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It’s time. The FAA will now implement some of the changes in regulations for recreational drones which will follow on the passage of the FAA Reauthorization Act passed last year.
The FAA Reauthorization Act repealed Section 336 of the previous FAA Reauthorization, which protected recreational aircraft from new laws. The move to repeal came in response to pressure from both national security agencies and commercial drone advocacy groups for more oversight over the hobby.
The changes in regulations now outlined by the FAA clarify where hobby drones can fly, and bring them into the some of the same regulatory processes that commercial drones currently follow.
Recreational flyers still don’t require a special certification (in future, they will need to take an online knowledge test before flying- still in development.) They still need to follow the long-established safety rules, including staying under 400 feet in altitude.
The major changes, however, relate to flying in restricted airspace – especially the controlled space around airports. Right now – until the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) is updated to include recreational flyers – recreational flyers can only fly at defined, fixed sites within 5 miles of airports. (See details and links in FAA press release below.)
On a media access call this morning, the FAA’s Jay Merkle, executive director for UAS Integration and Teri Bristol, chief operating officer for the Air Traffic Organization, explained the changes. “We view this as a very positive step forward for the safe integration of UAS,” said Merkle. “Including everyone under the same rules really does move everything forward.”
Teri Bristol emphasized that the FAA Reauthorization Act did “affirm the FAA’s authority” over recreational flight, which means that they will need to obtain the same authorizations as commercial drones in controlled airspace. She also points out that the new requirement to obtain authorization prior to flight in controlled areas replaces the previous regulation that required “notification.”
Bristol said that they are making several upgrades to systems in order to accommodate recreational flyers, including LAANC. When the LAANC updates are complete, “It brings recreational flyers under the same process as commercial flyers,” says Merkle.
“We know that processes will evolve,” says Bristol. “But we see this as a very positive thing.”
Asked how the new regulations will effect Remote ID and Tracking capabilities: “It makes Remote ID regulations effective – we’ll be able to include recreational flyers in that initiative,” Merkle said.
The problem with the new regulations is the same as it has always been – while law abiding and well informed recreational flyers will stay out of controlled airspace, no regulation will suffice to keep drone pilots who are simply unaware of the rules 5 miles away from airports. It’s up to the drone industry – both recreational and commercial – to help with the efforts to educate new pilots.
The following is an FAA press release.
While recreational flyers may continue to fly below 400 feet in uncontrolled airspace without specific certification or operating authority from the FAA, they are now required to obtain prior authorization from the FAA before flying in controlled airspace around airports. Furthermore, they must comply with all airspace restrictions and prohibitions when flying in controlled and uncontrolled airspace.
The new requirement to obtain an airspace authorization prior to flying a drone in controlled airspace replaces the old requirement to notify the airport operator and the airport air traffic control tower prior to flying within five miles of an airport.
Until further notice, air traffic control facilities will no longer accept requests to operate recreational drones in controlled airspace on a case-by-case basis. Instead, to enable operations under the congressionally-mandated exception for limited recreational drone operations, the FAA is granting temporary airspace authorizations to fly in certain “fixed sites” in controlled airspace throughout the country. The fixed sites (MS Excel) are listed online and will be routinely updated.
The sites are also shown as blue dots on Unmanned Aircraft Systems Facility Maps. The maps depict the maximum altitude above ground level at which a drone may be flown safely for each location in controlled airspace.
In the future, recreational flyers will be able to obtain authorization from the FAA to fly in controlled airspace. The FAA currently has a system called the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC), which is available to non-recreational pilots who operate under the FAA’s small drone rule (PDF) (Part 107). The FAA is upgrading LAANC to allow recreational flyers to use the system. For now, however, recreational flyers who want to operate in controlled airspace may only do so at the fixed sites.
Another new provision in the 2018 Act requires recreational flyers to pass an aeronautical knowledge and safety test. They must maintain proof that they passed, and make it available to the FAA or law enforcement upon request. The FAA is currently developing a training module and test in coordination with the drone community. The test will ensure that recreational flyers have the basic aeronautical knowledge needed to fly safely.
