Avionics News December 2020 - 42

WHEN WILL DRONES CRAWL, WALK, RUN?
Continued from page 41

instantaneous lateral and longitudinal acceleration, which isn't
possible with 4 degrees of freedom.
Jeff Wilke, the chief executive officer of Amazon
Worldwide Consumer who said on Twitter he is a Pittsburg
Steelers fan and a lifelong coder of software, wrote the
following in a blog located at https://tinyurl.com/y3h3tqrx
posted on the Amazon Prime Air website that shows the
level of UAS automation Amazon is testing.
" When in the air, the drones need to be able to identify static
and moving objects coming from any direction. We employ
diverse sensors and advanced algorithms, such as multiview stereo vision, to detect static objects like a chimney. To
detect moving objects, like a paraglider or helicopter, we use
proprietary computer-vision and machine learning algorithms.
" For the drone to descend for delivery, we need a
small area around the delivery location that is clear of
people, animals or obstacles. We determine this using a
stereo-vision-based depth map and, in parallel, our neuralnetwork-based algorithms which are trained to detect
people and animals from above.
" A customer's yard may have clotheslines, telephone
wires, or electrical wires. Wire detection is one of the
hardest challenges for low-altitude flights. Through the use
of computer-vision techniques we've invented, our drones
can recognize and avoid wires as they descend into, and
ascend out of, a customer's yard. "
It is interesting to note that Robotic Skies is helping
its members obtain drone avionics repair work and is not
targeting small UAS under 55 pounds, such as those used
for small package delivery, but larger drones that can be
equipped with conventional avionics. However, the Amazon
example above shows how innovative and complex the
automation features of the Amazon delivery drone will be,
and one wonders how some of those features might one day
migrate into manned aviation use.
The FAA is dealing with a range of new entrants that
want to conduct commercial UAS operations. At the FAA
UAS Symposium, Earl Lawrence, the executive director
of the FAA Aircraft Certification Service, said his team is
working closely with the FAA's Flight Standards Service
in the challenging effort to issue type certifications and
operational approval for UAS. The focus of the two
organizations is to mitigate risk in multiple areas, and
Lawrence said the two organizations are working more
closely together than ever before.
Only two type certificates have been issued for small
UAS under 55 pounds. Boeing Insitu ScanEagle, a longendurance drone that weighs about 50 pounds, and the
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2020

15-pound AeroVironment Puma have received restricted
category type certificates in 2013. The agency is working
on multiple undisclosed UAS type certification projects,
according to an FAA response to questions by email.
Before joining the FAA where Lawrence first led the
FAA UAS Integration office, he worked at the Experimental
Aircraft Association as vice president of industry and
regulatory affairs. He said at the UAS syposium there are a
lot of parallels between UAS air vehicles and experimental
aircraft. He added a lot of people don't realize that the
experience with experimental aircraft is all about risk
mitigation and the different ways the FAA does this.
" I hear often from unmanned applicants that we are
treating them differently, and I have to remind them that
actually we are treating them the same way we have treated
experimental aircraft and new entrants all along, " he said.
" For example, experimental aircraft are not allowed to fly
over people and property. So when you look at (Part) 107
(for small UAS) about not flying over people, there are a lot
of the parallels. And looking at that, it just shows it is really
about safety and risk mitigation and the tools that we use to
do that, and we are migrating a lot of those over (to UAS). "
So far, the FAA has issued 107 BVLOS waivers, almost
all to UAS operators participating in the IPP program. Some
of these superseded previous waivers, and they are all listed
by the FAA at https://tinyurl.com/y2aztgwt.
" Also, working in experimental aircraft has taught me
we can do just about anything; it is just a matter of putting
in place the right risk mitigation, " Lawrence said. " I have
never come across absolute no; it is just what environment
are you going to operate in and how are we going to show
that you can migrate safely to having more and more
privileges. And it is a process, not just coming on day one.
It is proving ourselves, and we all have to prove ourselves. "
It will help new entrants if they make clear to the FAA
how they plan to mitigate a risk, either with the design of
the air vehicle or with operational procedures. If you are a
commercial operator flying BVLOS, you are going to have
a type certificate, which means the FAA has a known design
and validated that the air vehicle does what the new entrant
claims it will do. " So then Flight Standards can take it and
say with that definition, with those capabilities, what are
you applying to do? " Lawrence said.
" In aircraft certification, we say this type design will
give you certain properties. So you want to fly over people?
Well, to me, there are two basic ways to do that. You can
do it by showing you will not hurt anybody (if you do)
hit them. Or you can show us that your aircraft is reliable
enough that the likelihood of it ever hitting somebody is so
small that we don't have to deal with that. That is actually
what we do in a type design so that an airliner or helicopter


https://tinyurl.com/y3h3tqrx https://tinyurl.com/y2aztgwt

Avionics News December 2020

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Avionics News December 2020 - Intro
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Avionics News December 2020 - Cover2
Avionics News December 2020 - 1
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