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This video was made by and shows the second tournement of the Dutch National Championship FPV drone racing.

The Dutch National Championship “NK Drone Race” is a competition held by the KNVvL and the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI).

Two pilots here in the Dutch National Championship are also racing in the Drone Racing League (DRL) – Shaggy and Dino from the Netherlands.




Previous articleDrones and Data Security – a progressive look into the future

Drone data security is in a very early stage – not in terms of infrastructure and opportunities, but in terms of adoption. Now, let us paint the bigger picture and put drone data security into context.

Data security is always temporary – everything is secure, until it isn’t. IT companies find themselves in a constant cat-and-mouse game with those who proof existing security standards to be insufficient. The degree of connectivity increases at light speed, making the whole topic of data security in a highly-connected world hugely important and inconceivably complex.

But let us start at the beginning and see what this means for commercial drones today and in the future. Drone data security is essential on three major levels: The first level considers the interaction between drone and user. The second and third level concerns the wireless data transfer and cloud storage. Transmitting large amounts of data wirelessly might still seem far from reality due to today’s bandwidth limitations, but that does not make data security less important for the future. “Security layers are important factors for drones’ success going forward. In fact, we believe it will be a critical enabling factor for the success of the drone revolution.” Oren Elkayam, Founder & CEO of Mobilicom recently underlined in an interview.

The Layers

Today level 1, the link between device and user is the only focus of discussion. For instance, the rather insecure link between user and device is used by counter-drone devices to stop a drone in-air or even force it to land, and there is already a great variety of non-physical counter drone (CUAV) solutions available. Greater drone data security provided by encrypted data-links help to reduce the risk to be hacked – in return, however, this also means an increased risk through encrypted rogue drones.

Layers 2 and 3 are just as crucial – in this case, the hijacking of the platform is not in the foreground but the wiretapping of the collected data. With increasing automation, however, this will also include the control of the platform. The list of threats is growing every day, making it essential to create an ecosystem that is secure and reliable.

Imagine the following scenario: you are sitting in an autonomous aerial taxi and ransomware forces you to transfer money to an account within the next 15 minute. If you do not comply, the platform will shut down the engines and make you crash over a highly-populated area. Especially when piloted aircraft become unpiloted, there must be extremely reliable safety mechanisms in place. From a programming point of view, it appears to be a thin line to make robots work efficiently and having all necessary safety nets in place at the same time. It is basically the same with commercial aircrafts today, where system redundancy is traded for payload and range.

Degree of Automation

Drones, just like aerial taxis will only be effective when they work at an extremely high degree of automation – this includes the ability to interact with other systems (e.g. air traffic management, weather forecast, etc.). The ecosystem for all that to happen already exists – it is called the internet (the internet of things or IoT, to be accurate), which is not necessarily a safe place for data.

Today you can control a thermostat via your smartphone – that is a classic IoT use-case. With an increasing level of automation, complex flying robots (like drones) will soon be just as easy to control. But according to which standards will they interact with other devices? How do you protect devices that could do harm to others when hijacked? This requires safety mechanisms on each level. The graphic above shows the main trust boundaries of drone data security (transition of data/info from one source to another) but our view forward should not stop here.

Artificial Intelligence

AI will boost automation! We are on the verge of a second industrial revolution. AI will be spread on the grid like once electric power. Everything that in the past got electrified will soon be cogni-fied. The AI train already left the station, full steam ahead and there are no brakes to pull. Today we are teaching machines how to think, how to understand our behavior and how to defend themselves. What could possibly go wrong?

Data scientists and developers will create the future of AI, but again – according to what rule-book? What standards are out there to respect when creating, what scientist claim to be the last big invention that humanity will ever need to make? What is the foundation of a world where smart robots will design and manufacture other robots? Personally, it feels a lot like chemistry class. We have nothing on hand but a few basic principles and a lot of elements in the equation, while we have absolutely no idea of what happens when we mix it all together and how to control it.

The Control Problem 

To make sure this control problem is solved by the time needed, it is essential to work it out in advance. It might be difficult to solve the entire control problem from the start because many elements can only be put in place once we know the details of the architecture where it will be implemented. However, the more we consider these developments and try to solve potential control problems early on, the better the odds that the transition to the machine intelligence era will go well.

There are already many possibilities to safely and securely connect drones to the internet of things and we are only in minute one of the game. A lot of money is and will be spent on drone data security to trial-and-error the way forward. This, unfortunately, will include failures. New and very complex technologies are not always 100% safe from the beginning (e.g. self-driving cars) – we simply expect technology to do what it is supposed to do. And if the machine does not always know what that is, artificial intelligence will allow the machine to react to changing conditions.

If you now think that this is so far away and will not bother us for the next fifty years, try to look at it from a different point of view. The computer scientist Stuart Russell put it this way: Imagine that we received a message from an alien civilization, which read: “People of Earth, we will arrive on your planet in 50 years. Get ready!”

Do you think we would just sit here, counting down the months until the mothership lands? We would feel a little more urgency to work the switches. For the commercial drone market – the incredible melting pot of technologies – this means to truly think progressively and to better be safe than sorry, when it comes to drone data security.

Learn more about data security and the commercial drone industry on:

If you have question please reach out via:

MINNEAPOLIS — A battle of the votes made for an intense finish in the latest AirVūz Drone Video of the Week contest.

With a big social media push in the final hours, Russian drone pilot Kirill Umrikhin took home the $1,000 prize in the weekly contest hosted by drone video site AirVuz. Umrikhin’s winning video “Antarctica, Union Glacier Camp. Mamont Cup Expedition, January 2018” narrowly edged out “Los Roques : Get Lost in Paradise!” by French traveler and pilot Isabelle Fabre.

Umrikhin, a professional photographer, filmed his winning video using a DJI Phantom 4 Professional. The film showcases the Mamont Cup expedition to Union Glacier in Antarctica back in January of 2018. Umrikhin, who primarily shoots action sports and travel videos, is a brand ambassador for companies such as Quicksilver, Nikon, SanDisk and others.

More than 23,000 votes were cast in this week’s contest, with Umrikhin taking the lead in the voting over Fabre late in the voting period. Both pilots used their social media platforms to encourage their followers to vote on Umrikhin urged his 32,000 Instagram followers and thousands of Facebook fans to cast their votes for his Antarctica video. He also had the support of his wife, professional windsurfer Olya Raskina, who shared the video on Instagram and told her followers to vote. Umrikhin shared on Instagram that the couple plans to use the prize money to buy a stroller for their newborn baby.

Fabre, who finished second in the contest, is a long-time contributor on Her travel videos have garnered thousands of views, and she was also a guest on the AirVuz original program “The Drone Dish.” Fabre’s video “ALIVE” was a finalist in the 2017 Drone Video Awards.

AirVū, the world’s leading drone video and photography sharing platform, launched the “Drone Video of the Week” contest in which one content creator will be chosen for the weekly USD$1,000 prize. All drone videos uploaded to are eligible to win. The contest began April 2.

Umrikhin’s winning film received the most votes in a public poll and beat out four other nominees: “Los Roques : Get Lost in Paradise!,” “Ninh Binh, Vietnam,” “BEST OF DRONES FPV 2018 MY EPIC SHOT” and “Caucasus aerial by Action Brothers.”  Finalists were chosen based on a variety of factors, including quality of footage, originality, music selection and editing techniques.

The contest continues again this week, with another USD$1,000 up for grabs for drone pilots from all over the world.

The Drone Video of the Week contest follows the success of the inaugural AirVūz Drone Video Awards, which selected the best drone videos and photos of 2017. Voters chose winners in 13 categories from a total of more than 33,000 videos.

For more information about the contest, contact Tyler Mason, Director of Public Relations, at


About AirVūz

Since its launch in 2015, AirVūz has become the world’s leading drone video and photography sharing platform and global community for drone pilots and aerial media enthusiasts. Drone enthusiasts worldwide can upload and share videos and photos in unlimited quantity and at no cost. Site users have free access to an ever-growing library of drone media content including easily browsable categories such as travel, extreme sports, golf courses, drone racing, landmarks and more. AirVūz users also have access to original AirVūz content, including the weekly AirVūz News program, profiles of top content creators, product reviews, and how-to information for drone pilots on how to take and edit high quality drone video.

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QuestUAV Ltd was commissioned to undertake an orthographic survey for the Port of Sunderland in the UK.  The 150 hectare survey used one of QuestUAV’s Datahawk PPK fixed wing drones, equipped with a Sony RX100 RGB camera capable of a 3cm resolution at 400ft.  The survey took one day to complete, including travel induction, risk assessment and setup of Trimble base station.

QuestUAV was chosen due to its ability to image relatively large areas of land in a short time and process to a high standard using professional techniques that can be verified using classical survey methods.  The QuestUAV team of two CAA qualified pilots chose two different sites for launch and landing to keep the drone visible always.

When airborne, one pilot acts as remote drone controller and one acts as commander with laptop and telemetry communications, at all times the drone is kept in visual sight by at least one member of the team. 

One geolocated high resolution image is taken automatically every 2 seconds by the drone. The total flight time was 1hour and fifteen minutes in which total of one thousand eight hundred images were taken of which one thousand four hundred were used for the survey. 

The final processed results were given to our client three days after the completion of the flights.  Post processing came next with the generation of a point cloud and ortho model. The resulting survey accuracy was within 5cm absolute accuracy, based on 12 check points from around the survey area. 

QuestUAV has a professional survey that has operated for ten years. The company also manufactures fixed wing drones for commercial survey use around the world. 

To find out more email or visit

Why do you love drones? Is it because of its ability to take some stunning photography or because you just enjoy flying it around? No matter why you would want to fly one, we are sure you would love it as much as you do the online casino games that you can play with a Pala Casino Promotional code.

And now, drones are going to be just that much more exciting!

The New Virtual Reality Training system

It’s not just about flying drones any more but being able to train them to fit your needs too.

It’s exciting and fun to fly drones but the case may not be same for autonomous drones. Teaching drones to fly faster and avoid even the simplest obstacles is a complex and crash ridden process. It leads them to repair or replace the drones paving way for unnecessary investments.

Now we are going to have a virtual-reality training system made by MIT engineers just for training drones. The drone and perceive and feel the virtual environment which enables them to fly through an empty space.

Now, the engineers don’t need to create elaborate proving ground with real obstacles which is a cost driven process. MIT engineers are having drones fly around imaginary objects and the virtual testing ground has been named as Flight Goggles. The system lets drones tackle a simulated landscape within a secured empty room. Devices such as motion capture cameras track the location of the drone and enable the device to transmit customized and original virtual images to the drones. Based on the information the drone can calculate its environment and decide whether it’s safe or includes obstacles.

What Would You Love?

The drones are also fitted with inertial measuring sensors, camera and powerful embedded computer. The drones don’t eliminate the incidents of crashing but brings them down significantly. Out of 119 real condition flights, there were only 6 times the vehicles faced an issue. More research can develop a far sophisticated and safe system.

The researchers took their cue from drone racers stressing on the speed of the training environment. The drones are trying to me made into devices which can tackle and avoid obstacles in split seconds and come out as winners. The development could enable people to fly drones safely inside an apartment without hitting anything or any person. This would make drones useful in rescue operations or wars or even in the sports arena following racers without colliding with them.

Associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT, Karaman thinks that it is a game changer in the technology of drones. It can result in drones becoming faster, responsive and highly efficient. It can also reduce the incidents of crashes that drones face in the training sessions. The details of the project will be released at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation in May. The idea that developed from drone racing can go a long way to how drones are flown safely and efficiently.

Houston, Texas, April 23, 2018 – The Energy Drone Coalition Summit & Expo, the biggest event exclusively focused on the business and technology of UAVs/Robotics (aerial, ground/surface & subsea) in energy operations, is pleased to announce the all-new 2018 agenda and details for the upcoming event, with workshops taking place June 19 and Summit & Expo June 20-21.

