Rise of the Drones
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Rise of the Drones
Investigating the future of unmanned aerial vehicles.
Curated by ddrrnt
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World's Smallest Drone Autopilot System Goes Open Source

World's Smallest Drone Autopilot System Goes Open Source | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
The Lisa/S chip is 4 square centimeters -- about the same size as a Euro coin. But packed into this 1.9 gram chip is everything you need to autopilot an aerial drone.

 

It’s the world’s smallest drone autopilot system — over 30 grams lighter than its predecessor — according to the chip’s designers at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. And best of all, both the hardware and the software is open source, meaning anyone can copy and use it — for free.

 

“The main reason we chose open source is that we want to make it available for society,” says the project’s leader, Bart Remes. He envisions open source drone technology enabling a wider range of civilian drone applications, from agriculture to search and rescue.

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NASA Flies Decommisioned Drones Over Active Volcano, Because Sure, Why Not

NASA Flies Decommisioned Drones Over Active Volcano, Because Sure, Why Not | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

NASA has found a good use for three military UAVs — in this case, Aerovironment RQ-14 Dragon Eye drones — on loan from the U.S. Marine Corps. Equipped with sensors and cameras, the drones were sent on 10 separate flights into the miasma of sulfur dioxide rising up from the crater of the volcano known as Turrialba near San Jose in Costa Rica.

 

The overall hope is that the data collected by the drones will form computer models that can help safeguard airspace systems, improve climate predictions, and minimize the dangers for those who live near volcanoes. Of course, even drones would be useless if a volcano erupted in the middle of Los Angeles.

 

Matthew Fladeland, airborne science manager at NASA’s Ames Research Center, summed things up:

 

“This project is great example of how unmanned aircraft can be used for beneficial civilian purposes — in this case for better understanding Earth system processes and the impact of volcanism on our atmosphere. By taking these retired military tools, we can very efficiently and effectively collect measurements that improve NASA satellite data and aviation safety.”

 

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FAA Grounds Local Aerial Photo Business - CBS Minnesota

FAA Grounds Local Aerial Photo Business - CBS Minnesota | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
Charles Eide and Mike Danielson have been flying radio controlled aircraft since they little kids growing up in the same neighborhood.

 

By mounting stabilized cameras onto the bellies of the drone aircraft, Eide and Danielson can offer customers a bird’s-eye view of anything from construction sites, to city attractions, to real estate listings.

 

“It helps sell houses, which is really in my opinion a huge economic impact in the Twin Cities — helps houses move faster,” Eide said.

 

Business was booming, until a call came from the Minneapolis office of the Federal Aviation Administration. They were simply told to ground their commercial use of the aircraft. Turns out, current regulations don’t allow unmanned aircraft for commercial purposes.

 

Business was booming, until a call came from the Minneapolis office of the Federal Aviation Administration. They were simply told to ground their commercial use of the aircraft. Turns out, current regulations don’t allow unmanned aircraft for commercial purposes.

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Matternet: Swapping roads for flying drones

Matternet: Swapping roads for flying drones | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
Two start-ups want to replace road transport with internet-style technology and swarms of tiny autonomous helicopters.

 

The Matternet concept grew out of lengthy brainstorming sessions last summer at Singularity University, which is located at the NASA Research Park campus in Silicon Valley. The University was founded by Dr. Peter Diamandis, founder of the X-Prize Foundation, and Dr. Ray Kurzweil, who is known for his work in artificial intelligence and transhumanism.

 

One of those involved in those sessions was Andreas Raptopoulos, an engineer with a life-long love of flying vehicles.

 

"In the course, they asked us to come up with solutions to some of the globe's grand challenges," says Raptopoulos. "And one of those was alleviating poverty."

 

Quadcopter swarm

 

The more the group thought about the problem of poverty, the more they felt it was, in large part, caused by the fact that millions of people are cut off, literally, from the global economy because of a lack of delivery infrastructure.

 

"The concept of using roads to move stuff around is a very, very old concept," Raptopoulos tells me. "The US has now more than  miles of roads. But should Africa try to replicate that? It is expensive, and it destroys the environment."
 
Eventually, the group considered the merits of an unconventional delivery system. Why not, they thought, use a network of unmanned aerial drones to move physical objects the way the internet carries small packets of information through various routes, and then puts all those pieces together again at the end?

 

“That’s when the idea clicked for me,” says Mint Wongviriyawong, who was also a member of the group. “If you could use these UAVs to transport things from point-to-point, you could transport a lot of loads, autonomously, within a shorter time frame, and it could be done cheaply.”

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Drones Reimagined: Startup Plans Medical Supply Drone Network | inQuid

Drones Reimagined: Startup Plans Medical Supply Drone Network | inQuid | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

Matternet has a vision of creating a network of autonomous flying drones that can deliver medical and other vital supplies to regions that either do not have access to such things, or find getting them tough. The drone network would serve areas with no serviceable road access, or places that have been devastated by natural disasters or war.

