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Wednesday, January 04, 2012

From Flying Police to Spy Drones

Flying Police, Villemard 1910
100 years ago the French artist Villemard envisioned life in the year 2000 in some futuristic paintings. One of these paintings depicts a flying traffic police who is trying to enforce sky laws.

New Sky Law in Germany 2011
In 2011 almost unnoticed the German federal government has started an aviation revolution in Europe by approving unmanned aerial systems in Germany civilian aviation sky. A forthcoming amendment of the German Aviation Act will lay the foundation for unmanned aerial systems (UAS) to operate in Germany. In the short run this will open a brand new market for traffic and environmental monitoring, inspection and protection of pipelines, fire  fighting, search and rescue operations. In the long run unmanned commercial freight and passenger transportation will become possible. The new law will allow the operation of drones up to 150 kg. Heavier drones will still need the permission of the European Aviation Safety Agency in Cologne. 

md4-200 Microdrones GmbH
Spy Drones in the Sky
Drones capable of hovering and "staring" using electro-optic or infrared sensors, are already developed and tested in Germany.  German law enforcement agencies will get new opportunities to use cutting-edge spy drones to help fight crime, protect borders and monitor protesters against nuclear waste transportation (Castor) or hooligans at soccer matches. 
Disaster Prevention
According to a report of the German Federal Office of Technology Assessment the Research Ministry is funding civilian drone projects for disaster applications with approximately € 5.9 million. 
The project Airshield developed by the Universities of Dortmund and Paderborn, Siegen, Siegen, the TU Berlin and the company Microdrones is aimed to capture poison gas clouds. The SOGRO project with the participation of the German Red Cross, Siemens and several universities will provide the overview in case of mass disasters.

But before this will become reality the German drone law will be one of the hot topics in forthcoming political and public debates. 

World’s first manned flight with an electric multicopter

At the end of October 2011, Thomas Senkel of e-volo had completed a series of unmanned tests and was ready for the first manned flight on an airstrip in the southwest of Germany. The flight lasted one minute and 30 seconds

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