As the largest event in the world that exclusively focuses on the business and technology of UAVs / robotics and the key challenges & solutions, attendees will have the chance to connect with and learn from fellow energy UAV / robotics experts & specialists, energy company UAV operators & executives, regulators and UAV/Robotics hardware, software and data technology specialists — all specifically aimed at efficient, successful & safe drone operations globally around critical infrastructure / energy facilities.

“This is the largest and most innovative set of workshops, general sessions, use cases and demos that we have ever built for the energy industry,” stated Sean Guerre, Director, Energy Drone Coalition and InnovateEnergy. “With hundreds of topic submissions and the quality advice of our industry advisory board, we have built a loaded Summit that serves the rapidly growing industry needs for those launching their programs, building their programs and scaling their programs to enterprise-level.”

The agenda for this three-day, action-packed event is designed to provide participants the opportunity to gain vital insights and best practices within the fields of UAV, robotics and AI. A few of this year’s featured workshops and session highlights include:

  • Workshops and Co-Located Meetings:
    • Critical Infrastructure C-UAS & Security Forum
    • Designing, Launching & Scaling Energy/Engineering UAV Programs
    • Energy Robotics & AI Network
  • Summit Agenda Themes, which include Keynotes and Mega Panels Led by Industry Experts:
    • The Future of Energy Drones & Robotics is NOW
    • Energy UAV/Robotics Ops – Scaling to Enterprise
    • UAVs & Robotics to the Rescue in Energy Incidents
    • Energy UAV/Robotics – It’s a Great Big World
    • Data is the New Oil
    • Best Practices in Energy UAV & Unmanned Systems Ops Today
    • New Tech on the Block – Energy UAV & Unmanned Systems Near Term Reality
    • Breakthrough Tech for Energy Ops

The full schedule and session details are available here.

“The 2018 Energy Drone Coalition is an intensive course in meeting UAV, Robotics and AI’s best minds,” stated LaDonna Pettit, Director of Operations & Conferences, Energy Drone Coalition and InnovateEnergy. “With its high-quality attendees, not only will the summit be beneficial from a networking perspective, but also be valuable for its strong content.”

Due to increased demand and growth, the Energy Drone Coalition has doubled its expo space for the 2018 Summit. Attendees will have the opportunity to join over 800 leaders at the Energy Drone Coalition Summit, a part of InnovateEnergy, and interact with key decision makers involved with UAV, Robotics & AI technology from multiple critical infrastructure industries, including Oil & Gas, Power, Maritime, Wind/Solar, Chemical, Refining, Petrochemical, Energy Engineering & Construction.

Summit registration and details about Energy Drone Coalition Summit & Expo are available at

For sponsorship inquiries contact Sean Guerre,

About Energy Drone Coalition

The Energy Drone Summit is a forum dedicated to launching, growing and scaling enterprise UAV/Robotics operations in energy companies worldwide by bringing together the major rapidly growing segments within the UAV/AUV/Robotics ecosystem, with the energy industrial complex asset owners and end users.

This is the only event and information resource exclusively focused on the business and technology of UAVs/Robotics (aerial, ground/surface & subsea) in energy operations.

The goal of the Energy Drone Coalition is to connect fellow energy UAV/Robotics experts & specialists, energy company UAV operators & executives, regulators, UAV/Robotics hardware, software, data technology specialists all specifically aimed at efficient, successful & safe drone operations globally around critical infrastructure/energy facilities.

About InnovateEnergy

The energy industry is entering a period of significant disruption and opportunity as the race to find digital solutions and innovations becomes vital for success…

InnovateEnergy is your single-resource solution that delivers digital content, executive insights, thought leadership, “how-to” and “real-world” use cases in multiple channels for energy technology and innovation leaders worldwide. InnovateEnergy brings together energy leaders in industries such as VR/AR, robotics, unmanned aerial vehicles, energy digital innovation and technology.

Multiple events / communities existing within InnovateEnergy: the Energy Drone Coalition, the Energy Robotics & AI Network, the Industrial VR/AR ForumInnovateEnergy Leadership ForumEnergy Innovator’s Council and WorkforceNEXT Energy. Through these communities, InnovateEnergy will provide the latest trends, best practices, news and solutions surrounding the advancements of technology in the energy industry. Innov8.Energy.

