Top Stories
Top Stories
Top news stories from Sensors & Systems online magazine.
AUVSI, CEA: Drone Restrictions Would Hurt Californians, Innovation

ARLINGTON, Va.—The following statement is attributed to Brian Wynne, president and CEO, Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), and Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®, regarding the passage of California Senate Bill 142, which would restrict the flight of unmanned aerial systems (UAS).

GISCI Announces New Exam; Exam Signup Nears

Des Plaines, Illinois, Aug. 27, 2015—The new GISCI Geospatial Core Technical Knowledge Exam® for the GISP Certification is coming! The Exam date will be announced in the next few weeks and a signup procedure will be provided on the GISCI web site (www.gisci.org).

NSR Report Projects Satellite Earth Observation Market to Reach $4.5 Billion in Next Decade

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Aug 24, 2015—NSR's Satellite-Based Earth Observation (EO), 7thEdition report, released today, forecasts that data, value-added services and Information Products markets from Earth Observation (EO) will reach $4.5 billion by 2024, from $2.3 billion in 2014. A thriving Information Products segment will drive the EO market as the industry transitions to an era of very-high resolution imagery and increased adoption of 'big data' analytics products in the face of decreasing data prices for medium and high resolution imagery. The market saw a sizable increase of $200 million in 2014 due to an economic recovery leading to greater expenditure by governments, and a thriving Information Products segment.

UA to Partner With Uber on Research

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and University of Arizona President Ann Weaver Hart joined Uber executives at the UA College of Optical Sciences on Tuesday to celebrate a major economic development partnership between Uber and the UA.

As part of the partnership, which focuses on research and development in the optics space for mapping and safety, the University will become home to Uber’s state-of-the-art mapping test vehicles. Additionally, Uber will donate $25,000 to the College of Optical Sciences to help the next generation of scientists, engineers and researchers continue to explore and develop new, innovative technology.

Ducey called it "a great day for Uber, for the UA and for the future of innovation in Arizona," adding that his administration has been focused on helping companies such as Uber succeed in the state.

"Today’s announcement is the latest signal that it’s working," Ducey said. "All Arizonans stand to benefit from embracing new technologies — especially when it means new jobs, new economic development, new research opportunities and increased public safety and transportation options for our state. That’s what this partnership is about, and I thank Uber and the University of Arizona for their efforts and commitment to making it happen."

"This is an exciting new partnership, and I am glad that the UA's global research leadership allows us to join in a collaborative effort that will have great benefit for this state," Hart said. "Ranked as a top-20 public research university by the National Science Foundation, the UA’s role in Arizona’s innovation and knowledge economy is absolutely vital. Our achievements in advanced optics and imaging technologies in particular will help Uber on the ground in Arizona.

"I’m impressed with Uber’s vision and commitment to this partnership, and grateful for Gov. Ducey’s support and leadership in helping to facilitate it."  

Brian McClendon, vice president of advanced technologies for Uber, a transportation network company with headquarters in San Francisco, said "it’s clear that Arizona welcomes innovation."

"We applaud Gov. Ducey and the University of Arizona for their eagerness to embrace new technology," McClendon said. "Over the last 20 years, technology has helped democratize access to so many services — working in partnership with forward-thinking universities and elected officials across the United States. We’re still in the early days of what’s possible, and I look forward to working with Arizona to make the next step of that journey a reality."

U.S. Rep. Martha McSally and Thomas Koch, dean of the College of Optical Sciences, also were on hand for the announcement on the lower level of the optical sciences building on campus.

URISA Board Election Results Announced

Des Plaines, IL, August 28, 2015 — URISA is pleased to announce the results of its 2015 URISA Board of Directors’ election. Tripp Corbin will serve in the position of President-Elect and Stephen Berry, Keri Brennan and Corey Halford will serve as Directors. They will all begin their three-year terms at the conclusion of GIS-Pro & NWGIS 2015 in Spokane, Washington this October:

AirGon LLC Granted FAA Section 333 UAS Exemption

Huntsville, AL, August 28, 2015 — AirGon LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of GeoCue Group Inc., has been granted a section 333 exemption by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for its AV-900 Metric Mapping system. Under the exemption, AirGon will be permitted to conduct precision aerial mapping missions and demonstrations throughout the United States.

