martes, 31 de diciembre de 2013

HeX AirBOT: 3D Manufacturing for customized UAV shells

Recently there have been released a very successful UAV project called Hex AirbotThis is just another example about the advantages of the Direct Digital Manufacturing when applied to the UAV industry, because each customized shell is completely built inside of a 3D Printer.

DJI Releases iPad Ground Station for Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Flight

DJI officially released 2.4G Bluetooth Datalink & iPAD Ground Station.  Nice simple interface, seems very intuitive:

Pulse Aerospace Announces the wePilot3000

Pulse Aerospace, Inc., the Kansas based unmanned helicopter manufacturer and supplier of unmanned helicopter automatic flight control systems, announces today the release of the weControl wePilot3000 redundant, and full authority, digital flight control system for its North American customers.

The wePilot3000 is primarily aimed at the rapidly accelerating helicopter UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) industry, but also with the peripherals, controller architecture, and I/O to provide custom autopilot solutions for fixed wing UAVs. The wePilot3000, in contrast to its predecessor the wePilot1000, provides a redundant flight control system capability designed for helicopter UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System) with a Maximum Take Off Weight (MTOW) of 20lbs (9 Kg) to 1100lbs (500 Kg).

martes, 24 de diciembre de 2013

Russia is Developing a “UAV-Killer” Defense System


Russia is upgrading its short-range Pantsir-S air defense systems with an improved capability to intercept unmanned aerial vehicles, a Defense Ministry spokesman said. “The modernization of these unique systems aimed at increasing their effectiveness against UAVs has already started,” Col. Igor Klimov said.

Pantsir-S (SA-22 Greyhound) is a gun-missile system combining a wheeled vehicle mounting a fire-control radar and electro-optical sensor, two 30-mm cannon and up to 12 57E6 radio-command guided short-range missiles, and is designed to engage a variety of low-altitude, highly maneuverable targets.

Agriculture to see expansion of UAV commercial use

Agriculture may be the most promising industry for the commercial use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) or drones.

Most Americans are curious to learn more about Amazon’s proposal to use self-guided drones to deliver packages, but the most successful use of commercial drones in the United States may take place in areas far from the country’s highly populated centers. The Bradenton Herald reports that Idaho farmer Robert Blair built his version of a drone, equipped with cameras, to monitor his 1,500 acres. The 10-pound, 5-feet long drone is the size of a turkey and is used to get a birds-eye view of the farm’s cows, fields of wheat, peas, barley, and alfalfa. Blair said the drone provides him with a complete, aerial view of his farm, to gather historical data on his crops, which can help validate crop loss or animal damage when applying for government programs like crop insurance.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) prohibits drones for commercial use, although businesses and researchers can apply for an experimental airworthiness certificate for research and development, flight demonstrations, or crew training. Public law enforcement agencies and other governmental agencies may acquire a certificate of authorization to operate drones in civil airspace, but the move has raised concerns about privacy and government surveillance. The public’s concerns have led to privacy bills in many states, limiting the use of drones used by law enforcement. As fewer law enforcement agencies show interest in drones due to public backlash, leading drone manufacturers and researchers have decided to focus on agriculture. “A small UAV flying over a field with nothing around it doesn’t create a privacy issue,” said Josh Brungardt, director of unmanned systems at PARADIGM, an Oregon-based drone research company.

The Herald notes that drones can be effective for the agriculture sector because they pose fewer privacy and safety issues in the vast rural areas where farms are located. Farmers, researchers, and companies are developing drones equipped with cameras and sensors to survey crops, monitor for disease, or precision-spray pesticides and fertilizers. Beyond monitoring, drones can be used to ward off birds from fields, pollinate trees, monitor irrigation, or plant and harvest crops. The essence of drones in agriculture is that the technology could reduce costs and increase yields for farmers. Along with private companies, universities have begun to research and develop drone technology. Oregon State University researchers used drones earlier this summer to monitor disease over potato fields. Oregon nurseries have collaborated with researchers to use drones to count plotted trees. Farmers and researchers in Florida have used drones equipped with infrared cameras to monitor orange trees for the citrus greening, a bacterial diseases that kills trees, beginning at the top of the tree. The University of California, Davis has teamed up with Yamaha Motor Corp. to use drones to spray vineyards and orchards.

