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Research Participants

  • Oklahoma State University Research Foundation
  • Cowboy Technologies, LLC
  • National Energy Solutions Institute
  • Smart Energy Source, LLC
  • Power Support, LLC
  • OSU Unmanned Arial Systems Institute
  • Emergency Management

Contents of Report

I. Community Compliance Plan
A. Policies: National, State, Local
B. Community Engagement
C. Flight Request
D. Data Management
E. Legal Requirements
F. Enforcement
G. Key Definitions

II. Technology Requirements
A. Communication Network
B. Payloads
C. Video Capture-Storage-Streaming
D. Robotics
E. Increased Sensor Integration
F. Launch Pod Controls
G. Autonomous flying
H. Critical Software – API’s

III. Building UAV Ecosystems

A. Engineers/Technicians
B. Financing
C. Technology
D. Researchers
E. Education/Training

IV. Solution Case Studies
A. Asset Management (GLIFF)
B. Utility Operations & Maintenance
C. Community Emergency Management
D. Critical Infrastructure Management
E. Commercial Building Analysis
F. UAV Community Analytics

V. Required Skills and Competencies by Sector
A. Utility
B. Commercial Business
C. Emergency Management
D. Analytics
E. Critical Assets

Current Projects

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Research

UAV technology has begun to proliferate within our society. Five years ago consumer drones were not readily available in the market and until recently cost and user-friendliness remained barriers to the market. Today, UAV technology exists on the shelves of retail suppliers and are on the verge filling our skies. It is estimated that the global market for non-military drones has exceeded $2.5 billion and the industry is expected to grow 15 to 20 percent annually. New products are hitting the market like the collapsible, three-rotor aerial vehicle which folds small enough to fit in a backpack and can carry a GoPro camera.

  • $127 billion — That’s how much the drone industry could be worth by 2020, according to recent reports by consulting firm PWC. It also reported that some of the greatest increases could be in business, farming and special effects applications.
  • 7 million drones — According to the FAA’s newest estimates, we can expect about 7 million drones to ship to the U.S. by 2020. The group expects sales of commercial drones to rise as high as 2.7 million (from 600,000) and that of hobbyist drones from 1.9 million to 4.3 million between now and 2020.
    The U.S. controls 35% of the global drone market — And, according to KPCB’s 2014 estimates, that makes America the largest drone market in the world. Europe controls 30%, China has 15% and everyone else controls the remaining 20%.
  • $8 billion — This is the astonishing worth of DJI Innovations after funding in May. The company has said that its valuation could exceed $10 billion following the next round of funding.
  • $40 less than a GoPro — Thanks to intense competition and less expensive components, drone prices are falling fast. In regards to our stat, tech company Xiaomi just launched a 4K drone that costs $40 less than GoPro’s 4K-capable Hero 4 camera.
  • 325,000 — That’s how many drone registrations the FAA received between December 2015 and the beginning of February of this year. As a side note, the FAA also reported that 325,000 is not even a third of the number of drones sold during the holidays last year.
    130 successful deliveries — Earlier this year, shipping company DHL conducted a pilot program, making 130 deliveries between two villages in the Alps. The company says their drones fly as fast as 45 miles per hour carrying as much as 4.5 pounds. In the U.S., Amazon is busy working toward their goal of total delivery automation, as well.
  • $1.9 billion — According to AngelList, that’s how much venture capital has gone to drone industry start-ups so far. The three most promising of these start-ups (in order of valuation) are Skycatch (a commercial logistics company), DroneDeploy (a company developing drone mapping and analytics) and Matternet (a maker of smart drones). AngelList estimates the average valuation of all drone start-ups at $5.3 million.
Government and industry will need to work together to create a comprehensive plan that is based on use cases to establish recommendations for success in the UAV market. An emphasis on developing a UAV traffic management system and coordinating UAV integration efforts with NextGen will be necessary in the plan.


NESI-SES Research Questions Addressed

This NESI-SES research project will analyze five focus areas that we refer to as research pillars:

  • Shaping Policy
  • Advancing Technologies
  • Engaging Stakeholders
  • Enabling Solutions
  • Building Skills/Competencies

Shaping Policy Key Questions Addressed

  1. What are the current national, state and local policies or regulations?
  2. How can current regulations be adapted with technology advancements?
  3. How can security measures be put in place throughout the converging technologies to ensure privacy and data security?
  4. How can standardization within a compliance plan assist in creating opportunities for innovation and market growth?
  5. What classification system will be needed to ensure proper regulation of drones within communities?
  6. What pilot training and licensing should be required?
  7. For drones within a community what privacy rules should be established?
  8. Noise guidelines?
  9. Shot from the sky recourse?

Advancing Technology Key Questions Addressed

  1. What are the primary converging technologies that will enable further growth within multiple sectors?
  2. What financial resources will be required to advance the technology within key areas of productivity and business efficiencies?
  3. How can the technology be optimized with current restrictions like that of line of sight?
  4. What will be the durability challenges to overcome based on use cases?
  5. How can drones deal with conditional awareness? (bird attacks, lightening strikes, signal jammers, etc.)
  6. What will be the ongoing maintenance requirements for commercial drones by sector type?
  7. Invisible fences around critical spaces or infrastructures?

Engaging Stakeholders Key Questions Addressed

  1. What new relationships need to be forged by sector?
  2. What alliances will be required to ensure success within a community drone program?
  3. What vendors or suppliers exist and will they be able to facilitate local needs?

Enabling Solutions Key Questions Addressed

  1. What pilot training and licensing should be required?
  2. What contingency plans will be necessary; i.e. extreme weather?
  3. Collision avoidance systems?
  4. What systems or processes will be necessary to maintain public awareness; who’s drone is flying overhead?
  5. What technologies and opportunities exist for building inspections?
  6. What technologies and opportunities will be needed to facilitate utility inspections?
  7. How can technologies and convergence of business needs be leveraged to enhance emergency response?
  8. What will data management requirements will be needed to facilitate, administrate and leverage the data related to assets?
  9. What will be the insurance implications for drone use within the commercial sector?

Building Skills/Competencies Key Questions Addressed

  1. What education will be required by sector?
  2. Pilot licensing education requirements?
  3. Drone maintenance education and training requirements?
  4. New business modeling training and education requirements?

Current Case Studies

  • Critical Staffing
  • OSU UAS Institute Collaboration
  • UAV/ATV Integration
  • AI Engagement – Asset Management (GLIFF)
  • Meridian Technology – Training and Education
  • Communication Network Integration (ProValue.Net)
  • System Operations Center Analytics – Monitoring/Control Center
  • Data Storage/Management 9. Communications Network (Fiber wireless)
  • UAV Launch Pod Engineering/Design (Patent Filing)
  • National Dealerships (ATV – UAV)
  • SES Air Solutions Distribution Center
  • SES Air Solutions Manufacturing/Maintenance Center
  • NESI-SES Compliance Plan
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