C’mon UOW, Lets Drone Race!

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I’m going to introduce this post in relation to the current problems that arise when I say we can’t race drones around the University of Wollongong, or even Australia for that matter and argue some points that I’ve found interesting. It’s to do with current aerospace legislation that has accumulated such negative connotations and speculations with FPV drones that it has put them into the same category as all aircraft in our airspace.

“The chief danger that unmanned aircraft pose to manned aircraft is accidental collision.”

Strategies to avoid this is introducing different altitude limits for both the aircraft’s, which the only risk then with UAVs is the collision within one another, in which case there wouldn’t be any loss of life because they’re not carrying any pilots. Low-altitude restrictions for drones and UAVs however raise privacy issues between the public. If they’re low enough for regulation then the cameras fixed on them “can more easily take pictures that infringe on privacy and can create noise that is an “intrusion upon seclusion?”.

“regulators believe (based on a track record of military drones with somewhat similar systems) that FPV systems do not provide awareness comparable to a pilot within an aircraft.”

This is counter-productive to the drone narratives (speculative, historical – military) and doesn’t allow for expansion of the term…it will only ever be associated with military purposes instead of commercial, consumer etc. DJI have recently released the Phantom 4 that has on-board systems that algorithmically avoid collisions.

DJI 4(DJI Phantom 4)

( The sensory measurement isn’t specified so the speculations on what size the object will have to be in order to be detected but, the point is manufacturers are taking the above concerns into account when building them.

Situational Awareness

  • FPV hardware is said to not give individuals the same peripheral sophistication of manned cockpit pilots
  • Latency is the problem offering limited awareness to large scale drones
  • “Some countries—France, for instance—permit flight beyond the line of sight for very lightweight drones”
  • “Regulations concerning beyond line-of-sight flying. One major concern is the reliability of the radio link that connects control systems on the ground with drones… final standards, due to be released in July 2016, ought to provide a solid foundation for regulators to build on” this allows flyers both recreational, non-recreational and academics like myself to draw on the findings for future builds as evidence and purpose for these builds.

Where from here

  • “break free of the legacy of manned aircraft regulation. A fresh start would allow regulators both to avoid some of the absurdities that result when applying manned-aircraft regulations to unmanned aircraft”
  • European Union Document wrote in the wake of hobbyists and businesses that rely on drones this ““Drones need to be treated as new types of aircraft with proportionate rules based on the risk of each operation.” Which goes back to Japanese innovation.
Japanese drone regulation - ground bodies
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“Regulators should avoid simply implementing the solutions desired by the unmanned-aviation industry, which will continue to grow rapidly in size and thus in influence in regulatory debates. FPV systems, for instance, are improving. Regulators should have enough discretion to sensibly adopt rules about beyond line of sight flight using FPV systems.”

  • Liability is an area which regulation will need to be addressed. It is the commonality link in comparison to the autonomy in drones extends to the driver-less cars has evolved since its first release, but to completely tackle this issue, privacy has to be implemented, which should be on the grounds of, I believe, location and purpose.

Brendan Schulman, former vice president for policy and legal affairs for DJI, states that the FAA may be reversing course on FPV in situations where there is “no threat to full-scale aircraft, such as for a drone race conducted”, say, within a forest or at low altitude over a stadium, as was the case at the Drone Nationals.


John Goldfluss who is a FFA representative spoke on FPV regulation, note that this was clearly stated that it’s not the opinion of the FFA as a whole that the “Drone Nationals (acted) as a test, in which the FAA participated to see whether loosening its stance of FPV might be warranted”

John attended the 2015 FatShark US National Drone Racing Championships despite the grey area of the regulation of FPV goggles and racing in “public” domains. The question still irritates both drone and FPV enthusiasts that if the championships like the one in Hawaii are deemed a regulated and managed area for this kind of activity, the pilots need practise. So an event that draws competitors from over 30 different countries see’s a clear disadvantage to the evolution, performance and globalisation of the sport. Then there’s the people that will never get to the championships in the U.S. that don’t have the opportunity to race locally because the regulation doesn’t allow for it.

If the sport isn’t referred to as FPV racing and more something in the wake of “Freestyle Drone Course” the Australian authorities don’t seem to have as big of a problem. The goggles can be linked to RC (remote control) themed events. The idea of my game dossier is to bring into reality and interest of UOW and local areas for those who are interested in channelling a more adrenilne filled expertise in drone flight, to that of a pod racer in Starwars episode 1.

Kakaes K Greenwood F Lippincott M Dosemagen S Meier P Wich S, 2015, Drones and Aerial Observation: New Technologies for Property rights, Human Rights and Global Development, New America, viewed 19th April 2016, <;

Schneider, D 2015, ‘Is U.S drone racing legal? Maaaaybe’, IEEE Spectrum, vol. 52, no. 11, pp. 19-20, viewed 7th April 2016, <;


Drones In Agriculture: Sheep, Aerial Photography and Crops

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Part 3 of my exploration of the use and potential of drones on farming areas, this time focusing on more sheep observation data and crop surveillance, as well as an exciting prospect of property planning and housing placement. Using my Parrot A.R 2.0 drone I recorded the footage and have put together for the next compilation of exciting features.

The Drone allows a greater perspective of the land and the abundance of animals, thus giving the individual farmer or farmers time and money to invest in areas they can pinpoint easier.