Saturday, April 30, 2016

Drones in agriculture

"Unmanned aircraft systems represent a relatively new technology that offer a wide range of opportunities for agriculture. In fact, most projections indicate that the largest single market for UAS will be in support of agriculture. Unmanned aircraft systems have the potential to make significant contributions to sustainable agriculture and secure food production.
Initially this will be accomplished through near real-time data collection for enhanced awareness of complex agricultural systems and associated decision-making, leading eventually to active intervention by UAS as needs arise within the agricultural system. At the same, time there is a great deal of uncertainty about this emerging technology, especially as it relates to agriculture."

I heard a guy on the radio in North Dakota talking about his uses of drones and the research they were doing. This does look like a very good use of the technology.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Skydio want to help quadcopters take over the world

"Drones will be the first widely deployed mobile robots and the first cutting edge aerospace products available to consumers. We are a team of experts in computer vision, robotics, and consumer electronics from places like MIT, Stanford, Google, Apple, and Tesla working to make autonomous flight a trusted, useful, and magical part of life."

I wish them the best.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

plane hits a drone?

" Police say a British Airways flight from Geneva hit an object believed to be a drone while on approach to London's Heathrow Airport.
The airline says the plane landed safely Sunday afternoon and has been cleared for its next flight."

Unfortunately, we'll always have idiots amongst us. Thus the need for severe penalties for things like this.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

DARPA Gremlins; baby drones that return to mother

"As previously revealed by DARPA, Gremlins aims to develop fleets of 'low-cost, reusable unmanned air systems' (aka drones) that can be launched from other aircraft, perform their missions, and then return to land back aboard their motherships -- an acrobatic feat to be performed entirely midair. While Gremlins will be too small to engage in combat operations, the drones will be equipped with sensors and electronic equipment capable of performing surveillance and reconnaissance missions, and also electronic warfare -- jamming, spoofing, and otherwise frustrating opposing radar systems."

Looks interesting and useful. I think swarms of smaller, cheaper craft will be used more and more as people figure out how best to utilize them. 

What it's like to have a speeding quadcopter hit you

I call them the whirling blades of doom.  Stay away from idiots flying quadcopters near crowds.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

International Drone races gearing up

"The first IDRA event to be showcased by ESPN, 2016 U.S. National Drone Racing Championships, will crown the coveted title of fastest drone pilot in the United States. The race will be held on Governors Island, New York City, August 5th-7th, offering jaw-dropping views of both lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty. The U.S. National Drone Racing Championships will have an enjoyable summer festival atmosphere that racing fans appreciate—family entertainment, a ‘makers’ style drone racing area for kids, state-of-the-art technology, food, drink, and drone vendors."

Friday, April 8, 2016

quadcopter lands and takes off from water

"The new system will only need a few hours exposure to the sun and be ready to hunt enemy subs for the US navy.
Designed to 'launch and forget', the new drone will be left on water for 23 hours and fly for an hour each day according to Dr. Jones."

Inventiveness is making quadcopters useful everywhere!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Phatom IV review

Even though the newest drone from DJI is recognizable as being part of the Phantom series (with the exception of the red stripes, which are now missing), it has been completely redesigned to be better and easier to use than any of the company’s previous models. This is not an incremental upgrade — it’s a major leap forward in the consumer drone experience.
Robust new autonomous features make the DJI Phantom 4 an excellent choice for drone beginners. Optical sensors are employed for obstacle avoidance, which significantly reduces the chances of a crash or collision. ActiveTrack lets you set the Phantom 4 to automatically follow you, autonomously and with obstacle avoidance engaged.
Advanced drone pilots will appreciate the wicked Sport Mode that lets the DJI Phantom 4 hit air speeds of 44 miles per hour."

This might be the drone I'm looking for!  But I'm still waiting for the Gopro to come out.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

School of Mines students prepare for drone competition

"About 20 Mines students are building from scratch a drone that can fly autonomously, detect certain objects on the ground and transmit images in real time.
The creators, all undergraduate members of the school’s Unmanned Aerial Systems club, are putting together the machine to compete in an international student competition in June in Maryland.
The students, including engineering, physics and computer science majors, have been working on the six-rotor, 5-pound drone on their own time for a year. Some of the students have gotten so attached to their creation, club President Marcus Weibe said, that they’ve decided to call it Herbert.
Besides performing in competitions, Herbert can someday also help with search-and-rescue operations, as well as monitoring forest fires, said Dan Dolan, a Mines professor of mechanical engineering who started the club in 2004."

I was on campus one day and watched their drone follow a red balloon around.