Intel tapped to lead drone council, unveils drone 100 flight

By Luke Geiver | May 12, 2016

Intel’s work in the unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) ecosystem has put the company atop a new drone advisory council recently created by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. Announced at the Association for Unmanned Vehicles Systems International Xponential event in New Orleans, the new council will consist of industry stakeholders capable of providing recommendations to the FAA on key issues. Brian Krzanich, Intel CEO, will lead the council.

“A positive regulatory environment can be the great enabler for drone innovation, safety and industry expansion. I am honored to assist decision makers in prioritizing and addressing issues facing the integration of UAS into national airspace,” he said following the FAA’s announcement of the council. According to Krzanich, Intel’s work has given his Intel team relevant insight into issues faced by a wide array of stakeholders. The stakeholder group will be comprised of industry, government, research and academia, retail, technology and others, according to the FAA.

The Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA) will lead the council’s mission and help the FAA select CEO and COO level participants that register to be a part of the council. Applications to become part of the council are due no later than May 19. Selections for membership by the RTCA are expected by May 31.

The RTCA is also overseeing SC-228, a working group developed to create minimum operational performance standards for UAS. The work started in May 2013 and is expected to be finalized in July.

Intel’s Historic Flight

To showcase its expertise and abilities to expand the use and technologic capabilities of UAS, Intel released information on a multi-UAV flight it operated recently in Palm Springs, California. To date, the flight marks the only Section 333 exemption granted for multiple UAS per pilot. With the exemption, Intel performed a flight that included 100 small drones outfitted with under-platform lights.

For the event, Intel set up an operation with small UAVs placed on a ground-grid pattern. The drones were then flown above the grid while the lights turned on and off to create an aerial, lighted visual that Krazanich said could also be performed over sporting events. “We have visions of going from 100 to 1,000,” he said.

A video of the event can be found here: