Citymesh Drones-in-a-Box Assists Belgian Emergency Services
In what they say is a world’s first, the company announces that it is introducing a network of 70 ‘safety drones’ across Belgium. The idea is that as soon as an emergency call to police or firefighters comes in, these drones auto-deploy and are the first at the scene.
Each drone has both 4K and thermal imaging video feeds, and they are remotely piloted using a network of pilots that are always on standby. The network will be rolled out in all 35 emergency service districts of Belgium, with 2 drones-in-a-box being available for each.
LIFT Aircraft Completes First Piloted eVTOL Demo in Japan
From press release:
“LIFT Aircraft made history this week, completing the first-ever piloted eVTOL demonstration flights in Japan with their aircraft, HEXA.
Flights were conducted for audiences that included the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB), the aviation authority of Japan. While HEXA conforms to FAA Part 103 and can be flown in the U.S. today without aircraft type certification or a pilot’s license, Japan does not have an equivalent regulation.”
Zipline Announces Their Own Autonomous Delivery System
Zipline is a drone delivery company we’ve covered for some time. They’ve historically been involved in delivering medical supplies around the world, but recently they announced the intention to expand to drone deliveries for general consumers.
In a new video they showed off a tethered drone-like device which attached to the main drone and drops off packages, touting delivery times that arrive in minutes instead of days or hours.
Rigitech Begins Daily BVLOS Drone Deliveries in France
Swiss drone manufacturer RigiTech becomes the first to operate a full regular BVLOS (Beyond-Visual-Line-of-Sight) route and makes drone delivery a reality in France. Starting with their first approved route linking Bourgoin-Jallieu to Tignieu-Jameyzieu, RigiTech has begun daily flights between laboratories, using its long-range drone, the Eiger.
Specifically designed to ensure cold-chain transportation of blood and biological samples, RigiTech’s Eiger drone has a large payload bay that allows for efficient, long-distance flights, making the most of this sustainable delivery solution: This newly implemented technology can carry a payload of up to 3 kg, and medical boxes with up to 150 pre-conditioned blood vials.
Wing Unveils Plans for Scalable Drone Delivery Network
In a recent video, Wing CEO Adam Woodworth explained the companies vision for implementing a drone delivery network, along with some really interesting systems they have made for automating curb-side pickups, allowing restaurants and retailers to easily add drone deliveries for their products and services.
Woodworth says the company is aiming to scale up to a point in 2024 where the network can handle millions of deliveries.
Airobotics Launches New ‘Iron Drone’ Counter-Drone Platform
The new Iron Drone system is part of a recent acquisition of a company with the same name, and it provides an automated anti-drone platform that launches out of a box, intercepts drones that shouldn’t be flying in the area, and catches them with a ballistic net system.
IEEE Tours Opener’s Headquarters & Flies BlackFly eVTOL
IEEE Spectrum uploaded a video of writer Glenn Zorpette touring the Palo Alto facilities of Opener, the creators of the single-seater eVTOL dubbed the BlackFly, even allowing him to ride alone in the vehicle after a days training.
What’s particularly interesting about the BlackFly is that since it is a single-seater aircraft, and because of it’s relative small size, it is classed as an ultralight recreational vehicle, which does not require certification by the FAA.
SkyeBrowse Unveils Midnight Sun Drone Intelligence Platform
The company recently uploaded a video showing off what they call “the ultimate situational awareness tool”. Midnight Sun combines quadcopter live feeds with a system to detect and track people in real time.
In the example shown, they have police enable GPS on their phones, and the system automatically overlays where they are on the feed. This allows command centers and operators to see exactly what’s going on in an environment, highlighting friendies and unknowns in a 3D environment.
AutoFlight Prosperity Air Taxi Sets New eVTOL Record
AutoFlight announced today that version 4 of it’s Prosperity eVTOL broke a new distance record for it’s class of aircraft, with a single charge covering 250.64km. This record was set on Feb 23, when the air taxi completed 20 circuits of the Augsburg test base in Germany.
This beats the previous 248km record set by eVTOL competitor Joby, which was set in 2021.
Joby Completes Second Stage of eVTOL Certification Process
Continuing the trend of electric VTOL proliferation, Joby recently announced that their air taxi passed the second stage of FAA certification.
“In the second stage of the type certification process, a company identifies the ways in which it will demonstrate it has met the regulatory intent of the safety rules (“Means of Compliance”) that were defined during the first stage of the process (“Certification Basis”).”
Head of Aircraft OEM, Didier Papadopoulos explains that there are 3 remaining stages left before the air taxi can take to the skies, and these are all primarily based around stress testing components and making sure all fail-safe systems work as intended. The company is aiming to launch commercial passenger services by 2025.
Swoop Aero Gains Approval to Operate Drone Deliveries in NZ
From press release:
“Swoop Aero has obtained approval to operate beyond visual line-of-sight in New Zealand, as it prepares to launch the country’s first Integrated Drone Logistics network in partnership with Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand.
The approvals, granted by the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority in late 2022, will enable Swoop Aero to conduct its drone operations remotely, with a single remote pilot operating up to five aircraft at a time.”
Spanish Army uses Hybrid Drone to Scan and Clear Buildings
From press release:
“Robotican’s hybrid drone system, the Rooster, successfully performed a building scan-and-clear mission for the Spanish armed forces during an exercise that simulated a hostile urban environment.”
“While the company physically secured the bottom floor, the Rooster, controlled by a Robotican operator located two kilometers away, scanned the upper floors and relayed real-time intelligence to the forces on the ground. In a second scenario, the team deployed the Rooster through a hole in the building’s roof and scanned the building while the company waited for the signal to begin its assault.”
US Air Force Exploring use of Remotely Piloted Cargo Planes
Mountain View based Reliable Robotics recently announced a United States Air Force contract to explore the full automation of large, multi-engine jets.
The study will include feasibility assessments of remotely piloting some of the largest planes the military has, including cargo planes.
Successful Test Flight for BETA’s Quiet Electric Aircraft
Blade Air Mobility and BETA Technologies announced the successful test flight of BETA’s electric ALIA-250 eVTOL, which has 1/10 the noise profile of a standard helicopter, at the Westchester County Airport, New York.
Blade CEO Rob Wiesenthal: “This demonstration is a big milestone in our transition from helicopters to electric vertical aircraft, and we are pleased that our partners at BETA have designed the right aircraft with the requisite range, capacity, and noise profile, for use in our key markets, including our homebase of New York City”.
DARPA Seeking to Develop Massive Military Drone Swarms
DARPA is calling for bids from companies to develop large swarms of drones to be used in military missions, with the view to overwhelming defense systems.
According to DroneDJ this program seeks to deploy up to 1000 drones at a time, each with their own munitions, in what they call “swarms of swarms”.
MightyFly Unveils New Delivery eVTOL: The Cento
From press release:
“The Cento is an electric VTOL aircraft with a cargo capacity of 100 lbs (45 kg), a range of 600 miles (965 km) and a max speed of 150 mph (240 km/hr).
With eight electric vertical lift fans, one forward propulsion propeller, and a high wing carbon fiber airframe, the fully loaded Cento weighs just 355 pounds (161 kg).
It measures 13.1 ft by 16.7 ft (4 m by 5 m) taking up a total area that is less than two compact cars – meaning the ground transfer stations required onsite can simply be two car spots in an existing parking lot.”