Headline, October 02 2021/ FUTURE : ''' '' THE DRONES TAP '' '''

FUTURE : ''' '' THE

 DRONES TAP '' '''

! INFINITY AND BEYOND ! : SEVERAL BIG OUTFITS in the West are just so keen on the drone -delivery business. Amazon, UPS and Alphabet, Google's parent, all have projects in development.

ALTHOUGH DRONES - OR UNCREWED AERIAL VEHICLES : { UAVS } as they also known, were originally developed for military target practice and surveillance, the civilian versions that have emerged over the past decade have created a thriving new industry.

Commercial UAVS, especially the hovering type, are used for jobs ranging from inspecting power lines, buildings and crops, to aerial photography, transporting medical supplies and even delivering pizzas.

The value of the market reached $22.5 billion last year, according to Drone Industry Insights, a German research firm with its eye on the business. By 2025 that figure is expected to exceed $42 billion.

Something helping to accelerate this growth is the gradual relaxation of the strictures that aviation authorities, being naturally cautious about all these newfangled flying machines taking to the sky, have imposed on the industry.

In most countries, drones may not be flown near people or over built-up areas, and must be kept within view of their operator. Exemptions may be sought for specific flights, but this can be a long-winded process, hedged with restrictions.

For instance, regulators have usually insisted on the ground observers being used to follow flights beyond an operator's visual line-of-sight, BVLOS as it is known. This means extra staff have to be hired and trained, which pushes up costs.

However, as companies build up their flying experience, things are starting to change. In January, for example, a firm called American Robotics became the first operator approved by America's Federal Aviation Administration { FAA } to fly automated UAVS at specific sites without any pilots or observers being present.

Something similar is happening in Britain. In April the Civil Aviation Authority {CAA} authorised a firm called sees.ai to carry out routine BVLOS flights, albeit at specified locations.

As its name suggests, sees-ai relies on artificial intelligence to operate its UAVS. To navigate, the craft employs several cameras and also other systems, including GPS, radar and lidar [ which uses light instead of reflected radio waves' to build up three-dimensional images of their surroundings.

The drones software is trained to recognise structures and obstacles, including other aircraft, and to take evasive action if needed. This also lets the craft fly inside tunnels and under oil rigs, where GPS and radio-control signals are easily lost.

Some Nordic countries, where the skies are also relatively clear, have been especially drone-friendly. Alphabet's drone-delivery subsidiary, Wing, has begun its third year of flight in Helsinki, dropping off groceries and food to homes and some public sites, such as picnic areas.

Wing's drones employ a hook on a cable to pick up goods from merchants and deliver them to customers. The drones fly at an altitude of 30-40 metres, which is well below that at which crewed aircraft typically operate.

Over in Iceland's capital, Reykjavik, one of the longest-established drone-delivery businesses is still going strong. This is a partnership between aha, a local company and Flytrex, an Israeli drone-service firm.

Together, they have been delivering groceries and meals by UAV since 2017. Flytrek is now trying to get something similar off the ground in America, with a delivery service from a local Walmart to homes in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

On May 25th it was given permission by the FAA to fly above people.

For now, its remote pilots still have to keep their craft in view, but ground observers are no longer required.

''This is a large step forward and allows us to significantly expand the number of front and backyards we can service,'' says Yariv Bash, Flytrex's boss. The firm's drones navigate using GPS receivers and other sensors - but not cameras, because of fears that Americans might consider them to be intrusive.

Four days earlier than Flytrex, on May 21st, Manna, an Irish drone-delivery company, obtained a new type of European Union operating certificate. Within certain limits, it allows the firms to authorise UAV operations on its own recognisance.

Manna has been delivering food and groceries in suburban Galway for the past year, carrying out more than 35,000 flights, and now aims to set up operations in other cities.

For such progress to continue, operators will have to prove their UAVS have as good ability as crewed aircraft to detect and avoid one another. '' The levels of safety are not going to change between piloted aviation and remotely piloted aviation,'' says David Tait, head of innovation at CAA.

Mr Tait is open to alternatives about how drones might do that, but thinks it will involve a mixture of technologies, including some that firms like sees-ai and Wings are developing.

The Honor and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on Drones, Technology and the Future, continues. The World Students Society thanks The Economist.

With respectful dedication to the Future, and Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all prepare and register for Greater Global Elections on The World Students Society : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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