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The Year in Hobby-Drone Crash Porn

The Year in Hobby-Drone Crash Porn | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

... more civilian and small-fry hobby drones than ever before took to American skies and beyond in 2012--when President Obama, to cite only the game-changer development here Stateside, formally tasked the Federal Aviation Administration with incorporating "small" (see: under 55 pounds) unmanned systems into US airspace by no later than August 14, 2013. The lion's share of this fleet will be going live for surveillance, search and rescue, and other various "dull, dirty and dangerous' missions (food delivery, anyone?), though thousands, if not tens of thousands, of these 'lil guys are already airborne. With cameras rolling, they lay bear a nagging reality that cuts across the unmanned game writ large: Drones are not perfect. In fact, drones crash. Often. 


(...) before looking up at all the hopes, fears, and uncertainties that 2013 may hold for civilian and hobby drones, why not toast some of those small-fry unmanned aerials that tumbled down to Earth, gracefully or glitchy or otherwise,


By Brian Anderson

MOTHERLOAD

01 Jan 2013


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The New Definition Of Drones | KPBS.org

The New Definition Of Drones | KPBS.org | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
When you hear the word drone, images of warfare or high-tech surveillance come to mind. But the former editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine and a young Tijuana programmer have a different idea. They believe drones will revolutionize our daily lives.

 

“You’ll think of them being like crop dusters," Anderson said. "You will think of them in entirely new context. We’ll forget that drones were once a defense industry thing and we’ll think of it as something you’ll buy at Wal-Mart.”

John Rosman
20 Dec 2012
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Helicopters, Quadcopters, and This Year’s Other Amazing Flying Toys

Helicopters, Quadcopters, and This Year’s Other Amazing Flying Toys | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
Prices given for these items reflect the listed retail price at the time of publication. Just before the holidays in 2010, I reviewed a bunch of flying toys—planes, helicopters, and UFO-like drones that could take to the air indoors and out.
ddrrnt's insight:

Nice review of all the RC copters that Santa will be delivering this Christmas. 

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Lights, Drones, Action: Hollywood’s high flyers hit Boston

Lights, Drones, Action: Hollywood’s high flyers hit Boston | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
A recent Boston drone sighting had locals buzzing: Who is that eye in the sky? Turns out it was a West Coast production company, helping wrap up aerial shots for an upcoming reality show.

Jeff Moriarty, one of the production company’s principals, said that since acquiring the drone, which came in an Ikea-like do-it-yourself kit, opportunities ranging from a stint on G4 to the aforementioned, still-secret Boston production continue to pop up.
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Citizen Drone Warfare

Via HuffingtonPost
An American enthusiast has outfitted a drone with paintball cannons as part of an effort to show how 'civilian warfare' robots could be used for personal defense.

The robot, shown on YouTube, can handily dispatch cardboard cutout targets.

The video was made as part of an effort to find out what happens when drones are used for unethical or illegal purposes.

The drone also had a mount for a handgun, according to DangerInfo.
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Berkeley, wants to establish a "no drone zone"

Berkeley, wants to establish a "no drone zone" | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
From Patch.

Even as the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department considers buying an unmanned aerial vehicle, Berkeley City Council will discuss declaring the city a No Drone Zone.

Arguing that drones are unsafe and pose a threat to civil liberties, Berkeley’s Peace and Justice Commission is recommending that the city council adopt a resolution this month proclaiming:

"1. Berkeley a No Drone Zone and instructing the City Attorney to perform the necessary legal tasks to transform this declaration of a No Drone Zone into an Ordinance for the City of Berkeley wherein drones are hereby banned from airspace.

2. That drones will not be purchased, leased, borrowed, tested or otherwise used by any agency of the City of Berkeley over the City of Berkeley, including drones in transit.

3. That exemptions will be made for hobbyists to continue to fly remote controlled model aircraft in specified areas, away from dwellings and the urban cityscape of people and buildings as long as those devices are not equipped with any kind of camera or audio surveillance equipment."
ddrrnt's insight:

Via Patch 

Does the county sheriff need a drone?

Also see: 

Calif. Residents Concerned By Drone Use In Law Enforcement

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Dad Builds Drone to Walk Son to Bus Stop | Mashable

Dad Builds Drone to Walk Son to Bus Stop | Mashable | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

A man created a camera-equipped quadcopter drone, a helicopter with four rotors instead of the usual two, to follow his son to the bus stop. All parts of the drone were bought separately, and he attached a smartphone equipped with a video chat app to use as his camera: 


What do you think about this dad's DIY drone project? (G+)


View full article at Mashable.