Belarus and Ecuador to collaborate on UAV development

Belarus and Ecuador are to collaborate on Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) development, Belarusian state media reported on 18 December. According to the BELTA news agency, Sergei Chizhik, deputy chairman of the Presidium of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, told journalists the plans included a joint engineering laboratory for UAV development and production to be based in Ecuador. The plant would focus on unmanned aircraft for border protection, analysis of natural resources and emergency response.

HEL-MD takes out mortars and UAVs

The HEL MD that took out mortars and UAVs in flight using its vehicle-mounted 10-kW laser ...

High energy laser weapons are a hot area of research with companies including Lockheed Martin, Rheinmetall and Northrop Grumman.

The HEL MD underwent testing at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico (Photo: US Army)

Boeing is also in the mix with its High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD), which is being put through its paces by the US Army. Between November 18th and December 10th, the HEL MD successfully took out mortar rounds and UAVs in flight, marking a first for the vehicle-mounted system.

Intended to demonstrate the potential of directed-energy technology for protecting troops against RAM (Rockets, Artillery and Mortars), as well as UAVs and cruise missiles, the multiple test events saw the HEL MD successfully engage over 90 mortar rounds and several UAVs. Army officials say mortars and UAVs are representative of the threats faced by US and allied forces in the battlefield.

Taiwan's drone development program

Taiwan's program to develop a strategic Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) that can remain airborne for long periods has been proceeding very smoothly, the director-general of the Armaments Bureau under the Ministry of National Defense said Monday.

Read More:

Nigerian commissions new UAV

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has commissioned the country's latest Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) which will be deployed as an Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaisance (ISR) platform in the fight against terrorism, maritime piracy and crude oil theft. "Besides its diverse military applications, the UAV provides us with a range of benefits in disaster management, power line surveys, law enforcement operations, telecommunications, weather monitoring and aerial imaging/mapping. It is also becoming an important tool in news coverage, environmental safety monitoring, and oil and gas exploration surveys," Jonathan said.

The aircraft, which has been named 'Gulma' meaning 'gossip' in the local Hausa language, was produced by the Nigerian Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) with the help of aerospace engineers from Cranfield University in BritainThe UAV was unveiled in a ceremony on Tuesday 17th December attended by senior government officials and defence officials led by Air Force Chief of Staff Air Marshall Alex Badeh at the Kaduna Air Force base“The Gulma has been designed to meet vast expectations and needs. It could be employed by the armed forces and security agencies for the protection of Nigeria. We also envisage viable partnerships with agencies such as National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in the area of disaster management and the Nigerian Air Space Management Agency (NAMA) in the area of weather forecasting," Badeh said. He added the government should upgrade the AFIT from a limited innovative research outfit into a viable aircraft production centre with the capacity to mass-produce indigenous UAVs.

Acting defence minister Labaran Maku said Nigeria needs a comprehensive policy to support the development of indigenous UAVs to enhance the operations of security services presently battling the Boko Haram insurgency in the north and maritime crimes and oil theft in the Gulf of Guinea and Niger Delta areas. He added it is important for the Air Force to allow other security agencies to incorporate its UAVs into their operations so that the whole sector can make use of their full strategic potential. "Emphasis should now be placed on the harmonisation of our research and development programmes towards the attainment of a common goal to transform the Nigerian Armed Forces into one of the top fighting forces in the world. Working hand in hand with NAF and other (security) services, the Federal Ministry of Defence shall sustain its efforts at encouraging local content in its pursuit of military asset acquisition. Also the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigerian (DICON) shall be further empowered to provide support to the services in their respective and collective research and development efforts," Maku said.

Powered by a 17 hp engine, the Gulma is built on a composite aluminium alloy structure, operates via radio control on a Micro Pilot FCS avionics system and weighs 40 kilogrammes. It has a maximum cruise range of 923 km and a top flight speed of 86 knots. It can cruise at a maximum altitude of 10 000 feet and has an endurance of up to 5.8 hours. The AFIT team has so far trained 15 pilots to operate its growing fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles. 

