Drones

Evans Incorporated to Share Key Insights, Aviation Expertise at ATCA’s 62nd Annual Conference and Expo

The award-winning Human-Centered Solutions consulting firm’s Aviation experts to form critical part of the dialogue at the premier forum for aviation professionals, running from October 15-18, 2017

FALLS CHURCH, VIRGINIA – October 11, 2017Evans Incorporated announces today that several of its leading Aviation experts are set to speak at the upcoming 62nd Annual Air Traffic Control Association (ATCA) Conference and Expo, running from October 15-18, 2017 at the Gaylord National Resort, National Harbor, Maryland. As the premier forum for aviation professionals, ATCA’s annual events draw key corporate and government decision makers from across the industry, along with more than 3,000 attendees from more than 40 countries and over 100 exhibiting companies, government agencies, and NGOs.
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Evans Incorporated Analyst Interviewed by Farm Futures Magazine

Chad Tyson, senior analyst at Evans Incorporated, discusses the impact of new FAA rules with Farm Futures Magazine.

Aerial View: Farm drones cleared to fly

Will new FAA rules make unmanned aerial systems the next must-have farm tool?
Bob Burgdorfer | Sep 21, 2017

Precision agriculture is rapidly evolving, with new sensors, devices and software that help farmers do their jobs better.

Unmanned aerial systems (aka drones) can play a role in that evolution now that the Federal Aviation Administration has provided the means to legally fly them to deliver chemicals, collect crop data and inspect fields.
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Evans Incorporated Takes Organizations to New Heights with Launch of PropelUAS

The award-winning Human-Centered Solutions consulting firm’s innovative new division forges the future of UAS program implementation, launches at ALEA 2017

FALLS CHURCH, VIRGINIA – July 26, 2017Evans Incorporated (Evans) announces today that it has launched a new division, PropelUAS, which is changing the game and forging the future of UAS Program implementation process and technology. PropelUAS’ team of unmanned systems, air traffic control, aviation training, human factors, airports, and aviation strategy experts form an innovative, full-spectrum experience, from ‘Idea’ to ‘Operations’ (IDEA-OPS™). This gives organizations the capability to navigate often complex and overwhelming regulatory channels with a ‘what’s allowed where, what’s not, and where exceptions can be made,’ to its ‘been there, done that’ approach. Continue reading

Evans Incorporated Expands Aviation Footprint with Additional Key Contract Win

The award-winning Human-Centered Solutions consulting firm awarded a contract for Capital Investment Analysis Support (CIAS) with the U.S. DOT and the Volpe Center

FALLS CHURCH, VIRGINIA – July 20, 2017Evans Incorporated (Evans) announces today that it has been awarded a contract for Capital Investment Analysis Support (CIAS) services to the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT), Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology, Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (Volpe Center), located in Cambridge, MA. This news follows Evans’ recent $42 million contract award also with the Volpe Center, the largest in its history, and continues to underscore Evans’ demonstrated value proposition in the Aviation space, as well as its position as a strategic leader in leveraging emerging technology to drive top value, ROI, and success across the board. Continue reading

UAS Usage in Western Wildfire Firefighting Operations

As we find ourselves nearing the peak summertime travel season, May 4th is proclaimed International Firefighters’ Day (IFFD). It was instituted after a proposal was sent out across the world on January 4, 1999 due to the deaths of five firefighters in tragic circumstances in a wildfire at Linton in Victoria, Australia.
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Creative Uses of Drones

With technological advances coming nearly every day, drones are being put to new and innovative uses around the world. This article highlights some of the interesting ways Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are being put to work and play.

Quad-Copter Cabs

The city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates has announced that a UAV taxi service will begin operating this summer. The Chinese built eHang 184 aircraft are capable of flying one person for about 30 minutes at speeds better than 60mph.The drones were demonstrated at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2017) this past February in Las Vegas and have had more than 100 successful manned test flights. Would-be passengers enter a location of choice inside the fully-autonomous vehicle, pay for the ride, then enjoy a traffic-free commute to their destination.

Amazon Air

Everyone imagined that we’d be able to upgrade our Amazon shipping to “Same Hour” years ago; unfortunately, government regulations are holding back the airborne delivery of household necessities such as the Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer. The first actual deliveries by Amazon occurred in Cambridge, England only this past December. The city is supporting the effort by allowing an incremental increase in UAS activity as Civil Aviation Authorities examine such key factors as flying beyond line of sight, avoiding obstacles and monitoring a fleet of drones.

Target delivery times are within 30 minutes of an order being placed; one of the first deliveries was received, from click to drop off, in only 13 minutes.

Spirits are Soaring

Tequila manufacturers and agave farmers are under the constant scrutiny of the Tequila Regulatory Council (CRT); this is especially true when products claim to be produced from 100% blue agave. The non-profit employs a fleet of UAVs in an effort to map around 340 million plants and conduct spot-checks on farmers. This operation is vital to the tequila industry because the genetically-similar plants are particularly susceptible to disease. Additionally, the CRT uses these surveys to calculate the maximum amount of blue agave a farm could produce. If the farm produces over that maximum amount, CRT authorities will know lesser species of agave were likely smuggled into the harvest.

