Astral Aviation to launch first cargo drone operation in Africa

Astral Aviation

Astral Aviation to launch first cargo drone operation in Africa

Kenyan cargo airline Astral Aviation plans to launch the first cargo drone operation in Africa by the end of this year. Based in Nairobi and operating cargo flights in Africa, the Middle East, and Europe, Astral Aviation has established Astral Aerial Solutions as a dedicated subsidiary to handle the Kenyan freight specialist’s expansion into the niche drone market in Kenya, Rwanda, and Ethiopia. The company also has established a drone technology academy in Kenya that trains youth to operate the vehicles. Continue reading “Astral Aviation to launch first cargo drone operation in Africa”

SF Express wins first drone operator licence in China

SF Express

Ambitious Chinese express operator SF Express has pipped Alibaba and JD in the race to gain China’s first domestic drone operator licence – and it is set to collaborate with African drone specialist Astral in Kenya.

Announcing the news, China’s largest courier hailed the civil aviation authority (CAAC) decision to grant subsidiary Jiangxi Fengyu Shuntu a licence, calling it a “milestone”.

SF Express said: “This means that China’s drone logistics distribution is entering the legal operation phase. It is a milestone in the development of China’s logistics drones and it is also a recognition of SF’s logistics distribution and operation capabilities.”

Company shares reportedly jumped 5%, with the State Post Bureau forecasting an extra 9bn parcels will be delivered in China this year. Continue reading “SF Express wins first drone operator licence in China”

Largest drone ever flown in Ireland carries first European test flight in Co Clare (video)

drone

The company that designed the CGT45 SLT unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) wants to establish Clare as a European test centre for its drones.

A-techSYN, which designs and builds unmanned aerial systems (UAS), launched its UAV business in the Shannon Free Zone near Shannon Airport in 2017. The company forms part of the Shannon Avionics Cluster.

Yesterdays demonstration was held at Spanish Point airfield in front of Clare Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection Mr Pat Breen; representatives from the Turkish Embassy in Dublin; Shannon Group as well as members of the Irish Coast Guard, Civil Defence and other interested groups.

A-techSYN’s CGT45 SLT is one of the first UAV’s to use electric engines for take-off and landing and a combustion engine during fixed wing flight. The event was the first demonstration flight in Europe for the CGT45-SLT. Continue reading “Largest drone ever flown in Ireland carries first European test flight in Co Clare (video)”

Large unmanned aircraft systems will begin populating the skies in not-too-distant future

unmanned aircraft systems

In the not-too-distant future, large unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)—those flying above 400 feet and weighing more than 55 pounds—will begin populating the skies: transporting cargo, fighting fires, delivering WiFi and even flying people around the world. Think Bigger: Large Unmanned Systems and the Next Major Shift in Aviation is the first look at the large UAS market in the United States, and highlights a potential $30 billion annual market and more than 60,000 jobs in support of the industry.

The impact of large UAS on Americans and our economy will impact us in many ways they see, and many other ways they don’t. Sooner than many people think, a significant portion of American commercial travel will be via autonomous aircraft. Long-haul cargo will drastically change, with new economic centers rising in places in our country where they don’t exist today. Airports and other intermodal transportation centers will need to be designed and redesigned to meet vastly different needs and experiences. Continue reading “Large unmanned aircraft systems will begin populating the skies in not-too-distant future”

Airbus Helicopters’ Skyways unmanned air vehicle successfully completes first flight demonstration

Airbus

Airbus Helicopters’ Skyways unmanned air vehicle has successfully completed its first flight demonstration at the National University of Singapore (NUS). The drone took off from its dedicated maintenance centre and landed on the roof of a specially designed parcel station where a parcel was automatically loaded via a robotic arm. Once successfully loaded with the parcel, the Skyways drone took off again and returned to land, demonstrating its automatic unloading capability.

This inaugural flight demonstration follows the launch of the experimental project with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) in February 2016 to develop an urban unmanned air system to address the safety, efficiency, and sustainability of the air delivery business in cities such as Singapore. The collaboration was subsequently extended in April 2017 with Singapore Post (SingPost) becoming the local logistics partner to the project. Continue reading “Airbus Helicopters’ Skyways unmanned air vehicle successfully completes first flight demonstration”

Done Delivery Canada is expanding its commercial testing program to United States

Done Delivery Canada

Drone Delivery Canada ‘DDC or the Company, is pleased to announce that its expanding its commercial testing program to the United States of America at the New York Griffiss International Airport UAS Test Site, located in Rome, New York in Q1, 2018.