Turkey plans to design R-UAV for ships

Turkey plans to design R-UAV for ships

Undersecretary of Defence Industries (SSM-Savunma Sanayi Müsteşarlığı) will soon announce a project for 24 Rotary Wing UAV's which will be used by Turkish Navy. R-UAV planned to have a Maximum Take Off Weight of 2 tons, will be deployed in ships and ground and will have endurance longer than navy version. Turkish Coast Guards plans to take 12 R-UAV's.

viernes, 29 de noviembre de 2013

Northrop Grumman’s Unmarked Gray Helicopter Drone

It appears to be a smaller version of the company’s MQ-8C Fire Scout helicopter drone, which was tested for the first time earlier this month by the U.S. Navy.

Navy buys one Insitu RQ-21A Blackjack

Officials of the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md.,awarded an $8.8 million contract this week to Boeing Insitu Inc. in Bingen, Wash., for one low-rate-initial-production of RQ-21A Blackjack UAV, to include air vehicles, ground control stations, launch and recovery equipment, and air vehicle support equipment.

The Boeing Insitu RQ-21 is a twin-boom, single-engine, monoplane UAV for surveillance and reconnaissance. The Blackjack — so-named last September — is eight feet long with a 16-foot wingspan designed to carry multi-sensor payloads in large pod below its nose. The UAV can fly as fast as 104 miles per hour, cruises at 63 miles per hour, can fly as long as 24 hours, and can fly as high as 19,500 feet.

It is a version of the Insitu Integrator UAV. The multi-mission RQ-21A Blackjack’s open-architecture payload bays can be customized with visible-light and infrared cameras, communications and other tools to give warfighters on the forward edge of battle situational awareness information. The Blackjack’s standard sensor payload consists of a visible-light imager, mid-wave infrared imager, laser rangefinder, infrared marker, communications, and Automatic Identification System (AIS).

The RQ-21A will provide persistent maritime and land-based tactical Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition (RSTA) data collection and dissemination capabilities to the warfighter. For the Navy the Blackjack will provide persistent RSTA information to Navy ships, Marine Corps land forces, Navy expeditionary combat command forces and Navy special warfare units. In the future the U.S. Air Force may use the RQ-21A for persistent RSTA for security forces, integrated base defense, convoy protection, and weather analysis.

UAS offer Journalists a Wider View

UAVs have proved most valuable in providing film footage or photography of things that are difficult to reach, like wildlife or geographic formations. “What drones give you is anywhere, anytime access to the sky,” said Chris Anderson, a former editor of Wired magazine who runs a drone company. “That perspective is something a journalist just wouldn’t have unless he waited for officials, or hired a plane.”

Journalism programs, including those at the University of Missouri and the University of Nebraska, and the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, have started drone journalism courses. Columbia does not teach hands-on skills, but students at Missouri have used drones over the Missouri River for a report about hydraulic fracturing and over the prairie for a story about controlled burns.

Earthflight, a 2011 BBC documentary about birds, offers one vivid example of the technology. A drone with especially small and quiet rotors took astonishing shots of a flock of two million flamingos. Whereas a helicopter would have spooked the skittish birds, the narrator explains, “the drone hardly ruffles a feather as it captures a view of the greatest gathering of flamingos seen for 20 years.”

viernes, 22 de noviembre de 2013

Netherlands selects MQ-9 Reaper

The Netherlands is to purchase four General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and related ground stations, the Dutch Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 21 November.

The first Reaper should be fully operational in 2016, the last the following year. As opposed to MQ-9/RQ-9 Reapers in service with the US Air Force and the UK Royal Air Force, the Dutch version will not be armed, although this could change in the future "with a minimum of modification", the MoD stated.

The Reaper was the only system available, the MoD said, that met its requirement to conduct surveillance-missions with an endurance "exceeding 24 hours". The sensor load will be as standard for the platform:
  • EOIR
  • SAR
  • GMT

but will also include a special Dutch requirement to equip the UAVs with "a ground and surface radar with larger coverage" than standard and a specialised SIGINT pack.

China: Getting ready for the UAV war

China's new stealthy Unmanned Aerial vehicle (UAV), dubbed Sharp Sword by the domestic media, shows its eagerness to catch up in the field of drone technology.

