Jet-Engine Powered VTOL Platforms for Rapid Medical Delivery
1:00 PM – 1:45 PM ET
Drones that are used for emergency medical deliveries must have two important qualities: the ability to operate in a vast variety of environments and the ability to travel at very high speeds. The most common drone used today, is the quadcopter (and its variants), it is powered by batteries and propelled by external propellers. This type of drone meets neither of the criteria required for emergency medical delivery. The external propellers prevent the drone from operating during adverse weather conditions and also greatly limit the top-speed. Furthermore, batteries take hours to recharge, making such a drone incapable of rapid reusability. However, a compact platform powered by microturbine jet-engines, each equipped with thrust-vectoring system, and fueled by a kerosene-based fuel, could completely revolutionize emergency medical delivery. Such a platform will maintain the affordability and VTOL capability of the quadcopter, but at the same time, increase overall performance by an order of magnitude. The lack of externally rotating airfoils means such a platform will be highly resilient in bad weather conditions and tough terrain. The reliance on the jet-engine for propulsion would further allow flight at very high speeds and altitudes, while the liquid fuel allows for fast refueling.
The global distribution of COVID-19 vaccines will offer unmanned aerial vehicle manufacturers and operators the chance to demonstrate that their technology is ideal for safe and efficient medical deliveries that improve and save lives all around the world. While the entire vaccine distribution process is complex, time critical, and subject to risks, the last mile delivery to vulnerable populations in developing countries is by far the most difficult. This is where delivery drones such as the Wingcopter will play an increasingly vital role. Autonomous drones that fly beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) can deliver vaccines fast and reliably to even the hardest-to-reach places within minutes, where traditional means of transport would take hours or even days. At the same time, they allow for contactless deliveries, minimizing human contact and virus transmission. Drones are also able to overcome logistical in-country constrains due to travel restrictions and lockdowns. In this presentation, Wingcopter will discuss what it takes to cope with this challenge and to provide equal access to a COVID-19 vaccination all over the world.
Machine Learning and Autonomous Collision Avoidance
2:00 PM – 2:45 PM ET
Advancements in computer vision and machine learning have resulted in practical solutions for collision avoidance – providing a solution critical to making Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations safe. See and avoid capabilities like this are a key component to what is a collaborative effort between industry leaders and government authorities to tackling the numerous risk mitigations of an operation. Join us for a discussion with Jon Damush, CEO of Iris Automation, on the enabling technology behind collision avoidance capabilities and the numerous considerations for safely advancing toward a practical and scalable BVLOS future.
Software-defined Drones Accelerates Autonomous Systems
2:00 PM – 2:45 PM ET
Drones are not becoming autonomous, the software that runs them is. To realize the full benefit of autonomous systems in society, they need to be defined by the software that runs them, not their hardware components. In this presentation, Kevin Sartori will outline how as the commercial and governmental drone industry transforms with increased adoption and tackles the challenges that come with scaling, drones will not just be defined by the hardware components they are made with, but also by the software they run upon. For autonomous systems to be safe and practical options that are able to repeatedly perform the operations they are designed for we need to see the rate of development and innovation increase. Software-defined drones accelerate the development and robustness of autonomous systems by leveraging the benefits of network effects through remote system improvements, updates, and the scaling of integrations.
The First Certified RPAS – UK, Australian and US Partnering to Achieve a World First
3:00 PM – 3:45 PM ET
The MQ-9B, manufactured by US company General Atomics, is the first RPAS designed to be Certifiable. The UK and Australia have chosen it to be their first Certified RPAS. This brief will discuss the certification journey which is a partnership between UK, Australian and US entities. It will include the strategy and approaches, addressing delta’s between the three countries and provide an eye-opening exposition of the precedent that is being established for the rest of the world to follow.