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The issues with drone delivery

2021/06/30 > Back

With outbreaks and reduced exposure becoming mainstream in the world, the possible social distance of drones has become a new advantage. Although drone delivery is now a luxury service, in the long run it can save many businesses significant staff and delivery costs from large retailers, such as Amazon's Prime Air (the largest share of Amazon's operating costs is delivery costs, which total up to 30%). In addition to Amazon, other retailers are not far behind, such as British retailer Tesco, which works with drone delivery company Manna; Walmart is also working with drone company Flytrex.

But whether drones can be officially commercialized as a delivering solution still has many questions to overcome. For example, technically, the battery needs to meet the required flight time, plus to satisfy the Sense and Avoid (SAA) requirement to ensure that there are no obstacles in the flight path. Legally, most of the regulations are currently regulated by the FAA, but the FAA does not yet have the regulations needed for drones, such as Remote Identification. So there's still a long way to go to commercialize drone delivery. Like Google's Win Aviation has become the first approved commercial drone-delivery company in the U.S. in 2019, but only in less populated areas such as Virginia.

In addition to legal issues, drones pose other risks. Like self-driving cars, technology in densely populated areas is far more complex than expected, such as the possibility of straying into an airline path, or falling on a passer-by's head due to various factors, or even becoming a privacy loophole by spying on a house during a flight.

Another easy-to-ignore problem is electromagnetic interference. In addition to retailing, drones have long been used in a variety of industries, such as entertainment shows, construction, search and rescue, battlefield search, agricultural spraying and secret service and so on, but no matter which environment the drone is used, it will face electromagnetic interference. Practically, EMI most often causes two situations in which a drone is suppressed: signal being jamming or spoofing; especially a radar jammers is not expensive; therefore, drones must first have a countermeasure to electromagnetic interference, to prevent inadvertent or malicious interference, otherwise it will extend the problems of the social security level or even the national security level.

The technical challenges on EMC of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV):

When UAV is flying, it is not only affected by electromagnetic environment caused by radiation of internal equipment, but also by external electromagnetic environment such as lightning, interference station, nuclear electromagnetic pulse and so on. If these interference can not be prevented reasonably, the performance of airborne equipment will be greatly affected. The internal electromagnetic environment of UAV mainly includes antenna feed system, electromechanical system and circuit system.

Among them, the coupling degree between antennas is the most important parameter to measure the EMC between antennas. Inter-antenna coupling, antenna pattern and near-field radiation have a great impact on the performance of airborne multi-antenna system, and are the main indicators to measure the layout of aircraft multi-antenna system.

And wires layout - According to statistics, the total weight of all kinds of cables on a large transport aircraft reaches several tons, and 60% of all kinds of EMI occurring on the aircraft is due to the electromagnetic coupling between cables.

Therefore, to address such problems as EMI, we need more corresponding technologies, for example, the passive detection system iShield developed by the iTech team at Taiwan University, whose wireless positioning and tracking system can design wireless communication antennas and IC circuit modules through advanced radio wave technology, combined with artificial intelligence algorithms, can warn drones of malicious intrusions in advance, and even track the operator's position, and can completely avoid interference from electromagnetic radiation. Its detection method is not to emit radio waves, but to passively receive Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, mobile networks and other wireless signals that being commonly used to detect location, so there is no electromagnetic interference, exposure and other hazardous factors to human health. At the same time, whenever and wherever, even in bad weather can detect traces, applicable to the military, airports, governments.

In summary, when the control system of the UAV has strong enough electromagnetic protection capability, it can solve not only the problem of machine operation, but also the extended social security problems and even national security problems.

Data Source: mymkc.com ; doi.org