It bears a striking similarity in its overall shape to the bat-winged RQ-170 Sentinel, built by the US company Lockheed Martin and operated by the Americans since around 2007. China is thus well-behind the Americans but is fast developing an impressive UAV capability of its own.

What is clear from recent air shows and the Chinese technical press is that China has developed a variety of UAVs matching virtually every category deployed by the US. They range from small tactical drones of limited endurance to much larger systems that look strikingly like US Reaper or Predator models, and just like their US counterparts some of these Chinese drones are equipped with hard-points on their wings to carry munitions.

The two leading players in the drone club - the US and Israel - have developed UAVs for a variety of purposes. These range from intelligence-gathering to strikes against targets on the ground. Not surprisingly, China sees UAVs in exactly the same light. UAVs are fast becoming an especially useful tool for Beijing in monitoring activity over contested areas of the South China and East China Seas. China is believed to have converted a number of out-of-date J-6 fighters into UAVs, which may well be being used to monitor the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands.

China also has the ability to arm some of its drones. Earlier this year, an interview in the Chinese Global Times newspaper provided a striking insight into Beijing's thinking about drones. A senior official in the public security ministry's anti-drugs bureau acknowledged that China had considered using an armed drone against a wanted drug trafficker in northern Burma, also known as MyanmarIn the event the attack was never carried out, but the clear implication is that Beijing has drawn some conclusions of its own from Washington's use of UAVs to take out targets across borders.

lunes, 18 de noviembre de 2013

Algeria shows interest in Yabhon

Algeria is considering the Adcom Systems Yabhon United 40 Block 5 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) to fulfill its Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) requirement, a company official said at the Dubai Air Show 2013.

The North African country is looking for an Unmanned Platform to track militants and traffickers in its vast southern desert regions, and while Algerian media has previously revealed that the air force is interested in the US-made General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GAASI) Predator/Reaper platform, this is the first time the United Arab Emirates (UAE)-developed Yabhon United 40 Block 5 has been touted as a possible candidate.

The Algerian Air Force does currently operate the Denel Dynamics Seeker UAV, and the Denel Seeker 400 and Selex Falco have also been touted as potential candidates. The two Yabhon United 40 Block 5 UAVs displayed at the show (both of which have been built for unspecified customers) were shown fitted with four Adcom Systems Namrod stand-off missiles (two under each wing), and two torpedoes on the centreline hardpoints (which can be equipped with a company-made wing-kit for enhanced stand-off capabilities). The internal rotating dispenser can drop munitions or 24 sonobouys.

(Read more)

Turkey: Trawls capture a Turna

Fishermen trawling off the Black Sea province of Sinop have captured an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) produced by a local firm.

The fishermen, who captured the UAV around six nautical miles off the coast of the Türkeli district, handed the drone to the İnebolu Coast Guard Command after a short examination at the port with their colleagues. The UAV, called a “Turna” (crane), is produced by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI). The TURNA Target Drone Systems program was initiated in 1995 by the TAI-TUSAŞ and entered the inventory of Turkish Armed Forces in 2001. They are actively used in the training of air-defense units.

Iran presents "Fotros"

Iran has presented its largest yet home-made Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), named "Fotros". This UAV can fly at an altitude of 25,000 feet, has a flight endurance of 16-30 hours, and effective operational radius of 2,000 kilometers. It has been designed to carry out IRS missions, but can also perform combat operations air-to-surface. For the moment, Fotros will be used for surveillance of sea and land borders, oil and gas pipelines, as well as monitoring of post-earthquake disaster areas.

martes, 12 de noviembre de 2013

Spain: UAVs for Architectural Reconstruction

Arjonilla Studio in Segovia, Spain, is a specialized company (among other things) in video recording using unmanned aerial vehicles.

Click on the picture to see a flight demonstration of the exciting possibilities of UAVs in architectural reconstruction. The UAV was manufactured by the team of Arjonilla Studios and its typical applications include architecture and agriculture. In the words of CEO Javier Arjonilla, "Inspect old buildings from the top is a dangerous job. We have been able to accomplish the task by having all the tools at our disposal, in our study: The UAV, 3D modeling software, and more importantly, a team capable of carrying it out! "

sábado, 9 de noviembre de 2013

USAF RPA: Two Million Flying Hours

It took sixteen years for the Remotely Piloted Aircraft community to reach one million flight hours.