Some requirements have not changed significantly. In addition to being able to fly without FAA authorization below 400 feet in uncontrolled airspace, recreational users must still register their drones, fly within visual line-of-sight, avoid other aircraft at all times, and be responsible for complying with all FAA airspace restrictions and prohibitions.
Additionally, recreational flyers can continue to fly without obtaining a remote pilot certificate provided they meet the eight statutory conditions of Section 349 of the Act, which are described in a Federal Register notice.
If recreational flyers do not meet any of the conditions, they could choose to operate under Part 107 with a remote pilot certification. Drone operators who fail to comply with the appropriate operating authority may be subject to FAA enforcement action.
Furthermore, flying a drone carelessly or recklessly may also result in FAA enforcement action.
The FAA will help recreational flyers learn and understand the changes by posting updates and additional guidance, including regulatory changes, on the FAA website.
If you are thinking about buying a drone, the FAA can help you get started with registration and important safety information.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
Subscribe to DroneLife here.
Funky self-driving wheelchairs that can navigate busy airports and avoid obstacles are under test at Tokyo’s Narita airport to help passengers with mobility issues get between flights.
The project between All Nippon Airways and Panasonic Corp. is using the semi-robotic electric wheelchairs to increase mobility and accessibility options that give passengers more independence when navigating the bustling airport.
The self-driving wheelchair developed by Panasonic and WHILL is capable of independently detecting and avoiding people and obstacles and follows a pre-determined leader to a common destination.
“Narita airport is a gateway to Japan for millions of travelers every year and we seek to partner with other leading Japanese innovators to make sure that arrival, departure and making connections are all as convenient as possible,” said ANA senior vice president Juichi Hirasawa.
“ANA’s partnership with Panasonic will make Narita Airport more welcoming and accessible, both of which are crucial to maintaining the airport’s status as a hub for international travel in the years to come.
“The robotic wheelchairs are just the latest element in ANA’s multi-faceted approach to improving hospitality in the air and on the ground.”
ANA has previously experimented with interactive robots and connected smart technology in a project also designed to help people with disabilities.
Other technology trials being conducted by the Japanese carrier include a wearable robotic exoskeleton, remote-controlled aircraft pushbacks, automatic baggage loaders and automated towing tractors.
Those trials aim to convert Kyusha Saga International Airport. on the island into “a hotbed of innovation and a premier logistics hub in the region”.
ANA said it hoped the trials would lead to important breakthroughs that would streamline and improve service on the ground.
Airports Council International (ACI) World says registration has opened for the second Airports Council International (ACI) World Customer Experience Global Summit in partnership with PT Angkasa Pura I (Persero) in Bali, Indonesia. The summit – to be held under the theme ‘One airport community; Many passenger journeys’ – will comprise a training day, an international Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Forum, the Customer Excellence Global Summit and the ASQ Awards ceremony and will be held from 02 to 05 September.
The theme has been devised to allow attendees to explore how airports can best cater for passengers with different profiles, needs and expectations as demand for air services soars.
“This year’s theme identifies that, while there is one airport community, there are many passenger journeys,” said Angela Gittens, ACI World director general.
“The challenge for airports is in delivering the best customer experience throughout a passenger journey that encompasses different providers, from the airport operator, to airlines, ground handlers, retailers and governmental agencies.
“The ACI Customer Experience Global Summit provides the opportunity for attendees to share ideas, celebrate success and recognise the top performers according to the passengers themselves on this crucial topic.”
The last few months have seen an escalating series of incidents in which the harmful elements of drones have loomed large in the public eye. In April, rumors of a coup in Saudi Arabia flared after a recreational drone was shot down when flying into an unauthorized zone in the capital. August saw a drone attack on the president of Venezuela. In late December, 10,000 flights carrying 140,000 passengers were grounded over the course of 36 hours at Gatwick Airport in the United Kingdom. In the months since, a number of airports, ranging from Dublin to Dubai, have experienced delays on account of drone activity. The Gatwick incident alone is estimated to have cost the aviation industry as much as $90 million.
While these are spectacular incidents, they speak to the growing ubiquity of drones. Perhaps even more telling than those events were the efforts that authorities put into air security for the Super Bowl. In the days leading up to the event, PBS reported a “deluge” of drones despite a ban on their presence in the airspace around the stadium.
These incidents underline the conclusion that mapping the skies — as well as policing them — is moving from the theoretical to the practical. Just as Google took the noise of the early internet and arranged it into something comprehensible and navigable, so we need to organize and understand the sky as drones become a growing part of civilian life.
Most of the examples I outlined above are “bad drone” problems — problems related to drones that might be hostile — but understanding what entities are up in the air is critical for “good drone” problems too. While drones have risen to prominence primarily as threatening entities, they’ll soon be central in more benign contexts, from agriculture and weather forecasting to deliveries and urban planning. We could soon pass a tipping point: In early 2018, the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) announced that their drone registry had topped 1 million drones for the first time. While most of those were owned by hobbyists, the agency expects commercial drone numbers to quadruple by 2022. At some point, it’s going to be vital that we have systems for ensuring “good drones” don’t crash into each other.
We need to organize and understand the sky.
For comparison, the FAA reports that in the U.S. there are around 500 aircontrol towers coordinating 43,000 airplane flights a day, with up to 5,000 planes in the sky at any one moment. Some 20,000 airway transportation system specialists and air traffic controllers spend their professional lives keeping those 5,000 planes from bumping into each other. Consider, then, the effort and resources required to prevent potentially hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of concurrently airborne drones from colliding. This a big problem with real stakes.
Countless companies have emerged in recent years to tackle the challenge of organizing this ecosystem. Significant investor capital has gone into different approaches to making sense of a sky filled with drones, from point-sensor solution providers such as Echodyne and Iris Automation to drone management systems such as Kittyhawk, AirMap and Unifly. “Bad drone” solutions ranging from lasers and ground-based bazookas to malware and enormous net shields have cropped up.
The most exciting approach, however, is a unified one that addresses both “good drone” and “bad drone” challenges; one that maps well-intentioned drones and defends against nefarious ones. In this case, knowledge is the first step to understanding, which enables suitable action. In practice, that means we need to start with a firm data layer — typically gathered through a radar detection system. That data layer allows practitioners to determine what and where entities are in the air.
With that data in hand, understanding the nature of those entities becomes possible — specifically, if they’re benign or malicious. That designation enables the final step: action. For benign drones, that means routing them to the right destination or ensuring they don’t crash into other drones. In the case of malicious drones, action means mobilizing one of the exciting solutions we mentioned above — malware, lasers or even defensive drones to neutralize the potential threat.
A full-stack approach is helpful for formulating a seamless response, but the most important element is the data layer. It’s still early days in the mainstreaming of drones, but there’s great value in getting a headstart on creating the infrastructural and security framework for when that moment arrives. Gathering data now gives us more of a baseline for drones in the future. It also allows new entrants to offer solutions on top of that foundation. Moreover, there are strong positive externalities at work here: As with cellular networks 25 years ago, the decision of early adopters to adopt detection and defense systems benefits others who are slower to move. When Gatwick puts that infrastructure in place, Heathrow benefits.
Ultimately, there are as many — if not more — reasons to get excited about solving the problem of drone-filled skies as there are reasons to be concerned about their negative implications. Creating the rails for what Goldman Sachs estimated will be a $100+ billion market is a tremendous opportunity. The sooner we plan for the positive implications of drones in addition to their malicious potential, the better.
Image Credits: Alexandr Junek Imaging s.r.o. (opens in a new window) / Shutterstock
Initially, the autonomous shuttle bus will make its trips without passengers.Brussels Airport Company
A self-driving shuttle bus has started making trips at Brussels Airport. In a statement earlier this week, the airport said that the vehicle, which is operated by transport firm De Lijn, would undertake several demonstration trips, without passengers, to test the technology.
