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Head Office in North Bay

30 Roundel Road, North Bay, Ontario, P1C 0B8

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New high-altitude platform to revolutionise the way we look at Earth

By admin In UAV News

12

Feb
2019

New high-altitude platform to revolutionise the way we look at Earth

Ordnance Survey and a team of world-leading aeronautic engineers are developing a highly innovative solar powered, High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS) that is going to change the face of Earth observation and the way we map our planet.

The pioneering enterprise, called Astigan, will give quicker and better images of the Earth through a platform which will fly at 67,000 ft, nearly twice the cruising height of a commercial airliner.

The platform, which weighs 149kg and has a wingspan of 38m, can be positioned to view any part of the Earth and collect data over much wider areas compared to conventional aerial imagery capture. The platform has been designed to complement existing satellite services and it will fly for 90 days at a time without the need for landing, the equivalent of circling the Earth four-and-a-half times.

Business Minister Lord Henley said: “The UK has a particularly successful track record in mapping and associated technology. This exciting new unmanned aircraft project is a brilliant example of the innovative thinking behind our modern Industrial Strategy and should lead to global business opportunities.

“As well as having the potential to support key government objectives such as upgrading the UK’s infrastructure, it could benefit emerging technological areas such as smart cities and self-driving vehicles which both rely on accurate 3D mapping.”

Since 2014, Astigan has seen extensive collaboration among British SMEs, industry experts and universities and has already safely completed eight full scale flights. When it comes into production it has the potential to work alongside existing mapping capabilities to revolutionise the speed, accuracy and cost involved in mapping a country, and in some cases providing near real-time information.

Brian Jones, Astigan Managing Director, said: “This remarkable aircraft has met every goal and passed all milestones in its ambitious development programme so far. We are excited about the year ahead as we increase our flights and move towards a fully operational high-altitude test. By the end of 2019 we aim to be completing endurance flight testing, building up to 90 days non-stop, which is the operational capability we’re striving for.

Astigan high-altitude Earth observation platform in flight

“It’s incredibly exciting that the UK has developed this kind of technology, delivering satellite capabilities, unparalleled flexibility and improved efficiency, all at a vastly reduced cost. We look forward to completing this project and seeing the aircraft deliver on its outstanding potential, which should provide a range of scientific and environmental benefits.”

Geospatial data and mapping derived from aerial imagery capture is only one example of the benefits of Astigan. Potential global markets and applications include climate and environmental monitoring (such as polar ice caps or deforestation); providing early warning, observation and communications over natural disasters; as well as supporting land management and urbanisation challenges across the world.

Neil Ackroyd, a Co-Founding Director of Astigan and Acting CEO of Ordnance Survey, said: “Astigan is another example of OS being at the forefront of geospatial technology. The platform has been designed to offer major cost and efficiency advantages over traditional methods. The company has produced a unique, British-made platform which can carry a range of interchangeable earth observation instruments such as high-precision cameras, atmospheric monitoring systems and multi-spectral sensors.

“Astigan supports Ordnance Survey in enhancing its capabilities to work in partnership with other nations across the globe. By aligning this capability with our world-class geospatial production and mapping expertise, we hope to support organisations and countries in tackling major societal challenges including urbanisation, land management, environmental change and mapping to support emergency response in the case of natural disasters.”

For 226 years, OS has invested in new technologies to improve its ability to capture up to date and accurate geospatial information. From the earliest use of aerial imagery during the First World War, to building the national geospatial database that Great Britain has today.

On Tuesday 12 February 2019 a team of experts from Astigan will be attending the HAPS4ESA High Altitude Pseudo-satellite conference to update the industry on the announcement.

For further information visit www.os.uk/astigan.

Published at Tue, 12 Feb 2019 12:38:01 +0000

{articles|100|campaign}DJI Improves Geofencing to Enhance Protection of European Airports and Facilities

Updated System Refines Airspace Data to Better Reflect Safety Risks

DJI, the world’s leader in civilian drones and aerial imaging technology, is improving its geofencing technology with the launch of its Geospatial Environment Online (GEO) 2.0 system across Europe, bringing state-of-the-art geofencing to a total of 32 European countries.

GEO 2.0 creates detailed three-dimensional “bow tie” safety zones surrounding runway flight paths and uses complex polygon shapes around other sensitive facilities, rather than just simple circles used in earlier geofencing versions. This applies in the 13 countries covered by DJI’s original GEO system, as well as 19 new countries that did not previously have advanced geofencing. The new system better reflects the actual safety risk posed in those areas and is more flexbile in lower-risk areas, for example by permitting authorized users to conduct drone activities in locations parallel to runways.

The revamp of DJI’s GEO system will also include Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs) imposed during major events or natural disasters. The TFRs will be based on authoritative data from Eurocontrol.