A short two and a half years later, the RPA is celebrating again with its two millionth hour on the job. The US Air Force’s Remotely Piloted Aircraft fleet reaches a milestone of 2 million flying hours with help from Airmen on Creech Air Force Base, Nevada.

Construction Company Considers UAS for Motorway Inspections

Engineering and construction giant Balfour Beatty has revealed that it is interested in using UAS to inspect motorways. Balfour Beatty CIO Danny Reeves told Techworld at the Fujitsu Forum yesterday: “We have guys that have to work on the motorways in the central reservations. It’s inherently dangerous work and people do get hurt. If we could chuck up a UAS and it could scan a whole central reservation and no one has to cross a road or park a van on a hard shoulder that would be great.”

Norway to develop pocket UAV

U.S. Army researchers are asking a Norwegian company to develop a pocket-sized helicopter to provide a personal reconnaissance UAV for infantrymen and Special Forces warfighters.

Officials of the Army Contracting Command in U.S. are awarding a $2.5 million contract to ProxDynamics AS of Nesbru, Norway, to develop the Black Hornet Personal Reconnaissance System (PRS) – a one-pound force-protection micro UAV for soldiers and small infantry units.

ProxDynamics researchers will base the Black Hornet pocket UAV on the company’s PD-100 personal reconnaissance system, a mobile unmanned helicopter designed to provide infantry soldiers with immediate intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capability. The Prox Dynamics PD-100 PRS consists of the PD-100 nanocopter UAV and base station. The entire package weighs less than two pounds, excluding display, and measures 8 by 3.5 by 2 inches.

The PD-100 micro UAV system is for applications such as: search and rescue, reconnaissance in confined areas, look behind, between, and below obstacles, birds-eye view for situational awareness, object identification, proximity surveillance, crowd control, nuclear installation inspection, and checking chemical plants after incidents and accidents. The tiny helicopter UAV’s sensor payload has a steerable electro-optical camera with pan and tilt capability to provide live video and snapshot images.

FAA: Five-Year UAV Integration Roadmap

The FAA on Thursday released a five-year roadmap for regulated unmanned aircraft which indicates that during the next few years the use of drones will be limited to permits granted by the FAA to operators who have demonstrated procedures to reduce safety risks.

Congress has directed the FAA to integrate UAVs into U.S. skies by September 2015 but the agency has already missed several milestones toward meeting that goal. Integration will begin at six test sites that the FAA has yet to select, from applications from 24 states. Meanwhile, until testing is complete, the FAA will only grant UAS flying privileges on a case-by-case basis.

sábado, 2 de noviembre de 2013

India to Bolster UAV Fleet

India plans to spend more than US $2 billion in the next five years to boost its UAV fleet, including mini UAVs, and sharpen its border surveillance, intelligence and communications capabilities. More than a dozen domestic private-sector players are eyeing the mini-UAV market, while the DRDO concentrates on developing HALE, MALE and combat UAVs.

The Army this month floated a tender to acquire 49 UAVs to be used for real-time ISRThe tender has been sent to private Indian companies Idea Forge, Dynamatrics, Hi-tech Robotics, Ufcon, Omnipresent Technologies, Datapattern, Tata Advance Systems and state-owned Bharat ElectronicsThe mini UAVs will be used for counterinsurgency operations in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir, bordering Pakistan. The UAV will have an endurance of 30 to 90 minutes carrying a camera, and be able to perform auto tracking of targets. The mini UAVs will gather intelligence and carry out reconnaissance along the Line of Control with Pakistan and the India-China border, an Indian Army official said. Mini UAVs are effective electronic eyes in the skies against border infiltrations, which have increased recently, the official added.

The Army is employing UAVs as a communication constellation and has put them to use in rescue operations, as observation posts and for medical evacuation, said Mahindra Singh, a retired Army major general. The Army and Air Force have an immediate requirement for more than 700 mini UAVs. The Army plans to have about 1,600 mini UAVs by 2017 for use by the infantry and mechanized infantry, the Army official said, adding that these vehicles would be employed to enhance the Army’s situational awareness in the border regions. The mini UAVs will be integrated into a system that will include assets such as artillery, locating radar, bigger UAVs, aerostat radars, and airborne early warning and control aircraft, which could be used as a force-multiplier, the official said. 