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UK leads civilian drones charge

UK leads civilian drones charge | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

The "Pandora's box" of unmanned aircraft in the UK's sky is open, say participants in a project to tackle the technological and social aspects of the craft.


Unmanned aircraft or UAs is something of a new name for drones, which have gained notoriety principally in the theatre of war where remotely operated aircraft are used for surveillance or air strikes.


But the same technology put to use for civilian purposes is already a hot topic of debate in the UK and abroad, most recently surrounding their use by London's Metropolitan Police. (...)


Chris Elliot, an aerospace engineer and barrister, is acting as consultant to the project. He told reporters that the licensing and privacy questions were points "to debate, not to pontificate".


"We have a very robust privacy regime now for aviation, and I don't see much very different. A lot of it comes down to what society thinks is acceptable," he said.


"I find it interesting that Google has got away with its [Streetview] because we love Google and we all use it. If this technology positioned to something that is good for us, that we like, then people will accept that kind of behaviour.

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US approves drones for civilian use

US approves drones for civilian use | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued certificates for two types of unmanned aircraft for civilian use. The move is expected to lead to the first approved commercial drone operation later this summer.

 

Both the Scan Eagle and the PUMA received “restricted category type certificates”which permit aerial surveillance. Prior to the FAA’s decision, the only way the private sector could operate UAS in US airspace was by obtaining an experimental airworthiness certificate which specifically restricts commercial operations.

 

The PUMA is expected to support emergency response crews for wildlife surveillance and oil spill monitoring over the Beaufort Sea to the north of Canada and Alaska. The Scan Eagle will be used by a major energy company off the Alaskan Coast to survey ice floes and migrating whales in Arctic oil exploration areas.

 

The issuing of the certificates is seen as an important step to integrating UAS into US airspace. Both drone operations will meet the requirements of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, which includes a mandate to increase Arctic UAS commercial operations.

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Ooh la la: French town says it will deliver daily newspapers by drone

Ooh la la: French town says it will deliver daily newspapers by drone | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
Residents of Auvergne, a province in south central France, may soon receive their daily paper by drone.

 

According to a blog post published yesterday, local postal service La Poste Groupe has been working for several years to modernize its delivery processes. A plan has been hatched to implement paper delivery by drone in early May with the help of local volunteers, and tests are already underway.


The drone is a quadricopter, which can be controlled by iPod touch, iPhone, iPad and Android devices, and costs over $300. It is manufactured by Parrot.com, a French wireless devices maker that also announced a partnership with La Poste this morning.

 

We have not heard back from Parrot.com after reaching out for comment. It’s not quite April Fools — but there are legal issues to consider with this insane (but awesome) idea

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Oregon Company to Sell Drone Defense Technology to Public

Oregon Company to Sell Drone Defense Technology to Public | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
The company says it won't knock drones down, but will stop them from 'completing their mission.'

 

The company, called Domestic Drone Countermeasures, was founded in late February because some of its engineers see unmanned aerial vehicles—which are already being flown by law enforcement in some areas and could see wider commercial integration into American airspace by 2015—as unwanted eyes in the sky.

 

The company will sell land-based boxes that are "non-offensive, non-combative and not destructive." According to the company, "drones will not fall from the sky, but they will be unable to complete their missions."

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NOVA | New Ways to Use Drones

NOVA | New Ways to Use Drones | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

Here is one sign of the huge potential of drones: The University of North Dakota recently began offering an undergraduate major in unmanned aircraft systems operations.


For now, most graduates end up in jobs that support the military, but program head Ben Trapnell predicts that civilian uses will eventually far outpace those for defense.


An unmanned plane could fly over a field and send back pictures to show where pests are located or where crops need irrigation.


"Some of the big things [are] agricultural uses," said Trapnell. "We can get imagery to farmers a lot faster than having to wait for satellites to do the same thing." For instance, an unmanned plane could fly over a field and send back pictures to show where pests are located or where crops need irrigation.


Trapnell also foresees medical applications. "There's the possibility of flying organs from one place to another to get them there faster for transplants," he said. Drones may also be used to parachute medical supplies in remote locations, where planes can't land.


Utility companies could benefit from drones. Trapnell predicts they will one day patrol pipelines and power lines to monitor for problems. Small helicopter drones may fly close to wind turbines to make video inspections.


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Robo-Chopper Fights Wine Country Pests : DNews


California researchers at are teaming up with a Japanese vehicle manufacturer on a project to fly drone helicopters over Napa Valley vineyards to combat insect pests. The unmanned chopper — Yamaha RMAX IIG — has also been used in Australia as well, and farmers in Japan are also using it to spray and seed small areas, such as rice paddies, without affecting neighboring fields. A team at UC Davis recently ran a test flight in the Oakville district of Napa, and plans to expand, according to Wines and Vines.


by Eric Niiler

13 Jan 2013

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DRONENET The next BIG thing.

