MAY-JUN 2017

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24 INTECH MAY/JUNE 2017 WWW.ISA.ORG FACTORY AUTOMATION regulations until 2018 or beyond. How- ever, many operators under Part 107 are expected to apply for waivers to a number of Part 107 regulations, such as flying at BVLOS distances. Some of these waivers are likely to be granted in advance of more formal regulation changes that will arise from the 2016 act. On 28 December 2016, the FAA approved a certificate of authorization for the Northern Plains UAS Test Site in North Dakota to be the first in the U.S. to have BVLOS operability. Other locations within the U.S. now have similar exemptions to the BVLOS rule. Coordinated flight and collaborative sensing Advancements in control systems for UAS flight dynamics operating on inex- pensive, lightweight (power and compu- tational requiring) microcontrollers with networked wireless communications have led to instances where multiple drones fly in formation. Such coordinated flight was demonstrated during the 2017 Super Bowl halftime show and at several amusement parks worldwide. In an au- tomation setting, the coordinated flight of multiple drones, each equipped with a variety of sensors, leads to collaborative sensing of mobile sensors. Examples of where such "coordinated flight – collab- orative sensing" (CFCS) applications exist include the possibilities of sensing chem- icals—such as CH 4 —and environmental and ambient conditions associated with storage tanks at fracking sites (figure 5), bridge inspection, and power generation facilities (examining pipes for cracks from rapid thermal cycling of coal-fired plants due to wind generation variability). UAS traffic management systems are critically important for the drone industry. These systems help keep control of fly - ing drones, and between unmanned and manned traffic. Developments within aca - demia, national laboratories (i.e., Depart- ment of Energy and National Aeronautical and Space Administration), and the pri - vate sector are underway for reasonable and deployable UAS detection systems. Using drone-based sensing It is not just drone-based sensing, but rather how to use the measurements made via such platforms that is sig- nificant. The following statements from Thomas Haun, vice president of strategy and globalization at Precision- Hawk UAV Technology, are applicable throughout the application areas where drone-based sensors may be used: "Commercial drones are flying in. The industry needs to see beyond the UAV and focus on the real disruptor: ac tionable analytics via aerial data. As we prepare for widespread adoption and integration across major markets, such as agriculture, oil and gas, insur- ance, infrastructure, emergency re- sponse, and life sciences, businesses need an intelligent solution that com- bines UAV hardware and automated data analysis software to deliver tan- gible results at scale." The intersection of the Industrial In- ternet of Things (IIoT), cyber-physical security, and sensor-laden drones pres- ents an array of opportunities for use in automation. Standards and guidelines can help carve an orderly path forward. This path will allow industry to incor- porate advanced technologies into pro- cedures and practices as this booming market sector introduces devices and systems. It is envisioned that in the very near future drones of varying sizes and complexities—equipped with sen- sors—will be operated from a remotely Figure 5. A drone as a mobile sensor platform allows for measurements to occur in a variety of situations, such as those associated with fracking. Figure 6. Integration of fixed and mobile sensors, UAS- and truck-mounted, with command, control, and real-time data coordinated at the control center.

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