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Video: Power Line Perching UAV Doubles Down on Drone Delivery

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Elizabeth M
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Drone delivery
Elizabeth M   7/8/2014 11:05:15 AM
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This is an interesting invention, as it could help Amazon with its drone delivery service. Then again, if Amazon isn't interested, it could certainly have a number of other applications. With UAVs moving out of the battlefied and into the commercial realm, new technology from MIT and other experts will become integral to new uses for them.

naperlou
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Re: Drone delivery
naperlou   7/8/2014 11:56:52 AM
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Elizabeth, I heard that the drone delivery would not be authorized by the government.  I, for one, would not want a lot of these circling overheard in my neighborhood. 

Elizabeth M
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Re: Drone delivery
Elizabeth M   7/9/2014 2:41:04 AM
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Is this definitely true, Lou? I think the idea deserves some looking into and coverage if so. I'll have a look online and see. If that's true, then I'm sure this technology can be used for something else.

PaPaMuski
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Iron
Power Line Perch
PaPaMuski   7/9/2014 8:35:28 AM
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This is an interesting concept but begs many legal issues like who will pay for all this "free" energy; who is liable for an injury due to a mishap; will the FAA be responsible for controlling the air traffic congestion; how sill this work in foul weather.

As an engineer this looks exciting, but as a lawyer I can see a lot of problems.

Zippy
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Significant engineering challenges
Zippy   7/9/2014 9:10:14 AM
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This is a clever concept, but I am wondering how much power is required to get the drone (plus any cargo) back off the power line and flying from a dead stop.  Also, if for any reason you miss the landing, it would be a challenge to recover from essentially a stall condition without crashing.

fm
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Platinum
Grab the Wire!
fm   7/9/2014 9:11:17 AM
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Power-scavenging or no, being able to grab onto a wire in midair is no small feat! It's not clear how much of that operation is autonomous and how much of it has human remote control behind it, but an autonomous grab is quite the control problem and would be pretty amazing.

I did have to chuckle when they said they had "briefly spoken" with Amazon. I can envision the conversation like: "Hey, do you want this? The concept works, but we don't have a product yet." "No." That's a brief conversation.  :-D   Kudos for trying, though.

naperlou
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Re: Power Line Perch
naperlou   7/9/2014 10:21:52 AM
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PaPaMuski, that is a great question.  All of these "ideas" seem to ignore legal questions about aspects like power in the power lines and the use of the airspace. 

HeliEye
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Iron
Re: Drone delivery
HeliEye   7/9/2014 10:47:41 AM
A novel idea, but in this demonstrated format, I wouldn't think it see the light of day?

This would suit the military 'flapping' wing bird types better, with there ability to hover, Concept video's of this type was published a year or so back.

I feel this would be much easier with a quad helicopter, two upright stiff wires, away from blades, with apposing direction hooks, (? shape back to back) quad hovers under power line with one hook each side of cable, turn quad so both wires are in contact with the cable, reduce altitude slightly, hooks at end drops onto power line easy.  In this position the quad would be balanced whilst charging.  To take off increase lift slightly rotate wires hooks away from power line, drop a few feet for clearance and away.

I would imagine these drones would be flown Fpv, so switch to a small camera to aid the hook-up from remote live video.

Steve

Genius
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Re: Drone delivery
Genius   7/9/2014 6:15:26 PM
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The FAA is currently proposing that any sUAS will be treated as a commercial aircraft if that is used for any potential commercial use.  In this federal register notice it specifically calls out delivering packages, and even if the delivery is free, it is still commercial.  As no such laws/rules exist that regulate sUAS systems, it effectively bans all UAV/UAS technology for commercial purposes.

http://www.faa.gov/news/press_releases/news_story.cfm?newsId=16474

My biggest objection to the FAA's arguement that it must regulate the sUAS commercial flights is to "protect the safety of the National Airspace System", but in all of the examples given the only differece between hobby and "Not Hobby" (ie, commercial) is the acceptance of compensation.  If that is the ONLY difference, just how does this make our airspace SAFER?  I just don't see how a hobby aircraft with exactly the same airframe, operator, equipment, safety systems, and everything can be legal but once that person recieves compensation then it has to be "commercial certified" similar to passenger aircraft.

Genius
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Iron
Good Idea using carbon fiber?
Genius   7/9/2014 7:20:14 PM
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Looking and reading about the aircraft I wonder if it ever came across the engineers minds that having a carbon fiber aircraft that is electrically conductive would be a bad idea to have landing on power lines.  Power lines regularly kill large numbers of birds of prey when the wings touch/span the lines or just simply land on the transformers.  Fiberglass would be much wiser choice.

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