Insitu’s ScanEagle will provide small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) services aboard the entire U.S. Coast Guard National Security Cutter fleet.

The approximately $117 million service contract covers the installation and deployment of sUAS for 200 hours per 30-day operational patrol. ScanEagle will conduct surveillance, detection, classification, and identification operations, providing real-time imagery, data, target illumination, communications relay, and other capabilities to the fleet and other government platforms.

In 2016, Insitu, a Boeing Co. subsidiary, won the contract to provide sUAS ISR services aboard the USCGC Stratton. By January 2018, ScanEagle had directly assisted the ship’s crews in seizing more than $1.5 billion of cocaine and heroin, contributing to the USCG’s record-breaking year for drug busts in 2017.

“The sUAS has already proven itself to be a transformational technology, and the deployment of this capability to the entirety of the NSC fleet is an incredibly important first step in realizing the Coast Guard’s vision of fleet-wide UAS implementation,” says Cmdr. Daniel Broadhurst, who served as UAS division chief in the Office of Aviation Forces.

The U.S. Coast Guard began infrastructure installation in April 2018, with plans to begin installing hardware on Coast Guard Cutters James in fall 2018, Munro in late winter 2019, and Bertholf in late spring or early summer 2019. www.insitu.com; www.uscg.mil

Swiss demonstrate national drone flights

In Switzerland, Swiss air navigation service provider skyguide and drone airspace management platform AirMap have demonstrated services with U-space, Europe’s plan for digital infrastructure to support safe and secure drone access by enabling situational awareness, data exchange, and digital communication. The demonstration was part of the Drone Innovators Network event hosted by the World Economic Forum; the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy, and Communications; and Presence Switzerland.

Dozens of drones performed commercial tasks, including medical supply delivery and weather monitoring, across the entire country. Each drone connected to the skyguide system, using AirMap technology, to receive live information about airspace and traffic, and to publish live positioning and flight path information to an air traffic management dashboard.

AirMap and skyguide officials previously announced they would jointly develop a Swiss U-space national drone traffic management system.

Skyguide provides air navigation services for Switzerland. With 1,500 employees at 14 locations, the company guides 1.2 million civil and military flights a year.

AirMap provides airspace intelligence and services that allow unmanned aerial systems to fly safely and communicate with others in low-altitude airspace. www.airmap.com; www.skyguide.ch

Trilliant introduces site surveying UAS

Raleigh, North Carolina-based Trilliant has introduced a site surveying tool using unmanned aerial system (UAS) technology. Trilliant is a network provider for energy, utility, and industrial Internet of things (IIoT) industries.

The integration of drone technology will improve quality, efficiency, and speed in performing site surveys and inspections. www.trilliant.com

Boeing HorizonX invests in urban delivery startup

Boeing has invested in Matternet, a Menlo Park, California-based startup developing on-demand unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) delivery operations in urban environments.

Matternet received authorization to launch UAV operations over densely populated areas in Switzerland in 2017. Leveraging its Matternet automated launch and landing station, M2 drone, and cloud platform, the company has achieved safe flights, and partnered with Swiss Post to deliver medical samples to hospitals.

“Matternet's technology and proven track record make the development of a safe, global autonomous air mobility system a near-term reality,” says Brian Schettler, managing director of Boeing HorizonX Ventures. “Our investment will allow Matternet to scale its operations while strengthening Boeing's position as a leader in next-generation transportation solutions.”

In May 2018, Matternet was selected to participate in a joint U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) program aimed at accelerating integration of unmanned aircraft into national airspace. Matternet will work with hospitals, universities, and transportation agencies in California and North Carolina to facilitate on-demand delivery of medical supplies and samples.

Boeing HorizonX Ventures led the $16 million investment in Matternet, with participation by Swiss Post, Sony Innovation Fund, and Levitate Capital. www.boeing.com; https://mttr.net