New Sea-Level Rise Handbook Highlights Science and Models for Non-Scientists

Aug. 27, 2015—Coastal managers and planners now have access to a new U.S. Geological Survey handbook that, for the first time, comprehensively describes the various models used to study and predict sea-level rise and its potential impacts on coasts.

FIU Launches Sea Level Solutions Center

MIAMI, Aug. 26, 2015—With rising seas threatening coastal communities all across the world, FIU has launched the Sea Level Solutions Center to help people understand, adapt and persevere. FIU ecologist Tiffany Troxler will serve as director.

Scientists Call on President Obama to Include Tongass in Climate Change Talks

ASHLAND, Ore., Aug. 27, 2015—Alaska's Tongass rainforest may fair better in a changing climate than more southerly rainforest locales, according to a new study published in an online reference module "Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences" by Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services.

PRENAV Releases Video of the World's Most Precise Commercial Drone System

SAN CARLOS, Calif., Aug. 26, 2015—Bay area startup, PRENAV (www.prenav.com), releases Hello World video announcing its commercial drone system that is so precise it can write letters and draw shapes in the sky. The level of control displayed is not possible with GPS and has only been seen in controlled environments like research labs with expensive motion capture systems.

The Hello World video highlights the system's precision by leveraging LED lights on the drone and turning them on/off at specific pre-mapped locations, drawing shapes and letters in the sky. A long exposure photo captures each location the drone visits, and is grouped with other photo frames to create animations and messages. 

While the video shows off a playful and artistic display of aerial precision, the navigation capabilities of the PRENAV system are critical in commercial use cases like industrial inspection, where drones need to fly in close proximity to tall structures like cell towers and wind turbines. PRENAV is currently working with customers including wireless carriers, cell tower owners, service providers, and wind turbine operators. An early customer, Senvion, provides operation and maintenance services for nearly 1,000 wind turbines across North America: 

"We are looking forward to integrating PRENAV's technology into our day to day service cycle in order to increase our efficiency and provide our customers with less downtime," said Hardy Steinacker, Head of Service, Americas for Senvion Canada Inc. "PRENAV's automated system not only captures the imagery, but also processes and distributes it for further analysis to our technicians below. With cost saving opportunities, reduction in safety risks and additional turbine up-time, securing production and revenue for our owners, Senvion, is looking to extend its blade inspection program by utilizing PRENAV's technology."

PRENAV has developed a patent-pending navigation system that consists of a guidance robot on the ground and an aerial robot (drone) working in coordination to fly close to structures. The guidance robot first scans the environment, then once flight begins, it tracks and shares position updates with the drone, keeping it on course even when dealing with wind and other disturbances. The system is operated via an intuitive touchscreen interface and requires no manual piloting skills, which makes it accessible to climbers, technicians, and anyone who is inspecting or maintaining industrial assets. 

"Our customers need high quality imagery and 3D reconstructions to make decisions about the assets they're managing," saysNathan Schuett, CEO of PRENAV. "The current generation of drones struggle when they need to fly close to structures due to limitations of GPS and collision avoidance sensors. As a result, infrastructure inspection is a very difficult task even for the most highly-trained pilots. Our technology automates the entire mission, ensuring that the right photos are taken every time, and that an accurate 3D reconstruction is built and delivered to our customers."

Product launch is slated for 2016.  Early funding for the company came from Pejman Mar Ventures, Toivo Annus, Drone.VC, Michael Antonov, and others. 

