MAY-JUN 2017

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22 INTECH MAY/JUNE 2017 WWW.ISA.ORG FACTORY AUTOMATION Figure 3. Sensor-laden drone inspecting an electrical distribution transformer Being able to conduct three-dimen- sional assessments and inspections us- ing a remotely operated sensor platform has led to a flood of potential uses of UASs—both envisioned and realized. UASs of all types have already been used in a wide variety of applications in prac- tical ways, such as aerial photography, agriculture, commercial delivery, enter- tainment, exploration, national defense, public safety, surveying, and thermog- raphy. Envisioned future applications will help advance precision agriculture, energy-sector remote sensing, national security and law enforcement recon- naissance, and utilities analysis. Such "future applications" benefit from the remotely or autonomously controlled mobile platform bringing a wide range of sensors to a location of interest. Operation and flight times Weight versus power versus flight (oper- ational) time presents the classic trade- off in a limited fuel-supply flight opera- tion, be it aircraft, drones, or spacecraft. Empirical data has given way to esti - mators regarding the battery-operated lifetime for drone operation. Figure 4 presents the estimated range based on a wide array of parameters. Note that the figure 4 calculation incorporates overall drone weight, but specifically within the context of sensor- laden drones. It does not include the possibility of the sensor being directly powered off the same battery source as the drone itself. The working estimate for a battery-operated drone is a flight time of approximately 20 minutes. Note that there are wildly varying flight times for differing drone configurations— ranging from a few minutes to an hour. That said, the working rule of approxi - mately 20 minutes for a standard con- sumer drone is accurate. As battery technology (specifically energy density) improvements con - tinue, the companion matter of bat- tery-operated longer flight ranges or durations are anticipated. Given the FAA rules regarding drone operation and flight control, a set of questions arises that is typically associated with beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) operation (and its implications on drone use in industrial settings) and flight times ("how long can the drone fly?") (see - tercalc.php?ecalc). Again, the FAA rules are quite clear regarding BVLOS, beginning with the definition: "BVLOS means flight crew members (i.e., remote pilot in com- mand [PIC], the person manipulating the controls, and visual observer [VO], if used) are not capable of seeing the aircraft with vision unaided by any device other than corrective lenses (spectacles and contact lenses)." Although most current UAS appli- cations are carried out in VLOS mis- sions, there are obvious limits to VLOS inspections. With respect to BVLOS operation for electric utilities, BVLOS allows personnel to monitor power lines over longer corridor stretches. Via the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016, Congress authorized the FAA to develop new rules specifically to benefit the electric power industry and other operators of critical infra- structure. Under this new legislation, the FAA will begin to develop rules en- abling BVLOS flights and night flights. Other changes are expected to stream- line the permitting of UAS flights and improve commercial viability and safe- ty while facilitating inspection of criti- cal infrastructure. Any new rules are not expected to become part of formal 10 min 9 min 8 min 7 min 6 min 5 min 4 min 3 min 2 min 1 min 0 min 4000 2.49 mi 3600 2.24 mi 3200 1.99 mi 2800 1.74 mi 2400 1.49 mi 2000 1.24 mi 1600 0.99 mi 1200 0.75 mi 800 0.5 mi 400 0.25 mi 0 0 mi Air speed Range estimator (c) by eCalc V2.03 0km/h 5km/h 10km/h 15km/h 20km/h 25km/h 30km/h 35km/h 40km/h 45km/h 50km/h 55km/h 60km/h 0 mph 3.1 mph 6.2 mph 9.3 mph 12.4 mph 15.5 mph 18.6 mph 21.8 mph 24.9 mph 28 mph 31.1 mph 34.2 mph 37.3 mph Max speed Best range Flight time (no drag) Range (no drag) Range ind. std. drag Flight time ind. std. drag specimen (graph for members only) Figure 4. The range that a drone can go (and return) for a variety of parameters The FAA's comprehensive new regulations for the routine, nonrecreational use of sUASs—more popularly known as drones—went into effect 29 August 2016. The provisions of the new rule, known as Part 107 or Rule 107 (14 CFR Part 107), are de- signed to minimize risks to other aircraft and to people and property on the ground. The FAA has put several processes in place to help you take advantage of the rule: Waivers: If your proposed operation does not completely comply with Part 107 regulations, you need to apply for a waiver of some of the restrictions. You must prove the proposed flight will be conducted safely under a waiver. Users must apply for these waivers at the online portal Airspace authorization: You can fly your drone in Class G (uncontrolled) air- space without air traffic control authorization, but operations in any other air- space (i.e., instrument flight rules) need air traffic approval. You must request access to controlled airspace via the electronic portal at, not from the individual air traffic facilities. New FAA rules Source:

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