Monday, April 27, 2015

Drone shows damage after Nepal earthquake

"Video footage taken by a drone has revealed the damage caused by the magnitude-7.8 quake which devastated Nepal as the death toll rose above 4,000.
Thousands of sick and wounded are due to spend a third night out in the open because of the fear of more collapsing buildings.
The drone footage shows toppled monuments, cracks across major roads and widespread damage to residential buildings across the city."

Another good use of drones.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Quadcopters learn to fight invaders in Ukraine

"We pulled away, hearing a firefight to the right of us, and passed armoured vehicles firing towards the separatist forces’ positions until we finally pulled over on a muddy track. Removing a giant box from the roof of the vehicle, the soldiers took out an enormous multirotor drone. Within minutes it was set up and flying thousands of feet above our position. Then they quickly brought it back down – and began to attach the bomb.
The drone pilot fiddled with the controls and two soldiers stepped forward to attach the bomb to a holding mechanism that sprung out from underneath the drone. It was quickly in the air again, hovering just a few hundred feet from our position. And then they dropped the bomb.
But nothing happened. They just laughed, and turned to us saying: 'It’s just a practice bomb.'”

I kind of hope quadcopters aren't weaponized, but it's probably inevitable.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Has Canada figured out drone regulations?

"With a quick, flexible process for giving permits to commercial operators, and a blanket exemption for small UAS, the civil aviation authority Transport Canada issued 1,672 commercial drone licenses last year, 945 in 2013, and 345 in 2012. As of this writing, the FAA has issued a grand total of just 28.
The Federal Aviation Administration finally proposed rules for commercial use of UAS last month, but even so, the agency’s cumbersome rule-making process means that nothing will change for at least another 18-24 months. So even though the FAA is dropping the requirement for a pilot's license, you'll still need to have a license to fly an actual plane until those rules are finalized -- in roughly 2017 or so.
In the new rules 'the FAA clearly concedes that the requirement of having a pilots’ license has very limited relevance for UAS operation,' says Diana Cooper, a drone-law specialist at the Canadian firm of LaBarge Weinstein.' There’s no reason that until we have those rules in place, they should be requiring a pilot’s license for an exemption. That [change] could be implemented right away. But I’m not sensing any messaging from the FAA that suggests that they’re planning to do that.'"

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

quadcopter lands on Japanese Prime Minister's office, freaks everybody out

"Police said Wednesday it was not immediately known who was responsible. They are investigating the possibility it had crashed during a flight.
Public television NHK footages showed dozens of police and officials around the drone, which was covered by a blue tarp.
NHK said the drone is about 50 centimeters (1.7 feet) in diameter and had four propellers, carrying a small camera and something that looked like a flare. It was also decorated with a symbol that warns of radioactive material."

Monday, April 13, 2015

Ape takes down a quadcopter

3D Robotics Solo, in conjunction with GoPro

"Solo, its controller and optional Solo Gimbal -- a motorized 3-axis camera stabilizer -- is the culmination of a couple years of work and a partnership with GoPro. A partnership that has resulted in a drone with full in-flight camera control and live, low-latency HD streaming straight to mobile devices.
To do this, 3DR had to give Solo a brain of its own.
'What Solo introduces are two new technologies for deep integration with GoPros,' said Chris Anderson, 3D Robotic's CEO and co-founder. 'The first thing, is because it has an on-board Linux computer, it's capable of running apps for computer vision for object tracking and artificial intelligence and other things. And because it also has a long-distance broadband connection, it's able to transmit not just the HD video, but flight data and telemetry.'"

 This might be my next quadcopter!  I plan to use my original as my bang-around practice quad.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Drone races

"The popularity of drones has grown rapidly over the last 12 months and now there is a contest where pilots can test their piloting skills while flying around an obstacle course at speeds of 60 mph (100 kph)."

I'm more interested in taking photos and video, but this looks like a lot of fun.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

quadcopter crashes, toasting its load of asparagus

"A stunt using a drone to deliver the first asparagus of the season to a Michelin-starred restaurant in Etten-Leur went spectacularly wrong on Wednesday, when the drone crashed onto a country road."

A stunt using a drone to deliver the first asparagus of the season to a Michelin-starred restaurant in Etten-Leur went spectacularly wrong on Wednesday, when the drone crashed onto a country road.

Read more at Dutch drone delivering asparagus crashes onto country road
A stunt using a drone to deliver the first asparagus of the season to a Michelin-starred restaurant in Etten-Leur went spectacularly wrong on Wednesday, when the drone crashed onto a country road.