ABOUT PRENAV 

PRENAV is developing an automated system to capture data about the world's infrastructure using small aerial robots. Navigating along pre-defined, repeatable flight paths, PRENAV's drones take photographs from precise locations in close proximity to structures to build accurate 3D reconstructions of industrial assets. The system consists of a commercial drone, a guidance robot on the ground, and software to plan the mission and analyze the data. With an initial focus on cell towers, wind turbines, and other tall structures, PRENAV enables customers to inspect nuts, bolts, serial numbers, cabling, and damaged areas, as well as take measurements of key components. The company is based in San Carlos, CA in the heart of Silicon Valley.

Land Trust Alliance Members Help Mitigate Wildfires

WASHINGTON, D.C., Aug. 27, 2015—The Land Trust Alliance, a national land conservation organization working to save the places people love by strengthening land conservation across America, and its members are mitigating the threat and destruction of wildfires across the United States through proven practices and new resources.

Celebrating the International Year of Soil

August 27, 2015 — In celebration of the International Year of Soil 2015 (IYS), the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) is coordinating a series of activities throughout the year to educate the public about the importance of soil.  September’s theme is “Soils Protect the Natural Environment.”

Bridging the Gap between the Geospatial Sector and Society’s Global Challenges

August 27, 2015 — Faced with such an abundant choice of trade shows, conferences and events, geospatial professionals often find it difficult to decide which ones to attend. The majority of those events are focused on the industry from the inside – by geoprofessionals, for geoprofessionals – which means that truly new insights can be hard to find.

Routescene LidarPod Enables New Approach to Surveying

August 27, 2015 — The Routescene® proposition to transform the approach to surveys across the world is taking hold. Identifying massive potential and a gap in the market, Routescene® developed the LidarPod®, market-leading 3D mapping technology designed specifically for use on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). Launched at Intergeo 2014 in Berlin, the highly acclaimed LidarPod® has attracted interest and is generating business across four continents.

Juniper Unmanned Providing Training Services for Trimble’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Wheat Ridge, Colorado, August 27, 2015 — Juniper Unmanned, Inc. announced that it has been designated as an official training services provider for Trimble’s unmanned aircraft system (UAS) portfolio, which include the Trimble® UX5, UX5 HP and ZX5 multirotor aerial imaging rovers. In this role, Juniper will provide classroom and field training services for Trimble UAS customers worldwide.

Unmanned Aircraft Systems Industry Experts and Major Firms are set to Present at the 9th Annual UAS Summit

GRAND FORKS, ND, August 27, 2015 — UAS Magazine announced this week the preliminary agenda for the 9th annual UAS Summit, the upper Midwest’s premier unmanned aircraft systems event produced by UAS Magazine, in collaboration with the Red River Valley Research Corridor.

Vacation Paradise Begins Comprehensive GIS Program

August 27, 2015 — The Town of Snowmass Village, Colorado is a resort community with some of the best recreational opportunities in North America. Visitors come from all over the world to enjoy the world-class ski slopes, trails, and festivals.  The Town of Snowmass Village staff has to manage infrastructure and services to meet the needs of both residents and visitors. Traditionally, this has been done through various paper trails and communication between departments. 

Commercial UAV Expo Issues Report on UAVs and Construction

Portland, Maine, USA, August 27, 2015 — The organizers of Commercial UAV Expo today announced the release of their most recent report, titled “Progressive Construction Firms Mobilize to Put UAVs to Work.” This free report provides key insights into how UAV technology is being implemented to improve efficiency, production and safety in construction projects. The complete report is available for download here.

Bluesky Maps Solar Potential of 100,000 Properties

Leicestershire, UK, August 27, 2015 — Working with resource efficiency company Sustain, Bluesky has mapped around 100,000 Housing Association properties across the UK, measuring their potential for energy generation from solar panels.

Russia to Develop an Earth Observation System for Iran

According to the Russian Federal Space Agency, Roscosmos, two Russian space companies signed a pre-contractual agreement with the Iranian Bonyan Danesh Shargh in order to assist the Islamic Republic of Iran to build its own satellite observation system. The aim of the remote sensing system is to monitor the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans.

