We had the absolute pleasure of attending AUVSI Xponential last week in Houston. It was incredible to see all of the new unmanned systems and robotics applications, while learning the latest in FAA safety and regulations. Here are our top takeaways from the event:
Latest from the FAA
Ever since the FAA released the rules for non-hobbyist small unmanned aircraft (UAS) operations back in 2016 – Part 107 of the Federal Aviation Regulations – many were hoping new directives would be issued at the XPONENTIAL event for the next wave of UAS possibilities. For example, certain operations such as flying over non-participants and night-time flying are not included under Part 107, which means operators still need to request a waiver and/or airspace authorization. With literally thousands of applications being submitted every week, the FAA created the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) program to improve this application process. With great excitement, the FAA released about 200 new maps around airports throughout the United States.
In addition to this news, there was a bunch of chatter around budgetary plans for more than $20 million of funding for new research on UAS, which was included in an appropriations package that Congress passed and the president recently signed into law to fund the federal government through the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. These allowances include $20 million above the 2016 budget request for the FAA’s air traffic control organization, which now provides for the hiring and training of new controllers and accelerating UAS airspace integration. The agreement also includes the addition of six full-time positions to support the certification of new technologies and advance the FAA’s organizational delegation authorization (ODA) efforts and strengthen safety oversight.
The FAA, along with a group of universities, also had recently conducted a study to determine the risks associated with flying unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) over people. You can read about our take on this research over here.
New applications for drones and robotics were big with the manufacturers and OEMs at the show. Here are some of the cool applications shared on Twitter:
— Cheryl Amerine (@CherylAmerine) May 9, 2017
— XPONENTIAL (@AUVSIshow) February 16, 2017
— Boeing Defense (@BoeingDefense) May 8, 2017
— Lockheed Martin (@LockheedMartin) May 8, 2017
— Shephard News (@ShephardNews) May 12, 2017
Command and Control for Drones and Robotics
As drones and robotics break into new markets, manufacturers and OEMs need to find secure command-and-control (C2) links to ensure safe and reliable operations. Wireless data communication devices that adhere to FIPS and AES encryption standards are already trusted for mission-critical government and defense applications. In addition to encryption, these industrially hardened Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS) wireless technologies are proven to be reliable and secure in nature, which further adds to the overall data security scheme. Some solutions also deliver multiple user-defined cryptography keys (as many as 32 user-defined keys in some cases), for a more robust link security with automatic and frequent changing of cryptographic keys. Secure communication links that are ruggedized for performance in the harshest environments on earth can be the difference in whether new unmanned operations succeed or fail.Commercial and industrial drone/robotics manufacturers and OEM can now leverage this type of technology for new unmanned innovations.
FreeWave at Xponential
With a secure C2 link in place, manufacturers and OEMs can trust that their technology will perform for mission-critical operations. AUVSI Xpontential was an excellent opportunity to learn the latest in unmanned systems and share news on our wireless solutions that are designed for secure C2 links and trusted by the military and government.
What was your favorite part of AUVSI Xponential?