The Company anticipates that the US Pilot Program will then run through the balance of the year. This new initiative expands DDC’s testing program to include geographies within the United States utilizing its Sparrow X1000 drone which just recently achieved Compliant UAV Status with Transport Canada (December 2017). For testing, DDC will utilize its own proprietary FLYTE management software that is designed to support semi-autonomous flight as well as BVLOS (beyond visual line of site) flights designed for commercial drone deliveries.

“We have very strong interest from multiple commercial customers in the USA that not only want to test our drone delivery platform in Canada, but also in their own Country as well. This pilot program will act as an extension of our primary Canadian initiatives and will expand our data collection ability. The FAA approved Rome, N.Y. site was made available to us by the progressive initiatives of the FAA and provides an ideal testing environment to achieve our customers requests.” commented Tony Di Benedetto, CEO. “While collectively working with our key Canadian stakeholders and the invaluable support of Transport Canada and the Canadian Federal Government which has allowed us to progress to this point, we now look to put Canada on the forefront of commercial drone delivery technology on a global stage with our first expansion occurring south of the border.”, added Di Benedetto. Continue reading “Done Delivery Canada is expanding its commercial testing program to United States”

HERE and Unifly are teaming up to jointly enable airspace maps for drones

airspace maps

HERE and Unifly are teaming up to jointly enable airspace maps for drones

  • Rich and accurate data sources will be vital for safe drone transportation
  • In the Autonomous World, ground and airborne vehicle traffic will need coordination

Soon it may not only be our roads that are congested. The growing popularity of drones, whether for recreational or commercial use, has highlighted the challenge of managing traffic in low-altitude airspace. Moreover, in the future Autonomous World, the traffic of both airborne and ground vehicles will need to be well orchestrated to ensure safety and efficiency.

To help meet these needs, HERE Technologies, a global leader in digital mapping and location services, and Unifly, the leading provider of Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) software, are teaming up to jointly enable airspace maps for drones. Continue reading “HERE and Unifly are teaming up to jointly enable airspace maps for drones”

Automatic drone test flight conducted in mountainous area in central Japan

parcel

Automatic drone test flight conducted in mountainous area in central Japan

A team of researchers and companies has conducted a trial automatic flight of a drone in a mountainous area in central Japan, aiming to realize parcel delivery services for remote locations, including islands, using such unmanned aircraft.

The test, conducted in the city of Ina, Nagano Prefecture, on Nov. 11, was designed to have the drone carry a parcel box and make a round trip between a post office and a michi no eki roadside rest area. Continue reading “Automatic drone test flight conducted in mountainous area in central Japan”

China carries out cargo drone test flight aimed at providing rapid delivery to remote islets in South China Sea

cargo drone

China carries out cargo drone test flight aimed at providing rapid delivery to remote islets in South China Sea

China has carried out a test flight of an unmanned aerial vehicle, or drone, that could provide rapid cargo delivery to remote islets in the South China Sea without airstrips, in Beijing’s latest move to secure its presence in the disputed waters.

The drone – built from a modified low-cost fixed-wing plane – can carry 1.5 tonnes of cargo and land on a runway of just 200 metres, according to the Institute of Engineering Thermophysics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, which led the project.

Continue reading “China carries out cargo drone test flight aimed at providing rapid delivery to remote islets in South China Sea”

Airbus Helicopters completes first full-scale testing for propulsion system of CityAirbus demonstrator

CityAirbus

Airbus Helicopters completes first full-scale testing for propulsion system of CityAirbus demonstrator

London, Airbus Helicopters has recently completed the first full-scale testing for the propulsion system of the CityAirbus demonstrator – a multi-passenger, self-piloted electric vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) vehicle designed for urban air mobility. During this successful testing phase, the CityAirbus team thoroughly checked the individual performance of the ducted propellers as well as the integration of the full-scale propulsion unit with two propellers, electric 100 kWh Siemens motors and all electrical systems.

CityAirbus is a battery-powered air vehicle able to vertically take off and land. It is designed to carry up to four passengers over congested megacities to important destinations such as airports or train stations in a fast, affordable and environmentally friendly way. The innovative four-ducted propeller configuration significantly contributes to safety and low acoustic footprint. Continue reading “Airbus Helicopters completes first full-scale testing for propulsion system of CityAirbus demonstrator”