Rise of the Drones
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Rise of the Drones
Investigating the future of unmanned aerial vehicles.
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Beer buzz? FAA grounds plan to deliver 12-packs by drone

Beer buzz? FAA grounds plan to deliver 12-packs by drone | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
The idea seemed ingenious: Delivering 12-packs of beer to the cold, windswept surfaces of popular ice fishing lakes — using a drone

 

Lakemaid Beer president Jack Supple brewed up a plan this winter to quench the beer thirst of ice fishers on central Minnesota’s Lake Mille Lacs, with retailers taking orders using GPS coordinates.

 

The nation’s stewards of the air are still studying how to safely bring drones into modern life, and until then, their commercial use isn’t permitted, they explained. 

 

Supple said he understands their point. He’d scoffed — at first — when he saw reports of Amazon.com floating the idea of drone deliveries, thinking it was three sheets to the wind.

 

“That looked like it couldn’t possibly work. I can’t imagine them flying your shoes down the street here, in downtown Minneapolis, with all of the skyscrapers and people and trains and lamp posts,” Supple said.

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Drone makers want FAA to start use now

Drone makers want FAA to start use now | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

Drone makers are encouraging the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to allow unmanned aircraft to fly over rural areas before a broader integration with commercial airplanes is completed.

The Arlington, Va.-based Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) said the FAA should let non-military drones fly on a "limited basis" because tests of their impact on other airplanes is taking too long to complete.

 

"The FAA has been working on this NPRM since 2009," AUVSI President Michael Toscano wrote in a letter to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. "Most recently, the FAA this month indicated that the small [Unmanned Aerial System] rule is now expected to be published in November 2014 – almost four years late."

 

"Whether it is helping farmers improve crop yields, assisting first responders with search and rescue missions or advancing scientific research, UAS are capable of saving time, saving money and most importantly, saving lives," Toscano wrote. "The industry, meanwhile, is poised to boost local economies and create jobs. AUVSI’s economic impact study found that, in the first decade following integration, the UAS industry will create more than 100,000 jobs and $82 billion in economic impact. However, each day that integration is delayed will lead to $27 million in lost economic impact.

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This Drone Is Going To Find Bigfoot

This Drone Is Going To Find Bigfoot | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

To catch an unlikely creature, you need an unlikely drone: quiet enough to escape notice, sturdy enough to carry NASA-grade cameras and long-range enough to sweep vast swaths of potential Sasqautch stomping ground. “The disadvantage of helicopters is obviously they’re noisy,” says Meldrum. “A fixed-wing aircraft has the disadvantage of not being able to hover.”

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They would spend months at a time scanning undisclosed locations with high Bigfoot potential, hoping not only for irrefutable video, but to make contact. “You know, putting out a transmitter in a banana that can be passed through the gut and while it’s internal serve as a tracking device,” says principal investigator Jeff Meldrum. “Those kinds of things.”

 

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With FAA readying new rules, journalists aren't part of Drone Nation (yet)

With FAA readying new rules, journalists aren't part of Drone Nation (yet) | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

The FAA disagreed. FAA spokesperson Les Dorr told news media that “if you’re using it for commercial purposes, including journalism, that’s not allowed.”

 

VentureBeat asked another FAA representative, Alison Duquette, if noncommercial journalism, such as public television or an amateur blogger, would also be banned. She replied that “public TV would be included” in the ban, and she added that “most people would consider a blog as journalism,” so apparently it’s not the money-making part that’s offensive to the agency.

This ambiguity is not unexpected, since the FAA is rushing to catch up with this Wild West of technology, ready for pioneers but with no clear boundaries. On the way toward governance, the FAA has to zip around many possible safety, privacy and noise issues that could result from even a limited number of drones let loose into American airspace.

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Civilian Photography, Now Rising to New Level

Civilian Photography, Now Rising to New Level | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
With a high-res camera slung under its belly, the Phantom 2 Vision drone takes video and stills from vantage points the photographer can’t reach.
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Six FAA Drone Testing Programs to begin in US

The FAA has selected six UAS test site operators that will allow the agency to develop research findings and operational experiences to help ensure the safe integration of UAS into the nation's airspace as we transition to a system featuring NextGen technologies and procedures.

....

On December 30, 2013, the FAA announced the following six applicants had been selected to operate the UAS test sites:

University of Alaska.  The University of Alaska proposal contained a diverse set of test site range locations in seven climatic zones as well as geographic diversity with test site range locations in Hawaii and Oregon. The research plan includes the development of a set of standards for unmanned aircraft categories, state monitoring and navigation.  Alaska also plans to work on safety standards for UAS operations. State of Nevada. Nevada’s project objectives concentrate on UAS standards and operations as well as operator standards and certification requirements. The applicant’s research will also include a concentrated look at how air traffic control procedures will evolve with the introduction of UAS into the civil environment and how these aircraft will be integrated with NextGen.  Nevada’s selection contributes to geographic and climatic diversity.New York’s Griffiss International Airport.  Griffiss International plans to work on developing test and evaluation as well as verification and validation processes under FAA safety oversight. The applicant also plans to focus its research on sense and avoid capabilities for UAS and its sites will aid in researching the complexities of integrating UAS into the congested, northeast airspace.North Dakota Department of Commerce.  North Dakota plans to develop UAS airworthiness essential data and validate high reliability link technology. This applicant will also conduct human factors research. North Dakota’s application was the only one to offer a test range in the Temperate (continental) climate zone and included a variety of different airspace which will benefit multiple users.Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi.  Texas A&M plans to develop system safety requirements for UAS vehicles and operations with a goal of protocols and procedures for airworthiness testing. The selection of Texas A&M contributes to geographic and climactic diversity.Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech).  Virginia Tech plans to conduct UAS failure mode testing and identify and evaluate operational and technical risks areas. This proposal includes test site range locations in both Virginia and New Jersey.
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A Guide To Spotting And Hiding From Drones

A Guide To Spotting And Hiding From Drones | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
Like birdwatching, but for military robots.
ddrrnt's insight:

Know your drones.

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United Nations’ Drones: A Sign of What’s to Come?

United Nations’ Drones: A Sign of What’s to Come? | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

While the prospect of weaponised UN drones remains remote, more worrying – and perhaps less evident –  is the idea that this deployment might augur an era of increasingly intrusive surveillance by UN bodies in the name of humanitarian good. In a June briefing to the UN Security Council, MONUSCO’s Force Commander enthusiastically promoted the use of drones in the eastern DRC and also notably endorsed a more expansive scope for surveillance by the UN, stating,

[There is] the potential to make much greater use of surveillance technology to bolster monitoring capacity, as in the context of cross-border activity. We have borders with many countries and more than 50 armed groups operating close to those borders, which they may cross, leading to broader disturbances. High-resolution imagery could be of significant use as material evidence. In a similar vein, the selective employment of signals intelligence could enable peacekeepers to stay one step ahead of those posing a threat to peace, which would undoubtedly help to mitigate the risks both to the population and to United Nations troops and personnel.”

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Amazon Drone Usage and Changing Cities | Sustainable Cities Collective

Amazon Drone Usage and Changing Cities | Sustainable Cities Collective | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

...there are more legitimate concerns about a possible drone system in operation. Columnist and RC helicopter enthusiast Joshua Ziering highlights the fact that that when you take into account headwinds, the range could drop significantly. The supposedly failsafe eight engine design could still be taken down entirely by electrical shorts. And the fully computerized system, which relies on surface elevation databases, may not have access to a reliable database of power lines and trees.

 

There are still plenty of hurdles to clear, however. When multiple companies start adding drone systems, how will they coordinate? What about avoiding birds? Or people who try to steal a drone as it lands, to use as a Christmas present for the kids? Most importantly, how is a large scale drone system going to work after it leaves Bezos’s idealized suburban neighborhood and comes to dense urban areas? To avoid smashing into skyscrapers, drones will probably have to be routed over avenues, cutting their range. For deliveries to office buildings, will they land on the roof or at the front door, where they could very easily get pulverized by foot traffic? And for anyone living above the first floor in apartment complexes, the sound of buzzing drones passing by at two in the morning is likely to become really annoying, really fast.

All of these issues remain unsettled, and will potentially be addressed in the US by FAA regulations to be released in 2015.

 

Sembl.net

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Rise of the Drones

Rise of the Drones | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

Read the story here: http://ti.me/Xn6vtB

ddrrnt's insight:

I loved seeing this cover of onTIME at the beginning of last year.

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Jellyfish-power prepares for lift-off

Drone developers are increasingly attempting to mimic the flight mechanics of birds an insects for the next generation of miniature, autonomous aircraft, but one researcher in New York, has found inspiration in the sea rather than the air. Leif Ristroph of New York University is developing a drone that replicates the pulsating motion of the jellyfish as an alternative drive system for future drones. Sharon Reich has more.

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Rentals Delivered By Drone Could Make Ownership Obsolete | TechCrunch

Rentals Delivered By Drone Could Make Ownership Obsolete | TechCrunch | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

Why buy something when you could rent it, have it instantly delivered when you need it, and taken away when you're done? While Amazon's unveiling of its Prime Air drone-powered delivery service could make buying easier, it's drone pick-up that could make it so we don't need to buy things at all.

 

The sharing economy holds the promise of a more efficient, collaborative way of living. Startups like Airbnb and GetAround are thriving by making use of our empty apartments and parked cars. It's proving feasible for humans to share housing and transportation, but we haven't quite figured out the sharing of most objects. Perhaps the biggest hurdle is delivery and pickup.

...

We might buy less stuff and all objects would spend more of their existence being used rather than in a closet, so we wouldn't have to manufacture as many copies of things. That could put lots of people out of work. No, there aren't enough drone repairman jobs to make up for all those lost on the assembly line and delivery chain.

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Bill Gates says Amazon drone delivery plan 'overoptimistic'

Bill Gates says Amazon drone delivery plan 'overoptimistic' | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
Bill Gates casts doubt over Amazon's plans to have drones deliver packages within 30 minutes of ordering.

 

Microsoft co-founder Gates told CNN the plan might not be realistic, although he acknowledged the notion of drones could be useful for things such as charitable aid.

 

"I would say he's probably on the optimistic or perhaps overoptimistic end of that," Mr Gates said.

 

"It's great that people have dreams like that.

 

"If we can make the cost of delivery easier, then it's not just books, it's getting supplies out to people in tough places.

 

"Drones overall will be more impactful than I think people recognise in positive ways to help society."

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Drone with robotic legs can perch on a branch like a bird

Drone with robotic legs can perch on a branch like a bird | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

Quadcopter drones are built specifically for an easy takeoff and stable flight, but landing can be a tricky task. They generally need to land on flat ground or risk toppling over.

Bhargav Gajjar, a roboticist based out of MIT and Vishwa Robotics, has built a drone to solve that problem. According to New Scientist, which published a video of a working prototype Monday, Gajjar used a high-speed camera to capture how dozens of types of birds land. He then built a drone with robotic legs that emulate the American kestrel’s.

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Cyclodrone – Friendly drones that could save your life

Cyclodrone – Friendly drones that could save your life | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

Sometime in the near future, you might take a bike ride with a couple of drones–one flying in front, one in back–to protect you from nearby cars. As you ride around tight corners, the “Cyclodrone” will shine a beacon of light to warn drivers that you’re there, hosting a tiny camera to record any accidents.

 

The design is one of several concepts from a team at frog design that wanted to rework the current evil image of the drone. “Drones are taking a beating in the press, being characterized as spies and assassins,” says Cormac Eubanks, who developed the Cyclodrone. “At frog, we are more fascinated by the design potential at the leading edge of technology. We believe now is the time to explore how drones could be a force for good.”

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David Johnson's curator insight, January 28, 11:56 PM

technolgy will save life too!!!

Mark P's curator insight, March 24, 8:12 PM

I envisioned this in 2010! 

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AirDroids Markets a Pocket Drone for the Everyman

AirDroids Markets a Pocket Drone for the Everyman | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

Very early adopters have had the option to buy a drone kit — with a lot of assembly required. But in a current Kickstarter campaign, the Southern California company AirDroidshopes to appeal to a broader audience with a ready-to-operate book-sized drone, aptly named Pocket Drone, that sells for a manageable $495.

Billed as a high-tech camera mount that allows users to video their hikes and bike rides, get higher angles in their shots and appear in their own family pictures, the drone weighs just one pound and folds down to fit easily in a backpack. Loaded with a half-pound camera, it can fly for up to 20 minutes at a time. (A low-battery alarm warns the user that it’s time to land.)

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Drones of the Future Will Make Own Decisions | via TIME.com

Drones of the Future Will Make Own Decisions | via TIME.com | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
Prepare for "swarms" of unmanned drones able to choose their own targets

 

Drones will eventually be equipped with stronger chemical weapons and able to make their own decisions, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Defense.

 

In a 25-year roadmap for unmanned vehicles, the DoD revealed it hopes to increase drone capabilities in order to save money and better protect the nation’s skies. Currently, drones require extensive manpower on the ground in order to fly and follow precise commands.

 

But in order to cut down on the expense of pilots, the DoD plans to build autonomous drones able to deviate from given missions to pursue a better target, by following a certain set of “laws” delineated by algorithms and advanced sensors.

ddrrnt's insight:

Looking more closely at the report,   "This automation does not mean operators are not monitoring the control of the system". 

” DoD carefully considers how systems that automatically perform tasks with limited direct human involvement are designed to ensure they function within their intended parameters."


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Would You Shoot Your Neighbor’s Drone? - IEEE Spectrum

Would You Shoot Your Neighbor’s Drone? - IEEE Spectrum | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
“In the past year, it’s become more about privacy than safety,” says Brendan Schulman, special counsel at the law firm Kramer, Levin, Naftalis & Frankel, who is defending a client against the FAA in its first civilian drone case. People just don’t want snoopy robots spying on them.

 

Commentator Charles Krauthammer summed up that sentiment on Fox News in 2012 when he said, “I would predict—I’m not encouraging—but I predict the first guy who uses a Second Amendment weapon to bring a drone down that’s been hovering over his house is going to be a folk hero in this country.” Don’t dismiss such fiery talk as the ravings of a pundit bent on making news. Indeed, there have already been some domestic drone downings: An animal-rights group attempting to document the cruelty of “pigeon shoots” has had a camera-equipped multicopter blown out of the air more than once.

....

Ryan Calo, a professor of law at the University of Washington, in Seattle, calls robotic aircraft a “privacy catalyst” because people have responded to them more strongly than to other kinds of surveillance technology. “You can visualize it, unlike what the [National Security Agency] is doing,” says Calo. “You get this visceral reaction to drones. Drones are part of a larger disconnect between how quickly surveillance technology evolves and how slowly privacy law does.”

ddrrnt's insight:

Ha! This is so true. No doubt, a drone will be shot down.

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Prox Dynamics PD-100 Black Hornet

Prox Dynamics PD-100 Black Hornet | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

In a world of delicate, experimental nano-drones, the Black Hornet is the first operational system deployed. A hand-launched observation drone, it can resist gusting winds, fly for 25 minutes, and travel nearly a mile from its operator. The autopilot can follow GPS coordinates to conduct a preplanned patrol or simply hover and stare. All in a drone that weighs less than 0.6 ounces.

ddrrnt's insight:

These nano-drones are not toys.

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Google chief warns armed drones will soon be in the hands of terrorists and miniature models could be used to spy on neighbors

Google chief warns armed drones will soon be in the hands of terrorists and miniature models could be used to spy on neighbors | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

[13 Apr 2013]

The head of Google has warned drone technology proves a serious danger to global security and privacy unless an international treaty is put into place controlling the technology fast.

Eric Schmidt today said that the technology for armed unmanned planes will soon pass into the hands of terrorists posing huge security concerns across the globe. 

He also said that ever expanding drone technology is making smaller and cheaper models, including nano-drones, which could be used by nosy neighbors spying on each other in a dispute. 

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LYFT.io's curator insight, December 24, 2013 10:42 AM

Would you rather be spied on by your neighbor, or a multibillion dollar corporation?

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Robot dragonfly DelFly Explorer flies autonomously

Robot dragonfly DelFly Explorer flies autonomously | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

The DelFly Explorer is the first flapping wing Micro Air Vehicle that is able to fly with complete autonomy in unknown environments. Weighing just 20 grams, it is equipped with a 4-gram onboard stereo vision system. 


The DelFly Explorer can perform an autonomous take-off, keep its height, and avoid obstacles for as long as its battery lasts (~9 minutes). All sensing and processing is performed on board, so no human or offboard computer is in the loop.


http://www.delfly.nl/

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German Company Does Drone Delivery

German Company Does Drone Delivery | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

Two can play the drone delivery game, mein Amazon. Germany’s Deutsche Post DHL, the world’s largest delivery company, has used a drone to deliver a package less than two weeks after Amazon promised to do the same.

 

The drone, a yellow unmanned quadcopter called the Paketkopter, ferried the package across the Rhine River, from Bonn to Deutsche Post DHL headquarters on the other side of the river, according to German news site The Local .

 

The Paketkopter, carrying a package of medicine, flew at an altitude of 50 meters (164 feet) for two minutes. “This being Germany, there are also regulations to consider – Monday’s test flight required a special permit, while the legalities of using drones remain unclear,” said The Local article.

....

The Wall Street Journal  noted that German regulations forbid drones from taking off or landing in residential areas, which would make a Deutsche Post drone delivery service rather inconvenient.

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Another Problem for Amazon's Delivery Drones? Angry Birds

Another Problem for Amazon's Delivery Drones? Angry Birds | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

 Amazon-branded delivery drones may look to us humans like, well, Amazon-branded delivery drones, [however] they look to birds like ... other birds. Encroaching birds. And that's because, as Slate's Nicholas Lund points out, birds—especially predatory raptors, your hawks and your eagles and your harriers—are territorial. Our airspace is also, in a very literal way, birdspace, with birds carving up that soaring territory among themselves, defending their celestial turf against would-be interlopers. Not just with an "excuse me, sir, I think you may be in my seat" ... but with violence. Those dudes will put a bird on it in the most Darwinian way imaginable. 

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The hurdles facing Amazon's Delivery Drones

The hurdles facing Amazon's Delivery Drones | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
ddrrnt's insight:

This +DNews presentation sums up some of the concerns that may halt Jeff Bezo's vision of delivery drones from taking the skies by Sept. 2015 (the FAA's deadline to issue commercial drone regulations):

- High-crash rates and poor maneuvering
- Criminal issues such as drone hacking and theft 
- Public fears and privacy worries

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LYFT.io's curator insight, December 3, 2013 3:47 PM

Where some see hurdles facing Bezos' drone dreams, we see opportunities

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In Thailand, a Drone's Eye View of Protests

In Thailand, a Drone's Eye View of Protests | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
For the first time, widespread use of the tiny devices give an aerial perspective on Thailand’s deep civil unrest.

 

Thailand’s news media outlets have been increasingly using small, unmanned flying gadgets that give them a bird’s-eye view of the protests in the streets of their capital. As my colleague Thomas Fuller writes, the miniature drones have circulated videos of the battles, including one between riot police outside the prime minister’s office and protesters attacking the barricades.

 

This is the first time that drones have been used so widely during protests in Thailand, which is now in the throes of its deepest civil unrest in three years.

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