About Stone Fort Group

Stone Fort Group does a lot… And we do it the way you want it.

We run dynamic and transformational b2b gatherings for the communities we serve, provide information resources and facilitate industry communication all year round – in multiple channels. We deliver content, relevancy, audiences – and drive business.

Our brands in Energy, Technology & Workforce are about serving you, talking about your challenges, opportunities, solutions and bringing buyers and sellers for emerging markets together year-round. It’s how our b2b media channels can help improve the quality, value and performance of the networking for communities we serve.

[unable to retrieve full-text content]DRL pilot Gab707 hiked three hours off trail to fly Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island on April 19th, just three weeks before it started erupting. Tough to fly here – strong winds, very turbulent near the ground, no landmarks – but Gab got within 4 meters of the lava for some epic angles.

Assessing what GDPR means for commercial drone hardware and software vendors, service providers, and enterprise users.

By Colin Snow and Charlotte Ziems

Have you noticed an increase in the number of emails lately that say “we have updated our privacy policies and terms of service”? It’s not just the big players like Amazon, Apple, Google, and YouTube, it’s just about everyone – and for good reason. They’re all preparing for May 25, 2018, when new regulations go into effect that apply to personally identifiable data they collect on citizens of the European Union.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this post should be interpreted as legal advice—you alone are responsible for GDPR compliance and should consult legal counsel to do so. We’ll assess only the basic GDPR concepts you should know, and at a high level. So let’s start with the basics.

What is GDPR?

On May 25, 2018, the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will go into effect to protect the rights of Europeans to access and control their personal data. This means any brand that collects and processes the personal data of individuals in the European Union, regardless of that brand’s location, needs to comply with GDPR requirements by the May deadline.

Note that the laws are still being interpreted and definitions changing, so you’ll want to pay attention.

What are the important GDPR requirements?

  • The right to be informed, or being transparent about what you collect and how you use it (Article 12, 13, and Article 14 number 11)
  • The right of access, or allowing individuals to see what personal data you’re processing and storing (Article 15)
  • The right to rectification, or allowing individuals to have their personal data corrected (Article 16)
  • The right to erasure, also known as the right to be forgotten (Article 17)
  • The right to restrict processing, or allowing individuals to stop you from performing operations (collecting, processing, storing, etc.) on personal data (Article 18)
  • The right to data portability, or giving individuals the personal data you have about them (Article 20)
  • The right to object, or prevent you from processing their personal data (Article 21)

Why should you care?

Depending on the nature of the infringement, fines for noncompliance can range from between €10 million and €20 million, or between 2% and 4% of your worldwide annual revenue of the prior financial year, whichever is higher.

Do those in the commercial drone industry need to be GDPR compliant?

That depends. If you have any clients, or have contacts, or perform work in the EU, then yes. The regulation applies when you collect, store, and process data or images that constitutes someone’s “personal data” (such as names, email addresses, phone numbers, etc.), or “personal identifiable information” (such as aerial images of and georeferences to persons).

Who in the commercial drone market might it apply to?

  • Agriculture – probably not those collecting agricultural data, since that type of data rarely attaches personally identifiable information (or personal data) of an individual.
  • Film / Photo / Video – it definitely applies to drone wedding photographers, real estate photographers, film companies, and any other commercial service. GPDR states that pictures containing peoples that can be identified are to be considered personal information and must be handled with care. Unless you are using the pictures for news or art, you must have a consent from the person giving you permission to publish the picture.
  • Inspecting and monitoring – probably not those collecting data on structures (such as towers, transmission lines, or oil rigs), since it rarely attaches personally identifiable information (or personal data) to an individual, but definitely yes to those performing site monitoring where individuals can be tagged or identified.
  • GIS (mapping and surveying) – it depends on the downstream use of the data you collect. You are in the chain of custody and custodians may need to generalize or filter identifiable features or patterns of people from geospatial information.
  • Cloud-based data services – same as GIS. You are in the chain of custody and may need to filter information; otherwise, your risk is high.

Where can you go to find out more information?