It is hoped that, eventually, the vehicles, which use sensors to detect surrounding objects, will be able to navigate through traffic autonomously. The airport said it expects passengers to be able to use the vehicles by the middle of 2021.
The CEO of the Brussels Airport Company, Arnaud Feist, said intelligent mobility was “one of our strategic priorities for sustainable development over the coming years.”
Feist added that the airport wanted to encourage passengers and employees to travel there by public transport.
“This joint project with De Lijn, which commenced in 2015, is one of the initiatives specifically aimed at achieving this objective,” he explained. “We’re now exploring how self-driving buses can be deployed to improve the efficiency of passenger transport on the airport grounds.”
Slowly but surely, autonomous vehicles are starting to be used in real world situations. In January 2019, Japanese airline All Nippon Airways announced it had commenced the second phase of testing for an autonomous and driverless bus at Haneda Airport in Tokyo.
In April, Starship Technologies – which specializes in autonomous delivery services – announced it had made 50,000 commercial deliveries with its technology.
The firm’s robots can make deliveries within a four-mile radius, and carry goods including parcels, groceries and food.
Attendees interacting with a facial recognition demonstration at this year’s CES in Las Vegas.CreditCreditJoe Buglewicz for The New York Times
SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco, long at the heart of the technology revolution, took a stand against potential abuse on Tuesday by banning the use of facial recognition software by the police and other agencies.
The action, which came in an 8-to-1 vote by the Board of Supervisors, makes San Francisco the first major American city to block a tool that many police forces are turning to in the search for both small-time criminal suspects and perpetrators of mass carnage.
The authorities used the technology to help identify the suspect in the mass shooting at an Annapolis, Md., newspaper last June. But civil liberty groups have expressed unease about the technology’s potential abuse by government amid fears that it may shove the United States in the direction of an overly oppressive surveillance state.
Aaron Peskin, the city supervisor who sponsored the bill, said that it sent a particularly strong message to the nation, coming from a city transformed by tech.
“I think part of San Francisco being the real and perceived headquarters for all things tech also comes with a responsibility for its local legislators,” Mr. Peskin said. “We have an outsize responsibility to regulate the excesses of technology precisely because they are headquartered here.”
But critics said that rather than focusing on bans, the city should find ways to craft regulations that acknowledge the usefulness of face recognition. “It is ridiculous to deny the value of this technology in securing airports and border installations,” said Jonathan Turley, a constitutional law expert at George Washington University. “It is hard to deny that there is a public safety value to this technology.”
At ACI Asia-Pacific/ World Annual General Assembly, Conference & Exhibition, hosted at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA), we spoke to CK Ng, Executive Director of Airport Operations, and Steven Yiu, Deputy Director of Service Delivery from HKIA to discover how new digital initiatives will shape the future of airports and improve passenger experience.
The future of airports is being shaped by new digital initiatives; completely transforming not only the passenger experience, but also the design of airports themselves. An airport that is leading the way in many of these new technologies is Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA).
The main focus for the new technology HKIA is implementing is to improve customer experience, from check-in to boarding. Its goal is for passengers to have a quick and simple journey through the airport.
Single token journey
A primary way to achieve this goal is this through a single token journey. HKIA ultimately aims for a passenger to use their face for the whole journey through the airport. It has already installed the significant equipment for passengers to do the check-in aspect of this and has implemented 100 self-drop bag areas, as well as completing the installation of 44 egates for passport and boarding pass checks.
Right now, passengers still need to check in baggage and continuously show their boarding pass and passport. With new technology it could be possible to integrate a whole journey from the passenger’s home right to the boarding gate. In the future, check-in at home will be possible using facial recognition. This data can be connected directly to the airport and the passenger can go all the way through an airport to the boarding gate.
With regards to immigration, you don’t need the passenger. The data is already there. It’s about what airports are going to do with this data. All airports are talking about the same thing but airports use data in different ways. HKIA is currently collecting biometric data from self check ins using cameras and linked passport readers. In the future, it sees using facial recognition to check in even before passengers reach the airport using apps on their phones.
Ultimately facial recognition is a great tool for the passenger as it ensures a quick yet secure journey through an airport.
The future of baggage
Security implications are always a concern. Currently passengers can check in at home and get their boarding pass but they cannot get a baggage tag. The future is about taking baggage out of the process and for passengers to travel separately from their baggage. The idea for baggage yet again begins with home check in, where passengers can phone a hotline and someone will go to their home to collect the bag for a charge through a logistics provider. The airport can then track the package and inform passengers of the baggage’s status.
The challenges associated with this are both the impacts on terminal design and the security implications. There are many challenges around the introduction of this as airports still have the traditional design for baggage collection systems. If the bags are moved off terminal and passengers are just passing through using their face, is there a need in the future for such a big terminal?
More of the travelling processes will be taken away from airports – passengers will simply be heading to the airport just to board the plane. The whole concept of an airport will soon change and it will be a destination rather than a place where you need to transition from one mode of travel to another.
The effective use of data
Data is of great importance to the future of airports where it is vital to gather, share and collect data for a number of aspects. A great use of data is for risk-based screening and advanced passenger information but for this, collaboration is imperative. In theory airports should be able to differentiate the risk level for all passengers and ensure there is no inconvenience to passengers when ascertaining this information. However, this requires heavy collaboration with enforcement agencies.
As an operator, airports can collect information and pass it on but there are privacy implications. However, in principal this data can be passed through sensitively. The perfect solution would be that airports know exactly who is going to get on or come off a flight.
Right now, it is the immigration agency and the airlines that have access to passenger data but it is important that airports can match all of the data together for a streamlined process through airports. HKIA is aiming to do just this with its new data centre (due to be completed in 2020) that will be able to effectively store and use data efficiently.
Transitioning to 5G
5G is imperative to the future of airports, though not for personal communications. It will be necessary for machine-to-machine communication and the development of autonomous vehicles. 5G can be of great use for more control, for example it can be used to stop a vehicle in an emergency.
HKIA is currently focusing on machine-to-machine communication or ‘autonomous chatter’, especially in the use of autonomous vehicles. Autonomous vehicles are an effective way to transfer baggage. The technology is already there, it’s now the application of this technology that needs to be focused on, for example trialling durability and weather impacts on these vehicles.
Autonomous vehicles are not new. Right now the only challenge in terms of the full scale application of autonomous vehicles are the interface and safety aspects. In the controlled environment of, say baggage halls, this isn’t such a problem. The technology needs to be fully tested before application to ensure it is safe, which can be aided through GPS and CCTV.
Robotics in the terminal – interfacing with passengers
Safety is paramount for an airport and so is passenger satisfaction. Robotics within terminals are an exciting new technology that can aid with the latter. They would be able to give directions, deliver purchases made in stores and guide passengers around the airports. Delving further, they can even complete temperature checks within the airport and check for cleanliness.
However, functionality is critical. Some airports may focus on how good robots look but HKIA is investing its time and money into functionality to ensure good passenger experience. It has bought 10 robots to do just this already and it is planning to invest in more in the future.
Flexibility is key
Smart investment of new technology is incredibly important with regards to new digital initiatives. There is a lot of new technology out there so airports need to invest wisely. Technology is moving at an incredibly fast pace and a lot of these new digital initiatives have a huge impact on the day-to-day running of an airport.
To ensure the effective implementation of new digital initiatives, airports need to be flexible. It takes three years to build a new terminal and the technology that was relevant at the beginning of those three years will not be once the terminal is complete. Therefore, even at the design stage there needs to be room to fix specifications. For instance, if an airport implements the wide-spread use of autonomous vehicles, where will they be charged?
