Express delivery of small packages by drone is now a reality. GeoPost has launched the first regular commercial line and Amazon has just delivered to its first customer. Forget Father Christmas, the drone postmen are beginning their rounds.
A drone hit the tail rotor of a helicopter ambulance and caused it to crash together with five passengers aboard. This is a spectacular air catastrophe taken from the British television series Casualty. Watch the video and behind-the-scenes footage. Read the article.
In late January, the first drone certified to operate in explosive environments, delivered a parcel to the crew of a Maersk group liquid gas tanker. A world first. Watch the video, and read the article.
On 22 February, the world’s twelve best drone pilots competed at Miami’s American football stadium. On the programme were slaloms in the stands and corridors at speeds of up to 80 mph (130 km/h). Watch the video and read the article.
With the rise of the military UAV market through the world, the need for drone operators will increase. To train them, Silkan, a French SME, has developed a high-tech flight simulator that adapts to all types of drones.
After two years’ competition, it is ultimately the Sagem tactical UAV Patroller, which will enter service with the French Army from 2018. Thales was vying with their Watchkeeper, and thus loses out on a contract of 300 million euros.
Lakesight, a London based company, have developed the e.Yo Copter which could be marketed as soon as 2017. Compared to other drones in the sector, this helicopter will be able to carry a payload of more than 440 lbs (200 kg).
To avoid drones and airplanes colliding, research is being intensified to try and establish concrete solutions to the problem. The French national school of civil aviation together with a drone manufacturer have even made it one of their priorities.
The start-up, Xamen Technologies, has just developed the world’s first ATEX certified drone, which means that the machine can be operated safely in hazardous environments where the slightest spark is prohibited.