Altavian Aircraft are being used to test NASA’s UTM System

(Altavian is an aircraft manufacturing and assembly company located in Gainesville, Florida. )   Altavian recently announced that it was awarded General Services Administration (GSA) Schedule contract 47QSWA18D0008. This contract facilitates agencies of the U.S. government to acquire Altavian’s UAV products. Altavian is the first U.S.-based UAV hardware manufacturer awarded a GSA Schedule contract.

Altavian, Inc., a leading manufacturer of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) systems and components, announced on February 13th, 2018 that it is working with Northern Plains UAS Test Site (NPUASTS) to help test NASA’s Unmanned aircraft systems Traffic Management (UTM) system. Altavian and NPUASTS will work to develop technology related to UTM while a third partner, iSight RPV Services will provide flight test services for the project on the Nova F7200 small unmanned aerial system (sUAS).

NASA has been working with technology leaders in the sUAS industry to develop a UTM system that can help safely integrate drones into the national air space. A UTM is considered an integral part to regulating drones on a national level, as well as beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations.

Altavian is working to develop dual communication systems for the Nova F7200. Point-to-point radio frequency communication is the most common method for sUAS-to-operator communication and is in use by nearly every drone. This technology is well suited for high-rate aircraft telemetry or payload links (such as HD video) but has limitations when the sUAS is flown further away from the operator. By implementing a satellite link, the sUAS will be able to send low-rate telemetry messages back and forth to the operator anywhere in the world, and will no longer be limited in range by local radio frequency.

In parallel to this, Altavian will be updating its Ground Control Station software, Flare, to communicate with the updated UTM system. Altavian and NPUASTS have previously conducted flight tests with Technical Capability Level 1 in early 2016. These upcoming tests will be the third iteration of the UTM system. By integrating Flare with the new UTM system, NASA will be able to see where Altavian aircraft are at all times during testing.
The technology being developed could prove invaluable to preparing Altavian sUAS for BVLOS operations in the future. The project will run from now into March and April of 2018.

About Altavian, Inc.
Altavian designs and manufactures high quality drones to carry the best sensors into the toughest environments. Our drones feature modular systems to carry custom and integrated payloads to specialize any drone for any type of data. Our focus is on systems that collect data with the highest integrity and accuracy. Visit us at

About Northern Plains UAS Test Site
The Northern Plains UAS Test Site (NPUASTS) is one of seven Federal Aviation Administration UAS test sites in the nation. The mission of the test site is to collaborate with FAA and industry partners to develop, systems, rules and procedures to safely integrate unmanned aircraft into the National Airspace System without negatively impacting existing general or commercial aviation. For more information, visit

Read the entire press release here: 


Drone Detection Systems are Rapidly Developing

There are a lot of options emerging that deal with the threats of rogue small UAS attacks, reckless endangerment of airport traffic, or other misuse. While there are numerous start-ups that suggest they have the best new ideas on drone tracking, not all have made it to the stage of production and availability for sale. Many are still starving for resources to complete their ideas, while giants like Intel and Lockheed actually get the contracts and sales needed to fund their research in these arenas.

The most prominent systems that are, or show the most promise of becoming, available today come from the following companies:

Aaronia Drone Detection System – German firm specializing in radio transmission equipment and Antennaes has a system that uses a 9kHz to 40GHz 3D Tracking-antenna to detect almost any Radio Controlled device, and illuminate it on a windows based GCS screen in real-time. Scale-able to use multiple sensor sites, radar, etc.

Battelle Drone Defender – Counter UAS Radio Jamming Gun – is sold only to military and government services. ITAR

Department 13 Mesmer system  – detects the standard communication frequencies used by small UAS, identifies the type of drone, and then mitigates the risk by sending commands to “Return to Home” as an example.  Cost is estimated in the Hundreds of Thousands of dollars.

DJI AeroScope was just announced in October.  List price hasn’t been released yet, but this may be the most affordable option coming to market.  DJI Suggested the AeroScope will cost under $5,000

DroneShield – offers a Radio Jamming Gun, UAS Detection Sensor Arrays, and a completely autonomous system with sensors and a “Drone Cannon” to knock most RC equipment out of the sky by again denying them GPS, GLONASS or Radio signal from any band. ITAR

Gryphon Sensors SkyLight System – Multi-Sensor array with Radar identifies everything flying. Cost depends on size of area/installation. ITAR

Israeli Aerospace Industries –   Offers the DroneGuard system for Government use. This aerospace firm is one of the world’s leading authorities on low band radar, UAS detection and so many other things to do with radio communication.

Liteye AUDS System – AUDS is designed to disrupt and neutralize Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) Costs $1.5Mil to 2.2Mil USD per installation with visibility range from 9 Meters to 5Km These systems are military grade, and can mount additional sensors or even a modified automatic AR15 if necessary. Permits and ITAR definitely apply.

Dedrone Systems – offer single RF and multi-sensor detection products, cameras, software for a PC Groundstation, and even offer a Radio Jammer through a 3rd Party which should shut down most RC Hobby aircraft as it denies them GPS, GLONASS and RF signals. Once this happens, most hobby aircraft will automatically land themselves. This system is one of the more affordable to implement, and is modular.

Skysafe – is a 2 year old start-up that builds UAS jamming systems into jeeps and ATV’s etc. to allow ruggedized travel and use as a mobile counter UAS asset.

Theiss UAV Excipio Aerial Netting system – is a drone that catches up to another drone and disables it by firing a net at it. This system can be adapted to work with other drone detection systems as a failsafe response to an incoming drone.

Openworks Engineering Skywall 100 Drone Net Bazooka – allows the operator to fire a programmable projectile at the drone to intercept and neutralize it with a net and parachute. Make in the UK.


Autonomous Shipping

YARA and KONGSBERG enter into partnership to build world’s first autonomous and zero emissions ship

Zero Emission Feeder
Autonomous and 100% electric, ‘YARA Birkeland’ will be the world’s most advanced container feeder ship.
  • YARA will reduce diesel-powered truck haulage by 40,000 journeys a year.
  • KONGSBERG will integrate sensor, control, communication and electrical systems.

The vessel “YARA Birkeland” will be the world’s first fully electric and autonomous container ship, with zero emissions. Operation is planned to start in the latter half of 2018, shipping products from YARA’s Porsgrunn production plant to Brevik and Larvik in Norway.

Named “YARA Birkeland” after YARA’s founder, the famous scientist and innovator Kristian Birkeland, the vessel will be the world’s first fully electric container feeder. YARA’s new vessel will reduce NOx and CO2 emissions and improve road safety by removing up to 40,000 truck journeys in populated urban areas.

YARA Birkeland will initially operate as a manned vessel, moving to remote operation in 2019 and expected to be capable of performing fully autonomous operations from 2020. The new zero-emission vessel will be a game-changer for global maritime transport contributing to meet the UN sustainability goals.

World’s first autonomous, all-electric vessel for commercial operation

Svein Tore Holsether
Svein Tore Holsether, President and CEO of YARA.

“As a leading global fertilizer company with a mission to feed the world and protect the planet, investing in this zero emission vessel to transport our crop nutrition solutions fits our strategy well. We are proud to work with KONGSBERG to realize the world’s first autonomous, all-electric vessel to enter commercial operation,” says Svein Tore Holsether, President and CEO of YARA.

“Every day, more than 100 diesel truck journeys are needed to transport products from YARA’s Porsgrunn plant to ports in Brevik and Larvik where we ship products to customers around the world. With this new autonomous battery-driven container vessel we move transport from road to sea and thereby reduce noise and dust emissions, improve the safety of local roads, and reduce NOx and CO2 emissions,” says Holsether.

A giant step forward for seaborne transportation

Geir Håøy
Geir Håøy, President and CEO of KONGSBERG.

KONGSBERG is responsible for development and delivery of all key enabling technologies on YARA Birkeland including the sensors and integration required for remote and autonomous operations, in addition to the electric drive, battery and propulsion control systems.

“By moving container transport from land to sea, YARA Birkeland is the start of a major contribution to fulfilling national and international environmental impact goals. The new concept is also a giant step forward towards increased seaborne transportation in general,” says Geir Håøy, President and CEO of KONGSBERG.

