Cleared for Takeoff!
Avion’s Former Army Aviators Lead Commercial UAS Team to FAA Section 333 Exemption
Congratulations to our Commercial Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) team, who was just granted their FAA Section 333 Exemption! Before beginning Commercial UAS Operations, a company must go through an extensive process and apply for an FAA Section 333 Exemption – this is a “temporary fix” to the current lack of UAS regulation while the FAA and lawmakers work to adopt permanent UAS regulations. With this exemption, Avion’s licensed pilots on our Commercial UAS team are capable of performing UAS missions for Search and Rescue, Structural Inspections, and Data Collection, in addition to professional UAS training and payload integration.
Avion is no stranger to unmanned operations. “We have been in the aerospace engineering business for over two decades, with expertise in aviation safety and UAS airspace integration, as well as extensive support of Manned/Unmanned Teaming (MUM-T) operations for the U.S. Army,” stated Chad Donald, President and CEO of Avion. “Our experience in Interactive Multimedia Instruction and training development will help to position Avion as a leader in professional UAS training programs for medium and large organizations.”
In the midst of UAS misuse and privacy concerns, Avion is focused on safe, FAA Compliant UAS Operations in the national airspace. FAA Compliant Operators, such as Avion Solutions, reduce the risk of UAS-related incidents and operate at a significantly lower cost than similar manned aircraft operations. Partnering with organizations like the Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE) and the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), Avion is committed to advancing the FAA’s goal of safely integrating UAS into the National Airspace System by helping organizations understand and mitigate the risks involved.
Taylor Abington, the company’s project lead stated, “As an aerospace organization, we have a responsibility to ensure that commercial UAS operators understand the rapidly-changing regulatory environment, as well as the safety aspects of operating unmanned aircraft in the national airspace. As more civil operations begin to leverage this technology, our intent is to set an industry standard for others to follow in keeping UAS operations legal and safe. Whether it is through comprehensive UAS training, providing UAS services to clients, rapid prototyping, systems integration, or participation in community events, Avion’s commitment to safety and quality will reflect our military and aerospace history.”
If you’re interested in learning more, contact us below! Full press release available here.
On Tuesday, September 1, Avion proudly hosted a Blood Assurance blood drive to celebrate the successful trial and upcoming full installation of BIT (Biometric Identification Tool), as well as announce the full launch of B SAFE Security Suite. B SAFE (Biometric Scanning Accountability Function Enhancements) includes three products, all utilizing a 99.9% accurate finger vein reader: BIT, a software development kit; VVISIT (Vein Visitor Integrated Software Identification Technology), a visitor management system; and Safe BADJ (Biometric Access for Designated Jurisdictions), a physical access solution.
All three products were on display, and up to sixty lives will be saved as a direct result of the participation from friends and employees of Avion. Tennessee Valley radio station Mix 96.9 was on site for two hours, local CBS affiliate WHNT 19 did a feature segment, and local ABC affiliate WAAY 31’s Tech Alabama covered the event. Additionally, several biometric news outlets picked up the WHNT 19 segment and highlighted the launch. The Mix 96.9 audio files as well as links to all web articles are below, and to see how B SAFE can fulfill your requirements, contact us below!
Vein Reader Eases Donation Process, Encourages Repeat Donation, Saves More Lives
HUNTSVILLE, AL – Engineering and technology firm Avion Solutions is hosting a blood drive at their corporate headquarters in Research Park on Tuesday, September 1 from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Blood Assurance, a regional provider of blood and blood related products for hospitals and health care systems, based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, will have a mobile donation center in the front parking lot of Avion, and each donation can save up to three lives. Trauma, chemotherapy, and surgical patients are only a few among many recipients of donated blood.
What sets this blood drive apart is a small piece of technology that can be used to positively identify donors – a finger vein reader. Avion Solutions Inc. has partnered with Hitachi, Ltd. to create a new biometric solution for blood providers utilizing the unique vein patterns in an individual’s finger as a positive identification tool, creating a smoother donation experience. This application, BIT (Biometric Identification Tool), recently completed a successful pilot test at Blood Assurance to verify donor identification at registration, increasing confidence in current practices to keep appropriate records of life-saving donated blood. Rather than repeatedly showing your driver’s license and filling out the same paperwork, donors will simply register their biometrics. Upon initial registration, a user’s biometrics will be linked with their records, and on following visits, they will only need to use their finger to identify themselves and move on to the next step.
