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Commercial Drone News from AUVSI Xponential 2017

Companies are definitely betting on the commercial drone industry

May 11, 2017

AUVSI Xponential 2017, a commercial drone conference taking place in Dallas, Texas, is in its final hours. This conference is full of ― you guessed it ― commercial drone news, so here’s a slice of what's happened at Xponential.

Solutions for commercial drone operations

Insitu, a Boeing subsidiary and maker of the ScanEagle drone, announced a new suite of remote sensing products and information delivery services called Inexa Solutions.

“Insitu’s Inexa Solutions’ approach begins with customer collaboration in determining business pain points and needs,” said Insitu in a press release. “Robust solutions then are tailored from the suite of remote sensing products and services — including unmanned air vehicles, sensors, analytics, data integration, command and control software, and flight and training services.”

At the InterDrone Conference last year, Drone360 experienced Insitu’s augmented reality ground station called Inexa Control, which provides users more situational awareness by projecting holographic images. Inexa Solutions expands Insitu’s commercial offerings.

Meet Airbus Aerial

Airbus, known to many as a commercial aircraft manufacturer, announced its new commercial drone division called Airbus Aerial.

“Using an integrated combination of assets, from UAS platforms to satellite imagery, Airbus Aerial is rolling out a wide range of new imagery services,” said Dirk Hoke, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space, in a press release. “In the future, additional pillars of the Airbus Aerial activities will be in the area of cargo drone services as well as providing connectivity via aerial assets.”

Airbus Aerial President Jesse Kallman, who has worked for Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, and Airware, will lead the U.S.-based subsidiary, located in Atlanta, Georgia.

“Drones are only a piece of a much larger picture for us,” said Kallman in a press release. “Airbus Aerial brings together a variety of aerospace technologies – including drones and satellites – combines them in a common software infrastructure, and applies industry-specific analytics to deliver tailored solutions to our customers’ biggest challenges.”

And just in case you’re interested in joining this new team: Airbus Aerial is hiring.
Software and light shows

Intel reinforced its involvement in the commercial drone industry, showing off several of its commercial drones including the Falcon8+ and Shooting Star. To the delight of many, during Intel CEO Brian Krzanich’s keynote speech the Shooting Star drones performed a light show.
The Shooting Star drones are made specifically for performing drone light shows and were first announced in November 2016. The quads have an integrated LED payload, capable of creating 4 billion color combinations with a red, green, blue, white LED system. Intel focused heavily on making these drones safe, and the propellers are caged in case of an unforeseen malfunction.

It’s been just over six months since the Shooting Star drones were first publicized, but Krzanich just announced an updated version is coming. Improving upon the hardware and software of these drones probably isn’t a bad idea, as other companies, big and small, are also trying to wow audiences with drone light shows.
Krzanich also showed off the Falcon 8+ drone, which was featured in the TODAY show segment about Xponential. In a demo, the Falcon 8+ was performing an automated bridge inspection using Intel Mission Control software. Slated for release later this year, according to a press release, this new software will help with flight planning, management, and post-processing.

But wait, there’s more: Intel announced it will be working with Airbus to automate the aircraft inspection process. In July 2016, the two companies conducted a demo inspection of passenger airliners using the Falcon 8, which reduced the aircraft downtime for inspection from two hours to 15 minutes.
Free mapping software

PrecisionHawk, a leading commercial drone and data company, announced its drone mapping software is now free. FREE. PrecisionMapper allows users to stitch together a 2D or 3D map from drone data. Users can export maps and use analysis tools such as measuring volume and vegetative health.

Michael Chasen, PrecisionHawk CEO, believes free software could help kick-start the commercial drone industry. Learn why here.

More goodies from AUVSI Xponential 2017

Featured image: Intel