Autel Enterprise is Announces Its Partnership with FoxFury Lighting

Autel Enterprise is Announces Its Partnership with FoxFury Lighting

Congratulations to two of our favorite partners and their partnership announcement.

“The FoxFury-designed, Autel-owned platform will support multiple FoxFury D3060 or D10 lighting systems, enabling pilots to be creative with lighting, dependent on need. A single D3060 might be mounted to fulfill FAA anti-collision lighting requirements, or mount multiple lights for daylight flight, indoor flight, or creative photography. The lights are rechargeable via USB-C connector.”

Read the entire Press Release here.

 

SMG at Commercial UAV Expo 2020

Today Commercial UAV Expo 2020 launched with the “Outdoor” Virtual Demonstrations.  Fortunately, it’s a lot warmer than last year, sitting comfortably at our desks!

Registration is still open, the exhibit hall is FREE to all attendees, as is the keynote sessions.  If you haven’t already registered, be sure to do so and check out what’s happening within the drone industry.  The keynote sessions are stacked and the rest of the sessions offered are deep with some heavy hitters from the industry.  Check out the full list of speakers here.

Back to the Virtual Drone Demonstrations; what a wonderful way to start the show!  We started off with Iris Automation and a detailed discussion of their onboard detect-and-avoid for BVLOS drone flight.  Very impressive how they are managing BLVOS operations.

Next up was a demonstration from Doosan and their hydrogen fuel cell long-endurance drone.  With the two hour flight time, they are BVLOS ready and better economics.

Anchoring the first section of Drone Demonstrations today was our very own, Douglas Spotted Eagle, showcasing the Sundance Media Group Night UAV CSI workflow.

Douglas took the time to walk the audience through best-practices on capturing a night forensic scene by drone. He includes a brief overview of the equipment used (links below) as well as access to the Pix4D model generated.

Find the full session on our Vimeo Page here.

 

If you have any questions, please email us at requests@sundancemediagroup.com. 

And if you’re interested, check out last year’s CommUAV Night UAV CSI event video here,  which includes interview with local law enforcement.  (It was quite COLD out there!)

Finally, here is a list of the equipment we used:

Autel EVO II Series: auteldrones.com/pages/evo-ii-pro-detail
DTResearch GNSS Tablet: dtresearch.com/en/Gnss-Tablets/DT301X-TR.html
FoxFury Lighting: foxfury.com/
Hoodman Accessories: hoodmanusa.com/Drones-Phones-Tablets-s/127.htm
Pix4D Software: pix4d.com/

And find the full project here for you to work with:
cloud.pix4d.com/dataset/701216/map?shareToken=a9c1cdc4-dad3-4b49-b51a-df8239135811

 

Thank you to our partners for helping us keep sharing information within the drone industry:

 

Sundance Media Group Announces Drone Training Reseller Agreement with SYNNEX Corporation

Sundance Media Group Announces Drone Training Reseller Agreement with SYNNEX Corporation

Agreement Provides Certified Drone Training to Government Agencies and Organizations Across the U.S.

Las Vegas June 3, 2020 Sundance Media Group (SMG) today announced an agreement with  SYNNEX Corporation (NYSE: SNX), a leadingbusiness process services company, to provide certified drone training to government agencies and organizations across the U.S.

SMG specializes in assisting police, fire and private corporations seeking to stand up new small Unmanned Aircraft System drone programs or add sUAS workflows into their existing drone programs. SMG offers drone training programs across the U.S. as well as the filing of Certificates of Authorization and/or waivers with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. SMG also creates and assists in the implementation of Policy, Procedures and Operations manuals for ISO-compliant municipalities and organizations.

“Training is a vital component to a viable, safe and effective drone program. This agreement with Sundance Media Group enables us to offer a B2B turnkey solution within the unmanned aircraft industry,” said Ed Somers, Vice President, Public Sector and Vertical Markets, SYNNEX. “The addition of SMG safety-first training methodology services to our own product offerings elevates our complete technology solutions.”

SMG has a 19-year history working in aviation and crime scene investigation and has developed training missions for Major Incident Response Teams, CSI, traffic homicide, night-time forensic missions, and crowd overwatch with and without tethering components.  Drones offer an aerial vantage point and are a significant force multiplier. Operations may be initiated faster with fewer persons involved. As a force multiplier, nothing compares to sUAS with regard to cost, safety, speed and capturing/recording /archiving information that may be passed up or down the chain of command.

SMG’s training, now available through SYNNEX, include 107 offerings from prep, introduction to practical flight and advanced applied to vertical-focused flight training and post-processing training.

“We look forward to bringing our standard of excellence for various segments within the UA industry to SYNNEX and its customers,” said Jennifer Pidgen, Chief Operating Officer of Sundance Media Group, now celebrating 26 years in training. “SYNNEX focuses on helping their business partners grow and the SMG culture is to ensure that every client gets white-glove services. We identify the clients’ specific sUAS needsand we build out our training programs to meet those needs to ensure they are successful in their adaptation of this new technology.”