TerraGo Edge Combines Smart Forms and Advanced GPS to Improve Mobile Data Collection

WASHINGTON, DC, Aug. 26, 2015—TerraGo, a pioneer of geospatial collaboration and enterprise mobility software, announces the availability of TerraGo Edge 3.7, which features smart forms as well as new GPS features and GIS enhancements.

Aerialtronics Selects Robotic Skies as Airframe Completion and Maintenance Provider

The Hague, The Netherlands, Aug. 26, 2015—Aerialtronics, a manufacturer of high performance multirotor aerial platforms, announced today that it has selected Robotic Skies as its completion and maintenance provider for its line of unmanned aerial systems (UAS). Under the partnership, the two companies will collaborate to build a custom maintenance program for the Aerialtronics product line that will be implemented at more than 80 Robotic Skies field service centres located around the world. In addition, Robotic Skies will provide completion and custom configuration services for Aerialtronics systems sold in North America.

New NordMap Web-Mapping Tool: Create and Compare Nordic Regions

August 26, 2015 — NordMap is a web-mapping tool for municipal and regional data that enables users to create customised maps. It is a new online version of the Nordregio map collection, focusing on demography, labour market and accessibility throughout the Nordic region.

U.S. Intelligence Community Provides Innovation Exchange With Industry, Federal Civil Sector, Local Law Enforcement & First Responders Communities – Call for Presentations

CLEVELAND, Ohio, August 26, 2015 — Global Marketing Insights Inc. today issued an invitation for Industry, Federal Civil, First Responders and Local Law Enforcement communities to participate in a Community Innovation Exchange with the U.S. Intelligence Community. Hosted by the U.S. Multi-INT Tradecraft Community of Practice (MINT-T CoP), this no fee event includes classified and unclassified sessions 21-25 Sept. 2015 in Chantilly, VA.

GeoVisionary Used to Visualise Flood Risk by Cardiff University

August 25, 2015 — Cardiff University has been successfully using GeoVisionary within the MAREN2 project to accurately visualise large LIDAR data sets of water levels, coastal land forms and bathymetry, so stakeholders can assess the impact of proposed renewable energy schemes. 

Trimble Takes Flight with New Multirotor Unmanned Aircraft System

SUNNYVALE, Calif., August 25, 2015 —Trimble (NASDAQ: TRMB) announced today the ZX5 Multirotor Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), a new aerial imaging and workflow solution that captures and processes geo-referenced photo and video data for mapping, agriculture and inspection applications. The Trimble® ZX5 complements the UAS portfolio with the ability to reach smaller, remote environments faster, while providing accurate mapping data for improved productivity in the field and back office.

NOAA’s Green Infrastructure Product Suite Helps Communities Reduce Extreme Weather Impacts

August 25, 2015 — As coastal community populations grow and climate change brings more frequent weather extremes, communities are looking for new ways to become more resilient. Green infrastructure is showing a lot of promise.

CourthouseUSA Markets Hexagon Geospatial’s Mobile Alert for Crowdsourcing Property Data

Norcross, GA, August 25, 2015 — Hexagon Geospatial is pleased to announce that CourthouseUSA, a leading provider of authoritative U.S. property data and property related mobile apps, is marketing Mobile Alert for the crowdsourcing of property appraisal data.

Lockheed Martin Makes Tiny Satellite Cooling System Three Times More Powerful

Palo Alto, Calif, Aug. 25, 2015 — Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) scientists are packing three times the power density into a key satellite cooling system whose previous design is already the lightest in its class. This project continues the company’s effort to reduce component size, enabling compact, higher-power spacecraft payloads and smaller sensor platforms back on Earth.

Capturing Reality Forum Receive Overwhelming Response to Call for Papers!

August 25, 2015 — The Capturing Reality Forum focuses on the technologies of laser scanning, LiDAR and 3D data capture, combining the best of SPAR Europe and ELMF. The conference committee are delighted to report an overwhelming response to the Call for Papers with 110 abstracts submitted from 24 countries!