As a leading global maritime technology company, KONGSBERG’s integrated control and monitoring systems are already capable of providing technology for remote and unmanned operations. YARA Birkeland will benefit from competence and technologies developed across KONGSBERG.

“Developing systems for autonomous operations is a major opening and natural step for KONGSBERG, considering our decades of expertise in the development and integration of advanced sensors, control and communication systems for all areas of ship operations. YARA Birkeland will set the benchmark for the application of innovative maritime technology for more efficient and environmentally friendly shipping,” says Håøy.

About Yara

Yara’s knowledge, products and solutions grow farmers’, distributors’ and industrial customers’ businesses profitably and responsibly, while protecting the earth’s resources, food and environment.

Its fertilizers, crop nutrition programs and technologies increase yields, improve product quality and reduce the environmental impact of agricultural practices. Its industrial and environmental solutions improve air quality by reducing emissions from industry and transportation, and serve as key ingredients in the production of a wide range of goods. YARA fosters a culture that promotes the safety of employees, contractors and societies.

Founded in 1905 to solve emerging famine in Europe, today, Yara has a worldwide presence, with close to 15,000 employees and sales to about 160 countries.

Click here for the full Press Release, Dated September 9, 2017



Contact: H. Shawn Holmgren;
(561) 389-1490

Lantana, Fl.; August 1, 2017

– Palm Beach Drone is pleased to announce a Distribution agreement with the Ukrainian company “UKRSPECSYSTEMS”, which will help  introduce their line of unmanned,  commercial duty, Fixed Wing aircraft, Multi-Rotor Aircraft and Geo-Stabilized Thermal Cameras / Sensors to the Southeastern U.S. and Caribbean markets.

Palm Beach Drone brokers the sales of premium brands of Robotic AUV’s , ROV’s , UAV’s and UAS’s, commonly called drones, to the Police & First Responder Industry, as well as the Agricultural and Commercial Markets in the U.S. , from it’s offices in South East Florida

UKRSPECSYSTEMS, was founded in 2014 in Eastern Ukraine, primarily to build drones for their armed services.  This aerospace firm now also manufactures target tracking gyro-stabilized EO/IR sensors which are used by numerous other manufacturers and integrators, as well as their Fixed wing and Multi Rotor aircraft. Now this firm is pleased to offer it’s products to the Global market.

Palm Beach Drone, which distributes Robotic Drone technologies, training and related services through many southern commercial Markets, is now bringing another real value to it’s First Responder and Commercial Markets.  The PD-1 fixed wing plane, which offers 10+ hours of endurance, is used almost exclusively by the Ukrainian Army, as a reconnaissance drone.  UKR Spec System products are also flown on many other continents around the globe by Firemen, Paramedics, Police and Municipal governments.

UKRSPECSYSTEMS Airframes, upgrades and repair work will be available through Palm Beach Drone distributors and retailers.   Once an investment is made, UAS owners need to have local and affordable repair centers when, inevitably repairs and replacement parts are needed.   Palm Beach Drone repair centers will have access to Factory Trained staff providing OEM parts and professional repairs to the UKRSPECSYSTEMS products.   The customer will have access to Web Resources and telephone diagnostic service that can help users pinpoint hardware and software problems.   Onsite service and support will also be available for many issues.

Palm Beach Drone, based in Lantana, Florida, was founded in 2015. It’s Affiliated with droneSmart US, the company that provides Distribution of Robotic Systems,  Marketing Services & Web Technologies worldwide.

– See more info on UKR Spec Systems at:


Drone Uses in HVAC & Heating

Drones are increasingly being used by mechanical contractors to study the thermal signatures of commercial buildings.   The advantages of performing a thermal study with a UAS, (Unmanned Aerial System),  are the time saving, and accuracy of the study.  Drone flights can record the elevation and GPS coordinates, as well as video or images of the surface(s) being studied for use later in measuring, or even constructing a 3D model of the data using a program such as

Radiometric, Infra-Red, NIR, Multi-Spectral and Lidar are some of the types of sensors that can save you countless hours of engineering analysis.  These devices can range in cost from a few hundred dollars, to well over a Hundred Thousand dollars, depending on it’s intended use, and need for accuracy.