Airports have to make sure they can adapt and be continuously updated to take full advantage of exciting new technologies and ultimately ensure passengers have a safe and satisfactory experience. There are some very interesting years ahead.
by Martin Moodie and Mark Lane email@example.com Source: ©The Moodie Davitt Report 15 May 2019
SOUTH KOREA. In big breaking news, the Ministry of Economy and Finance announced yesterday that it will issue six new downtown duty free store licences. In an already overheated market, most Korean travel retail insiders and market analysts had expected only one or two new licences to be issued
For companies classified as large corporations, the government will issue three new licences in Seoul, one in Incheon and one in Gwangju. Along with the five licences for large corporates, another will be issued in South Chungcheong Province for small and medium sized companies (SMEs). Further SME licences may be issued in future.
Bids for the new licences will be called this month. The Korea Customs Service will select the winners in November.
“Three more licences for Seoul is too many,” one senior Korean travel retailer told The Moodie Davitt Report. He bemoaned the continued proliferation of businesses in Seoul which has led to intense financial pressure on retailers as they fight to attract Chinese shoppers (many of them daigou traders) to their stores.
Hyundai Department Store Duty Free seems certain to bid for one of the new licences. The retailer opened its elegant new store in Gangnam, Seoul, late last year. [Picture: JHP Design]He said that Walkerhill may be “very much interested” in a new licence. The hotel casino retailer lost out in the controversial 2016 tender and subsequently was forced to close down its long-running and successful business. The retailer’s duty free area (which had been recently modernised at great cost before the licence loss) remains intact and could easily be made operational again.
Walkerhill Duty Free was one of South Korea’s best travel retail operations until its forced closure after the controversial 2016 tender.
“Hyundai Department Store Duty Free will definitely apply for a new licence to magnify its buying power and influence over the market and increase its economies of scale,” the source said.
Shinsegae Duty Free would be another likely contender. As with Hyundai, it has multiple department stores in which it could locate a new duty free operation.
A committee comprising ten civilian and seven government members decided new licences were required for three reasons: 1) to enhance competitiveness and promote tourism; 2) region-specific needs; 3) to offer further SME opportunities.
The committee made it clear that the licence to be returned by Hanwha Duty Free following the retailer’s decision to close down its Seoul business would not be renewed and did not count towards the new permits.
Number of licences issued (including the new additions): 60 (airport 29, downtown 26, region-specific 4, diplomat business 1)
Licence count by corporation type: Large corporation 25, small and medium company 31, public 4
Of the 26 downtown duty free store licences, 13 are in Seoul; 14 are operated by large corporations and 12 by SMEs.
Source: Moodie Davitt Research. Click to enlarge.
A source told The Moodie Davitt Report the new licences were fixed according to the rule that any metropolitan region which has shown duty free sales growth exceeding KRW200 billion against the the previous year or an increase of more than 200,000 foreign tourists can have more licences. Jeju and Busan, though qualifying, were excluded. In Jeju’s case, resistance from small businesses and local government won out while Busan’s dormant inbound travel market saw the status quo prevail.
SME rules tighter
The committee also tightened regulations on SME qualification to prevent bigger companies holding stakes in such entities.
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A self-driving mini-shuttle took its first trial drive on Monday at Brussels Airport, covering a distance of a few meters and stopping or slowing down autonomously. The electric shuttle is the result of a jointly-led project by Brussels Airport and transport company De Lijn, as part of their ambition to increase investments in “intelligent mobility.
Monday’s trial run signals the start of a pilot-phase, currently under development, which will consist of further test drives in the course of 2020, with no passengers but with a steward on board, according to a statement released by De Lijn.
The objective of the test drives is to ensure that the shuttle can transport passengers safely in different types of weather and, most importantly, autonomously —with no steward on board.
If the trial goes as planned, the shuttle, manufactured by Dutch company 2GetThere, is expected to transport its first passengers in 2021.
The shuttle would drive at an average speed of 20 km/h, transporting staff and travellers between the terminal, the air cargo zones and the parking