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AeroVironment in the News: UAS

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Defense Secretary Likes What He Sees at Base Including AeroVironment Blackwing UAS
June 03, 2016

If Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter has his way, there will soon be a Base Realignment and Closure Commission process to reduce the Pentagon’s large overhead costs.

Popular Science: This Drone On A Leash Could Guard Army Bases
May 26, 2016

Tether Eye is a gently floating sentry, complete with its own little robot home.

Unmanned Aircraft Improve Agencies’ Operations
May 16, 2016

The small unmanned aviation systems unit for the Ventura County (Calif.) Sheriff’s Office recently used an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), or drone, to assist in the search and rescue of a missing hiker.

Drones Break the Ice on Antarctic Deep-Freeze Mission [Video]
March 23, 2016

A U.S. Coast Guard cutter for the first time used unmanned aircraft to help it navigate the frozen continent’s icy inlet during a crucial summertime mission.

AeroVironment Focuses on Maritime UAS Ops
February 15, 2016

A recent example of maritime UAS operations was a National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Center of Excellence for Unmanned Technologies test mission. A team from the California State University Channel Islands was invited to see how the Puma AE works during a test mission on the research vessel R/V Shearwater, sailing from Santa Barbara Harbor in central California to the Santa Barbara Channel.

Drones Take Flight for Duke Energy
January 26, 2016

Duke Energy examines the use of small unmanned aerial systems with advanced camera payloads. In the electric utility business, safety is at the core of everything a utility does. Utility personnel ask these questions every day: How safe are we? What can we do to perform any task more safely? From the safety standpoint, the use of sUAS has numerous advantages over traditional methods.

Swedish Police Receiving Three AeroVironment Qube UAVs
January 13, 2016

Global defense and security company Saab has signed a contract with the Swedish Police Authority to deliver three unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from AeroVironment.

Unmanned Aircraft Aids in Monk Seal Research
October 15, 2015

The UAS flew missions at multiple monk seal breeding populations within Hawaii’s Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. NOAA will use the data to examine seal population trends and threats through census counts and by identifying individual seals by observing scars and applying hair dye and flipper tags, which can be seen from the UAS.

El Ejército de Tierra español modernizará sus UAVs Raven
September 30, 2015

( Fuentes del Ejército de Tierra han confirmado a que esperan disponer para finales del año próximo de aproximadamente 20 sistemas aéreos remotamente pilotados (RPAs según la nueva denominación oficial) Raven dotados con la nueva cámara gimbal. Se trata de una modernización similar a la que están llevando a cabo las Fuerzas Armadas estadounidenses y que consiste en la instalación en el RQ-11B Raven DDL (Digital Data link) de una cámara orientable que permite al operador mantenerse más fácilmente sobre el objetivo.

Drone Exercise Tests Coast Guard’s Arctic Rescue Capabilities
August 26, 2015

Somewhere among ridges of sea ice, more than 20 miles from shore in the Arctic waters off Alaska’s northern coast, an orange six-person raft is floating. But instead of a person, the small vessel’s passenger is a thermal dummy, designed to emit a human heat signature.

In the gray sky 500 feet above, an unmanned aircraft flies a search pattern, scanning the Beaufort Sea for signs of the simulated sinking survivor. Operators of the Puma drone, working from an installation at Oliktok Point and also aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy, monitor live feeds from the aircraft’s camera and from its infrared sensors.

The rescuers-in-training look for signs of the lifeboat they know is out there.

Drones Are Taking Flight For Duke Energy
August 19, 2015


* Drones could help detect damaged power lines
* FAA issued Duke an exemption in June to use the devices
* Utility says response time in storms could improve

Raven UAV Training Provides Invaluable Air Assets For Military, Emergency Response Applications
August 11, 2015

Besides military applications, these same skills Soldiers are learning today in Louisiana can later be used back home in Iowa as part of emergency response efforts. These same UAVs can also be used to provide real-time images to first responders during tornadoes, floods, or other natural disasters.

California’s Commercial Drone Industry Is Taking Off
June 14, 2015

"We think the commercial market has a chance to be much larger," said Steven Gitlin, a spokesman for AeroVironment Inc., the largest supplier of small drones to the military.