The trial spanned across three months at two donor locations in Chattanooga. Over 600 donors were enrolled during this period with zero errors, and the user survey was “overwhelmingly positive with the majority of donors finding [Hitachi’s vein reader] convenient to use and indicating that they would use it again,” Blood Assurance stated in their final report to Avion. BIT can be used with most any existing records management system requiring positive identification.
“When our passion for serving the community combined with Blood Assurance’s successful completion of BIT’s pilot test, a blood drive was the natural event choice to launch this technology. We are excited to share this technology with our friends in Research Park in such a powerful way as to save lives,” stated Gena Hayes, Avion’s Marketing Coordinator. Avion is using #BSAFEBloodDrive the day of the event to interact with participants.
Avion will be showing off multiple capabilities at these upcoming shows – we hope to see you there!
September 10-13 National Guard Association of the United States; Nashville, TN
September 15-16 Maneuver Conference; Ft. Benning, GA
September 21-24 Global Identity Summit; Tampa, FL
September 22-24 Modern Day Marine; Quantico, VA
November 16-19 Aviation Life Support Equipment and Joseph P. Cribbins Aviation Product Symposium; Huntsville, AL
December 1-3 Aircraft Structural Integrity Program Conference; San Antonio, TX
December 7-10 SAE DoD Maintenance Symposium; Phoenix, AZ
March 21-24 Aircraft Airworthiness and Sustainment Conference; Grapevine, TX
April 27-30 Army Aviation Association of America; Atlanta, GA
The below press release was picked up by local ABC affiliate WAAY 31 – read the article here: http://goo.gl/q4GRoo
Huntsville, AL – Avion Solutions Inc. has partnered with Hitachi, Ltd. to create a new biometric solution for blood providers utilizing the unique vein patterns in an individual’s finger as a positive identification tool, creating a smoother donation experience. This application, BIT (Biometric Identification Tool), recently completed a successful pilot test at Blood Assurance, a regional provider of blood and blood related products for hospitals and health care systems, based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to verify donor identification at registration, increasing confidence in current practices to keep appropriate records of life-saving donated blood. Current practices at Blood Assurance and many other blood providers include a paper trail beginning at check-in with a driver’s license and forms. Using biometrics instead of – or in addition to – a photo ID creates a truly unique file for a donor, regardless of similar names in the system, which also assists with eliminating duplicate files for individuals. While there are many checks in place to ensure that all donated blood comes from healthy donors at strictly regulated intervals (both for the health of the donor and the recipient), a truly unique file will improve these measures with less effort.
According to Mr. Steve Cope, Tullahoma, Tennessee Advisory Board Chairman for Blood Assurance and a Member of the Board of Directors for Blood Assurance headquartered in Chattanooga, TN, “The major cost of blood and blood products is the cost of extracting and testing blood donations. With only approximately 5% of the population willing to donate blood, we can ill afford to lose any blood at all due to lack of accountability of the source of the blood. Biometric Finger-Vein reading technology is a method of positively identifying the donor more conveniently and accurately than current methods.”
The trial spanned across three months at two donor locations in Chattanooga. Over 600 donors were enrolled during this period with zero errors, and the user survey was “overwhelmingly positive with the majority of donors finding [Hitachi’s vein reader] convenient to use and indicating that they would use it again,” Blood Assurance stated in their final report to Avion.
Avion’s Marketing Coordinator, Gena Hayes, said about the progress, “Avion has a long history supporting the warfighter through contracts with the Department of Defense, and we are eager to use our new technologies and partnerships to support the healthcare industry with the same passion we have for our troops.” She also stated additional applications for this technology include pharmacies, patient management (both at hospitals and private practices), restricted access management (medicine cabinets, supply closets), and nearly any other scenario where positive identification is necessary. Avion is also reaching out to the security field with these reliable products.
