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)”

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”

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”

Autonomous harvest completed by robots and drones at UK farm

autonomous harvest

Autonomous harvest completed by robots and drones at UK farm

It’s harvest season in many parts of the world, but on one farm in the United Kingdom, robots — not humans — are doing all the heavy lifting.

At Hands Free Hectare, an experimental farm run by researchers from Harper Adams University, in the village of Edgmond in the U.K., about 5 tons (4.5 metric tons) of spring barley have been harvested from the world’s first robotically tended farm. Everything from start to finish — including sowing, fertilizing, collecting samples and harvesting — has been done by autonomous vehicles on the farm, according to the researchers.

The team behind the project thinks that robotic technology could improve yields in agriculture, which is necessary if the world’s growing population is to be fed in coming years.

The researchers tackled this problem by using commercially available agriculture machines and open-source software that is used to guide hobbyists’ drones. Continue reading “Autonomous harvest completed by robots and drones at UK farm”

UN aviation agency is backing the creation of a single global drone registry

UN aviation agency

UN aviation agency is backing the creation of a single global drone registry

MONTREAL (Reuters) – The United Nations’ aviation agency is backing the creation of a single global drone registry, as part of broader efforts to come up with common rules for flying and tracking unmanned aircraft.

While the International Civil Aviation Organization cannot impose regulations on countries, ICAO has proposed formation of the registry during a Montreal symposium this month to make data accessible in real time, said Stephen Creamer, director of ICAO’s air navigation bureau.

The single registry would eschew multiple databases in favor of a one-stop-shop that would allow law enforcement to remotely identify and track unmanned aircraft, along with their operator and owner. Continue reading “UN aviation agency is backing the creation of a single global drone registry”

Sushi in the skies (without diamonds) ( VIDEO)

sushi

Sushi in the skies (without diamonds)

Drones represent the future of consumer delivery services, if recent developments are anything to go by. Amazon, 7-Eleven, DoorDash, and the like have all dabbled with unmanned vehicles, both in the skies and on the sidewalks.

But one Icelandic company is claiming a first in terms of a permanent, fully autonomous commercial drone delivery service that doesn’t have a human eyeball in its line of sight.

Online marketplace Aha has tapped the services of Israeli drone company Flytrex to roll out an on-demand food delivery service in Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik.

Aha, which provides a white-label marketplace and associated services for online restaurants, retailers, and grocery stores, is now among the leading ecommerce marketplaces in Iceland when it comes to restaurant meals, groceries, and other products.

As you’ll know, the quickest route from A to B is a straight line, but those familiar with the layout of Reykjavik will also know that the city bends around a large bay, meaning road-faring transport such as bikes and cars have to take a circuitous route to traverse the full length of the city. And this is where Aha’s tie-up with Flytrex comes into play. Continue reading “Sushi in the skies (without diamonds) ( VIDEO)”

Drone corridor in Malawi challenges scepticism towards UAVs across Africa

Drone corridor

Drone corridor in Malawi challenges scepticism towards UAVs across Africa

In recent years, the US has vigorously used drones against al-Qaida affiliated groups on the continent, and operates drone bases in some five African countries. However, in parts of Rwanda and Malawi, the buzz of an approaching drone now signals something rather different: the arrival of vital medical supplies.

On 29th June 2017, to the wonderment of local children who congregated nearby, the Malawian government and UNICEF officially launched a drone corridor to trial the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for development and aid missions. It is Africa’s first drone corridor, and the first in the world developed specifically to address humanitarian challenges. Continue reading “Drone corridor in Malawi challenges scepticism towards UAVs across Africa”

It’s expensive to use drones to deliver meds. Not using them exacts a heavier cost

drones

It’s expensive to use drones to deliver meds. Not using them exacts a heavier cost

If we could send fleets of drones flying medical supplies to people in some of the poorest and most remote parts of the world, would it be worth it? Who’s going to pay for the drones, or the equipment needed to house and recharge them? Who’ll pay for the personnel to operate them, and the training required? Continue reading “It’s expensive to use drones to deliver meds. Not using them exacts a heavier cost”