Unmanned Aircraft Systems Enable Tactical ISR
May 28, 2015

The U.S. Department of Defense's fleet of unmanned aircraft systems enables tactical intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) - without endangering military personnel and at a lower cost than manned aircraft.

AeroVironment Seeks To Grow Switchblade Missile Business
May 08, 2015

The manufacturer that has supplied most of the small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) the U.S. military uses also has a tactical missile systems business. AeroVironment’s Switchblade is an expendable, “backpackable” UAS with an explosive warhead that can be flown into targets. It can be configured for other missions and scaled to larger sizes, attributes AeroVironment hopes to exploit to build the business

Marines Launch Switchblade from V-22 Osprey
April 17, 2015

Picture this: U.S. Marines are in the middle of a helicopter raid and about to land infantrymen on the ground. However, they’re taking gunfire from an armed insurgent shooting from a well-covered position, and there’s no easy way to get him. Flying a kamikaze drone armed with explosives from the back of an MV-22 Osprey aircraft, and directing it right into the insurgent’s fighting hole.

U.S. Navy Testing Switchblade From Submarines
April 13, 2015

The Navy will deploy its first underwater drones from Virginia-class attack submarines for the first time in history later this year, the Navy's director of undersea warfare said Monday.

AeroVironment Receives FAA Section 333 Exemption For UAS Operations In The United States”
April 09, 2015

Under the new policy, the FAA will grant a certificate of waiver or authorization for all flights at or below 200 feet to any UAS operator that has already received a Section 333 exemption. The COA allows the exempt UAS operator to fly anywhere in the U.S. without the need to acquire a COA for every flight—a major change from the previous approach.

CNBC: Jobs For Drones Are Set To Take Off
February 06, 2015

AeroVironment has been working for some of these firms, sending its drones over the North Slope of Alaska to gather data for major oil companies that drill there. A few police forces have been testing drones and CNN has been approved to use them for news gathering. Gitlin said drones are expected to be used extensively in the field of precision agriculture, with farmers using them for the targeted spraying of pesticides.

An Inside Look at Drones
November 17, 2014

Unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones, are controversial surveillance tools that can lead to talk of government spying. But experts at a half-day symposium at Cal State Channel Islands in Camarillo last week said drones are also used to save law enforcement lives and to provide environmental and agricultural benefits.

Drones Provide BP with Eyes in the Skies
November 14, 2014

The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (or drones) is on the rise, with the military to Hollywood finding practical applications. BP, too, was an early adopter. Now, with Federal Aviation Administration approval for the first commercial operation in the US, this technology looks set to change the way BP carries out some of its most challenging tasks.

Coast Guard Research and NOAA Test Puma AE UAS During Arctic Exercise
August 28, 2014

COAST GUARD CUTTER HEALY, At Sea - Soaring high above the shifting ice and frigid waters of the Arctic Ocean, a silent sentinel patrolled the skies above the Coast Guard Cutter Healy during its journey to the Arctic this summer. While buoys and submersibles collected data from the briny deep, an Unmanned Aircraft System kept vigil in the frosty air.

FOX Business: AeroVironment’s Drones Leading The Industry
August 19, 2014

Tim Conver, AeroVironment CEO, on his company’s drones and their abilities to get information out quickly to our military.

NOAA - Scientists use UAS to survey wildlife in Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
July 08, 2014

“This is a great example of how investing in our ability to deploy state of the art technology to conduct observations in remote locations can provide critical data to help NOAA in our conservation and resilience missions,” said Todd Jacobs, project scientist for NOAA Research’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program, and lead for the Hawai‘i missions. “This operation validated our hopes that we can use the aircraft in the Monument for a variety of missions without harming the environment to get data that we wouldn’t otherwise get. We were able to survey in remote coves for monk seals and turtles in conditions that we may not have been able to safely land people ashore.”

“The monk seal mission was wildly successful,” said Charles Littnan, NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center Lead Scientist for the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program. “We were able to identify animals on the beach and in the water, identify mother-pup pairs, and get a sense of the age class of the animal – all things that are important for population monitoring. The data collected by the Puma will nicely supplement our current hands-on approach to the recovery of the species.”

