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5 Releases You Don’t Want to Miss, an Intel Light Show, and More at AUVSI XPONENTIAL

BY Zacc Dukowitz
17 May 2017

In case you missed it, there were some great releases at AUVSI EXPONENTIAL last week in Dallas, Texas.

XPONENTIAL is the annual conference put on by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems, and we were proud to be one of their media partners this year.

One of the big highlights of the conference was an indoor light show put on by hundreds of Intel’s newest version of their Shooting Star Drone, which is covered just below.

5 Big Releases from AUVSI XPONENTIAL

1. Intel’s Shooting Star 2


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Intel rolled out a new version of their Shooting Star drone at the conference, the small drone that’s been used to put on light shows at the Super Bowl, Coachella, and Disney World.

Intel’s goal for these drones is to have them nudge out fireworks as the go-to resource for light shows around the world.

One of the highlights of the conference was an indoor light show featuring the latest version of the Shooting Star, which took off on Twitter.

2. Gryphon Sensors’ Mobile Skylight, a UTM System with Drone-Detecting Sensors

Gryphon Sensors announced the launch of a system for drone traffic management, or Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM), called Mobile Skylight.

Mobile Skylight combines self-contained sensors with third-party sensor data to record flight information, and uses radar to detect low-flying drones at a range of 10 kilometers.

Gryphon Sensors is a non-profit research organization chartered by New York state, and is a partner with railroad company BNSF in doing Beyond Line of Sight (BVLOS) research as part of the FAA’s Pathfinder Program. Gryphon is also a partner with NASA on their UTM project, entitled the UAS Traffic Management initiative.

Although the launch of Mobile Skylight didn’t make as much of a splash as Intel’s light show, it is huge news for the industry to have a single solution UTM system on the market. With the proliferation of drones, and the growth of international incidents involving rogue drones at airports, the sooner we can have fully operational UTMs monitoring and protecting our skies, the better.

AUVSI’s VIP Customer Insights Panel: The Future of BVLOS Operations

3. Intel’s Falcon 8+


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Intel Flacon 8+

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The Intel Falcon 8+ drone

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We have to say, this thing is beautiful.

Outfitted for industrial inspection and close mapping applications, the Intel Falcon 8+ drone is designed to integrate advanced technologies to make it a top-of-the-line tool for inspections and surveying.

Intel's Falcon 8 Inspection Drone

According to Intel, the Falcon 8+ has great flight performance, advanced safety and data accuracy, and is an ideal solution for inspection and close mapping.

The Falcon 8+ has an easy payload exchange and, later this year, Intel will be releasing a new API framework and defined hardware interfaces so that customers can add custom payloads, allowing commercial operators to have the flexibility to use the 8+ along with the sensor of their choice.

As announced at XPONENTIAL, Intel is ramping up production of this multi-rotor commercial drone for the North America market.

4. Intel’s MAVinci Sirius Pro System


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The MAVinci Sirius Pro commercial drone provides high precision mapping without the use of manual-set control points.

The receiver and navigation system were created by TOPCON, and precisely measures the position of the camera for each image, making it equivalent to a control point.

This means that the control points are virtually set ‘from the air’ during the flight, and coordinates are calculated in real time. This approach ensures absolute accuracy of 1.6 cm on the x- and y-axes, and down to 2.7 cm in the z axis.

MAVinci SIRIUS UAS (with audio)

5. Griff Aviation’s Griff 300


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The Griff 300 is a beast.

It can lift 225kg (496lbs) in addition to its own 75kg (165lbs) weight. With that kind of power, you might think that it’s battery life would be pretty short—but in fact, the 300 has a flight time of 30-45 minutes (depending on payload).

“The next model that will be produced will be able to lift 800kg (1,764lbs). Then we will continue to increase lifting capacity even further. This is the start of a revolution in aviation.”

– CEO Leif Johan Holland

Griff Aviation is a Norwegian company that has set up a manufacturing plant in Florida.

GRIFF 300 - Behind The Scenes


FAA Administrator

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, whose term will end in January, gave a speech in which he spoke of his desire to help the drone industry continue to grow, and expressed concern about the need for greater clarity around what state and local governments would like to see concerning drones.

…the unprecedented rate at which unmanned aircraft are evolving means we have to grapple with new and complex questions…this is particularly apparent as we consider the roles of federal government, state and local governments, and how they should play in this space. How do we ensure that unmanned aircraft operations can occur with a minimum amount of disruption and interference?

These comments were highly topical, given that Bard College’s Center for the Study of the Drone recently issued the results of a study that found you could be fined and even jailed for violating local laws, even when you are flying legally according to federal guidelines.

Huerta also mentioned that there are now more than 820,000 registered drones in the U.S. 745,000 of these are hobbyists, leaving 60,000 or so that are commercial pilots.

Intel CEO

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich gave a keynote in which he talked about wanting to expand Shooting Star light shows around the world, before letting the Shooting Star drones themselves take the stage and perform an indoor light show (for more on the light show, check out the tweeted videos above).

Krzanich also spoke about Intel’s other releases at the conference, the Falcon 8+ and the MAVinci Sirius Pro System, giving a demonstration on how the workflow for a bridge inspection that could be automated end-to-end using Intel tools and software from Bentley Systems, to form an automated flow to generate 3D models from drone data.

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