DRONENET   The next BIG thing. | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

It's a system that will explode in a way that is very similar to the way the Internet grew up -- where connections were bought by individuals and installed one modem and IP address at a time, and where the early providers are local geeks with shelves full of modems and an expensive T-1 lines.   


It's an approach that uses "uncontrolled airspace" and incremental purchases of cheap, standards compliant pads/drones to roll itself out (very similar to the way the Internet was able to piggy back on the old telephone system).  


As a result of this open approach and decentralization, it's something that could grow VERY fast.


John Robb

Global Gurrillas

ddrrnt's insight:

Really like how John refers to the civilian drone infrastructure as "DroneNet".

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‘Citizen Drone Warfare’: Hobbyist explores a frightening scenario

‘Citizen Drone Warfare’: Hobbyist explores a frightening scenario | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

Titled “Citizen Drone Warfare” and posted to YouTube last week by an anonymous man calling himself “Milo Danger,” the video shows a hobbyist drone equipped with a custom-mounted paintball pistol flying over a grassy field and peppering human-shaped shooting-range targets with pellets.


Following an attack pass by the drone, one of the targets sports three large red blotches on its head and neck area.


“I wanted to show an inevitability of what I think will happen with these drones,” said “Milo,” who lives on the West Coast and spoke to The Washington Times on condition of anonymity. “I’m not advocating bad activities. But I wanted to raise some of the ethical issues we need to think about with this new technology.

ddrrnt's insight:

See the Danger Info video here.

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Waipahu High Students Build Aerial Quadcopter

Waipahu High Students Build Aerial Quadcopter | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
Students at Waipahu High School (in Hawaiʻi) are making the most of their UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) class and plan to take aerial photographs of their school to put on Google Earth.
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Drone for aerial photography

via Imaging Resource
Called a Dedicam and developed by two inventors from Switzerland, the drone recently shot stunning footage in the thin air over the Trango Towers mountains in Pakistan at altitudes of up 20,500 feet above sea level.
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Burrito Bomber UAV delivers edible payload

Burrito Bomber UAV delivers edible payload | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
Delivering fresh food to someone's door is far from unusual, but delivering it by flying drone is another story entirely. A team of designers at Darwin Aerospace recently built the "Burrito Bomber," a UAV outfitted with a release mechanism and autopilot controls, so it can take food orders and air drop them at a person's location within minutes.

Johnathan Fincher
17 Dec 2012
ddrrnt's insight:

Source: Darwin Aerospace

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AR Drone That Infects Other Drones With Virus Wins DroneGames

AR Drone That Infects Other Drones With Virus Wins DroneGames | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

AR Drones can be much, much more than awesome toys. Just recently, we've see how the (relatively) inexpensive and versatile flying robots have been used as research tools, but the sky's the limit as to what you can do with them, so to speak. DroneGames, which took place over the weekend in San Francisco, tasked programmers with hacking the UAVs in the most interesting and creative ways possible.


In third place was "TooTall Nate," with a hack that lets you an AR Drone over a cellular networks with a Verizon MiFi card, resulting in unlimited range as long as you've got a decent cell connection.


Second place went to a team of freshmen from Stanford, who figured out a way to control lots of different drones with just one computer. They'll be putting it up on Github, just search for "multidrone."


And in first place was James Halliday, who wrote a virus that will infect an AR Drone, and then use that drone to infect any other AR Drones it comes across, "causing them all to be p0wned and run amok." Or if you want to be less evil about it, it's a handy way to automatically deploy software onto a bunch of AR Drones at once. It's available on Github under "virus-copter."


A crowd favorite seemed to be the project in the picture up top, from engineers at Groupon. They taught a drone to behave itself on the end of a leash, which is neat, but it's also constantly taking pictures and performing facial recognition, posting the resulting images to Twitter in real-time.


Via dhorn
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China Drone Maker Expects to Double Sales on Islands Dispute

China Drone Maker Expects to Double Sales on Islands Dispute | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

China Aerospace Science & Industry Corp., the nation’s biggest maker of non-military drones, expects to double unmanned aerial vehicles sales next year as sovereignty disputes spur government orders.


The country intends to increase monitoring at sea amid a row with Japan about the ownership of islands in the East China Sea, Huang Xingdong, deputy head of CASIC’s drone-making arm, said in a Nov. 13 interview at the Zhuhai airshow. The state- owned company signed an agreement to supply an undisclosed number of drones to an oceanic agency at the expo.


“The government is attaching greater importance to ocean intelligence gathering as the islands disputes heat up,” Huang said. He declined to give an exact sales forecast. The company also makes missiles and parts for China’s space program.

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