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SA’s first certified drone pilots graduate

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UAV Industries has released the first set of certified drone pilots, allowing them to legally fly drones in the region and opening up a range of new jobs for them.

UAV Industries (UAVI), the Western Cape’s only drone pilot training centre, has released its first batch of 14 graduates. These are the first certified trained pilots who are authorised to fly drones in the region. This spells the commencement of new jobs in the country for a brand new industry, with just four training schools currently in South Africa.

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UAV Industries Chief Instructor, Greg Donaldson, explains, “People think that drones are just good for Cape Town’s booming film industry, but there are a wide diversity of industries that will need, and employ, certified drone pilots – agriculture, infrastructure, and utilities, for example. Anything that manned aviation does today that doesn’t involve the transportation of passengers will be taken over by drones over the next five to ten years so there’s huge opportunities for the industry. Things are moving incredibly quickly.”

UAV Industries has assumed first mover advantage in the Cape. On the 23rd of December, the Civil Aviation provided UAV Industries with the certificate to train individuals as a Remote Training Organisation (RTO) under part 141 of the Civil Aviation regulations.

“Within the first week of January we had a lot of interest from potential drone pilots and we’ve been working with mainly experienced model aeroplane flyers that which to convert into legal drone pilots. In the first 8 weeks we’ve had over 50 people book through our courses and our first “recruits” already certified and ready to earn,” adds Donaldson.

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To fly a drone legally the operator needs three items of paperwork: the drone, pilot and company all need to be licenced.

“What we’re offering through our training school is the ability to licence the pilot and to get the equivalent in manned aviation of a commercial pilot’s licence. There is a pre-on site program and then there’s two weeks full time on site between the ground school and flight school, totalling three to four weeks in total.”

“There is a lot of detail and requirements that are needed for people to understand the airspace that one’s operating. We need this time to shape expert flyers into commercial flyers. It’s not the ability so much to fly a drone, but it’s that concept of safe flying – all the risk assessments that go around a mission or a flight, and understanding how to integrate manned and unmanned aviation. Crucial in our course is airmanship. You can be the best radio control aircraft flyer, but you’ll fail our course if you don’t have situational awareness of, not just the drone, but the other users of the airspace around you – people on the ground, buildings, and property. For the final pass to get your licence, we bring a Civil Aviation designated examiner out from Johannesburg who tests out every single student to Civil Aviation standards and we will not recommend a student to that test unless they meet our standards – we haven’t had one student fail so far. It’s a very good measure. The designated examiner has been very complimentary of the standard which we train our students, specifically airmanship safety.”

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As part of the course, UAV Industries facilitates the entire process with Civil Aviation to get their “red book” – the pilots licence, leaving the pilot to ensure they have a legal Remote Operating Company (ROC) and the drone is registered.

Being a drone pilot is a “future-proof job”. A large function of how much the pilot can expect to earn per day depends on the equipment with drones varying in size from the size of a smart phone to a motor car.

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YouTube Music announces Smart Downloads, SA playlists

The service has introduced Smart Downloads which takes allowing users to store and play hundreds of tunes offline, automatically.

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The latest updates from YouTube Music, for subscribers of its Music Premium and Premium services, include a new feature that allows users to switch seamlessly between a song and its music video for an uninterrupted experience.

It has also introduced Smart Downloads which takes the work out of downloading music, allowing users to store and play hundreds of tunes offline, automatically. YouTube Music has also announced new playlists for South Africa. 

The updates all reflect features that are popular on the global leader in music streaming, Spotify, and that have been key to its growth.

YouTube said in a statement on Friday: “Imagine listening to a new track by your favourite artist in the YouTube Music app and having the ability to seamlessly switch over to watch the music video – no pauses, no interruptions, just a simple tap that keeps the music flowing. This standout new feature from YouTube Music allows YouTube Premium and YouTube Music Premium subscribers to make a seamless transition between a song and its music video for uninterrupted listening and/or watching. Whether you’re in the mood for listening or watching (or a little of both)… it’s all here – no app switching required.”

With Smart Downloads, YouTube Music automatically saves music at night, when connected to Wi-Fi, helping subscribers to use less mobile data, enjoy a smoother updating experience and save up to 500 songs offline using Liked Songs playlist as well as other playlists and albums. 


Previously, music lovers could use the Offline Mixtape feature to download up to 100 songs, specifically chosen for them based on what they listened to most on the platform. Now, with Smart Downloads, they select the number of songs they would like automatically downloaded by toggling their YouTube Music Settings. This means YouTube Music Premium subscribers with Smart Downloads enabled on their mobile devices can now access hundreds of tracks regardless of connectivity. 

This feature is currently available on Android, with plans to bring it to iOS in the future.

Click here to read more about YouTube Music playlists, and find out what is inside them.

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Make cars, not waste

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Jaguar Land Rover is trialling an innovative recycling process which converts plastic waste into a new premium grade material that could feature on future vehicles. 

It’s estimated that the amount of waste plastic is predicted to exceed 12 million tonnes globally by 2050*. Today, not all of this plastic can be recycled for use in automotive applications – especially in vehicle parts that are required to meet the most exacting safety and quality standards.

Working in conjunction with chemical company, BASF, Jaguar Land Rover is part of a pilot project called ChemCycling that upcycles domestic waste plastic, otherwise destined for landfill or incinerators, into a new high-quality material. 

The waste plastic is transformed to pyrolysis oil using a thermochemical process. This secondary raw material is then fed into BASF’s production chain as a replacement for fossil resources; ultimately producing a new premium grade that replicates the high quality and performance of ‘virgin’ plastics. Importantly, it can be tempered and coloured making it the ideal sustainable solution for designing the next-generation dashboards and exterior-surfaces in Jaguar and Land Rover models.

Jaguar Land Rover and BASF are currently testing the pilot phase material in a Jaguar I-PACE prototype front-end carrier overmoulding to verify it meets the same stringent safety requirements of the existing original part.

Pending the outcome of the trials and progression in taking chemical recycling to market readiness, adoption of the new premium material would mean Jaguar Land Rover could use domestically derived recycled plastic content throughout its cars without any compromise to quality or safety performance**. 

Chris Brown, Senior Sustainability Manager at Jaguar Land Rover, said: “Plastics are vital to car manufacturing and have proven benefits during their use phase, however, plastic waste remains a major global challenge. Solving this issue requires innovation and joined-up thinking between regulators, manufacturers and suppliers.

“At Jaguar Land Rover, we are proactively increasing recycled content in our products, removing single-use plastics across our operations and reducing excess waste across the product lifecycle. The collaboration with BASF is just one way in which we are advancing our commitment to operating in a circular economy.”

This is the latest example of Jaguar Land Rover’s commitment to addressing the challenge of waste plastic. The company has collaborated with Kvadrat to offer customers alternative seat options that are both luxurious and sustainable. The high-quality material, available initially on the Range Rover Velar and Range Rover Evoque, combines a durable wool blend with a technical suedecloth that is made from 53 recycled plastic bottles per vehicle. 

Jaguar Land Rover has already met its 2020 target for Zero Waste to Landfill for UK operations. This includes the removal of 1.3 million m2 – equal to 187 football pitches – of plastic from its manufacturing lineside and replacing 14 million single use plastic items in business operations. 

Together, these efforts are driving towards Jaguar Land Rover’s vision for Destination Zero; an ambition to make societies safer and healthier, and the environment cleaner. Delivered through relentless innovation to adapt its products and services to the rapidly-changing world, the company’s focus is on achieving a future of zero emissions, zero accidents and zero congestion.

Editor’s notes:

https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/7/e1700782.full

** All Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles tested have achieved a Euro NCAP 5* rating.

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