Read more at Dutch drone delivering asparagus crashes onto country road"
A stunt using a drone to deliver the first asparagus of the season to a Michelin-starred restaurant in Etten-Leur went spectacularly wrong on Wednesday, when the drone crashed onto a country road.

Read more at Dutch drone delivering asparagus crashes onto country road

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Russia makes quadcopter for Arctic oil exploration

"Russian scientists have developed a flying robot specifically designed to work on Arctic research missions. The vehicle can measure the thickness of ice to help icebreakers, as well as detect oil pollution.
The robot was constructed in the Admiral G.I. Nevelskoy Maritime State University in Vladivostok. At least 5 million rubles ($92,000) were spent on the project.
'[We are] testing a new unique unmanned aerial vehicle, which is designed to carry the automatic software package which measures the thickness of ice and hydrocarbon content in seawater,' the university said in a statement."

Phantom 3 streams live video to youtube

"The Phantom 3 Professional, which costs $1,259 (£842), can shoot in 4K at 30 frames per second.
The ultra high definition format is four times the resolution of 1080p HD, which offers video-makers greater leeway to crop and pan across their footage after it has been shot.
The Phantom 3 Advanced, which costs $999 (£668), films at 1080p at 60 frames per second. This is lower resolution but better suited for slow-mo effects.
The lenses used by both aircraft are better suited for low-light conditions than earlier models. In addition, the new software allows owners to tag the best footage as it is recorded, making it easier to put together a fast edit.
DJI said that footage could be streamed to YouTube in 720p quality when the drone is up to one mile (1.6km) away from its controllers with almost no lag - a facility it suggested could make it a useful tool for journalists covering disasters and protests, and for mining and construction industry managers wanting to direct surveying efforts remotely."

Things are getting better, and cheaper.

drones to inspect power lines

"Babak, 36, who was raised in a household of scientists, says that his interest in drones emerged by chance. After Japan's 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, Babak wondered why human beings were still needed to tackle the aftermath of a nuclear disaster.
'Why should people go and die there if you can use drones?' Babak asks. That’s how he and his team at the Science and Technology Center at Ukraine’s National Academy of Sciences came up with the Crane drone aimed at monitoring radiation levels.
They made their first drone at the end of 2012. 'Production was extremely expensive,' Babak says. A significant share of the cost was spent on testing.
The Crane drone has barometric height sensors; and it can capture images and make HD-videos. There is a small block inside the drone that constantly measures the level of radiation, and all the information is saved on a MicroSD card."

Yet more uses for drones!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Nice quadcopter video of Ukraine war results

Posted by Всемирный клуб киевлян on Sunday, April 5, 2015

Friday, April 3, 2015

The Age of the Dangerous quadcopter begins

"Police in the northern Indian regional capital of Lucknow have announced plans to deploy drones capable of dispersing large, unruly crowds with pepper spray, in addition to surveillance and capturing snapshots of suspects.
'We have purchased five drone cameras with capacity of lifting two kilogram weight. They can be used to shower pepper powder on an unruly mob in case of any trouble,' Senior Superintendent of Police Yashasvi Yadav told PTI news agency on Friday.
The drones, which can fly up to 600 meters within a one kilometer radius will be formally launched later this month, Yadav said."

They are starting to get dangerous.

Drone photos you should never try to recreate

"I've spent the past two years shooting drone aerials around the world. Here are 38 images which would be totally illegal today."


Nice use of quadcopter video on this historical overview

A bit of Arizona history.

Can you trim trees with a quadcopter?

"It's hard for humans to reach the tops of tall trees that need trimming. But it's not hard for a drone.
Jamie Hyneman of the Mythbusters had the ingenious idea to attach a saw blade to a quadcopter and turn it into an airborne tree-trimming machine. It's certainly audacious and even a little kooky. Spoiler alert: He fails spectacularly."

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

"The Drone Invasion" movie

"We want to create a film that shines the light on all the misconceptions about drones. This film is going to separate the myths and preconceived notions about drones and show the world that Drones are good. We are on KickStarter now and we invite you to take a look at the great rewards offered as a backer of this important film.

We started production on the Drone Invasion earlier this year, using our own funds, and asking for the goodwill of those willing to help. We want to make a film that can show first hand the many positive ways drones can impact our world.
From search and rescue missions, farming, police work, and just pure fun, Drones are misunderstood and this film will become a tool to education the public by showing them first hand the many positive use cases for drone technology."

Looks like a great project.