Good Morning America: Puma & Qube Unmanned Aircraft are Helping to Search for Lost Hiker
June 20, 2014

See how the Puma AE and Qube unmanned aircraft are helping in the search for missing California firefighter, Mike Herdman.

WSJ: FAA Gives Approval To BP To Use Commercial Drones
June 10, 2014

AeroVironment Aircraft Will Capture, Analyze Data at Prudhoe Bay Operations. The effort, which began Sunday, marks the first routine commercial drone flights approved by the Federal Aviation Administration, and comes amid growing excitement about the commercial market for unmanned aircraft.

Ventura County Sheriff’s Department Could be First in State to Use Drones
May 30, 2014

In just a few months, the Ventura County Sheriff’s department could become the first law enforcement agency in the state to deploy an unmanned aircraft operationally, with FAA approval.

Soaring over the Ventura River bottom is a new tool in training, locating a downed hiker, a suspicious device, a suspect on the run.

Eyes In The Sky
May 02, 2014

The primary mission of the Raven is to reach remote areas of base difficult to access otherwise. "It's extremely beneficial, especially to help the fire department," said Hawkinson. "I can use this to direct them to fires that are not easily accessible by foot, and I can provide them with a photo of the scene and precise coordinates, as well as maintain aerial surveillance and give them real-time updates over the radio."

AeroVironment’s Puma AE is Used by NOAA to Conduct Fish Population Surveys
April 07, 2014

Off the coast of Georgia last week, researchers and pilots from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tested the ability of a small unmanned aircraft — a drone — to conduct fish population surveys. Watch now.

Bloomberg TV: AeroVironment Presents the Sunny Side of Drones
April 03, 2014

AeroVironment VP of Marketing and Communications Steve Gitlin discusses the drone that runs on solar power and stays in the air longer. He speaks with Pimm Fox on Bloomberg Television’s “Taking Stock."

FAA Approves AeroVironment’s Qube Small UAS For Nighttime Operations By Grand Forks Sheriff Dept.
April 01, 2014

The UAS partnership is governed by a UND compliance committee that has approved five types of missions for the UAS: searches for missing people; searches for “serious” criminal suspects; disaster assessments; documenting accident and crime scenes, usually mapping for investigative reasons; and monitoring traffic at major events.

NBC News: Robots, Drones and Subs: Where Should the Military Invest?
February 25, 2014

Unmanned systems have an incredible amount of potential.

Grand Forks Sheriff Using Technology To Study Accident Scenes
February 16, 2014

While emergency responders worked at the scene of a deadly crash on Grand Forks’ South Columbia Road about a week ago, a small unmanned aircraft quietly floated overhead. It was taking photos to help investigators reconstruct the events that led up to the accident, according to Lt. Dwight Love of the Grand Forks Police Department. They would otherwise have to bring in a crane or a helicopter to get such photos.

CNN: North Dakota Testing New Drone Technology
February 10, 2014

"You can operate these aircraft for a fraction of the cost of what a manned aircraft unit would cost an agency." The UAS-es help "increase situational awareness" for officers in the event of a criminal pursuit, a flood or even a traffic jam. The aircrafts also provide "a perspective that deputies on the ground would not easily get," says Frazier.

See How the 2nd Marine Logistics Group Trains with the Raven UAS
February 05, 2014

“By using the Raven we can recon a route before our [logistics] convoys pass through, so we don’t get hit,” said Cpl. Tyler Sanchez, a radio operator with Combat Logistics Regiment 2, 2nd Marine Logistics Group.

Curacao to Use Raven For Crime Fighting
January 07, 2014

WILLEMSTAD – The Curacao Public Prosecutor (OM) and Curacao Police Corps (KPC) will use modern means to tackle the growing crime during the first quarter of the new year. The Dutch Department of Defense has sent the unmanned aircraft called Raven to the island for this period. With this aircraft it will be possible for the authorities to detect and follow criminals.

Unmanned Aircraft Demo Shows Off Warfighting Capabilities
January 06, 2014

MARINE CORPS BASE, QUANTICO, Va. – In the past, American warfighters lost their lives to improvised explosive devices (IED) on the battlefield. But now with technological advancements, small unmanned aircraft systems (SUAS) can save lives.

CNN:  Forget Flying Cars, Check Out These Cool Flying Robots
December 05, 2013

These awesome flying robots are taking unmanned flight in new directions. Watch them hover like a bee, flap like a bird and bounce like a ball.

CNBC: Dawn of The ‘Drone Age’
December 03, 2013

Tim Conver, AeroVironment's Chairman & CEO discusses the future of commercial UAS.

15 Years Of Drones At TED, In Five GIFs
November 20, 2013

At TED2012, then-director of DARPA, Regina Dugan (she later went to work at Google) demonstrated a hummingbird drone (developed by AeroVironment, Inc.). “It can fly in all directions, even backwards. It can hover and rotate,” she said. “This prototype aircraft is equipped with a video camera, it weighs less than one AA battery. It does not eat nectar.”

2nd SBCT Capabilities Soar, Thanks To New Raven system
November 15, 2013

The new payload used in the Raven expands the capabilities of the system by introducing a consolidated camera package that includes 360-degree views with both day and night optics that can stream live video up to 10 kilometers away.

“The Raven is a highly agile unmanned aerial vehicle used for reconnaissance,” said Cpl. Michael Webster, a Raven expert with 2nd SBCT.

Using Drones To Monitor Changes In The Environment
October 21, 2013

Some of those researchers are tracking wildfires, ozone concentrations, oil spills, volcano ash, changes in sea ice and sea lions.

US Marines Demonstrate RQ-11B Raven Unmanned System Capabilities
October 17, 2013

"After our forward teams move out, we can launch the Raven to specific grid sites and have eyes on what the teams will encounter within minutes."

Cottonbalers, Mustangs Team Up To Protect Soldiers With Unmanned Aerial Systems
October 14, 2013

LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment and 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, teamed up to fly their small unmanned aerial systems in order to combat the indirect fire threat at Forward Operating Base Shank, Aug. 14, while they braved the heat and sun.

The Soldiers routinely fly their Puma and Raven SUAS with a high degree of safety and success to search for enemies of Afghanistan, who plan and prepare attacks on U.S. and Afghan bases.

The Economist: Solar Powered Drones - On a Bright New Wing
September 06, 2013

A solar-powered unmanned aerial system (a UAS, more commonly called a drone) could fly long, lonely missions that conventional aircraft would not be capable of.

Eyes in the Sky - Will Drones End Privacy As We Know It?
August 15, 2013

One company that is looking for new markets is AeroVironment. After seeing its annual revenues for military drones shrink by almost a third last year, the company began assessing both emergency responders and law enforcement as potential sources of business. "The possible uses of this technology are extremely broad," says Steven Gitlin, who is the company's vice president of marketing strategy and communications. But law enforcement, he adds, is "a logical first step."

Launch This New 9-Hour Solar-Powered Drone from Your Shoulder
August 13, 2013

A new small unmanned aircraft system (UAS) boasts something no other has been able to do thus far: continuous flight for 9 hours and all on the clean energy of solar power.

AeroVironment‘s 13-pound Puma AE can be assembled and hand-launched in minutes and requires no infrastructure for launch or landing, making them attractive for frontline use where time and space can be too scarce for the requirements of full-scale drones.

Florida UAS Enforce Fishing Regulations
August 06, 2013

“While in flight, the small aircraft Puma AE is extremely stealthy and can barely be seen or heard and can be launched, operated and recovered from small vessels. Because of its numerous attributes, officers were quick to realize that the aircraft is also perfect for law enforcement applications. The operation concluded with Officers Martin Messier, Raul Pena-Lopez and Josh Peters issuing two federal citations.”

Those citations were issued for a boat being anchored in a restricted area of the Dry Tortugas North Ecological Reserve without a permit and for a sailboat fishing illegally in the Tortugas South Ecological Reserve. This led to the crew wondering exactly how well they could track other illegal activities such as filleting fish at sea, so they are currently testing the effectiveness, which explains why people have been caught.

Unmanned Aircraft Soars Over Peninsula Coast For Researchers
June 23, 2013

Staff with the Unmanned Aircraft System Program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, are operating the 13-pound aircraft with the help of sanctuary staff, said Vernon Smith, spokesman for NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, based in Maryland.

LA Daily News: Economic Boon Could Be On Horizon As Drones Evolve From Military To Civilian Uses
June 22, 2013

In the aviation industry, they're called unmanned aircraft systems or UAS. But in everyday parlance, they're known as drones.

Recently a vital tool for the American military to spy, communicate and attack in places like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen, drones may become a common sight in American skies within a few years. Manufacturers see an economic windfall in the technology for everyday civilian uses ranging from policing and search and rescue to firefighting and even agriculture.

Strategy + Business: Flight of the Drone Maker
May 28, 2013

The late Paul B. MacCready earned his reputation as an inventor, a pioneer in environmentally friendly technologies, and a daredevil. In 1979, he oversaw a triumphant flight over the English Channel in a seemingly impossible machine: a human-powered aircraft kept aloft by pedaling. He also left his adventurous mark on AeroVironment Inc. (AV), which has had a rich history of seemingly impossible innovations ever since MacCready founded the company in 1971. Today, more than 40 years later, AeroVironment may be poised to lead the next wave of major change in the way people fuel their vehicles, go to war, and make use of flight.

"Flight of the Drone Maker" by Lawrence M. Fisher reprinted with permission from the strategy+business website, published by Booz & Company Inc. Copyright © 2013. All rights reserved.

U.S., Moroccan, German Service Members Conduct UAV Familiarization for African Lion 13
May 06, 2013

U.S. Marines, along with German and Moroccan counterparts, conducted a small unmanned-flying vehicle familiarization course for Exercise African Lion 13, in Agadir, Morocco, that shared the capabilities of the RQ-11B Raven as part of the Intelligence Capacity Building Workshop, April 13.
The RQ-11B Raven, or “Raven-B,” is the Marine Corps’ lightweight, hand-launched Unmanned Air Vehicle that provides reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition used in contingency operations around the world.

NY Times: A Drone’s–Eye View of Nature
May 06, 2013

Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge, Colo. — An electric whir filled the air of this high desert valley as Jeff Sloan, a cartographer for the United States Geological Survey, hurled a small remote-controlled airplane into the sky. The plane, a four-and-a-half-pound AeroVironment Raven, dipped; then its plastic propeller whined and pulled it into the sky.

Telecom-Equipped Drones Could Revolutionize Wireless Market
April 30, 2013

“Each one of our small unmanned aircraft can operate somewhat like a miniature and very low-cost communications satellite at 400 to 500 feet above ground,” Gitlin said. “It’s basically like a flying Wi-Fi hot spot.”

U.S. Tries New Aerial Tools in Caribbean Drug Fight
April 29, 2013

ABOARD THE HIGH SPEED VESSEL SWIFT - (AP) -- Drug smugglers who race across the Caribbean in speedboats will typically jettison their cargo when spotted by surveillance aircraft, hoping any chance of prosecuting them will vanish with the drugs sinking to the bottom of the sea.

From Battle to Birds: Drones Get Second Life Counting Critters
April 26, 2013

The U.S. military and law enforcement agencies have seen on the domestic use of the robotically piloted planes known as drones. Working on the sidelines of this debate, the U.S. Geological Survey has been trying to find a second life for retired military drones in the areas of environmental and wildlife management. Instead of watching the battlefield, these drones are watching birds.

Drone Technology Could Be Coming To A Police Department Near You
February 27, 2013

A look at how "The Qube" and other gadgets geared to law enforcement agencies area attracting attention at the California Police Chiefs Association annual training symposium.

AeroVironment Qube Public Safety Small UAS Featured On CBS News Sunday Morning
February 10, 2013

AeroVironment, the California company that sells the military something like 85 percent of its fleet, is marketing them now to public safety agencies.

Steve Gitlin, a vice-president of AeroVironment, demonstrated for Teicher the company's Qube system: "It's a small unmanned aircraft that's designed to give first responders an immediate eye in the sky so they can find lost kids, they can investigate accidents, they can support disaster recovery for earthquakes in California, tornadoes in the Midwest, hurricanes in the Gulf Coast.

The Highs and Lows of Human-Powered Flight
February 01, 2013

MacCready took on the first Kremer prize -- for flying a figure eight -- in 1977 with his Gossamer Condor craft. The final version of this vehicle, comprised of a large wing, pilot nacelle and double-skinned airfoil, was flown by cyclist and hang-glider Bryan Allen. On August 23rd of that year, Allen completed the 1.6-mile course as designated by the Royal Aeronautical Society, located at Minter field in Shafter, Calif. This flight was important for a number of reasons, but in no small part because it represented the first controlled, sustained flight complete with human-powered takeoff.

US Geological Survey’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Project Office in Denver Relies on Raven
January 22, 2013

A team of pilots operate the Raven RQ-11A aircraft, a Global Positioning System guided sUAS with interchangeable nosecones that provide several options for video data collection.

NPR Morning Edition: This Defense Contractor Has A Green Side
January 22, 2013

Lots of companies make products that don't have much in common, but AeroVironment specializes in two products that are very different -- electric vehicle chargers, which keep cars like the Nissan Leaf on the road, and military drones. The Los Angeles-area firm is a leading manufacturer of small unmanned aircraft.

This unusual company was the creation of one unusual individual, Paul MacCready. He loved things that fly. "As a youngster, I was very interested in model airplanes, ornithopters, autogyros, helicopters, gliders, power planes ..." MacCready said at a TED conference in 2003, four years before his death.

Coming Soon: Your Own Personal Drone
January 21, 2013

The recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas was a treasure trove of new ideas for investors. Motley Fool analyst Rex Moore was there, and in the following video, he reports back on one of the most fascinating forward-looking technologies he saw. Would you believe ... your own personal drone?

OK NewsChannel 4: Unmanned Aircraft Industry To Bring Jobs to Oklahoma
January 16, 2013

"It's going to help first responders save lives and protect property all over the U.S. and all over the world," Gitlin said.

An unmanned vehicle can be stored in a police officer's trunk and readied for flight in five minutes or less.

Experts estimate more than 600 high-paying, quality jobs could be created by the UAS industry in just three years.

Air&Space Smithsonian: Drones for Hire
January 01, 2013

Though there is enormous potential for drone use in emergency situations, infrastructure inspection, and ecological monitoring, many buyers still aren't sure exactly what they need. "The industry is pretty immature," says Embry-Riddle's Currier of the current offerings at AUVSI. He compares it to the early years of auto manufacturing, when motorists had hundreds of brands, and no company dominated. "It's hard to tell which is a production-ready aircraft by just looking at it," says Roy Minson, a vice president at AeroVironment Inc., a leading producer of unmanned aircraft, including the Raven and another fixed-wing, the Puma AE, both of which are popular with the military. But the company is spending millions to refine a multi-rotor it calls the Qube, aimed at civilian firefighters and officers who need an easy way to get a camera overhead and transmitting video within minutes.

Bloomberg TV: World’s Favorite Drone: $200K, Fits in a Backpack
December 12, 2012

Bloomberg gets up close with the Raven UAS, the most prolific unmanned aircraft in the world, and a favorite of the military.

Army Unmanned Aircraft Programs: Winners and Losers
December 12, 2012

One winner is the Puma, a small hand-launched UAV that small units are using for reconnaissance and surveillance. The Army requested the system under a rapid fielding initiative in 2007 to complement its other small drone, the Raven. Soldiers were demanding an all-weather capable aircraft with longer endurance and a gimbaled camera.

Robots Reduce Cost of Science for USGS
November 07, 2012

The Raven in particular has other advantages over manned missions besides cost. From the report:

The initial USGS mission in March 2011 studied the annual north-south migration of endangered sandhill cranes from Arizona through Colorado to Montana and Wyoming. The cranes fly north in the first part of February and spend much of each spring in Colorado?s San Luis Valley at the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge. Thermal cameras capturing images of the cranes at roost were used to determine population trends in collaboration with the FWS. ?Because the Raven is small and quiet, it could fly low enough ? 75 feet ? to photograph the birds without disturbing them. Moreover, the mission cost only one-tenth of a conventional airborne survey"

AeroVironment’s Switchblade selected as one of “Best Inventions of the Year” by Time Magazine
November 01, 2012

At 2 ft. in length and weighing 6 lb. (60 cm, 2.7 kg), the Switchblade drone can be carried into battle in a backpack. It's a kamikaze: the person controlling it uses a real-time video feed from the drone to crash it into a precise target--say, a sniper. Its tiny warhead detonates on impact. In effect, it makes fighters in the field their own air support.

Send in the Phone Drones
November 01, 2012

Our small unmanned aircraft systems come already equipped with a digital communication technology that basically allows them to operate like mini communications satellites only a few hundred feet above the ground," says AeroVironment's Steve Gittin, "they can route voice video and data so emergency communication can be stood up very rapidly after a disasters."

ABC 7 Chicago: Eyes in the Sky
October 30, 2012

Unmanned aircraft systems -- like the Raven and the Wasp -- were developed for battlefield use, but drones are making their way to domestic airspace - in large part because they offer "eyes in the sky" at a mere fraction of a helicopter's cost.

"So basically for the cost of a fully equipped squad car, a police force, or a first responder can have the capability in their trunk to get a bird's eye view of any situation where they need it," said Steve Gitlin, AeroVironment.

LA-based Aerovironment, a leading maker of small drones for the military, has developed what it calls "the Qube", a five-and-a-half pound baby helicopter with a thermal camera that can hover for 40 minutes. It's technology that could significantly aid hostage situations, search and rescue, or, for example, a planned raid on a house with armed bad guys inside.

Puma AE: The Special Forces Spy Drone that Lands Anywhere
October 16, 2012

The Puma AE (All Environment) is an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) designed as an Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) platform built for the rigors of both land and sea-based missions. That is, the Puma AE can land its 13-pound frame either in tight city streets or onto a water surface if the mission dictates, even after a near-vertical "deep stall" final approach. An onboard GPS unit guarantees that it will land within 25 meters of a predetermined landing target.

Drawing the Line on Drones
October 15, 2012

The International Association of Police Chiefs held its convention in San Diego earlier this month and one of the booths drawing a lot of attention belonged to a California company called AeroVironment, Inc.

It's in the business of building drones.

One of its models--the Raven--weighs less than five pounds and is the most popular military spy drone in the world. More than 19,000 have been sold. Another of its robot planes--the Switchblade--is seen as the drone of the future, one small enough to fit into a soldier's backpack.

But AeroVironment is zeroing in on a new market--police and fire departments too small to afford their own helicopters, but big enough to have a need for overhead surveillance. So in San Diego, it was showing off yet another model, this one called the Qube unmanned aircraft system.

The camera never blinks

AeroVironment likes to tout the Qube as just what a future-thinking police department needs--a flying machine that fits in the trunk of a cop car--it's less than five pounds and just three feet long--can climb as high as 500 feet and stays airborne as long as 40 minutes.

AeroVironment Mantis i23 Gimbaled Payload Selected as One of Year’s Biggest Breakthroughs by C4ISR
October 09, 2012

Each year, C4ISR Journal scans the world of networks, sensors and intelligence, looking for the new technologies and new efforts changing the way military forces and policymakers do their jobs.

We find these candidates in many ways. Some are nominated by their manufacturers, some by their users; still others are in the news. We scrutinize each one. Is it new? Is it available? Is it useful? Is it being used? ? and slim down the pool to a list of the best.

Raven UAS Mission
October 04, 2012

FORT CHAFFEE, Ark.--Just before 4 a.m. here on July 26, 2012, with the mercury already flirting with 85 degrees Fahrenheit on a moonless and humid Arkansas morning, Army Reservist Staff Sgt. Jeremy Phetteplace told Staff Sgt. Rob Jenkins, "Remember like a Javelin" and asked him, "Clear Prop?"

Tiny Drones Promoted for Police Use
October 01, 2012

DOWNTOWN SAN DIEGO -- Big law enforcement agencies have helicopter fleets and fixed wing aircraft to help fight crime and save lives, but smaller departments don't have the money it takes to run an air program.

Now a number of private companies are trying to step into that void.

Drones Are Elwha Dam Researchers’ Eyes In Sky
September 25, 2012

PORT ANGELES -- Electronic "Ravens" join hungry raptors, their eyes fixed on the flowing water below, as they swoop over the Elwha River this week.

The 4-foot-wide aircraft, resembling radio-controlled airplanes, are steered by researchers on the ground.

Marines Stand Up Schools For Small UAV Training
September 11, 2012

Hundreds of U.S. Marines will begin receiving advanced training in the use of unmanned aerial vehicles before deploying to the war zone.

Combined, about 480 officers and enlisted Marines will attend schoolhouses at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and Camp Pendleton, Calif., each year to learn how to operate and maintain the Corps' smallest UAVs, according to Marine officials. The school at Camp Lejeune, called Training and Logistics Support Activity, began enrolling students in mid-July.

Iron Brigade Conducts Raven Training
September 07, 2012

DONA ANA, N.M. - Soldiers with 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, conducted Unmanned Aircraft System crew member evaluation training at a training area near Fort Bliss, Texas, Aug. 28. In order to stay qualified as an operator of the RQ-11 Raven unmanned aircraft, the crew members must log more than 150 hours of flight time per month.

Afghanistan is the Proving Ground for UAS Capability
August 28, 2012

No doubt about it, unmanned systems are proving effective in Afghanistan, said Peter Singer of the Brookings Institution think tank. ?It?s a revolutionary technology. It?s creating both possibilities, but also dilemmas we didn?t imagine we?d be facing just a generation ago,? such as the identity of the forces in the future, he said. ?Its historic parallel is things like gun powder, the steam engine? it?s that level of change,? Singer added.

Raven UAV - The Spanish Army’s All Seeing Eyes in Afghanistan
August 21, 2012

Los militares de la 12 companía de la Brigada Paracaidista se despiertan tras haber dormido al raso y en el suelo en el campamento militar de Dar-e-bum, o lo que queda de él, después de que las tropas españolas se retiraran de allá el pasado marzo. Se lavan la cara como los gatos, con un botellán de agua o toallitas hémedas de bebó, y empiezan a preparar los vehículos blindados. Son las cinco de la mañana y apenas se ve.

Drones Aimed At Fighting Future Wars
August 13, 2012

Imagine swarms of drone aircraft fighting the wars of the future.

One big remotely piloted "bird" could control an array of stealthy planes with bombs and missiles to "knock the door down" for manned fighter jets high over enemy territory via satellite links to a ground station in Nevada. Or South Dakota. Or anywhere.

LA Times: Drones Tested As Tools For Police And Firefighters
August 05, 2012

WASHINGTON -- On a chaparral-covered hillside 40 miles north of Los Angeles in June 2010, researchers from the Department of Homeland Security hid a device the size of a pack of cigarettes that emitted a safe pulse of low-grade radiation.

It was a stand-in for a dirty bomb, or fallout from a nuclear meltdown.

Nearby, a pilot toggled a joystick, and a gray drone with the wingspan of a California condor banked through the sky. As the plane's sensor sniffed for radioactive isotopes, law enforcement officers and firefighters watched a portable controller that looked like an oversized Game Boy.

In minutes, a warning signal glowed on the screen. The drone had detected the radiation.

Drones: From War Weapons To Homemade Toy
August 02, 2012

Drones transformed the battlefield in Iraq and Afghanistan. But their use has been extremely limited in U.S. skies. The Federal Aviation Administration essentially bans the commercial use of drones, and government use is still highly restricted.

But that's changing.

For a long time, drones, which are formally known as unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, were exotic, expensive and out of reach for all but military users. Today, however, a clever hobbyist can have his own eye in the sky.

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