DJI drone lands on Britain’s new £3 billion aircraft carrier

Despite being a multi-billion-dollar, state-of-the-art warship, the HMS Queen Elizabeth was recently visited by a visitor that went completely undetected by those aboard: a consumer drone.
The drone pilot said he was “amazed” that he was able to fly the drone past armed patrol boats (he noted police on the smaller crafts did wave at the drone) and land it on the deck of the carrier, where it went undetected. The pilot, who is currently unnamed, said he landed on the carrier after receiving a high wind warning from his controller while flying over the ship. When he attempted to mention the security issue to crew members later on, he was told the ship was mostly empty as most of its crew was on shore, but that his message would be passed along appropriately. The pilot also mentioned that he felt the only law he broke was flying over a ship of which he not in control and that he had no intention of raising alarm. Nonetheless, the incident has caused serious apprehension among experts, as it demonstrates that those with ill intent could use normal consumer drones to attack such ships in similar fashion. As such, security has been increased and talks of increased punishment for such infractions have begun.

Amazon plans a fleet of drones with maintenance facilities on trains, in vehicles, and on boats.

Amazon is heavily investing in drones, and one day hopes to use the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to revolutionise deliveries.

Right now, it’s all still early stages — but public patent filings can offer us tantalising glimpses of what Amazon’s engineers are thinking about and experimenting as they develop the tech.

For example, a key problem facing any drone deliveries is batteries and maintenance. When your drones are in the shop getting fixed, they’re not helping you make any money — so how do you keep them charged and in the air for as long as possible?

One possible answer: An ambitious fleet of mobile maintenance facilities based on trains, in vehicles, and on boats.

In a patent filing published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office earlier this week, Amazon reveals it is thinking about exactly this (emphasis ours):

“Intermodal vehicles may be loaded with items and an aerial vehicle, and directed to travel to areas where demand for the items is known or anticipated. The intermodal vehicles may be coupled to locomotives, container ships, road tractors or other vehicles, and equipped with systems for loading one or more items onto the aerial vehicle, and for launching or retrieving the aerial vehicle while the intermodal vehicles are in motion. The areas where the demand is known or anticipated may be identified on any basis, including but not limited to past histories of purchases or deliveries to such areas, or events that are scheduled to occur in such areas. Additionally, intermodal vehicles may be loaded with replacement parts and/or inspection equipment, and configured to conduct repairs, servicing operations or inspections on aerial vehicles within the intermodal vehicles, while the intermodal vehicles are in motion.”
In plain English? Amazon is exploring the idea of building special facilities that can store, repair, and deploy drones, and pre-emptively moving products and drones to areas of anticipated demand (based on seasonal trends, say, or a special event in the area) before launching them.

These facilities could also be transported and based on boats.
Some caveats apply to all this. For a start: There’s no guarantee Amazon ultimately builds this. Big tech companies file thousands of patents a year, and not all of them make it into finished products.

And Amazon’s drone ambitions are still in their infancy. It has carried out a few carefully stage-managed trials in Cambridge, but it still seems a long way off commercial deliveries — much less building a sophisticated network of mobile infrastructure to support those deliveries.


A drone gets too close for comfort to a jet landing at Newark Airport , New Jersey

The Federal Aviation Authority in America is investigating after air traffic controllers saw a drone near a jet that was landing at Newark Liberty International Airport.

United Airlines Flight 135 was descending near the airport Sunday when air traffic control alerted the crew about a drone “in the vicinity of the runway,” United said in a statement. The crew of the jet, arriving from Zurich, Switzerland, monitored the drone and landed safely, United said.

The FAA said the incident occurred two miles southwest of the airport at 11:55 a.m. Sunday. The FAA is investigating and that local authorities had been notified, the agency said in a statement.

A month ago, a 54-year-old Arizona man was arrested on charges of endangerment and unlawful operation of an unmanned aircraft after a drone grounded aerial efforts to combat a massive wildfire about 100 miles north of Phoenix.

Last week the FAA tweeted: “Flying your #drone this weekend but not sure how high to fly? FAA’s resources can help: #DosAndDonts#DroneQuestion” The primary piece of advice was not to fly a drone above 400 feet. The CAA requires drones to fly no higher than 400 feet as light aircraft fly to a minimum height of 500 feet .

Drones are falling out of the sky

The DJI Spark, the smallest and most affordable consumer drone that the Chinese manufacturer has released, seems to be having flight problems that could have dangerous side-effects.
On DJI’s support forum, multiple users—Quartz counted at least 14 separate complaints across two forum posts—have reported that while they were flying, their Spark drones have switched off and fallen like rocks out of the sky. In some cases, the drones were close to the ground and were easy for their owners to retrieve and send diagnostic information to DJI, but in others, the drones crash landed in thick woods, or, in a couple of instances, in lakes.
One forum member posted a video of their drone losing connection while they were still flying:

Quartz gave the Spark a very favorable review after it was released in May for its portability, and how simple it was to fly and take photos. But in testing, Quartz had issues where the wifi connection between the $499 device and the cellphone controlling it was cut, causing the drone to wander listlessly in the air. Thankfully, DJI’s drones come equipped with technology that allows them to remember where they took off from, and, after they lose connection to their controller, they will eventually return.

It’s not clear what caused these crashes—some forum posters suggest some could’ve been user error, but others shared their drones’ flight logs and showed nothing out of the ordinary had been happening before the crash. Some posited that the sensors that detect how close the Spark is to the ground, and what direction the drone is facing—the drone’s engines will shut off when the Spark is on the ground or when it’s titled 90 degrees lengthwise—might have misinterpreted where the drone was, and thought it was time to power down.
DJI told Quartz it was looking into the issues on the forums we uncovered. “DJI is aware of these reports and we are investigating to determine the causes,” a spokesperson added.
The Spark weighs about 300g (0.6 pounds), and is roughly 5.5 inches wide. If it were flying near 400 feet up, the maximum altitude US regulators allow drones to fly, when it fell, it would likely do a fair bit of damage if it hit you on its way down.
The issue feels similar to a problem that action-camera company GoPro had with the launch of its first drone, the Karma, last summer. After shipping roughly 2,500 drones in the month of October, it issued a recall on the night of the US presidential election, as the drones were falling out of the sky due to a loose connection between the drones and their batteries. Unlike GoPro, however, DJI has been building well-respected consumer drones for years, so any production issues after more than four years without major problems would come as a surprise.

Drone safety becomes Government priority

The Government has announced plans to introduce drone safety awareness courses for every owner of a drone . Each day there seems to be a new near miss story involving drones .

A passenger plane on its way to Edinburgh Airport missed a collision due to ‘luck’ a report claims.

A report published this week found that a Saab 340 plane was unable to take any action to avoid the drone, which missed by 15ft after flying parallel to the aircraft’s flight deck.

In its report, the UK Airprox Board published after the incident on May 19 said: “The pilot’s overall account of the incident and his inability to avoid the object portrayed a situation where providence had played a major part in the incident and a definite risk of collision had existed.

“It was so close and happened so fast that avoiding action was not possible. The pilot opined that it was only through luck that they did not hit the drone.”

The incident happened around 12 miles south of Edinburgh Airport and endangered a number of aircraft and those on board.

In the last nine months there have been at least four reports of drones narrowly missing planes in Scotland.

Sky drone pics – Aero drones photography