals mapping operations following the previous year’s revolutionary UTM project. The successful “SAIL 4” flight was nearly 1,000 feet above ground, beyond the line of sight of the pilot, and over urban neighborhood populations. “SAIL” refers to the regulator’s combined complexity of a drone mission, from a range of 1 (low) to 6 (high). This is the first ever project of this level and scale to be completed.

Google Wing, Apian Partner to Create Medical Drone Delivery Service in Ireland, UK

In a collaborative effort, Google’s Wingand medical drone logistics firm Apianare establishing a medical drone delivery service in Ireland, while simultaneously exploring opportunities in the UK. Drones offer new opportunities for delivering crucial medical and pharmaceutical items to patients and hospitals. Wing and Apian have teamed up to introduce a medical drone delivery program in Ireland, beginning with healthcare institutions and caregivers in Dublin later this year.

India’s Minister of Civil Aviation Raises National Flag with Fleet of Drones

In an impressive show of patriotism and technology, the Bharat Drone Association and Garuda Aerospace have joined forces to honor the Honorable Minister of Civil Aviation, Shri Jyotiraditya Scindia. The virtual event, known as ‘Har Ghar Tiranga,’ celebrates India’s 77th year of Independence. During the event, Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia raised the national flag in Gwalior using a fleet of Garuda Aerospace drones, controlled by the innovative “Drona Button.”

NBAA, Stakeholders Caution AAM Working Group: Competition is “Fierce and Rapidly Advancing”

In a recent statement, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) has addressed two crucial initiatives aimed at facilitating the safe and seamless integration of advanced air mobility (AAM) into the U.S. National Airspace System (NAS). Drawing from insights gathered through its AAM Roundtable and Emerging Technology Committee, NBAA has provided valuable input to government agencies concerning proposals that hold implications for pilots, manufacturers, infrastructure developers, and various stakeholders.

SimActive and Phase One Cameras Collaborate for Streamlined Processing: Import Large Projects in Native Phase One IIQ Format

SimActive Inc. has announced the widespread adoption of its Correlator3D product by Phase One camera users across the globe. This collaboration simplifies data processing in aerial imaging applications, saving users time and optimizing output.  Correlator3D, known for its ability to handle various imagery sources, now accommodates both small sensors like the IXM-50 commonly used in drones and larger ones like the PAS 880i NIR with oblique and nadir systems for citywide mapping. This adaptability positions SimActive as a key player in aerial imaging software.

NC DOT to Deploy Remote Drone Operations at Construction Sites: the Path to Routine, BVLOS Inspections

NC has been a leader in advancing drone operations.  Now, the NC DOT announces an FAA waiver to remotely launch and fly drones beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) to inspect the agency’s construction projects. The Department will use a drone dock, or drone-in-a-box, solution from US drone manufacturer Skydio.  NC DOT will place weather proof drone stations on sight at construction projects across the state, using them to remotely monitor the sites and provide progress reports to stakeholders.

ANRA Technologies Suports FAA’s Urban Air Mobility Demonstrations: Live Flights of Optionally Piloted Centaur

The FAA and stakeholders are moving full speed ahead on urban air mobility (UAM).  The US has committed to advanced air mobility operations by the Los Angeles Olympic games in 2028.  One of the projects established to help move the industry forward is the Urban Air Mobility (UAM) Airspace Management Demonstration (UAMD.)

LIFT Aircraft Signs Deal with Warren Buffet Backed Marubeni Corporation

LIFT Aircraft Inc has officially entered into a strategic partnership with Marubeni Corporation (MARUY), a prominent Japanese general trading company, according to a statement released today. Marubeni Corporation, which boasts notable investment from renowned financier Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway, holds a substantial stake nearing 8% in the company. This alliance marks a significant development for both entities, further solidifying Marubeni’s presence in the global market.




Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry.  Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.


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