GIS (Mapping and Survey):

GIS and cloud data services:

Image credit: Shutterstock and Skylogic Research

As any drone owner will know, the compulsion to buy the latest DJI can become something of an obsession. And though there is nothing wrong with having a healthy collection it can quickly become financially burdensome. If you want to continue fuelling your passion, but you are running out of funds, then you may be interested to hear which of your collection could be generating you passive income through peer-to-peer rentals.

Happily, our friends over at Fat Lama have been doing a little digging to find the answer for you. They have taken data from the thousands of transactions that have occurred on the platform since the start of the year to find out just which drones are making their lenders the most income. This was done by combining the total money generated by each type of drone with the frequency of rentals to produce a comprehensive leaderboard.

DJI Mavic Pro


Purchase Cost: £799

Daily Rental Rate: £30

Percentage of Total Cost: 3.8%

Days to Cover Cost: 27

The Mavic Pro is by far and away the most popular drone on the platform. The sheer number of rentals this type of drone on the platform counterbalances it’s relatively low daily rental rate, meaning this compact little drone is generating its’ lenders more income than any other type on the platform. This can be attributed to the fact it’s a portable size (at just a sixth of the size of the Phantom 4) but with most of the same features as larger models – it can still fly for up to 27 minutes, over 8 miles, and has 4k camera. This makes it a great ‘all rounder’ drone for amateurs to professional filmmakers alike.

DJI Phantom 4


Purchase Cost: £629

Daily Rental Rate: £35

Percentage of Total Cost: 5.6%

Days to Cover Cost: 18

Coming in second, the iconic DJI Phantom is still in high demand on the platform sitting just behind the Mavic Pro in terms if frequency of rentals. What’s more, this drone is a popular listing amongst lenders as well as borrowers, as the high daily rental rate compared to purchase cost means it requires relatively few rentals in order to pay for itself completely. This drone is perfect for videographers as the increased speed and agility, visual tracking and precision hovering make it an ideal drone for sports films or high speed shoots.

DJI Inspire 2


Purchase Cost: £3059

Daily Rental Rate: £150

Percentage of Total Cost: 4.9%

Days to Cover Cost: 20

Both the DJI Inspire 1 and 2 have proven popular on the platform with near equally frequent rentals requested on the platform. However, the Inspire 2 just beats the 1 into third place on our leaderboard, as the higher daily rental rate makes it a better income generator overall. Interestingly, the Inspire range has fallen behind both the Mavic Pro and the Phantom on our leaderboard, despite being technically more advanced (with a maximum speed of 58 mph, a maximum flight time of 27 minutes and the ability to fly in low temperatures) but this is likely due to its increased size and price making it less accessible to some users.

Sound good to you? CLICK HERE to list your first item today!

Experts anticipate sales of commercial drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) to surpass $12B in 2021 as these devices continue to bring innovation to a variety of industries including agriculture, disaster relief, and much more. However, with lithium-ion batteries as their main source of power, drones are at risk for overheating and even fire. According to the CPSC, there are over 200 recorded safety incidents involving the lithium-ion batteries in drones. Of those 200, 50 percent of them occurred while the drone was charging, an indication that an increase in incidents could make the drone market as dangerous as the hoverboard crisis that started in December 2015.

As the numbers and applications of drones increase, so does the need for standards for safer product development and operations. To help prevent future safety incidents involving lithium-ion batteries in drones, UL, a global safety science company, has been developing a certification program (per the requirements of UL 3030) to help reassure users and regulators that the drone’s electrical system has been evaluated to the appropriate safety standards available.

UL’s experts Ken Boyce, Director of Principal Engineers for UL’s Energy and Power Technologies business, was kind enough to share with us about the development of the UL 3030 requirements and what this growth in UAV applications means for the industry.

What are the risks of using lithium-ion batteries (standard in the drone industry)? 

Lithium-ion batteries are a popular technology with favorable attributes such as energy density, so they are a common choice for many energy applications.  They are generally very safe if they are properly designed, manufactured and integrated into a battery system. However, there are some safety vulnerabilities that have emerged with this technology.  Lithium-ion batteries have flammable electrolytes, so it is important from a risk perspective to mitigate fire conditions. We have seen these risks play out in the headlines and the nearly 22,000 safety incidents from 2012 to 2017 involving lithium-ion batteries.  This concern is what has driven UL’s leading safety science work in the lithium battery sector.