A drone can fly these sensors just a few feet above roof mounted equipment to tell whether fans are running, compressors are overheating and observe corrosion or other deterioration on the equipment.   A drone can do this much faster than a person with a ladder could dream of, and document it with Video that can be analyzed now or later, in the cloud.

A drone can  detect moisture and heat in areas of the building’s roof, mansards and exterior walls, which may indicate leaks or other factors that need to be addressed, in order to provide the proper climate control, and rooftop maintenance.


While a  person with a standard thermal image camera can capture much of this data,  more advanced radiometric sensors can actually record the exact temperature variations, and log them individually, so that the drone operator and mechanic can tell the difference between inlet and outlet temperatures on chillers, for example, within 1 degree of accuracy.  Radiometric data will also help identify motors and compressors that are overheating, or inefficient cooling systems before they fail.

Roofers, as well as mechanical contractors, use aerial drone data to see moisture evaporating from failed areas of a roofing system, and leaks of air or moisture at the rooftop penetrations, in ducts and soffits.  It is often better to obtain a drone aerial video, and images that are geo-referenced, than it is to have an in-person evaluation.  One reason is you can use numerous people to evaluate the visual cues available from data that is collected and assembled into a 3D model.  Another is the ease of measuring and estimating from the computer research-able data.

Property Managers are beginning to use drones for  inspection of roof systems, and equipment that is difficult, or dangerous to inspect; like HVAC systems, and roof mounted communication equipment.   High definition drone data enables them to discuss solutions over a video-conference call, during or just minutes after a flight.  Once data is uploaded to a cloud server, software analysis makes it possible to map out problems, measure areas affected, identify equipment serial numbers, and even send out alerts or e-mails to responsible parties if a dangerous condition exists.

Using a drone survey, of a rooftop, enables the owner or operator and contractor to fully understand a maintenance task, cleaning process or failure before sending a technician up.  This in turn, dramatically reduces the amount of time spent in a dangerous work-space.   Pre and post repair drone flights can provide lasting proof of conditions that were found and corrected; a task that  used to require a helicopter or airplane to accomplish.

Programs and Apps like DroneDeploy and Skyward allow the operator to plot out a mission using an image from google maps, or similar.  The mission may require the drone to take High Resolution photos every 10 feet over an area that covers 10 000 SF and after a few mouse clicks, the mission is uploaded to the drone, which then flies the mission autonomously.  GPS, altimeter and compass readings are all geo-tagged onto the images for precise location and measurements to be based on.   The mission can be saved and repeated by the aircraft over and over to provide day to day comparisons of progress or installations.

Drones reduce maintenance costs significantly by collecting more accurate data,; quicker than humans can. That translates into less man hours for diagnosis and less downtime for equipment which often equals money saved for both contractors, and their clients.  Using a drone to perform these aerial inspections can also lower Workers’ Comp insurance costs, and reduce injuries on the job.

A drone with a thermal camera costs around $10-12,000, or maybe more depending on the equipment selected.  Check out  as an example of an affordable Day/Night system.   When you think about how many job-site climbing injuries can be prevented, this system pays for itself very quickly.

Drone related laws are very much affecting the commercial use of drones, and are constantly evolving.  Anyone who wishes to use a drone commercially needs a Remote Pilot Airman Certificate (RPA) or another type of Pilot license with additional endorsements; information regarding this FAA guidance can research it by clicking here:

Use of a drone brings with it issues regarding privacy and permissions.  Be sure to check with your legal team and the clients staff onsite to make sure every one is aware of, and approves of the use of a drone to Survey/ Surveil the property involved.

This article may also be viewed at: 


AUVSI Conference Introduces New Autonomous Technology

Each year the AUVSI Xponential Conference is held at a different location.  This year, it was Dallas, Texas.  What remains a constant is that new autonomous technologies are usually introduced there.  Things like unmanned helicopters, pipe crawling robots and systems for managing the terabytes worth of data being gathered by unmanned systems.

