A drone flying more than 20 times the allowed height came within 15m (50ft) of a Boeing 737 approaching a runway at Stansted Airport in Essex. The plane was flying at 10,000ft (3km) and coming in to land on 17 August when the captain spotted the drone. The first officer then saw "a dark-coloured square or rectangle-shaped object pass down the right side of the aircraft with minimal separation". The UK Airprox Board rated the risk of collision as the highest possible. After the incident, which happened at 16:36 BST, the plane was inspected on the ground and found no evidence of contact or damage.
Quadrotors are fast, cheap, and capable, and they're getting smarter all the time. Where they struggle a little bit is with adaptation. Many other kinds of robots can change their structure to better perform different tasks: Humanoids do it all the time, with all those conveniently placed limbs. Hey, wouldn't it be cool if drones had movable limbs too? Someone should figure out how to do that.
Finland's military has been sending letters to drone pilots up and down the country to solicit their services for a new unit that would mobilize in time of war. The military authorities have contacted hobbyists and professionals alike, in fact anyone who has sought permission from the Finnish Transport Safety Agency (Trafi) to fly a drone, according to Helsinki newspaper Ilta-Sanomat. The military's letter seeks to gauge the individual pilot's interest and lays out the criteria for their involvement. They must be a Finnish citizen who does not fly drones for the police or the emergency services, and who has completed national service -- national or civil service is still compulsory in Finland. If they're eligible and interested, they have to provisionally agree to attend reservist training roughly once a year.
Serve is Postmates' new automated delivery robot, developed to help make the company's on-demand deliveries more efficient. SEE ALSO: Is the face-swapping robot with multiple'personalities' cool or just plain creepy? It'll ride along sidewalks and can carry up to 50 lbs, traveling 25 miles on a single charge. There's dynamic lighting in the eyes and a light ring up top to indicate movement, while customers can interact with Serve using a touchscreen and cameras mounted on top of the robot. Serve will launch first in the Los Angeles area, and will gradually rollout to the other U.S. cities its over the next 12 months.
For years tech companies such as Amazon, Alphabet and Uber have promised us delivery drones bringing goods to our doorsteps in a matter of minutes. So why are they taking so long to arrive? If our skies are to become as crowded as our streets, airspace rules need updating to prevent accidents, terrorist attacks, and related problems, such as noise pollution. But that's easier said than done. According to a recent study by Nasa, the noise made by road traffic was "systematically judged to be less annoying" than the high-pitched buzzing made by drones.
Postmates has revealed a cute autonomous delivery robot called Serve, which seems to take a design cue or two from Wall-E, with its big eyes and yellow finish. While the company has tested third-party autonomous delivery options in the past, it decided to build Serve from the ground up. When Serve shows up at your front door or office, you'll use your phone or a code to unlock the compartment and retrieve your items. The robot can carry up to 50 pounds of goods and can travel up to 30 miles on a single charge. Postmates also plans to collect items with Serve (especially in busy areas) and return them to its delivery hubs so delivery drivers can bring them to you.
Hanging on the wall of Postmates' stealth R&D laboratory, there's a framed photo of an iconic scene from Star Wars, Luke Skywalker bent down beside R2D2. Except someone has used Photoshop to replace Luke's face with Ali Kashani, Postmates' VP of Robotics. Nevermind that Kashani has never seen Star Wars (he considers this a point of pride). Kashani recognizes the symbolism of his face in a world where robots roll around next to people, where bots act almost like friends. Kashani joined Postmates a year and a half ago, with a special mission to bring robots to the company.
Drones are really having a moment right now. Not only are they massively fun to fly, but we've also all seen the incredible footage you can record from above. No matter how adept you are with a camera, the angles and the mobility that you can achieve with a drone is just different. Drones are only getting more and more popular. A report by the Federal Aviation Administration has projected that sales of recreational drones will grow from the 2.5 million in 2016 to 7 million in 2020.
While the likes of Uber, Airbus and Porsche tinker away on their respective passenger and transportation drones, a lesser-known startup is taking an altogether different approach. Instead of getting mired in the logistics and regulatory frameworks of city-wide drone rides, Lift Aircraft wants you to use its 18-rotor "Hexa" aircraft for short recreational flights. The large drone -- which weighs 432 pounds and is capable of 10-15 minutes of continuous flight with a single passenger -- could be available to the public as early as next year. Lift is promising flight experiences at hubs located in "scenic, uncongested areas" in 25 cities across the US. Because the Hexa doesn't count as a "real" aircraft (it's a "powered ultralight") it doesn't require a pilot's license.
New rules mean drones are set to take off in India at last. But the legislation also requires pilots of all but tiny craft to get approval for every flight, even a zip around the local park. The regulations came into force earlier this month, overturning a 2014 ban on drone use by anyone other than government agencies. Now, commercial and recreational drones can fly during daytime, as long as they stay below 120 metres and within sight of operators.