More chip pile measuring

Working outside with flying robots. Yes please.

Measuring chip piles with Unmanned Vehicles

A local paper mill has three large piles of wood chips that get replenished by 20 to 30 trucks every day. They have a requirement that these piles get measured monthly. This task is typically done by two surveyors, one of whom has to actually climb to the top of these piles which is a little bit like trying to walk through waist deep snow. It takes the better part of two days.

Using our 3D Robotics Solo platform we were able to gather the data to measure these piles in about 20 minutes. 

The next step to compare the data gathered from the aerial platform with the surveyors data. As the computers finish crunching all of the high resolution data we will know how accurate the solution is. If it works reasonably well there is a good case for the paper mill to start using it regularly since it’s somewhere in the vicinity of $1000 per day cheaper.

Did you know that many states have extra requirements to operate UAS in that state?

For example, in North Carolina you must pass a knowledge test for any operation that’s not recreational.

Shot some real estate this weekend

FAA Administrator Talks Drones at SXSW

“FAA Administrator Michael Huerta and Sally French, “The Drone Girl,” today led a lively panel discussion about the future of small unmanned aircraft at South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin on Monday. The panel included a diverse group of innovative thinkers from industry and government.

In his opening remarks, Administrator Huerta outlined recent progress on several important initiatives, including a robust unmanned aircraft system (UAS) registration system that is expected to pass 400,000 registrants this week, the MicroUAS aviation rulemaking committee that will deliver recommendations to the FAA by April 1, and the FAA’s B4UFLY app for iOS and Android devices. He noted partnerships among the FAA, industry and other government agencies are key to safely and expeditiously integrating unmanned aircraft into our skies.

“The wide array of industry representatives here today underscores that while we may sometimes have different opinions and ideas, we’re all coming from essentially the same place: We all view safety as our top priority, and the safe integration of unmanned aircraft is a goal that we’re committed to pursuing together,” Huerta said.

The panel discussion included representatives from NASA, Amazon Prime Air, Intel, PrecisionHawk, Aerobo and Fresh Air Educators. Topics included steps to speed integration while maintaining today’s high levels of safety, future uses for UAS, research on how to safely expand UAS operations, and ways to spread the FAA’s safety message to even more UAS pilots. One message that came through from the participants was that partnerships between government and industry are essential to educating the public on how to fly carefully and to safely integrating unmanned aircraft into the nation’s airspace.

Helping people understand where they can and can’t fly their unmanned aircraft is critical and the FAA is counting on industry’s support. Many UAS users have no experience with the U.S. aviation system, so they may not be aware they’re operating in shared, and potentially busy airspace.

Huerta announced the Android version of the FAA’s B4UFLY app is now publicly available. The app tells pilots whether it’s safe to fly in their current or planned locations. The Android version includes updates to its beta version based on feedback from drone operators who tested the app. Huerta also committed to making the app’s programming and logic available to the general public.

The FAA is committed to the safe integration of unmanned aircraft into the national airspace system. The FAA’s website has important information for drone owners on registration, flying guidance for hobby or recreation use, commercial operations, public/government operations, law enforcement guidance, educational campaigns, and more. The FAA plans to publish a rule for small unmanned aircraft this spring. The agency has authorized more than 4,000 exemptions for commercial operations, and works with our research partners through the UAS Center of Excellence, six test sites, and the Pathfinder program.”

From the FAA Website/Press Release


Evaluating Event38 for post UAS Flight mission processing

As an entrepreneur and developer I’m in a “should I build it or should I just buy it” situation currently. A lot of what I’ve tried isn’t very good.

First “REAL” 3D Maps with my 3DRobotics Solo

Switching gears lately in my other life to work with Blueridge Forestry on a mapping workflow for them. Making this map of a local closed landfill turned model airplane field really was a snap.

Docker images for Dronekit

Started on a new project this evening. Docker images for Dronekit and some tools for automating flights. Love me some Docker!

What does a UAS pilot do to prepare for a huge snow storm?

He files for a 9 mile radius NOTAM for the whole weekend over a really beautiful part of the country. That’s what.

* the actual flying will be a small subset of this airspace but since they make you do a center point with a radius it has to be filed like this

* the actual flying will be a small subset of this airspace but since they make you do a center point with a radius it has to be filed like this

Just requested to add these new UAS models to my “fleet”

  • 3D Robotics Solo
  • DJI Inspire
  • DJI Phantom 3
  • DJI Spreading Wings S900
  • DJI Spreading Wings S1000+
  • DJI Matrice 100
  • Chroma Camera Drone

According to the FAA it takes a few months for approval so I figured I would get these submitted now.

In other news, I’m building a fixed wing model as a competitor to the overpriced models currently on the market.