Some of the exhibitors are firmly planted in the industry like Lockheed Martin, a defense contractor for the U.S.  Lockheed martin is probably best known for the fighter jets that they produce.  So it was interesting to see the land based technologies they are developing, like unmanned ground vehicles that can re-supply troops or act as transport vehicles.

Some of the robots are well placed in manufacturing, like Baxter, from Rethink Robotics; shown here.  Each year, however, these familiar faces are showing up with new tricks and capabilities, some of which take advantage of Artificial Intelligence, and advanced sensors.   The latest developments include speech and facial recognition functions, intended to improve human interactions with these machines.

Small is not a term that fits every vendor.  This Norwegian made MR can lift 150 lb payload;  Griff Aviation makes even larger ones that can carry 400-500 lb or more.  These systems are intended for heavy lift operations like rescuing a person from the ocean, or troop supply missions.

Other vendors like UKR Spec Systems are competing heavily in the commercial market for Small UAV’s like this Airframe; The PD-1 which is similar in range and options to the Penguin C, but for around 40% less cost.

Even consumer electronics companies like Samsung have products emerging that will change the way we think of robotic assistants.  Check out this vehicle designed for parking lot security, mall security, etc.  In addition to being able to raise and lower a Boom Camera, this Autonomous vehicle includes a Call button for emergencies so the operator can carry on a 2 way conversation with patrons in distress.

We can hardly wait for the 2018 AUVSI Expo, which is to be held in Denver next year, from April 30th until May 3.


UAS For Perimeter Security Systems

The convergence of Cellular data modems, cloud based servers and web apps/software have unlocked the potential of small Unmanned Aerial Systems to be used in a wide array of security uses.  New uses that will lower risk, speed the delivery of results and potentially save each industry a lot of money.

Patrolling a large area like a State Park, a city or even a large shopping mall can be expensive using ground patrols.  These entities will now benefit from new systems designed for the required endurance, and surveillance missions.  Now 60, 90 or even 240 minute endurance VTOL aircraft are providing services that used to require a helicopter.  In fact, many drones are purpose built miniature helicopters.

Olaeris AEVA 3 is an example of this kind of purpose built drone.

The Olaeris system is marketed as an autonomous replacement for a helicopter, with a rang of about 100 miles.  It can be automatically launched in response to an emergency call, and offers much quicker visual response times than on-ground responders.   Markets include perimeter security monitoring of Nuclear Power plants, Border Patrol and Municipal Emergency response.

Companies like SkySense have developed specific products like automatic charging tablets, while still other companies have integrated and/or improved upon their ideas to build self-contained drone enclosure systems like the H3 Dynamics DroneBox solar charging system in the video below.

H3 Dynamics specialize in Power systems, providing Hydrogen Fuel Cell technology, among their other products, aimed at the small UAS industry.

Permanent, tethered, self charging, networkable drones that can wirelessly transmit their data through a cellular cloud based service, or to a monitoring station nearby may change the way we patrol just about everything.  AT&T, Verizon and most major cellular providers are investing heavily in the development and use of cellular network services for drone use.

Companies like Elistaire make systems that connects to a multitude of “off the shelf” drones, like the DJI Inspire 1, turning them into tethered systems with unlimited flight times.  These systems are especially useful providing longer term surveillance for an outdoor festival or concert, etc. where permanent facilities are impractical to install.


Drones at the Palm Beach Boat Show 2017

You cannot fly a Drone anywhere near the Palm Beach International Boat Show, without being certified to fly it,  and gaining special permissions;  filing flight plans with the airport, etc.  

DJI Inspire 1 is the drone of choice, for many of the luxury Yacht Captains, when use is allowed.  Universal access to parts and support in most ports, are the main reasons this unit is chosen.


Brownies Marine had a booth that was displaying the waterproof Splash Drone and other goodies,

our favorite toy is the remotely operated Deep Trecker ROV.  Check out this video:

Although, it is pretty impressive to see a 100′ yacht, with a remote control that allows the captain to stand on the dock.  He can parallel park, or maneuver into the tightest quarters using side thrusters and a sophisticated 900 mhz radio controlled pilot system.  Plus, if you can have your own Helicopter, who needs a drone anyway?

