Known as FPV (first-person view) drone racing, or sometimes FPV quadcopter racing, the sport involves building and modifying quadcopters for speed and manoeuvrability, adding a virtual reality-style headset with a live video feed from the drone, and then finding safe and legal places to fly. Racers compete in heats or time trials, speeding around courses at anything up to 60mph (100km/h)—and having a load of fun in the process. This sport, which seems to appeal to aspiring pilots, makers, and computer game fans alike, has all the adrenaline of flight, while also providing enough crashes, smashes, and collisions to keep even the most ardent sports fans happy.
“The list also has lesser-known manufacturers that are gearing up to offer the USPS some innovative ways to moving its mail carriers and the packages they deliver. Ohio-based AMP Holding Inc. builds delivery vehicles that come with optional drones capable of ferrying packages short distances. Several electric vehicle makers also are on the list, including Northern California’s Zap Jonway Inc. and Missouri-based Emerald Automotive LLC.”
Below is an example of a delivery truck with integrated drone that is being evaluated.
Since Dorn Cox began automating his 250-acre New Hampshire farm four years ago, he has installed dozens of sensors. Some measure moisture in soil around his squash. Some track temperatures in the greenhouse air around his cucumbers. Others track wind speed and rainfall in segments of field roughly a quarter-acre in size. When something is amiss—temperatures are too high or the soil is too dry—he receives an alert on his smartphone. He also sends out drones to survey his field crops for dryness, soil erosion, and plant health.
‘American International Group, Inc. (NYSE:AIG) today announced that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved AIG’s request to operate small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to conduct inspections for risk assessment, risk management, loss control, and surety performance for customers in the U.S. The exemption also permits AIG to implement a robust research and development program to explore new and innovative ways to employ UAVs in support of the needs of its customers.”
“AIG has already established an international UAV research and development program and conducted flights in New Zealand. These flights have provided valuable insights on technology, flight operations, and image collection techniques that will be incorporated into AIG’s global UAV strategy. AIG’s global presence puts the company in a unique position to build our expertise today and to operate UAVs safely and effectively in the U.S. and around the globe.”
Flyability's founding team developed the unique form after analyzing how flies are adept at ricocheting off obstacles without injury. After their research at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, the team decided to mimic the same resilience by placing the drone in a lightweight, flexible, and strong geodesic shell. The delicate innards remain unscathed, even if the gadget falls to the ground.
In most other respects, Gimball, which is powered by a lithium battery, is similar to other drones designed for professional use. It's held in the air by two contra-rotating propellers and remains upright with the help of a gyroscope and an accelerometer. The drone also has two cameras—one optical, the other thermal—to relay live footage to the user.
A handful of companies, including film producers, have gotten waivers from the FAA to use drones for commercial purposes. But the filmmakers, for instance, must notify the FAA three days in advance, only film on a closed set and obtain permission from nearby people.
Such restrictions wouldn’t make sense for covering breaking news, said CNN Senior Vice President David Vigilante. The network is proposing a different approach, such as regulations similar to those for helicopters, “so it allows us the flexibility to deal with breaking news,” he said.
CNN is testing a range of drone types, from the hobbyist models that many people got for Christmas to powerful pieces of machinery that could carry a glass lens camera and transmit high-definition video, he said. The TV network plans to share its findings with the FAA over the next 12 to 24 months.
Deutsche Post DHL AG said it would use a drone to deliver medication to a German island in the North Sea, marking the first routine drone delivery to customers and another step in the rapid advancement of the technology.
DHL's plans follow those of Amazon.com Inc. and Google Inc. which have each tested their own delivery drones. Those U.S. Internet companies have said the routine deployment of the devices is years away—in part because of regulatory challenges—but DHL is hoping to demonstrate that the technology is ready for some real-world applications.
Good to see the FAA has given BP the first license to operate commercial drones. Curt Smith had told ne in The New Polymath in 2010 about early experiments with drones to supplement Cessnas to monitor pipelines in remote areas.
“BP's Prudhoe Bay operations rely heavily on gravel roads, which require constant maintenance. AeroVironment's Puma drones, which are hand-launched and have a 9-foot wingspan, use laser-based sensors that can pinpoint problems on the roads, identify how they should be repaired and calculate how much gravel would be needed, the companies said.
The drones also can create 3-D models of gravel pits, and then calculate how much gravel remains and identify areas that are vulnerable to flooding.”
Once the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) establishes airspace rules, which is likely to happen next year, the drone industry could fuel a decade-long, $82-billion economic boom, according to a study done by the industry’s leading trade group. Already, one analyst estimates the global market for small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) at $250 million to $300 million. The truth is, we’re witnessing a Kitty Hawk moment—the start of an era in which drones will change the world and the way we live in it. They’ve saved lives overseas; at home, they will make our cities and grids smarter, keep people safer, and help save our planet. And, as you’ll see on these pages, they can be fun, too.
“The figures are striking. The Defense Department's Prisoner of War and Missing Personnel Office lists the number of troops unaccounted for from past conflicts: World War II has 73,547; Korea 7,883; the Cold War 126 and Vietnam 1,642. In comparison, Iraq and other conflicts (which also include Afghanistan, Desert Storm and Libya) have a total of six. Six unaccounted for in more than three wars; clearly something changed.”
“Innovative technology has enhanced this advantage by greatly increasing the ability of American troops to project force and rescue isolated troops. GPS technology allows American ground troops to accurately determine their location and call for precision-guided munitions that provide quick, accurate and direct combat support.Drones can linger and search over the battlefield, streaming superb battlefield intelligence. Satellite communications, emergency beacons and computer technology stretch the communications zone so that units remain connected and personnel can be located.”