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Drone News Roundup: Blue UAS Requirements Begin, DroneSeed Gets Unique BVLOS Waiver, and More

BY Zacc Dukowitz
16 October 2020

This week we’re covering the U.S. Department of Interior’s recent memo requiring that all its employees use American-made drones, which may signal the beginning of a massive shift in how drones are purchased for government use.

We’re also covering DroneSeed’s first-of-its-kind BVLOS waiver for heavy-lift drone swarms, the Drone Racing League’s partnership with Estée Lauder to promote breast cancer awareness month, a new infographic on Urban Air Mobility created by the World Economic Forum and leadership in Los Angeles, and a recent project survey of a gold mine completed by Inspired Intelligence.

Now let’s get to those links!

Blue UAS Requirements Begin for Federal Departments

blue-uas-dod-roundup
Photo credit: Department of Defense

The U.S. Department of the Interior has had its drone fleet grounded for some time because all of its drones were either from China or contained Chinese drone components. But it looks like that will soon change. In a recent memo, the Secretary of the Interior told those in the department they could start buying “American-made small unmanned aircraft systems (referred to as Blue UAS).” It’s likely that other federal agencies will soon follow suit and start buying only from the list of five drones—the Blue UAS referred to in the quote above—that have been approved by the Department of Defense.

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DroneSeed Gets First-of-Its-Kind BVLOS Waiver

droneseed-bvlos-roundup
Photo credit: DroneSeed

DroneSeed has received approval from the FAA to conduct post-wildfire reforestation efforts in six states, including California. The approval comes in the form of a BVLOS waiver for the company’s heavy-lift drone swarms. This is the first time this kind of waiver has ever been granted. Each drone in the swarm can carry up to 57 pounds of seed for reforestation work, and these efforts can begin within 60 days after a fire has been contained.

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DRL and Estée Lauder Team up to Promote Breast Cancer Awareness Month

drl-estee-lauder-roundup
Photo credit: DRL

This month, the Drone Racing League (DRL) has partnered with Estée Lauder to promote breast cancer awareness month by building a specially built pink Racer4 drone (shown above). The two companies will also be hosting an international ELC Virtual Hackathon to fight breast cancer, in which
two-time DRL Allianz world champion pilot Jordan “JET” Temkin, DRL engineer Jenny Gao, and DRL senior drone technician Brandon Alvarez will be teaching participants how to build their own racing drone that lights up pink.

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World Economic Forum Teams up with Los Angeles Leadership on Urban Air Mobility

7-priniciples-uam-roundup
Image credit: World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum (WEF) recently released an infographic (shown above) highlighting the seven principles of Urban Air Mobility (UAM). The infographic was created in partnership with the L.A. Department of Transportation and the L.A. Mayor’s Office. The infographic is part of an ongoing partnership between the organizations, which have been studying how drones can be incorporated into congested urban areas. According to Sally French (The Drone Girl), the principles featured on the infographic were derived from feedback gathered via interviews with leaders in the UAM space, workshops, and research institutions.

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Inspired Intelligence Scans Gold Mine

Inspired Intelligence Scans Consolidated Gold Mine with LiDAR, Uses Drones Underground & Underwater

Inspired Intelligence, a small family-owned and -operated drone services company based in Buford ,Georgia, recently completed a large scale LiDAR scan of Consolidated Gold Mine in Dahlonega, Georgia. The company also performed underwater inspections in two parts of the mine. The project’s goal was to capture data that would help the gold mine’s owners determine if certain inaccessible areas of the mine are safe for public tour access in the near future. Watch the video above to see the results of Inspired Intelligence’s work and read the article linked below to learn more.

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