Thanks go out to the folks at Show Management for bringing this fantastic boat show to Palm Beach County every year!



Drone Industry Major Partners Drive Innovation and Growth

What do Intel, Verizon, and John Deere tractors have in common?  An interest in what emerging autonomous unmanned aircraft systems can do.  Each of these companies have partnered with and/or bought a stake in the companies they work with to bring a blending of technology to market.

Intel acquired Ascending Technologies, a well established German Multi-rotor drone manufacturer, this past year.  They were already working together integrating the Intel collision avoidance sensor system designed for small UAS, called “RealSense.”  Together they have the design, sensor, chip manufacturing and programming experience needed to do almost anything.   The first collaboration, of course, was the Swarming drones that can put on a light show and display a heavenly view of the company logo.

Verizon just acquired Skyward, a drone operations software platform.  The Skyward Partner Network is tied in with PrecisionHawk, Drone Deploy and SenseFly to automate flight data logging. They have tested using drones to roll out temporary cell service to emergency situations or outdoor events.  They were early pioneers on studying 3G and 4G network use for drone control BVLOS, (see this article).  Verizon definitely wants to capitalize on monthly access accounts for drones.

Meanwhile, AT&T has paired with QualComm to test it’s LTE networks for use in control and data transfer from drones, while in the air.  BVLOS flight is expected to be one of the best uses for this pairing of technology.

John Deere is very technology oriented, as one of the first to integrate GPS systems with autonomous control of their farm & Construction machinery.  Now they have partnered with Kespry Drone, a California based Drone manufacturer, that also maintains a cloud service data delivery system.  The Kespry drone uses 900mhz to communicate with a tablet controller, that delivers the data automatically to a cloud account using the cellular modem in the tablet.  John Deere will use the Kespry drone’s precision sensors to create three-dimensional models of everything below. The models are accurate within centimeters, which then translates into precise agricultural practices, construction analysis and maps.

Recently, Caterpillar made an equity investment in AirWare, which firm recently acquired RedBird, (read all about it here).   It won’t be long before the only employees needed in a mining operation will be the Programmers.   Using Drones in an intelligent way can help the construction and mining industries cut costs while improving efficiency, is the thought at Caterpillar.

Now let’s get back to Intel for a minute.  Intel invested 60 million dollars into the electronics firm Yuneec in 2015.  This year, however, Yuneec has announced it will eliminate over half of it’s US staff.  That could mean that Intel was more interested in their manufacturing capacity for consumer drones, and the “People Carrying” products that Yuneec produces, like their electric plane, the E430.    This two-seater  won the Lindberg prize for electric aircraft at AirVenture in 2010.

And that is just the beginning of the story.  Intel announced in March 2017 that it would purchase the Israeli Technology Firm Mobileye for between $14 – $15 Billion U.S.   Mobileye is a leading supplier of collision avoidance systems for  Automobiles.

And then there is the E-Volo Multi-Rotor Project…

Who would have thought ten years ago that these companies would be in Aerospace, Photogrametry, Collision Avoidance, Defense?


New DJI Products for 2017

In celebration of Chinese New Year, DJI invited renowned illustrator and designer Martin Sati to customize the Phantom 4, adding colors and his imagination to this flagship DJI product.

Sati’s design features the phoenix as the centerpiece, a symbol of good fortune and happiness in Chinese mythology. He also drew inspiration from the four basic elements of nature – air, fire, water and earth – and reflected each of these elements in his design.

DJI labs have also been busy designing new products, many of which were on display at the C.E.S. 2017 show in Las Vegas.   Click here to read the full Press Release. 

The Mavic Pro, folding pocket drone, that was announced last year, is set to be delivered in January-February.

The new CrystalSky monitor is more than four times as bright as typical mobile devices.


DJI has been building a toolbox of products for commercial use as well.  For example, the new Inspire 2 with the X5 gimbal allows you to choose from Cinematic or Thermal image payloads.

Find out more about DJI Commercial Products by clicking here: