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

Pix4D User Conference (Denver, CO)

Be part of it

Join other Pix4D users, drone enthusiasts and GIS-perts in Denver for two days of talking about tech that’s changing the world. There’s a lineup of user stories, new products to explore, and some of the most interesting people around – your peers.
Get inspired
From data acquisition to integration with third party software, learn from other users and Pix4D product experts. Share best practices that will help bring your drone program to the next level.

Map the future together

Disrupt industries, digitalize reality, and define new boundaries. Meet the latest products in our software suite and chat to Pix4D developers and team members about what you would like to see next.

The tie point

Meet industry professionals with the same passion for all things mapping-related. Over coffee, at lunch and at the evening networking event, start the conversation.

By | October 2nd, 2019|0 Comments

Agriculture UAV Training and Spray Drone Demo

Sundance Media Group has partnered with HTS Ag to bring sUAS (small Unmanned Aerial Systems) training in Agriculture to the Midwest. Join us for this unique training session designed to educate on the value of a turn-key drone program and how implementing drones can decrease costs while increasing efficiencies. HTS Ag is subsidizing this event to help share this important information with farmers within driving distance to HTS Ag.  (Typically this training session would be ~$250; your cost to join us is only $20 per seat for training and lunch!)s

Following lunch, the team will be offering demonstrations of several different types of UAVs, including demos from the Rantizo crop spraying drone.

REGISTER EARLY AS SEATS ARE LIMITED!

 

Don’t miss this chance to learn from nationally recognized experts on UAVs. Seating is limited!

Additionally, all registration fees can be applied to future purchases from HTS Ag for the rest of 2019.

 

MANY thanks to: 

By | September 24th, 2019|0 Comments

Public Safety UAV Training and Night CSI Demo

Sundance Media Group has partnered with HTS Ag to bring sUAS (small Unmanned Aerial Systems) training in Public Safety to the Midwest. This unique training is designed to educate agencies (law enforcement, fire, EMS, and other first responders) on the value of a turn-key drone program and how implementing drones into the workflow can decrease costs and personnel risks, while increasing efficiencies. HTS Ag is subsidizing a good portion of the cost of the training (regular price $250), making your investment $35 per seat for training and dinner.

REGISTER EARLY AS SEATS ARE LIMITED!

Following dinner, the team will setup a mock crime scene investigation, by creating a homicide scene. The purpose of this demonstration is to showcase how drones (UAVs / sUAS) are used to capture forensic evidence at the scene, in the dark, and use the data captured to create a map in 2D and 3D for law enforcement use.

Don’t miss this chance to learn from nationally recognized experts on UAVs in Public Safety. Seating is limited!

Additionally, all registration fees can be applied to future purchases from HTS Ag for the rest of 2019.

 

 

 

Many thanks to:

By | September 23rd, 2019|0 Comments

TechGo Expo – Technology on the Beat

TKK Electronics Inc., a Milwaukee-based provider of rugged computers, vehicle docks, mounts and mobile broadband data solutions, announced the sixth annual Technology on the Go (TechGo) Expo will take place at 838 S. 2nd St. in Milwaukee, Wisc. on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019.

Attendance to TechGo is free to first responders, professionals in security, IT and facilities management and members of state and local law enforcement agencies. TechGo Expo gives public and private entities a hands-on introduction to new rugged mobile technologies directly from the manufacturer.

Attendees at TechGo will learn about enforcement and investigative tools; cameras, warning systems and emergency connectivity; advancements in network communication, telecommunication and cyber threat detection; and ways to ensure business continuity, data security and compliance.

Featured speakers include: Christian Ross, public safety for Synnex GovSolv; Dan Lambert, senior product manager for ZincFive; Douglas Spotted Eagle, director/education for Nevada Drone Center of Excellence (sponsored by Sundance Media Group, FoxFury and Autel); Mike Gambrell, public safety program manager for SYNNEX GovSolv; and Tracy Johnson, senior director of business development for ZincFive.

Visit www.tkkelectronics.com/techgo-attendees to learn more. Registration is recommended as space is limited.

 

With thanks to:

      AND     

 

By | September 19th, 2019|0 Comments

Practical Night UAV Flight Training (Post-InterDrone 2019)

About the Workshop

Sundance Media Group (SMG) will offer practical Night UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, otherwise known as drone) flight training course to equip UAV pilots with the knowledge, skills and confidence to pilot your UAV at night safely, efficiently and effectively.

Greater than 70 percent of our flying information comes through the eye and the eye is easily fooled at night. This is compounded by the inexperienced pilot alternating views between a tabled/lighted display and the position of the UAV in the sky. Night flying has a higher accident rate than identical day flying, both in UAV and manned aviation. Why? Depth perception is severely distorted, as is reaction time. There are also visual illusions that need to be recognized and mitigated. This session will provide information that will allow pilots to sidestep these challenges, while properly assessing and managing the risks associated with night flight (as waived per Part 107.29). You’ll also learn the foundation of applying for a COW/COA for night flight from an experienced night-flight pilot

Theoretical Training (2 hours)

The workshop will begin with a comprehensive theory session classroom style, then we head out to the night flight location for some practical experience. Topics to be covered during the classroom portion: 

  • FAA rules of night UAV flight  (What is a 107.29 waiver?)
  • Different types of visual illusions that commonly occur at night
  • Autokinesis and night landing Illusions and how to avoid them
  • Equipment setup
  • Risk Mitigation
  • Importance of acclimating your eye for night flight & avoid light contamination
  • Foundation of applying for a COW/COA for night flight from an experienced night-flight pilot

This workshop is designed to provide all the necessary information needed to empower pilots to sidestep these challenges, while properly assessing and managing the risks associated with night flight (as waived per Part 107.29).  *This workshop includes a certificate of night flight training, which can be used to expedite your FAA waiver.

After a comprehensive theory session, we will travel to the nearby night flight location for some practical experience. We’ll present different types of visual illusions that commonly occur at night. In this practical hands-on class, we will discuss visual illusions as well as best practices for night flying. We will cover Autokinesis and Night Landing Illusions and how to avoid them. We will also discuss acclimating your eye for night flight. We will also cover the use of lights to illuminate our subjects and how to avoid “light contamination” in our eyes.

  • Practical Flight Training (2 hours)  (In the field!)
    • Overview of pre-planning checklist
      • Outline for the day
      • Wind Speed/weather check
      • Location overview: On-site walkthrough of potential obstacles/issues
      • Safety & Emergency procedures (requirement of aircraft lighting)
      • Equipment check, site setup, and basic flight controls
    • Overview of Night Flight UAV flight requirements
      • Airspace & notification requirements
      • Communication with ground crew and Visual Observer
    • UAV Night Flight with craft of choice

Registration with this workshop includes:

 

*The certificate of night flight training, which can be used to expedite your FAA waiver.

Please note:  UAVs outfitted with required FAA lighting systems will be provided for the attendees to fly for this workshop. Please do not bring your personal UAV as we will not be able to fly it during this workshop.

Participants should have some drone flight experience prior to taking this workshop.  A 107 certification is recommended.

Schedule

  • Theoretical Class (including test & marking):  2:45 – 5:30 pm
  • Dinner 5:30 pm
  • FIELD 6:45 pm
  • SUNSET 7:01 pm
  • FLYING 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm

CLASSROOM LOCATION:

Rio Convention Center:  InterDrone Training area (CONGA Room)

 

TRANSPORTATION PICKUP:

Convention Center Doors

Field Training Location:

Seven Magic Mountains

 

FAQS

How can I contact the organizer with any questions?

Please do:  Contact us at workshops@sundancemediagroup.com

What’s the refund policy?

Full refunds offered with 48 hours notice.

Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?

No, just ID.

Is my registration fee or ticket transferable?

Tickets are non-transferable.  Please cancel and re-register.

 

 

hank you to our supporting organizations:

 

 

By | September 6th, 2019|0 Comments

Night sUAS (Drone) CSI Demonstration – InterDrone 2019

 

FoxFurySundance Media GroupPix4D, and public safety personnel have created a demonstration workflow for aerial capture of virtually any type of night forensic scene.  This team will setup a mock crime scene investigation, by creating a forensic scene in the parking lot at the River Mountains Loop Trail Head in Henderson, NV.  The purpose of this FREE demonstration is to showcase how drones (UAVs / sUAS) are used to capture forensic evidence at the scene, in the dark, and use the data captured to create a map in 2D and 3D for law enforcement use.

FoxFury CRI Lighting Solutions will be used to illuminate the surrounding area to aid with photo and video capture of the crime scene.  The SMG team will pilot an Autel Evo and a Yuneec H520 to capture color-correct aerial images to be processed in Pix4Dmapper LIVE onsite into a 2D map.  The SMG team will share how the placement and level of lighting are key components to the workflow as well as using Ground Control Points, from Hoodman, to assist in accuracy for the post-production process in Pix4D.

This workflow is relevant for virtually any type of night scene capture.

 

Cameras are permitted. Please; no photography during drone flights.

With special thanks to the City of Henderson for their continued support of our public safety training demonstrations.

 

REGISTER HERE: http://bit.ly/NightCSI_ID2019

By | September 5th, 2019|0 Comments

Night sUAS (Drone) CSI Demonstration – RENO

FoxFurySundance Media GroupPix4D, and public safety personnel have created a demonstration workflow for aerial capture of virtually any type of night forensic scene. This team will setup a mock crime scene investigation, by creating a homicide scene in the North parking lot at Peppermill Resort. The purpose of this free demonstration is to showcase how drones (UAVs / sUAS) are used to capture forensic evidence at the scene, in the dark, and use the data captured to create a map in 2D and 3D for law enforcement use.

FoxFury CRI Lighting Solutions will be used to illuminate the surrounding area to aid with photo and video capture of the crime scene. The SMG team will pilot an Autel Evo and a Yuneec H520 to capture color-correct aerial images to be processed in Pix4Dmapper LIVE onsite into a 2D map. The SMG team will share how the placement and level of lighting are key components to the workflow as well as using Ground Control Points to assist in accuracy for the post-production process in Pix4D.

 

This workflow is relevant for virtually any type of night scene capture.

 

Cameras are permitted. Please; no photography during drone flights.

With special thanks to the City of Reno for their support in presenting this demonstration and to the Peppermill Resort for hosting our demonstration.

 

 

 

By | August 13th, 2019|0 Comments

Pix4D Public Safety Workshop – Idaho Falls

Description

Kickstart your public safety workflow by learning about Pix4D’s recommended best practices when capturing and processing aerial and terrestrial images. This is a technical workshop organized in partnership with Pix4D for public safety professionals using drones to document vehicular collisions. The workshop will introduce you to creating accurate reconstructions and improving final results.

By registering for this workshop you are eligible to receive a 50% discount on the Pix4D Certification Exam.

Each day will start at 8:30am and finish by 5:00pm.

Level

Audience: Law enforcement or public safety professionals who are beginning to leverage drones and digital imaging for mapping and 3D modeling work.

Content: We will cover topics of basic to intermediate level and explain how to get the best results using the available processing options in Pix4Dmapper.

Workshop Content

Day 1 – Fundamental Concepts and General Processing Workflow w/GCPs

Lecture

  • The Theory and Science of Photogrammetry
  • Aerial Mapping RGB Image Acquisition: Best Practices
  • Georeferencing, Project Accuracy, and Ground Control: Best Practices
    • Acceptable – Image Geotags
    • Good- Scale Constraints
    • Better- Total Station, Local Coordinate systems
    • Best – Differential GPS/GNSS
  • Hardware specification recommendations
  • Project/scene accuracy verification

Lab Exercises

  • Creating a New Project in Pix4Dmapper Pro
  • Step 1: Initial Processing, Image Geotags only
    • Creating a Processing Area
    • Project measurement check
    • Reoptimizing the Project
    • Step 2: Point Cloud and Mesh
    • Working in the rayCloud
    • Classifying the Point Cloud
    • Using the Point Cloud Editor
    • Volume Calculations
    • Generating a 3D Mesh
  • Step 3: DSM, and Orthomosaic
    • Working in the Mosaic Editor
    • Generating an Orthomosaic, DSM and DTM
    • Contours and Outputs

Day 2 – Advanced Processing Techniques & Quality Report Review

Lecture

  • Review of Exercise 1 workflow/process
  • Review of a project quality report
  • Review of Pix4D processing options
  • Image acquisition of vertical structures: Best Practices
  • Terrestrial & mapping indoors: Best Practices
  • Pix4Dcapture

Lab Exercises

  • 3D Reconstruction of Vertical Structures
    • Applying Scale and Orientation Constraints
    • Making linear, area & volume measurements
    • Advanced Point Cloud Editing
    • Masking Images using Image Annotation
    • Applying the Clipping Box
    • Generating Video Animations
  • Merging Oblique and Nadir Imagery with Manual Tie Points

Day 3 – Instructor guided scene capture and project processing

Mission Planning

  • Scene Location scouting/size up (Secure location selected & provided by requesting Agency)
  • Establish project Georeferencing plan, leveraging available agency hardware.
    • Acceptable – Image Geotags
    • Good- Scale Constraints
    • Better- Total Station, Arbitrary/Local Coordinate system
    • Best – Differential GPS/GNSS with defined coordinate system
  • Review potential scene challenges & suggested workarounds
  • Image Acquisition of aerial & terrestrial data
    • Aerial Images
    • Terrestrial Images
    • Terrestrial video
  • Mapping Indoors: Best Practices (Optional in place of outdoor data collection)

Project Processing

  • Step 1, Automatic Tie Points & initial quality report generation
  • Applying georeferencing or Scale and Orientation Constraints
  • Merging Aerial and Terrestrial data
    • Establish Manual Tie Points across projects to be merged
    • Project Reoptimization
    • Create Merged Project
    • Review initial results
  • Point Cloud Editing
    • Clipping Box
    • Image Annotation
    • Point Cloud Classification
  • Pix4Dmapper outputs
    • Dense Point Cloud
    • 3D Mesh
    • Digital Surface Model
    • Orthomosaic
    • Contour Lines
    • Vector data extraction

FAQs

Q: What is a Pix4D User Workshop?
A: A Pix4D User Workshop is geared towards those who are getting started with Pix4D. We will address best practices for data acquisition, basic processing options, and workflows.

If you consider yourself an advanced user and you are interested in learning more about Pix4D software, please consider requesting a quote for a personal training.

Q: Should I bring my laptop?
A: Yes, Please ensure that you bring a laptop computer with the latest version of Pix4Dmapper installed to the User Workshop so that you may follow along during the hands-on exercises. Computers will not be provided on the day of the workshop.

We recommend that your computer is equipped with Windows, has at least 16 GB of RAM, 20 GB of free hard drive space, and a GPU that supports OpenGL 3.2. We also suggest that you bring a computer mouse to facilitate 3D navigation in the software. Computers running Mac OS are not supported at this time.

Q: Should I bring my drone?
A: Please DO NOT bring your drone to the workshop. This is a workshop about software. Under no circumstances will drones be permitted to fly during the workshop. DO NOT fly your drone at or around the workshop venue.

Q: Do I need a Pix4D software license to attend the workshop?
A: It is not necessary that you own a Pix4D software license to attend the workshop. If you do not own a license, you will be provided with a temporary one for the duration of the workshop.

Q: Is food provided at the Pix4D User Workshop?
A: Lunch, coffee/tea, snacks, and water will be provided onsite during the workshop.

Q: Can I attend the workshop remotely by WebEx, phone, or conference call?
A: The workshop must be attended in person and is not available for remote attendance.

Q: Are discounts available for educational institutions or non-profit organizations?
A: Educational discounts are available, please contact the Pix4D training team at training@pix4d.com for more information.

Q: What is the refund policy?
A: Orders may not be changed, modified, converted, or refunded once an order has been confirmed.

Q: How can I contact the workshop organizer if I have other questions?
A: Click “Contact” below, and send us an email. We will get back to you as soon as possible.

*By registering to the workshop, you accept the General Terms and Conditions of Sale of Pix4D and submit your information to the workshop organizer, who will use it to communicate with you regarding this event.

By | June 11th, 2019|0 Comments

Night (Drone) CSI Demonstration/training with FoxFury & Pix4D – Idaho Falls

This FREE EVENT is brought to you by:                                

FoxFury and Sundance Media Group will demonstrate how to achieve a forensic scene capture in the dark, with a drone, capable of 2D and 3D mapping and modelling.

These same techniques may be applied to virtually any type of night scene capture.

The team will set up a crime scene and will fly the scene with both night-vision and standard RGB cameras to demonstrate the viability of wide-variety of non-specialized cameras in dark crime scene capture environments.

Once the scene has been photographed by the drone, the team will process the data captured with Pix4D software live on-site, for rapid verification of image capture and area integrity.

Please register so that we are best able to accommodate the attendees on site.

Cameras are permitted. Please; no photography during drone flights.

By | June 10th, 2019|0 Comments