What causes lithium-ion batteries in drones to overheat and how can manufacturers help mitigate risks?

Lithium-ion batteries can be susceptible to a phenomenon known as thermal runaway.  If the battery has an internal fault, contaminants, or conductive dendrites, or is exposed to physical abuses or overtemperature conditions, the electrochemistry of the battery can accelerate.  This causes temperature increases, which causes continued acceleration of the electrochemistry. If this self-perpetuating condition causes the battery to generate more heat than can be dissipated, it is thermal runaway.  Lithium-ion batteries in thermal runaway can result in fires or explosions and can induce thermal runaway in adjacent batteries, causing a cascading hazard. Proper design, manufacturing, testing, certification and integration of batteries throughout the entire battery system are all critical aspects of risk mitigation.

What regulations are currently in place to address the issue of the volatility of the lithium-ion battery? Are there any other viable options for powering drones?

Regulations only apply generally to safety of drones including lithium-ion battery systems. However, as we have seen with incidents involving battery systems in other products, there are lessons to be leveraged in promoting safety. We know that there have been over 200 documented incidents involving drone batteries, with over half occurring while the drone was charging. That is one reason that UL’s proactive work to support drone battery safety is so important, and we are glad to support the industry’s work to mitigate these risks.  Different power sources have been and will be considered for different drone applications, but based on the favorable energy density we expect lithium-ion technology to be the main focus.

Who is UL, and what is their history in the drone industry? 

UL is a trusted global safety science company that has been supporting safe living and working environments for well over a century.  We continue to focus our worldwide team of scientists, engineers, technicians and experts in supporting the advancement of new technologies in a safe and sustainable manner through research, standards, testing, certification, validation and education. While many aspects of the drone industry are developing rapidly, we are glad to partner with the industry leaders to advance confidence in the safety of drones.

What are the requirements of UL 3030 and the accreditation process for manufacturers? 

UL 3030, Safety of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, was published to address safety of electrical systems of commercial drones.  It contains a robust set of construction and performance requirements to assess the safety of drone electrical systems.  It is in the final stages of being published as the joint American and Canadian National Standard. UL 3030 contains requirements for normal, abnormal and abuse conditions, battery systems, environmental assessments, and other safety-critical aspects of commercial drones.  UL helps manufacturers bring safe drone products to market through a variety of ways.

What would the process of certification look like? How does this improve safety for drone operators? What are the implications for drone manufacturers?

Manufacturers ask UL to conduct assessments to the requirements of UL 3030. UL will request samples and information about the construction, and initiate a construction review and testing program.  Once evidence has been built to demonstrate compliance to the requirements, UL certification is established. After that UL conducts a factory surveillance program to audit the ongoing production of the certified products from a safety perspective.  This independent certification promotes confidence not just for users, but also for distributors, specifiers, employers, and others that the safety of the drone has been diligently addressed and verified. We are very pleased that Intel recently received the first UL 3030 certification of a commercial drone, and expect many more of those certifications to occur in the future.

What predictions do you have for the future of the drone industry, and the use of lithium-ion batteries?

We see intense demand for society to benefit from the new capabilities that drone technologies offer resulting in significant growth in the industry, to approximately $80B by 2025.  For this projection to be achieved, a safe and sustainable deployment is essential and we are glad to be working with key stakeholders to make this a reality.

Lithium-ion batteries will be the workhorse for the foreseeable future, with projections of 4-6 billion cells per year.  All of these factors and more are driving battery applications:

  • Increased societal demands for mobility and effective portable power.
  • The burgeoning Internet of Things (IoT) revolution driving distributed assets which demand remote power.
  • The world’s continued focus on renewable energy technologies, which are dramatically enhanced by energy storage.  
  • Electrification of the transport fleet, from consumer electric vehicles to public transport to the Boeing Dreamliner.

UL will continue to build the safety science, share our findings with the technical community, and support the safest batteries and battery products for our world.