Opinions

AUVSI showcases Xponential growth of UAV market

May 18, 2016By
AUVSI's newly christened "Xponential" show drew together hundreds of commercial UAV products and services. (Photo: Joelle Harms, GPS World)

The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) hosted another big UAV show this month. Renamed Xponential, to denote the rapid growth in unmanned systems, the May 2-5 gathering in New Orleans was up to its billing — with 8,000 attendees from 55 countries, and 650 exhibitors. The morning plenary sessions notably included a pitch from Amazon for a low-level, high-speed transit... read more

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Is reliance on GPS making us lose our mapping minds?

May 16, 2016By

By Tracy Cozzens Managing Editor I love maps. As a child, I was my family’s designated navigator on car trips (or my parents indulged me!). I studied our roadmaps, searching out each legend icon on the map and finding icons to look up on the legend. I would use the map’s indicators to determine the distance between points and interesting... read more

In defense of PNT: Multi-GNSS to the rescue

May 11, 2016By
An artist's concept of a GPS IIR-M satellite in orbit (courtesy of Lockheed Martin).

For more than 41 years, many of us who were there in the beginning have been discussing the attributes, capabilities, enabling features and shortcomings of GPS and other space-based PNT (position, navigation and timing) systems. You have likely heard most of them; historically they go something like this: The signal is weak. The signal is easily jammed. The signal can be... read more

Expert Opinions: What will help regulators, public accept autonomous vehicles on the road?

May 11, 2016By

Q: What advance — or, overcoming what challenge — will most enable acceptance of autonomous vehicles on the road with regulators and the public? A: Similar to airplanes with an autopilot feature, the key issues that must be addressed in autonomous vehicles are redundancy and reliability of systems and appropriate, timely signals to the operator. One key area where this... read more

Amsterdam declaration advances Europe in autonomous driving

May 9, 2016By

Europe has leapt forward in the ragged advance toward autonomous road travel. The Declaration of Amsterdam, “Cooperation in the field of connected and automated driving,” signed April 14 by the 28 transport ministers of the European Union member states, lays out a strong vision of road future. The language shows some pretty steely resolve to see a driverless ground transport... read more

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GNSS and the real-time network: The surveyor’s best friend

May 4, 2016By
North SmaRTK GNSS RTK Receiver being used to survey the forest population in Switzerland. (Wikimedia Commons)

A lot of talk is being made about UAVs these days and how this technology is going to revolutionize many industries, with surveying being one of the biggest users. I won’t deny the impact this new tool is going to have on our profession (as written in my last column). But I don’t think it will compare to the use... read more

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GNSS has bad days, too

April 27, 2016By
(courtesy Ursanav)

“Even the best technology has a bad day,” Charles Schue told the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), which relies very heavily on the best technology to keep the world’s financial edifice afloat. Vulnerabilities in the stock market were pointed up during a demonstration on April 19, showcasing how one positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) system can cover the chinks in... read more

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Drones: Registration and regulation move forward amid near misses

April 20, 2016By
Lufthansa

As the popularity of drones for personal use continues to increase, most of the people who have bought them are sensible folks who have registered their vehicles with the FAA (in the U.S.) and other authorities elsewhere. They respect the rules that have been laid down for them to operate — fly below 400 feet (recently increased by the FAA from 200 feet), don’t fly... read more

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