BIT is the most versatile and customizable tool in the three-product security suite Avion boasts with the finger vein reader. The finger vein reader houses a near-infrared light, which illuminates the hemoglobin in the blood flowing through the user’s finger, creating an image of the vein to code and store. Because of the encoding of the image, an individual cannot steal the biometric information. BIT is a Software Development Kit (SDK) that can easily integrate with most existing records management systems. The two additional products, VVISIT (Vein Visitor Integrated Software Identification Technology) and Safe BADJ (Biometric Access for Designated Jurisdictions), are a visitor log solution with push notifications to replace a pen and paper visitor log and a physical access system with multiple permissions levels, more secure than a card swipe system, to keep full control of the restricted areas of a building. Vein patterns are similar to finger prints in that they are unique to each individual, but have a much higher accuracy rate at 99.9% (compared to finger print standing around 95%). A large reason for the accuracy is due to the housing of the vein internally, and its protection from burns and scratches; more so, it is invisible to the naked eye and a person cannot touch or mold a finger vein, virtually eliminating opportunities for forgery.
Since 1997, Hitachi has been developing original biometric finger vein authentication technology, which uses the finger vein pattern obtained from passing light through a finger as a key. In 2004, Hitachi deployed its first commercial system. As illustrated in the adjacent figures, near-infrared light generated by a bank of LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) penetrates the body tissues, and the hemoglobin in the blood reflects the light. A camera captures the image of the vein pattern through this reflected light. Within a split second, the finger vein system produces a template that it compares to the stored biometric template of the user, and then determines whether there is a match. Tens of thousands of these products have been deployed worldwide in banks, schools, government, and other markets.
“Hitachi’s partnership with Avion Solutions is a significant development in the use of biometrics in USA. Our Finger Vein authentication technology offers a safe and reliable biometric solution and we are looking forward to a long and fruitful cooperation with Avion, which enables us to introduce this technology elsewhere across America.” – said Ravi Ahluwalia Deputy General Manager, Information Systems Group, Hitachi Europe Ltd.
The collaboration of Hitachi with Avion is an example of Hitachi’s focus on its Social Innovation Business - improving society by delivering innovations through solutions which combine products, services and highly sophisticated IT.
About Avion Solutions
Formed in January 1992, Avion is an Employee-Owned Small Business with a history of providing high quality specialized Engineering, Logistics, Software Development, & Technical Services to the U.S. Army with corporate headquarters located in Huntsville, AL. We provide innovative solutions for technical and operational problems through the application of systems engineering, research, analysis, and computer and software engineering technology. Through repeated success, Avion expanded into multiple areas of the Department of Defense, as well as commercial software avenues for security and asset management. Avion is a privately held company with an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) owning 49%, promoting long-term corporate ownership continuity and commitment to the company. For more information on Avion, please visit www.AvionSolutions.com or interact with us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/AvionSolutions), twitter (www.twitter.com/AvionSolutions), and LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/company/avion-solutions-inc).
About Hitachi, Ltd.
Hitachi, Ltd. (TSE: 6501), headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, delivers innovations that answer society’s challenges with our talented team and proven experience in global markets. The company’s consolidated revenues for fiscal 2014 (ended March 31, 2015) totaled 9,761 billion yen ($81.3 billion). Hitachi is focusing more than ever on the Social Innovation Business, which includes power & infrastructure systems, information & telecommunication systems, construction machinery, high functional materials & components, automotive systems, healthcare and others. For more information on Hitachi, please visit the company's website at http://www.hitachi.com.
About Blood Assurance
Blood Assurance is a non-profit, full-service regional blood center serving 51 counties and more than 70 health care facilities in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, and Virginia. Founded in 1972 as a joint effort of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society, the Chattanooga Area Hospital Council, and the Chattanooga Jaycees, the mission of Blood Assurance is to provide a safe and adequate supply of blood and blood components in a cost effective manner to every area patient in need. Currently, there are 15 locations and 13 bloodmobiles to collect life-saving blood products, used by area patients. Blood Assurance is a member of the American Association of Blood Banks, America's Blood Centers, the Tennessee Association of Blood Banks, the Tennessee Hospital Association, Blood Centers of America, the Georgia Department of Community Health, Tennessee Department of Health, and the Chattanooga Area Hospital Council. Blood Assurance has been a member of the Be The Match Registry® (also known as the National Marrow Donor Program) since 1993 and is licensed by the Tennessee Department of Public Health, the Georgia Department of Human Resources, the Alabama State Board of Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. For more information on Blood Assurance, please visit www.BloodAssurance.org.