 

 

 

About Sundance Media Group

Founded in 1994, Sundance Media Group (SMG) began as a training organization focused on cameras, codecs, and post-production technology. In 2004, the company began training in aviation technology, adding sUAS in 2011. In 2012, SMG produced the world’s first UAS training conference at the NAB/P|PW Conference and is vendor neutral, where we collaborate with manufacturers, service providers, and software developer to find the best solution for our clients’ needs.

With instructors from Public Safety, Construction, Vertical Inspection, Real Estate, and Cinematography, SMG instructors may be found speaking at technical, aviation, and UAS conferences around the globe. For more information on SMG, please visit www.sundancemediagroup.com or via email at requests@sundancemediagroup.com

About SYNNEX Corporation

SYNNEX Corporation (NYSE: SNX) is a Fortune 200 corporation and a leading business process services company, providing a comprehensive range of distribution, logistics and integration services for the technology industry and providing outsourced services focused on customer engagement to a broad range of enterprises.  SYNNEX distributes a broad range of information technology systems and products, and also provides systems design and integration solutions. Founded in 1980, SYNNEX Corporation operates in numerous countries throughout North and South America, Asia-Pacific and Europe. Additional information about SYNNEX may be found online at synnex.com.

SYNNEX, the SYNNEX Logo, and all other SYNNEX company, product and services names and slogans are trademarks or registered trademarks of SYNNEX Corporation. SYNNEX, the SYNNEX Logo, Reg. U.S. Pat. & Tm. Off. Other names and marks are the property of their respective owners.

By | June 3rd, 2020|Drone, Drone Safety, Inspection, Law Enforcement, Mapping, Night Flight, Public Safety, sUAS, sUAS, sUAS Safety, Technology, Training, UAV, UAV Maintenance|Comments Off on Sundance Media Group Announces Drone Training Reseller Agreement with SYNNEX Corporation

EVO II from Autel-First Impressions

We received an Autel Evo II for evaluation and presentation to some of the public safety agencies with whom we work.  We are thrilled that Autel provided us with an Evo II to evaluate for an upcoming law enforcement conference.

The Evo II is a significant departure from the original Evo, and should not be viewed as merely an “upgrade” to the original Evo product. We have recommended, and will continue to recommend, the original Evo as a cost-effective, application-specific aircraft for small-area mapping, traffic reconstruction, overwatch, tactical insertions, construction sites, cinema, and many other uses.

The Evo II is a slightly larger aircraft body with longer flight capability (40mins+), and four different camera options.

  • 8K camera
  • 6K camera (1” sensor)
  • 8K/Thermal camera (320 x 256)
  • 8K/Thermal (640 x 512)

Since receiving the Evo II, we’ve put it through several paces both in actual and simulated use. During the DNC caucus’, and during the Town Halls, it was used for newsgathering, and used in a “let’s see what she’ll do” in monitoring dark alleyways near one of the hotels, for persons exiting/entering the side doors. It excelled in both environments. We’ve put it through some paces with the Greer, SC police department, where they own several other small-format UA with thermal capability.

The biggest question they asked is “How does it compare to our existing Mavic Pro Enterprise Edition?

Simply put, it’s not a remotely fair comparison. It’s inappropriate to compare the cameras due to significant differences in resolution.

The thermal camera options for the Enterprise Edition cannot/do not match the thermal camera on the Evo II, so there is no point of parity at which they can be compared. Having pointed that out;

  • The Evo II offers longer perch time/flight time(40mins plus)
  • The Evo II provides internal storage in the event of no available MSD card
  • The Evo II is less noisy
  • The Evo II offers significantly greater stability in wind.
  • The Evo II offers mapping in the application without need for third party support.
  • The Evo II has no geofencing, and can be deployed from case to cruise in less than 60 seconds.
  • The Evo II offers multiple, interchangeable cameras.

We posted a few photos to social media, with information regarding thermal and use beyond 50’. One SAR guru commented that “thermal cameras are useless beyond 50’, and drones often require flight above 100’ for purposes of clearing trees.” This was a surprising statement, inspiring us to run out in the late night and capture a few quick images.

By no means a scientific experiment, we raised the Evo II to an altitude of 210’, and put a 6” saucepan of hot water in the graveled shoulder of a residential street. We had left the saucepan on the driveway while setting up the aircraft. The below photos show not only the saucepan, but also the heated area remaining. The heated area was visible for over 30 mins beyond flight. These images are NOT part of our greater/deeper evaluation, but rather something we are able to quickly share. These images are directly from the camera, no edits. Images are captured straight overhead (the most inefficient angle for thermal viewing). I have also included one oblique angle for comparison. Not every palette was chosen for purposes of display, simply as a means of being efficient. These images were captured shortly prior to 2300, although the timestamps indicate nearly 2000 (we didn’t set the clock per timezone).

Mavic 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Evo II provides significantly greater data/resolution, but at a higher cost.

 

Oblique angle from 200′ away from subject. Note the heated concrete is still visible, separate from the saucepan of water.
 

 

Informally, we checked out the digital zoom with resampling feature on the Evo 2 thermal. Overall, we are impressed with the resampling quality of the zoomed image seen here.

Indoor comparison with EvoII

Indoor comparison with M2ED (MSX Enabled)
*Courtesy HTS Ag


These images were captured at 400′ altitude, and 2500′ from targets.

 

We will begin more formalized, focused evaluation in the coming days. Please reach out if you’d like to see any particular scenarios replicated/evaluated using the Evo 2 Thermal with the 30Hz 640 x 512 Boson core.
SMG is a consulting and training organization; we are an objective party receiving no revenue, compensation, spiff, commission, or other form of remuneration for digging into the aircraft we review for our clients.

 

By | February 24th, 2020|Drone, Inspection, Law Enforcement, Public Safety, Security, Software, sUAS, sUAS, Uncategorized|Comments Off on EVO II from Autel-First Impressions

HIGH-INTENSITY SPOTLIGHT FOR AEE MACH™ 4 sUAS

## PRESS RELEASE ##

CONTACT INFORMATION:

AEE USA

Mike Kahn

Mike Kahn mkahn@aee.com

858.349.5246

RELEASE DATE:  10.24.2019

 

HIGH-INTENSITY SPOTLIGHT FOR AEE MACH™ 4 sUAS

 Transformative lighting for unmanned aircraft now available

 

 Dateline: [Las Vegas NV 10.25.2019] — Powered by FoxFury, AEE announces a 4-degree spotlight created for the AEE Mach™ 4 aircraft, providing users with a lighting system similar to helicopter-mounted spotlighting systems.

“This new lighting system powered by FoxFury is far beyond anything currently available in the unmanned industry,” said

Mike Kahn, CMO-AEE. “We are excited at the power, battery life, and the unmatched intensity of this new focused spotlight system.”

The 5000 lumen, 790 gram light is built from 6061-T6 aluminum with an IPX7 rating, and offers three intensities and a strobe function. The AEE Mach™ 4 aircraft is capable of approximately 30 minute flight with the spotlight powered by the airframe power supply due to high power efficiency.

“Our intent is to re-create the experience of a helicopter-mounted spotlight while taking into consideration the payload and power capability of an sUAS system” said Mario Cugini of FoxFury. “AEE is the first sUAS system to deploy this platform-agnostic spotlight product designed for virtually any midsized sUAS.”

The AEE Mach™ 4 sUAS system is manufactured for Public Safety, EMS, and inspection purposes, priced at $6499 with a standard 4K camera and $7499.00 with a 10X optical zoom camera. The Spotlight system is $799.00. The AEE Mach™ 4 is a point-to-point secure system with a military-grade ground station control, offering long flight time and/or heavy payload capability with retractable landing gear and

Douglas Spotted Eagle (Sundance Media Group) Director of Education says “Currently there is no product from any manufacturer which offers the intensity, battery life, and viability of in-air scene lighting for public safety, night inspection, or security purposes. We have had opportunity to beta-test this system and are exceptionally impressed with the Mach™ 4 platform carrying the FoxFury Spotlight. The focus, distance/intensity, ultra-efficient battery consumption, and heat dissipation goes well beyond anything we’ve seen in the unmanned industry.”

The AEE platform and FoxFury lighting system may be seen in action at CommUAV Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada on October 29/30, and during the Night Flight programming from Sundance Media Group in the same week.

 

About AEE

AEE Aviation Technology Ltd., has been a leader in developing and manufacturing professional, advanced and reliable recording equipment since 1999. This includes UAV drone systems, action cameras such as the MagicCam and police recording equipment. A pioneer in combining wireless audio and video transmission as well as image and processing and intelligent control technologies, AEE products are proudly distributed worldwide in more than 55 countries and regions across major retail chain outlets. AEE Aviation Technology, Ltd., is based in Shenzhen, China with offices in Munich, Germany and Walnut, California, USA.

 

About FoxFury

Since 2003, FoxFury leads the world in cutting edge LED lighting solutions for enterprise use. The FoxFury Xtremium™ products focus on durability and speed, providing unique solutions and possibilities for first responders, unmanned pilots, enterprise professionals, and videographers in over 65 countries, distributed through the world’s largest distribution centers. FoxFury is a proud US company, with offices in Oceanside, CA.

###

By | October 25th, 2019|Counter UAS, Drone, Drone Safety, Inspection, Law Enforcement, Night Flight, Public Safety, Real Estate, Regulations, Security, sUAS, sUAS Regulation, sUAS Safety, UAV, UAV Maintenance|Comments Off on HIGH-INTENSITY SPOTLIGHT FOR AEE MACH™ 4 sUAS

THE SNAKE OIL OF THE CUAS INDUSTRY

First and foremost, there are exceptionally capable counter-UAS solutions available from developers and manufacturers with great integrity. This article is not about them. Image result for snake oil

This is about the “jump on the bandwagon to capture bucks by generating uninformed fear” businesses that are cropping up like weeds in a concrete parking lot. Otherwise known in the security industry as “FUD” (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt).

We recently attended a C-UAS conference, where five manufacturers were invited to a panel, discussing UAS, Counter-UAS, and how they themselves are allegedly already countering UAS within the United States.

Not one of the panel members was aware of the ramifications of Part 107 flight, none were Part 61 nor Part 107 certificated pilots, and none have had any experience in flying UAS. Granted, flying UAS is not a requisite to counter UAS, any more than holding a drivers license should be a prequalification to manufacturing safety equipment for an automobile. But it’s probably a good idea to have at least minimal awareness?

Rather than pontificate the essence of the panel, it is likely more valuable to comment on statements made by the panel members and bring to light some misunderstandings within the C-UAS community.

“We are already countering UAS all over the country, dropping drones like flies when they’re in unauthorized areas.”

This is false. Mitigation of an aircraft that would “drop a drone like a fly” is an authority relegated to federal agencies, such as DHS, FBI, etc. It is a violation of FCC law to interrupt an aircraft via RF, and illegal per the FAA to interdict an aircraft mid-flight (UAS or otherwise). In some situations, public safety officers have limited scope on stopping nefarious aircraft. Were UAS “dropping like flies,” the industry would certainly be aware and informed.

“Hospitals are begging the FAA for laws pertaining to UAS peeking into hospital room windows, especially with thermal cameras,  because this causes a violation of HIPPA laws/regulation.”

Thermal cameras are incapable of viewing through a window. Further, it is highly unlikely an RGB camera would offer any grade of detail assuming it could peer through a window. There is near-zero chance of being able to read a patient record through a window due to diffraction, resolution, etc.

“We’ve already experienced a Raspberry Pi-equipped drone landing on a major corporation’s roof and being used as an access point to hack into their network, unseen. This has happened many times.”

(I asked when, and a general idea of where and what industry this had occurred, and was told I can’t tell you that, it’s secret information.” )

“The FAA is coming out with incredibly strict laws about where drones can fly, how high they can fly, what time of day they can fly, and who can fly them. These laws are scheduled to be show to the public in November of 2019.”

Not quite. The NPRM has already been released, and while new regulations are inevitable, there always has been, and always will be, a period for public commentary. There are no new regulations being ‘revealed’ to the public in November of 2019.

“It is currently perfectly legal to shoot down a drone using a net system in the United States.”

Until 18 U.S.C. § 32 is further amended, it is currently not legal to shoot down an sUAS in the United States of America. There are indeed federal agencies with the authority to do so. The context in which this statement was presented was relevant to a lay-person protecting their private property from sUAS overflight.

“The property above your home or business belongs to you for up to 100’ above the highest object on your property. In other words, if you have a 50’ roof line, the lowest a drone could fly over your home is at 150’.”

Not quite. The sUAS aircraft may transit any property at any necessary altitude. Were the aircraft to stop and loiter over private property, state law likely comes into effect, no different than if an individual were to put a ladder against a fence, and take photos of someone’s back yard. There is no federal mandate of altitude, and states for reasons of preemption, may not create/enforce laws relevant to altitude.  Read more about that in one of our earlier blog posts here.

 

There were many other statements of absolute authority made by members of the panel, but the above are illustrative of the ignorance of some C-UAS developers. After listening to their commentary and panel discussion with the very able moderator, I had a few questions of my own.

“How is your business planning to respond to Carpenter vs United States?”

“We do not have to worry about Carpenter vs United States, as that is very old case law.”

Actually, this opinion was rendered 5-4 in June of 2018, with Justice Roberts penning the opinion. In other words, yes, the C-UAS developers and those that would use C-UAS technology are going to need a cogent answer to this question.  As a brief summary, Carpenter reiterates the rights of a citizen to expect privacy in their home, electronic devices, etc. To interrogate a s-UAS mid-flight is arguably a violation of that right to privacy and a warrant is required. Warrants aren’t rapid to access in the majority of situations, potentially leaving law enforcement and C-UAS developers in a challenging situation.

“You say you are able to track a rogue drone anywhere in flight. How do you determine that the operation is a rogue operation?”

“Any drone operating within 5 miles of an airport or over city property is rogue and therefore we will be authorized to interdict and bring the drone to the ground within any means available.”

Interesting thought process, but entirely false. For example, one night my company was operating multiple aircraft on a security mission, in Class Bravo, with a night waiver. The local “drone experts with the State of Nevada” were quick to rush to the television station to denounce the flights as ‘illegal and unsafe,’ although we had ATO authority. Had the local state drone expert had a C-UAS solution available, he likely would have interdicted, putting people’s safety at risk and violating federal regulations. In other words, coordination is required for C-UAS and authorized operations, via the Unmanned Traffic Management system that the US shall soon see in place.  Along that theme, imagine if the aforementioned “drone expert” from the State of Nevada had access to a mitigation system, used RF or physical interdiction to bring down an authorized aircraft, and the authorized aircraft drops onto the head of a civilian. Exponentially increasing the severity of the situation would be a typical LiPO fire that may occur during the impact with the ground, causing property and physical (to human) damage. Last but not least, the C-UAS operator would likely have found himself to be liable in a lawsuit for denying access to public airspace. 
LAANC Connected

“How does your solution tie into the LAANC system for authorized flights of sUAS in controlled airspace?”

(Unilaterally) “We’ve never heard of LAANC.”

Read more about the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability program on the FAA website here.

At the end of the day, it’s important to understand that while we need Counter Unmanned Aircraft System, it has to be intelligent. It is inappropriate that some of these tools are being developed in a bubble without regard to current regulations, operational standards, and programs currently available to sUAS pilots today.

Counter-UAS developers would do well to take the time to learn what pilots are able to access, what laws regulate sUAS, and how the FAA itself is working to ensure authorizations are available to certificated pilots in controlled airspace. If nothing else, C-UAS developers and manufacturers should be aware that there is great potential to rob authorized pilots of access, and their C-UAS program may well backfire, creating greater liability vs offering relief.

Purchasers of C-UAS technologies are encouraged to do the same, in order to avoid liabilities and challenges to any C-UAS strategy thay may run afoul of FAA or FCC regulation. When it comes to airspace, private property ceases to be private and there certainly is more to the conversation than taking action against an airborne sUAS.

It is our position that Counter-sUAS technology is a critical component in securing our country, events, properties, and public areas. It is equally our position that these protection tools be responsibly described within the industry to users, security directors, industry

BOTACH and Sundance Media Group partner for sUAS Training & Consulting Services

Press Release

BOTACH and Sundance Media Group partner for sUAS Training & Consulting Services

Las Vegas, NV, November 08, 2018:

Botach, Inc. (OTC Markets: BOTACH) (“Botach” or the “Company”), Botach (a drone reseller), drone service provider and distributor of tactical products to the U.S. Public Safety channel, and the U.S. Government), announced a reseller/training partnership with Las Vegas-based Sundance Media Group (SMG), a company that specializes in assisting police, fire and private corporations with standing up training programs across the country and filing Certificates of authorization and/or waivers with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). SMG also creates or assists in the implementation of Policy, Procedures, and Operations manuals for ISO-compliant municipalities and organizations.

During the Nevada State Traffic Incident Management training event this past week, Chushim Botach, Botach’s Chief Executive Officer, commented: “Our reseller partnership with Sundance Media Group (SMG) enables us to offer a necessary and critical component of our everything drone strategy to our customers. Through SMG and our own product offerings, we possess the ability to offer our customers a turnkey acquisition, training, and COA/Waiver package. We have observed their abilities over the past two years and have been exceptionally impressed with their dedication to excellence.”

“Training, authorizations and waivers are vital to a viable and successful sUAS program.”

SMG has a 17-year history working in aviation, and has developed training missions for MIRT (Major Incident Response Teams), CSI, traffic homicide, night-time forensic missions, and crowd overwatch with and without tethering components.

We are very happy to be a component of the Botach end-to-end solution for Public Safety and Government sUAS programming,” says Jennifer Pidgen, COO of the company now celebrating 24 years in training. “We look forward to bringing our training standard of excellence and certified instructor/examiner program to Botach’s nation-wide clientele.”

About Botach

Botach Inc. is a family owned business and is one of the leading retailers of tactical and military supplies throughout our great nation. From duty boots to assault rifles, we sell products in every category in the tactical/military industry. Founded in the Los Angeles area, we have recently moved to a new home in Las Vegas. Las Vegas brings into a more shooter friendly environment to which we look forward to exploring and growing within.

Our expertise has kept us in business for over 20 years.  We take pride in caring for our customers.

For additional information about Botach, please visit https://www.botach.com/.

About Sundance Media Group

Founded in 1996, Sundance Media Group/SMG began as a training organization focused on cameras, codecs, and post-production technology. In 2004, the company began training in aviation technology, adding sUAS in 2011. In 2012, SMG produced the world’s first UAS training conference at the National Association of Broadcasters Post Production World Conference, and is an ISO-compliant organization.
With instructors from Public Safety, Construction, Vertical Inspection, Real Estate, and Cinematography, SMG instructors may be found speaking at technical, aviation, and UAS conferences around the globe. For more information on SMG, please visit sundancemediagroup.com

By | November 7th, 2018|Counter UAS, Drone, Drone Safety, Night Flight, Public Safety, Regulations, sUAS, sUAS Regulation, Training, UAV, UAV Maintenance|Comments Off on BOTACH and Sundance Media Group partner for sUAS Training & Consulting Services

sUAS and the 1 October Tragedy

1 October, Harvest Festival, Route 91” are all synonymous to Nevadans and first responders, marking the America’s worst-yet mass shooting event when a lone gunman in a high-rise hotel opened fire on concert goers (the official investigatory title for this event is “1 October”).

  • 58 victims died of gunshot wounds.   
  • 422 individuals were injured by gunfire.  
  • Approximately 800 concert attendees were injured from gunfire, trampling, or other injury escaping the chaos.

Over the course of several hours following the shooting;  law enforcement, fire, EMS services, and civilians acted as one to manage the scene, transporting victims to local hospitals, secure the area, and begin collection of evidence.

sUAS ON SCENE

sUAS were a component of the evidence-gathering process under the direction of the FBI and Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD).


LVMPD partnered with Nevada Highway Patrol’s Multidisciplinary Investigation and Reconstruction Team and their sUAS as part of the scene given the size of the site, and the amount of data that needed to be collected in a short period of time. An outside technical advisor was also brought in to advise and as a subject matter expert to ensure automated mission compliance and best-practices were observed in each of the missions.

THE AREA

The area to be captured via sUAS was just over 19 acres in overall size.

Two primary considerations for data integrity:

  • Corruption of image from shadow/moving sun in a static environment
  • Corruption of area from propwash

To combat the second issue, altitudes for flight were selected based on height and downdraft from the aircraft.

Two types of aircraft were evaluated, a quadcopter and a hexacopter. The hexacopter offered significantly less ground disturbance and was selected for the mission. It was also much quieter and was expected to not attract undue attention at any altitude, as there were many tourists along Las Vegas Boulevard.

In order to counter the primary issue it was determined that the area would be captured with three simultaneous flights, spatially and temporally separated.

The mission requirements shed light on several challenges.

  • The site is located in Class B airspace, less than 500’ from active aprons, taxiways, and runways.
  • An active investigation underway created concern for flight in areas over investigators inside the secured perimeter.
  • Time was at a premium, as this is an outdoor venue and weather/sun were actively degrading evidence.
  • Helicopters from tour companies were not observant of the in-place TFR, and were constantly in the airspace, trying to show the crime scene to tourists.
  • Completing the missions within a narrow window of time was a crucial element so as to obtain the best possible images at all four primary areas of flight without shadow distortion.
  • A delicate balance of altitude and resolution needed to be struck to not affect evidence while obtaining the highest resolution possible.


Plans for automated flight were discussed on-site with time of flight determined by angle of sun. Once plans were determined and drawn, FBI and LVMPD personnel approved the automated flight areas, altitudes, and speed of flight. The automated, map-mission flight paths were programmed into each of the three ground stations, and verified by all authorized parties.

Flight plans included 85% overlap, 70% sidelap, with 25% additional area beyond the festival grounds captured for clean edges at the optical extremes.

Altitudes of flight were 60’, 90’, 150’, and 200’ with 5’ altitude offsets from center

North and South areas began flight in an easterly/westerly direction, while the center area began northerly/southerly directions, 5’ lower than north/south units. Temporal, horizontal,  and vertical separation ensured no possibility of mid-air collision existed.

Road closures surrounding the crime scene provided a secure area for launch/recovery of aircraft with no traffic in the area, providing for VLOS over the 19 acre property.

Once safety checks and the normal pre-flight checks were completed, the aircraft were placed in the launch/recovery area and three aircraft were launched eight minutes apart.

During flight, the ground station controller provided real-time feedback indicating where images have been captured.  


Donning sterile suits required to enter the perimeter of the crime scene allowed for manual flight in specific areas where closer inspection of complicated surfaces were required. Manual flights inside the area perimeter provided insights not visible from the ground level. Examples of projectile impact were found on a power pole at the intersection of two streets, and two impact points were discovered in the relay tower speakers that had not previously been found.

Original image courtesy of Las Vegas Review/Journal/modified by author

These areas were complicated for UAS flight, crossed with guy wires for tower stability, speaker cables strung across steel rigging, lighting instruments, hot, black metal in turbulent winds in areas where three observers were placed to assist the pilot in flying in these tight, physically and optically challenging spaces around the stage, speaker towers, food court/tents, billboard signage, and fence perimeters.

Original image courtesy of Las Vegas Review/Journal/modified by author

Following the nine flights (3×3) over the main grounds, a separate mission was executed over the abandoned hotel that extends into the entertainment property. These missions were a combination of manual inspection when potential evidence was observed, and automated mapping flights to capture the at-present data. In this particular instance, the benefits of the hexacopter were appreciated; turbulent ground winds, rotors, powerlines, palm trees, a confined area, and limited physical access each contributed to the challenges of this series of missions. VLOS was maintained with the observer standing on the rear of a patrol vehicle due to a high, covered fence and a limited launch area.


Three automated group flights at three altitudes, separate stage and hotel flights, manual flight inside the perimeter captured over 6,000 images. These images were input to two dimensional and three dimensional software applications for orthagonal mapping and 3D modelling. Survey markings were taken from previously operated TotalStation sites and physical objects used as GCP.

The author has not seen the final results from the orthogrammatic image render. The planned workflow is to render each of the separate areas for consistent GSD, added into a master render for each altitude. Once the flights were complete, memory cards were handed over to the federal agency.

This was very much a team effort. ATC, McCarran Airport, FAA, City of Las Vegas, Department of Public Safety, FBI, local subject matter expert, and other investigative agencies worked within a highly communicative environment to ensure no evidence was compromised, that all personnel were aware of each others activities, data/areas logged for clarity, and flights indicated in written, pictorial, and telemetry formats were shared between teams.

 

LOOKING BACK

Until October 1, the World Trade Center had been the largest physical crime scene in America with a total area of approximately seven and a half acres. 1 October is nearly three times in size.  Due to persons involved with both scenes, availability of data and cost from the two events may be compared and examined to gain an understanding of technical and operational improvements over the past 17 years.

 

In the last week of September, 2001, a Super Twin Otter with several sensor systems was called up to capture data from the World Trade Center scene.

Flying orbital and grid patterns over the course of five days, significant amounts of data were collected for analysis by multiple agencies.

Costs were reported over 1.5M, including fuel, personnel, equipment, and time.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Although the images captured are still classified, data from surrounding, unrelated areas demonstrate the poor quality of image capture. By comparison with modern technology, the images are of limited value, offering little useful data (by comparison).

The time, cost, labor, headcount, and quality of data are all areas where UAV have proven their value to law enforcement, and in this case, costing $1.5M vs $15,000 (cost of three aircraft, batteries, and accessories), while providing incalculably greater value through images that may be digitally shared in 2D, 3D form, annotated, analysed simultaneously by multiple agencies and investigators.

SUMMARY

The value of sUAS proved itself through rapid access to available airspace, speed of operation, quality of data, cost of operation, ability of continuous flight, noise and traffic impact on the surrounding area and area of investigation, speed to solution, instant verification of data capture and image quality, ability to simultaneously capture multiple areas, and most importantly, safety to all persons involved in the acquisition of data,  processing and investigation of the 1 October scene.

 

 

PRESS RELEASE: Global Security Exchange X-Learning Stages to Address Intersection of Security and Technology

FOR RELEASE:  September 18, 2018

Media Contact:
Peggy O’Connor
pr@asisonline.org
+1.703.518.1415

AERIAL VEHICLE OPERATIONS CENTER/AVOC to be on display at GSX, demonstrating present and future technologies for sUAS in Security Operations

Alexandria, VA – September 15, 2018  Security is an ever-evolving landscape and sUAS (Drones) are an undeniable,  significant component of future security operations. sUAS are disrupting virtually every corner of the security, law enforcement, and event management industries.

Sundance Media Group (SMG) and their AVOC will be center stage at the Global Security Exchange (GSX) conference being held Sept 23-27 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. In the first year of its rebrand following a 63-year history as the ASIS International Seminar and Exhibits, GSX is expected to attract more than 20,000 operational and cyber security professionals and 550 exhibitors for the industry’s flagship event. ASIS International is the world’s largest association for security management professionals.

“The AVOC is a game-changer in event security and security operations demonstration,” said Jennifer Pidgen, COO of SMG, “The technology and ability have already demonstrated their value in a post 10/1 environment. “ Coupling aerial robotics with automated perimeter security, 360 video, and a low-profile, controlled environment makes for a cost-effective, low profile presence for outdoor venue security and perimeter monitoring.  Attendees of the GSX conference will have opportunity to walk through the AVOC, see the latest technology in simulated use, speak with sUAS experts in the security and law enforcement sectors, and gain a deeper understanding of how sUAS are currently being implemented, and how security organizations may implement sUAS in the future near and far.

Douglas Spotted Eagle, Director of Educational Programming said, “we are thrilled to be a part of the GSX experience, demonstrating security and forensic applications of sUAS for both day and night functions, controlled through our AVOC, as well as outside the AVOC for smaller events. The computer horsepower, display systems, and aircraft combine for a near invisible presence in the skies as overwatch and perimeter security, and we believe attendees of the GSX event will be surprised and enthusiastic about the opportunity to know more about drones in this changing environment.”

At GSX, the exhibit hall will be transformed into a learning lab environment featuring thousands of security products, technologies and service solutions, as well as immersive learning opportunities designed to connect the current threat landscape, as well as emerging risks, with leading solutions available in the marketplace. New features available on this year’s show floor include:

X-Learning Theaters:

X Stage—features leading-edge technologies and their impacts across the industry, examining innovations like blockchain and cryptocurrencies, AI, drones and robotics, social media and the digital self;

Xcelerated Exchange Stage—provides a forum for the critical discussions that need to take place between practitioners and solution providers to proactively address the current and future security landscape; and

Xperience Stage—showcases case studies and other tried-and-true best practices that address security challenges facing practitioners across all industry sectors, including active shooter scenarios, bullying in the healthcare industry, and the risks associated with hosting a public event at cultural institutions.

Career HQ, with new career fair and enhanced career center:
Job seekers will have access to resume reviews, a headshot studio, career coaching, professional development sessions and networking opportunities with employers and peers—all free. The new career fair will have top companies looking to hire talent, such as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Apple.

D3 Xperience (Drones, Droids, Defense):
Supported by Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), D3 will deliver an immersive learning experience focused on the impact of Unmanned Systems on the security industry. Education and demos will showcase the emerging technology around the use of drones, droids and counter-UAV defense systems.
Innovative Product Awards (IPAs) Showcase:

The 2018 Innovative Product Awards highlights the new products and services on the GSX show floor that are poised to disrupt the security marketplace. The submission deadline is August 3.

In addition to these features, the exhibit floor will house an International Trade Center and the ASIS Hub, which includes access to ASIS Council representatives, live streaming interviews, and fireside chats.

“We have completely re-engineered GSX to provide more opportunities for security practitioners, solution providers, students, military and first responders. From Career HQ and the International Trade Center to our three unique theaters of education and live demos, attendees and exhibitors will find tremendous value in our immersive, engaging, and informative expo hall,” said Richard E. Chase, CPP, PCI, PSP, 2018 president, ASIS International. “There is no other event that compares to what GSX is offering this year, and we’re just getting started. We will continue to evolve and grow GSX in the years ahead as a part of our new brand promise to unite the full spectrum of security professionals to create the only global “must attend” security event.”

GSX brings together attendees, speakers, exhibitors and press from more than 100 countries. To learn more and to register, visit www.GSX.org/register. Members of the press are eligible to receive a free all-access pass, including keynote presentations, education sessions, and the show floor. Email pr@asisonline.org with your media credentials to register.

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About Global Security Exchange

Entering its 64th year, Global Security Exchange (formerly the ASIS International Annual Seminar & Exhibits) is the world’s most comprehensive event for security professionals worldwide, dedicated to addressing fast-paced changes across the industry with a focus on immersive learning, revitalized networking, and a reimagined exhibit floor.

Attendance at GSX directly supports scholarship programs and the development of education, certification, and standards and guidelines year-round. ASIS International remains dedicated to expanding and enriching knowledge sharing, best practices, and peer-to-peer connections so security professionals across disciplines—and at all stages of their career—can get access to the information and resources they need to succeed. For information, visit www.GSX.org.

About  Sundance Media Group

Founded in 1996, Sundance Media Group/SMG began as a training organization focused on cameras, codecs, and post-production technology. In 2004, the company began training in aviation technology, adding sUAS in 2011. In 2012, SMG produced the world’s first UAS training conference at the National Association of Broadcasters Post Production World Conference and is an ISO-compliant organization.

With experts in Public Safety, Construction, Vertical Inspection, Real Estate, and Cinematography, SMG instructors may be found speaking at technical, aviation, and UAS conferences around the globe. For more information on SMG, please visit www.sundancemediagroup.com 

By | September 19th, 2018|Counter UAS, Drone, Drone Safety, Inspection, Night Flight, Public Safety, Security, sUAS, sUAS Regulation, sUAS Safety, UAV, UAV Maintenance|Comments Off on PRESS RELEASE: Global Security Exchange X-Learning Stages to Address Intersection of Security and Technology

AUGMENTED SECURITY WITH sUAS

sUAS or “drones” are a big buzzword in security operations these days, as they should be. sUAS are a force multiplier like no human ever could possibly be.

For starters, sUAS are a dynamic aerial platform for CCTV, allowing security teams to monitor large-scale areas with ease, reducing headcount for manned patrols, able to travel faster and farther than a human can travel on foot, while providing access to detail that the human eye cannot see.

sUAS may be automated for perimeter security, allowing repeatable, automatic flight over any given area. Large areas may be hybridized, with manual and automated flight over defined sectors. Combined with security patrols/tours, sUAS provide a faster response time, greater situational awareness, and opportunity to track an incursion until law enforcement or other forces are dispatched.

Adding infrared/thermal to sUAS aircraft provides ideal vision in the dark, regardless of the environment. Seeing through smoke, fog, or darkness, thermal cameras allow detection of a live body in any area. Depending on the cost/resolution of the thermal camera, Detection, Identification, and even Recognition may be possible from very high in the air.

On large scale construction sites, sUAS are already serving double duty as mapping devices for progress reports, and security devices assisting in detecting shrink whether through shorting of delivered stock, disappearances of heavy equipment, or identification of individuals in unauthorized areas.

 

Equipped with a zoom lens, sUAS are capable of providing license plate information from a distance. Imagine for example, an incursion detection, the intruder runs to a car and drives away. Not only can aircraft track/follow the intruder as they exit the protected area upon detection, but the aircraft can also capture images, even in low-light, of the intruder’s license plate as they escape the area.

 

Tethered sUAS allow for aircraft to remain airborne for days, if necessary, providing instant overwatch at events, high profile gatherings, or in high-risk areas where temporary requirements make it infeasible to install pole-mounted cameras.

Additionally, areas where events may be held may be pre-mapped multiple times, onion-skinned for changes in the environment with differences outlined for security notification, or simply mapped for purposes of understanding crowd flow, ingress, egress, points of vulnerability, and planning response times.

All of this at greatly reduced risk to security personnel, greatly reduced cost, and with video/images to provide evidence in the event of an incursion.

 

 

 

Learn more at the Global Security eXchange Conference in Las Vegas, September 23-27. Several drone manufacturers, service providers, software developers, and consultants will be on hand to answer questions and provide information.

Drop by the Sundance Media Group booth 5413 and have a walk through of the AVOC and see how we have been assisting local agencies and organization with their sUAS implementations.

By | September 13th, 2018|Drone Safety, Public Safety, Regulations, sUAS, sUAS Regulation, sUAS Safety, Technology, UAV|Comments Off on AUGMENTED SECURITY WITH sUAS