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Drone News this Week: Women and Drones’ Global Awards, Aerovista Acquisition, Prime Air’s New CEO, and More

BY Zacc Dukowitz
8 April 2020

Catch the news?

This week we’re following several drone-related news stories, from the launch of Women and Drones’ first annual Women to Watch Global Awards, to Iris Automation’s release of its Casia 360 BVLOS system, and a whole lot more—read on for our top drone news stories for this week.

Want to jump around? Here you go:


Women to Watch Global Awards Open for Nominations

Women and Drones, one of the largest online platforms for women in the UAS industry, has been helping to highlight the efforts and successes of women in the drone industry for a while now.

Part of that work has been the organization’s annual Women to Watch awards, which highlight the women acting as leaders and agents of change in the drone industry.

This year, Women and Drones has added two new categories to its annual awards and renamed them. The new title for the awards is the Women to Watch Global Awards, emphasizing the larger reach and impact of the organization’s work.

[Read our interview with Women and Drones CEO Sharon Rossmark]

The Women to Watch Global Awards is now accepting nominations in the following categories:

Individual Categories

  • Education
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership
  • Public Safety

Team Categories (new this year)

  • UAS Humanitarian Team Award
  • UAV Innovation Team Award

women-drones-humanitarian award
Photo credit: Women and Drones

Winners will be announced at InterDrone 2020, which is taking place in Dallas, TX this year.

Want to nominate an individual or team? Visit this page on the Women and Drones website to learn more about the categories and the nomination process.

InterDrone Still On—For Now

InterDrone recently announced two keynote speakers for its 2020 conference as well as a list of other invited speakers, signaling that the conference is still on for now.

The two keynotes are:

  • Patricia Refo, President Elect, American Bar Association—Refo is also a partner at Snell & Wilmer in Phoenix, where she focuses on commercial litigation and internal investigations
  • Dr. Terry Martin, Project Director, Nova Systems—Martin is developing a UAV Traffic Management (UTM) system for Singaporean conditions, co-funded by the Singaporean Civil Aviation Authority

interdrone-2020

Here are the other speakers recently announced:

  • Jennifer Andrews—Project lead on Bell’s Technology and Innovation team.
  • Kelly Daly—A regulatory and transactional attorney, and a partner at Snell and Wilner
  • Lindsey Dreiling—Executive Director of Aviation Strategy at Kansas State Polytechnic
  • Jackie Dujmovic—Founder and CEO of Hover UAV
  • Dr. Tulinda Larsen—CEO and Founder of the economic consulting firm, Skylark Services
  • Fiona Lake—Australia’s best-known agricultural photographer
  • Helena Samsioe—CEO and Founder of GLOBHE
  • Laura Stefani—Tech and telecommunications lawyer at Mintz
  • Dawn M.K. Zoldi (Colonel, USAF, Retired)—A licensed attorney, 25-year Air Force veteran and founder and CEO of P3 Tech Consulting

*Hat tip to Sally French of the Drone Girl, where we first got the news about these speaker announcements.

InterDrone 2020 will take place in Dallas, TX from August 18-20. Learn more about the conference here.

Amazon Prime Air Hires Boeing Veteran as New CEO

Fighting COVID-19’s spread may be slowing many of us down, but not Amazon.

amazon prime air
Photo credit: Amazon Prime Air

This week news broke that Amazon Prime Air has hired former Boeing executive David Carbon as its CEO. Carbon takes the place of Gur Kimchi, who ran Prime Air for a lengthy seven years.

We’re very excited David Carbon joined Amazon to lead the next phase of our mission to bring 30 minute delivery by drones to customers. David has over 20 years of experience bringing ground-breaking aerospace innovations to scale safely and reliably and we look forward to his contributions as we scale up our manufacturing and customer delivery operations.

– Brad Porter, vice president of robotics at Amazon

Although Prime Air hasn’t yet gotten a Part 135 certificate for drone deliveries, this news is a strong signal that the company still believes in its drone delivery program.

Iris Automation Releases Casia 360

This week Iris Automation announced the release of Casia 360.

According to Iris Automation, Casia 360 is the “first commercially available 360 degree radial computer vision Detect-and-Avoid system for UAS.”

Casia 360 allows a drone to have a complete sense of its surroundings so it can avoid potential collisions from any direction. It enables drones to be used for an even greater range of long-distance use cases and saves money, increases safety and unlocks applications across multiple industries: railway, energy sector, utility powerline inspections, package delivery, and life-saving search and rescue operations.

– Alexander Harmsen, CEO of Iris Automation

Iris Automation = BVLOS

Iris Automation’s detect-and-avoid system has helped make the company’s name synonymous with BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) flying.

[Read our interview with Iris Automation’s CEO Alexander Harmsen]

The release of Casia 360 steps Iris Automation’s BVLOS technology up to another level, making sophisticated BVLOs technology and makes it accessible at the commercial level.

iris-automation-casia-360
Photo credit: Iris Automation

As a partner in multiple UAS Integration Pilot Programs, Iris Automation has been able to both test and demonstrate the efficacy of its detect-and-avoid technology for BVLOS.

Last year, as a result of that testing, two different IPP sites received approval from the FAA to conduct BVLOS missions without a Visual Observer (VO) for the first time ever.

So what does the release of Casia 360 mean for the drone industry?

Short-term, it could mean that BVLOS flights might be fast-tracked for FAA approval (if Iris Automation’s technology is widely adopted), and long-term, it could mean that BVLOS—once one of the hardest types of flying to get FAA permission to do—could become commonplace for drone pilots throughout the U.S.

Want to buy the Casia 360 system? The systems created for the initial launch are already sold out but you can place a back-order here.

AeroVista Innovations Acquired by DroneUp

aerovista-droneup-acquisition
Photo credit: DroneUp

Drone education company Aerovista Innovations was recently acquired by DroneUp, an end-to-end aerial data collection services for large, autonomous missions.

By acquiring AeroVista, we are now able to immediately take the feedback our pilots are getting from our customers in the field, and then develop training programs and new ways of doing business in real time, rather than having to go back to talk to a partner or third party.

– Tom Walker, Founder and CEO of DroneUp

For an interesting read on what Aerovista Innovations’ acquisition could mean for the future of the drone industry and redefining what “end-to-end” means, check out this article over at Commercial UAV News.

[Read our interview with Brendan Stewart, Co-Founder and President of AeroVista Innovations]

On a personal note, we want to extend a warm congratulations to the Aerovista team from everyone at UAV Coach. We’ve known Brendan Stewart, AeroVista’s President, and Melanie Harris, AeroVista’s Chief Engagement Officer for years now, and we couldn’t be happier that they have found a good home for their excellent drone pilot knowledge, skills, and training.

Did we miss anything? Share your favorite drone news story from the last week or two on this thread in the UAV Coach community forum.

 

 

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