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Posts Tagged: "Federal Aviation Administration"

Walmart Challenges Amazon in International Patent Race for Drone Delivery Technology

While online giant Amazon has been in the news recently for asking the Federal Aviation Administration to ease restrictions for its planned drone-based delivery services, a battle is raging behind the scenes for the future of unmanned delivery vehicles. Walmart is combating the narrative of online retailers overtaking brick-and-mortar businesses by revamping its image and services. Besides using a hybrid of online shopping and manual pick-up at the store, the company is very interested in delivering its products to the customer directly—not only through traditional means, but with unmanned drone delivery couriers.

House Aviation Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), Flying Cars and Passenger Drones

The development of UAS vehicles for delivering packages or passengers could go a long way in alleviating issues of congestion occurring along the nation’s roadways. Aviation subcommittee ranking member Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA) spoke to these possibilities, citing a recent industry scorecard which found that U.S. drivers spent 40 hours each year stuck in traffic during peak hours, leading to an economic loss of $300 billion in lost productivity. Larsen noted that there were currently more than 50 passenger drone concepts in development and was the first of a series of Representatives attending the hearing to note that such technologies would make the science fiction world of The Jetsons a distinct reality.

NASA Announces First Flight of Ikhana Unmanned Aircraft in Commercial Airspace Without Safety Chase Aircraft

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recently announced the agency’s remotely-piloted Ikhana unmanned aircraft successfully completed its first flight within the National Airspace System (NAS) without the use of safety chase aircraft. This accomplishment is an important step towards the incorporation of unmanned aircraft within the NAS for various applications including the monitoring of forest fires, search and rescue operations and even general aviation.

FAA’s new rule allows somewhat larger degree of commercial drone use

The latest regulatory development at the FAA concerning UAVs is the issue of a new rule regarding small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) which went into effect August 29th. The new rule, known as Part 107, allow for the transportation of property for compensation or hire provided that the total weight of the drone and its cargo do not exceed 55 pounds, the flight is conducted within the visual line of sight of an operator and the flight occurs wholly within the boundary of a single state… One impact of the new small UAS rules issued by the FAA is that commercial drone operations can take place without obtaining a special exemption from the federal regulatory agency. Previously, UAV operators who were looking to use drones for purposes beyond hobby or recreational activities had to obtain a Section 333 exemption from the FAA to do so. As of August 26th, the FAA had granted 5,552 Section 333 exemptions for commercial UAS operators.

EPA regulation of aircraft emissions could hurt green innovation

A study of the economic impacts of air quality regulations on American manufacturing plants between 1972 and 1993 conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that the economic cost of such regulations caused a decline of 8.8 percent of profits in the manufacturing sector. That’s $21 billion per year that did not go to employee wages and couldn’t be used on research and development. Reduced economic output in the face of rising population numbers also produces a drag on the overall economy and R&D initiatives are often the subject of the first budget cuts during economic downturns. All of this points to a downward spiral in which increased environmental regulations actually pose an obstacle to the development of the green economy in the United States.

Rep. Lamar Smith calls NOAA ‘afraid of innovation’ during hearing on weather satellites

The day’s most withering criticisms, however, came from the House science committee’s ranking Republican, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX). Smith contended that NOAA’s problems had been debated by the committee for years and focused on the delays and rising costs of the current JPSS program. “Congress should not continue to fund an over-budgeted program that has not performed to standards,” he said. He added that he wasn’t convinced that the NOAA is adequately addressing weather data gap risks and said they were “dragging their feet” on considering options. “If NOAA’s afraid of innovation, maybe they shouldn’t be in the business of deciding what technologies are needed to improve forecasting,” Smith said.

Heritage Foundation panel focuses on FAA missteps in drone regulations

There is a legitimate question to be raised, however, over whether the FAA’s registry regulations and the harsh penalties for offenders actually makes our skies any safer for American citizens. That was a question tackled by a panel at The Heritage Foundation at a moderated discussion on better approaches to U.S. drone policy… Some panelists questioned why there was a need to single out UAVs as a particularly dangerous threat to manned aircraft when it was clear that there were far greater environmental risks to aircraft. Sargent chastised the media, saying that they have “not been much of a help on this” by overstating drone risks, further noting that damage risks from large birds were far greater than drones… Taylor expanded the scope of this idea, mentioning that while a few dozen people died in recreational watercraft accidents each year, and hundreds are put into hospitals from injuries related to all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), he was not aware of any story where an American was injured by a drone.

How Drone Disabling Patents Change Everything

The proliferation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), more commonly referred to as drones, has cluttered airspaces all over the world in a precarious way. Security and privacy issues related to drones have prompted some organizations to ban the use of drones entirely… With so much interest in developing systems for drone disabling and capturing unauthorized drones, it’s not surprising to see patents being issued for related technologies over the past year by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. One such patent, U.S. Patent No. 9085362, titled Counter-Unmanned Aerial Vehicle System and Method, generally relates to a UAV for providing counter-UAV measures… Although American aerospace and defense giant Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) appears to maintain a leading position in this field, smaller inventors are also active in this field…