Giving Poachers the Pinch

Under grants from the World Wildlife Federation and Google, contractors are providing drones to park rangers in Africa that use thermal imaging cameras to find poachers in the vast lands under their control. The program is still in its infancy and officials are not yet sure how best to leverage the drones capabilities or integrate them with ground forces, but the potential for making a significant impact on the poaching problem is very real.

Raising Racing

The Drone Racing League (DRL) is on the cusp of international success. As they prepare for Season 2 in early June, several key components have fallen into place; most notably, broadcasting contracts with ESPN, Sky Sports (UK) and Prosieben Maxx (Germany). The league is also generating a lot of buzz with favorable articles being published in Time, USA Today, Bloomberg, Vice, NPR and Wired.

The heroes of this new sport do not resemble your stereotypical sponsor-clad race car driver in any way. In a scene reminiscent of a sci-fi movie, pilots dawn First Person View (FPV) goggles, allowing them to virtually sit in the cockpit of the bird-sized racers. Coincidentally, this gives the audience incredible views of the action as the drones zip through indoor and outdoor courses at speeds that can reach 80mph.

Working to Relieve Public Concern About UAS Use in the Law Enforcement Industry

Law enforcement organizations are increasing their use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for rescue missions, disaster response, pursuits, and other activities that are possibly dangerous or difficult to access on foot. Public opinion is playing a large role in the success of these programs.

Most organizations looking to start a UAS program will face challenges, but the challenges regarding perception can be particularly delicate in the law enforcement industry. With widespread public concern about safety and privacy, the industry demands clear and accurate communication about the intended uses of UAS. Furthermore, potential conflicts between federal and state/local laws must be considered.

The following two case studies about police departments beginning to use UAS and the public response highlight some issues law enforcement should consider before taking to the air:

  • Los Angeles’ efforts to launch a UAS program sparked such widespread protests in January that the program is now on hold. A formal opposition group formed specifically to combat alleged infringement of personal privacy, aptly named the “Stop LAPD Spying Coalition”. Sheriff officials told the LA Times[1] that UAS would “only be authorized for use in…extremely dangerous and threatening situations.” The department’s written policy specifically prohibits UAS use for random surveillance missions. Yet critics note that the policy could be changed at any time, that there can be a fine line between surveillance that police deem appropriate or mission-critical and what residents consider obtrusive, and that the department has surveilled residents without public approval in the past. The aggressive opposition indicates a lack of trust between (certain) residents and city officials, or misunderstanding about the intended use of UAS and safeguards in place to ensure public safety and privacy.

An effective communications strategy could resolve these issues.

  • San Diego adopted UAS regulations in April allowing more aggressive local enforcement of existing UAS federal law, including issuing citations and levying fines. The rules didn’t restrict anything that isn’t already illegal under FAA regulations. Critics alleged the regulations didn’t go far enough to ensure residents’ safety and privacy. Yet city officials wanted to avoid interfering with the booming UAS industry and its many benefits, and were also limited in what they could regulate when airspace is largely under federal control. (Some local laws already conflict with Part 107 and other FAA rules; a proposed ordinance in Toms River, NJ that would have severely restricted drone operations was grounded by public opposition, indicating that the public can find laws too lax or too restrictive).

Given the mounting issues with public perception, law enforcement organizations should design an outreach strategy ahead of launching a UAS program. The public must be convinced of law enforcement’s need to use UAS to execute public safety responsibilities, that they will protect residents from related risks, and that law enforcement is complying with all relevant laws (a police UAS violating regulations could certainly damage a community’s trust). Some key things to consider include:

  • Clear definition of the types of missions for which UAS will be used;
  • Statement of the need for UAS (i.e., what UAS can do better than personnel on foot, their greater access and appropriateness for missions that are too dangerous for personnel)—to emphasize collective benefits rather than feeding into public fears;
  • Safeguards in place to ensure public safety and privacy—police policy, state regulations, and whether policy changes require public approval;
  • Overview of existing federal regulations that restrict UAS operations;
  • Overview of any state or municipal laws regarding UAS operations;
  • Branding (visible from the ground), so the public can distinguish police units from hobby, commercial or other UAS, and law enforcement can issue citations for unauthorized units.

The FAA is working to better communicate UAS regulations, which should help quell some fears and possibly prevent the need for state and local UAS-related laws. Some resistance to police UAS programs could be a result of public concern over mission scope and/or a misunderstanding of the regulatory limits placed on UAS at the federal level. As people are generally afraid of the unknown, clear communication is key for gaining public trust and support. As additional federal regulations are released that could authorize more widespread use, ongoing outreach will continue to be important

[1] http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-sheriff-UAS-protest-20170117-story.html

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