DJI has chosen Altitude Angel as its new partner to deliver accurate, real-time and relevant geospatial data for airports, TFRs and other sensitive areas in 32 European countries. In Europe, Altitude Angel replaces DJI’s previous geospatial data provider AirMap. DJI worked together with Altitude Angel last year in Operation Zenith, a full-scale test at Manchester Airport of its GuardianUTM O/S platform for unmanned traffic management in controlled airspace.

“DJI is eager to ensure that safety remains the top priority as the European drone industry innovates new ways to use drones in exciting and productive ways. Introducing state-of-the-art safety features in even more countries will help the general public and drone operators alike,” said Christian Struwe, DJI’s Head of Policy, EMEA. “European airspace management must accommodate advanced future operations, such as automated flight and flight beyond the operator’s line of sight, without imposing new burdens on recreational and professional drone pilots who have completed millions of safe and beneficial flights. Altitude Angel supports this vision and supplies the reliable airspace data needed to implement it.”

Richard Parker, Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Altitude Angel, said, “We are honored to partner with DJI on this important update to GEO and look forward to working closely on other important projects. We work hard to deliver the best data and drone services to our customers globally, and we welcome DJI’s recognition of the value in our Guardian platform to enable their customers to fly safely and access more airspace“.

GEO 2.0 in Europe will be phased in starting later this month. DJI customers should update their DJI GO 4 flight control app and aircraft firmware to ensure these improvements are implemented. Further information about GEO 2.0 can be obtained from dji.com/flysafe. DJI encourages authorities and drone users to share feedback on the existing zones to improve the GEO experience for customers and maintain the safety and security of drone operations.

About DJI Geofencing

DJI first created No-Fly Zones for its drones in 2013 and introduced the more refined GEO system three years later, adding live updates and new zones for prisons and nuclear power plants, while providing flexible self-unlocking for professionals. Both systems recognized that the overwhelming majority of drone pilots want to fly safely and responsibly, and want an easy-to-use guide to help them understand the airspace so they can do so.

DJI geofencing uses GPS and other navigational satellite signals to automatically help prevent drones from flying near sensitive locations such as airports, prisons, nuclear power plants and high-profile events. In certain locations, a DJI drone cannot take off within, or fly into, a geofenced area without special authorisation. Drone pilots with verified DJI accounts can unlock some areas if they have legitimate reasons and necessary approvals, but the most critical areas require extra steps from DJI to unlock them. DJI has streamlined the approval process so professional drone pilots with authorisation to fly in sensitive locations can receive unlocking codes within 30 minutes by submitting a request online.

The expansion of European coverage means that DJI’s most advanced geofencing system, GEO 2.0, will now be available in 19 more countries than the original GEO system launched in 2016. The new countries are: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malta, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden. These are added to the existing 13 GEO countries which will also be upgraded to GEO 2.0: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

GEO 2.0 applies the strictest geofencing restrictions to a 1.2 kilometer (3/4 mile) wide rectangle around each runway and the three-dimensional flight paths at either end, where airplanes ascend and descend. More flexible geofencing restrictions apply to an oval area within 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) of each runway. This bow tie shape opens more areas on the sides of runways to beneficial drone uses, as well as low-altitude areas more than 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) from the end of a runway, while increasing protection in the locations where traditional aircraft actually fly.

DJI’s new boundary areas around airport runways are based on the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Annex 14 standard for airspace safety near runways. DJI also consulted with aviation organizations on ways to enhance geofencing features near airport facilities. DJI’s categorisation of airports is based on airport types, numbers of passengers, operations and other factors, influencing the sensitivity of the airspace around a given location.

Using these aviation parameters, DJI has aligned its geofencing safety feature to broader understandings of airspace and airport risk, in a way that can be deployed in its drones worldwide, regardless of the aviation regulations that are in place, and that are still in the process of development, in many countries.

While DJI’s GEO system provides drone users with information that helps them make smart decisions about where and when to fly safely, each drone operator is responsible for ensuring that any specific flight is safely conducted in accordance with applicable regulations, which often differ from one operator to another. This chart demonstrates how GEO 2.0 applies detailed, risk-based airspace principles to the airspace around airports that can be considered to involve relative high, medium and low risk:

DJI is a global leader in developing and manufacturing civilian drones and aerial imaging technology for personal and professional use. DJI was founded and is run by people with a passion for remote-controlled helicopters and experts in flight-control technology and camera stabilization. The company is dedicated to making aerial photography and filmmaking equipment and platforms more accessible, reliable and easier to use for creators and innovators around the world. DJI’s global operations currently span across the Americas, Europe and Asia, and its revolutionary products and solutions have been chosen by customers in over 100 countries for applications in filmmaking, construction, emergency response, agriculture, conservation and many other industries.

Published at Tue, 12 Feb 2019 12:20:35 +0000

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