Michael Pehel

Recent Posts

Kittyhawk Adds Intelligent Flight Profiles to Enterprise Drone Platform

Kittyhawk has announced the addition of Flight Profiles, which allow fleet managers and Chief Pilots to set and enforce defaults across their teams. The product change will serve the growing class of internal drone teams within the enterprise.

Dec 6, 2017 11:15:39 AM

Topics: Startups and Partnerships

From Minimal to Catastrophic, How Much Damage Can a Drone Do to an Airplane

The FAA's Center of Excellence for UAS Research, ASSURE, released a report evaluating the severity of UAS collisions with manned aircraft. ASSURE, which is managed by Mississippi State University, conducted simulated tests of more than 140 collision scenarios and determined that drone collisions cause greater structural damage than bird strikes at the same mass and impact velocity.

Nov 29, 2017 3:43:23 PM

Topics: Updates

French Police Using Drones to Catch Traffic Violators


Hundreds of fines have been issued by police in Bordeaux, France this summer as the result of a pilot program utilizing drones to monitor traffic. Cheaper and quieter than helicopter surveillance, drones provide near equal capabilities for capturing video and images of motorists committing infractions. Also, the birds eye view of roadways provides a more objective view than parked patrol cars are capable of, making it a more efficient tool for spotting illegal lane changes and aggresive driving.

Nov 16, 2017 11:18:07 AM

Topics: Public Safety

FAA Grants Waiver to Fly over Crowds to CivitasNow

Hard-nosed commercial operators might not recognize Aerotaine's Skye helium-filled drones as a UAS, but that's more than likely one of the reasons CevitasNow of Ohio received permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly them over crowds. On September 14, The FAA granted a waiver for CevitasNow to fly the Skye with no location limitation, allowing it to operate anywhere in uncontrolled airspace.

Nov 14, 2017 2:57:59 PM

Topics: Releases

DJI Releases Two New Enterpise-grade Airframes and Drone Management Software FlightHub


DJI released new software and two industrial-class drones at its AirWorks user conference in Denver this week, answering to the needs of the growing enterprise segment of the drone market. FlightHub, a web-based drone management application, allows for the monitoring of multiple drones during operations. The DJI Wind 4 and Wind 8 are the latest additions to DJI's line of commercial-use drones. The new airframes are foldable, portable (relatively), and made custom to order.

Nov 9, 2017 10:42:16 AM

Topics: Releases

Trump Announces New Drone Integration Pilot Pogram


Oct 26, 2017 3:36:19 PM

The Path to Safe Beyond Visual Line of Sight


Oct 26, 2017 11:28:23 AM

Topics: Updates

How the Utah DoT Integrated Drones into Their Inspection Workflow

Talk about drone-use in infrastructure has been around for years now, but how many states have actually utilized UAS. One such state that has been leading the charge and building out a model UAS program is Utah. Paul Wheeler, Lead Unmanned Aircraft Systems Coordinator Utah Department of Transportation, spoke in Vegas today about the inroads his state's DoT has been making with drones.

Currently, the majority of bridge inspections across the country and in Utah are done by field workers using a combination of trucks, bucket cranes, and climbers. In these situations, the risk for injury or death is higher than one would want. Thankfully drones will fill that gap, and Wheeler and his team have already started utilizing them in interesting ways.

"It has to be done at the right time of day, but we've been using thermal imaging to detect structural faults," said Wheeler. To capture both HD video and thermal at the same time, the Utah DoT deployed a Sensefly albris. The hefty price tag and lack of stability also led them to purchase a DJI Phantom 4. "In heavy wind conditions, you don't want to put your $35,000 drone at risk," said Wheeler, noting they had also tried to use a 3DR Solo, but have since seen the platform support drop off.

Wheeler then went into detail about their drone data pipeline. Data management is still a problem, even when offloading to render farms they've experienced a crash or two while trying to render 3D maps.They've been using a combination of Map Pilot, eMotion 3, Pix4D, Bentley Context Capture, AutoDesk Recap 360 Pro, as each piece of software fulfills a unique requirement of the inspection process. Wheeler mentioned that Utah is moving away from paper plans entirely. It's a big step and it means that both the construction firms from the private sector and the state no longer see the need for 2D paper mock-ups.

When using drones the Utah DoT has reported a 40-60% decrease in manpower for a survey on high-releif terrain. This added with the ability to quickly evaluate and inspect structures and open lanes as quickly as possible has reduced time and investment.

Oct 25, 2017 6:03:35 PM

Topics: Inspection

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich Proclaims Drone "Data is the New Oil" at InterDrone

Intel's investment in the commercial drone industry was on full display in its CEO, Brian Krzanich's keynote address this morning at InterDrone. Krzanich declared confidently that "data is the new oil," and demonstrated all the ways Intel is turning drones into turnkey data collecting devices.

Sep 6, 2017 5:45:48 PM

Topics: InterDrone, Drone Development

Michael P. Huerta Says Collaboration will Pave the Way forward for a Succesful Integration of Drones within the NAS

Michael P. Huerta, Administrator of the Federal Aviation Adiministration, took the stage at InterDrone to deliver the Grand Opening Keynote Address of the Conference for the second year in a row. Huerta highlighted the great progress drones have made in a short three-year span and the new role they are playing in the Hurricane Harvey disaster relief effort. 

Sep 6, 2017 4:36:33 PM

Topics: InterDrone, Regulation