India: More UAVs watching

The CRPF, nodal agency overseeing deployment of security forces for the upcoming assembly elections in five states, has increased the number of UAVs in the Maoist zone of Bastar for round-the-clock surveillance.

About half a dozen UAV Netra, owned by the CRPF, are gathering real-time intelligence across about 40,000 sq km of Bastar region that votes on November 11. These indigenous UAVs can send real-time video of ground movement within a 5-km radius. Besides, the MHA has asked the NTRO, country's elite intelligence agency, to fly UAV Heron whose range — about 400 km — is much more than the UAV Netra.

The Israeli Heron is operated from airbase at Begumpet in HyderabadThe UAVs will aid planning of operations and deployment of more than 50,000 security forces inducted in Bastar's Maoist heartland for the polls, said a senior officer. The UAVs can play a crucial role in surveillance and intelligence gathering in the region where real-time human intelligence is hard to come by. Grabs sent by the UAVs help the security forces on the ground to monitor Maoist movement and plan precision strike operations in Bastar and also along Chhattisgarh's border with Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Jharkhand.

India's indigenous drones

To counter what they see as the rapidly transforming nature of ‘asymmetric’ as well as the standard strategic threats, the Indian armed forces are actively seeking to purchase the latest technologies and weaponry. Accordingly, the military has started a massive modernisation drive phased over the next 12 years at the cost of a whopping USD 200 billion. A large part of this is earmarked for augmenting India’s fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs, commonly known as ‘drones’.

sábado, 26 de octubre de 2013

Spain: UAV Navigation recognized "Best Tech Company"

The Spanish UAV Navigation, a pioneer in the development of inertial navigation systems for unmanned aircraft avionics, was honored for his contribution to the energy and industrial sectors in the category Global Growth during the "II Spain Startup & Investor Summit 2013 ", held in Madrid. The closing event was presided over by the Prince of Asturias, who made the award to Guillermo Parodi, CEO and cofounder of UAV Navigation. (Read more)

Beijing gets large-scaled UAV industrial base

A large-scaled whole-chain unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) industrial base will settle in southern Beijing’s Daxing District, according to the top management of China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics (CAAA) under China Aerospace Sci &Tech Corporation, Beijing Daily reported.

The UAV industrial base, which covers a total area of 134 ha, will be the first of its kind in China. The base will cluster flagship enterprises and regional S&T leaders in the sophisticated industry within three years. It will also develop a top-notch technological service system and explore new modes for commercial application so as to turn itself into a UAV tech and service hub with high value-added.

Police officers honoured for UAV

The “Excellence in Police Aviation” award, sponsored by Bell Helicopter, was accepted by Detective Dave Banks and Constable Andrew Olesen for their efforts in the concept, research, formation and operation of a small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) program for the police service. Halton has been using a small unmanned aerial vehicle since 2009 following the establishment of a partnership with the University of Toronto- Forensic Science Program and Waterloo Company, Aeryon Labs Inc. Use of the UAV has resulted in improved efficiencies for police and the enhancement of service delivery in a multitude of scenarios, including: search and rescue, crime scene forensics, traffic collision reconstruction and marine operations.

eBee footage of Matterhorn

When UAV manufacturer SenseFly wanted to show off their eBee drones, which are designed for aerial photography, they decided to try something different: Throwing their vehicles off the top of the Matterhorn.

At the top of the famous Alpine mountain, a team from SenseFly and nonprofit Drone Adventures flew the eBees on multiple flights and fed camera and sensor data into 3-D imaging software. Once they were done, SenseFly had the first ever UAV-generated map of the Matterhorn. Five drones circled the base and lower portions of the mountain, while another set of UAVs systematically mapped the mountain’s peak. And the Matterhorn, which straddles the border of Italy and Switzerland, is a massive mountain, which challenges the relatively modest battery life of most consumer drones. According to SenseFly, the eBee only has 45 minutes of battery life. As a result, the company had to fly their drones around the mountain on multiple flights.