Drones


Google completes first drone delivery in the US

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Alphabet (Google) subsidiary Wing has become the first company in the United States to deliver packages by drone. In Christiansburg, the small Virginia town chosen as Wing's test location, the 22,000 residents can order products normally shipped by FedEx, medicine from Walgreens and a selection of candy from a local business -- all of which will arrive via drone. Wing, which already operates in two Australian cities as well as Helsinki, announced in a statement that the first drone-powered deliveries had taken place Friday afternoon in Christiansburg, "paving the way for the most advanced drone delivery service in the nation". One family used the Wing app to order Tylenol, cough drops, Vitamin C tablets, bottled water and tissues, the statement said. An older resident ordered a birthday present for his wife.


Assam Company India To Use AI And Smart Drones For Tea Farming IndianWeb2.com

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The Assam Company India Ltd on Friday said it is aiming to increase its output by nearly fivefold to 50 million kg within next five years with introduction of advanced technologies. The company acquired by Abu Dhabi-based BRS Ventures a year ago and currently has 15 tea gardens, is looking to utilise artificial intelligence, including smart drones, in the field of tea farming to achieve its target. "Our aim is to bring technology and innovation at the forefront of the tea industry. This will not only impact the lives of 26,000 farmers at our estates, but the entire workforce employed in the tea sector across the country," BRS Ventures Chairman B R Shetty said at a press conference here. The company is optimistic that focus on enhancing the lives of the farmers and upgrading the production facilities by optimizing efficiencies will see a remarkable change in the Indian tea industry in the days to come, he added.


Money Talks: Drone Investment Trends Update - Drone Industry Insights

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Earlier this month the thermal imagery manufacturer FLIR bought the UAV developer Aeryon Labs for $200 million, beating their previous record in publicly disclosed drone investments of $134M. This has been yet another signal that even though the drone industry suffered some hard hits in 2018, the period of consolidation, larger investments and serious R&D advances is ahead. In fact, if one were to look at merely the investment figures for 2018, it wouldn't even be that easy to tell that the drone industry struggled. Records were set, partnerships formed, and accelerators continued to support exceptional start-ups. A total of $702 million was invested into the drone industry in 2018 (up from $625M in 2017), $483 million of which was funnelled into the top 20 drone deals.


Sky's the limit! Alphabet's drone delivery service Wing officially begins service in Virginia

Daily Mail - Science & tech

After years of development, Alphabet's drone delivery service Wing is officially open for business. The company announced the beginning of service for residents of Christiansburg, Virginia, who will be able to order over-the-counter medication, snacks, and other small items and have them airlifted straight to their homes by a drone. Initially, Wing will deliver goods on behalf of three partner companies with FedEx, Walgreens, and Super Magnolia, a local Virginia grocery store chain. After years of preparation, Alphabet's drone delivery service Wing has officially begun operations in Christiansburg, Virginia The company made the announcement via a blog post on Medium and included a video showing how the delivery service will work. The FAA approved Alphabet's drone delivery program in March, and the company announced it's plans for'store to door' of more than 100 products in Virginia last September.


Action! Autonomous drone doubles as a film director ZDNet

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It takes years of work to become a cinematographer. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University are developing a system for aerial cinematography that learns from human visual preferences in order to enable drones to make artsy filmmaking choices while autonomously filming scenes. The system does not require GPS tags to localize targets or prior maps of an environment. Drones have been a boon to filmmakers, significantly lowering costs for aerial shots, which previously required chartering manned helicopters or airplanes. But the ease of access also comes with a downside.


Wing launches drone delivery in Christiansburg, Virginia

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As of this afternoon, select residents of Christiansburg, Virginia can tap drones operated by Google parent company Alphabet's Wing for quick and easy deliveries of packages, over-the-counter medications, snacks, and gifts. The company today revealed that it's become the first to operate a commercial air delivery service directly to homes in the U.S., with the launch of a previously announced pilot involving FedEx Express, Walgreens, and local Virginia retailer Sugar Magnolia. From Walgreens, the first retail pharmacy to partner with Wing in the U.S., drone fleets will ferry over-the-counter medicines and other wellness items to folks' homes. And on the FedEx Express side, recipients living within designated Christiansburg zones who opt in will receive some shipments via drone, in customized boxes. Most orders within the four-mile radius of Wing's distribution facility are fulfilled within about 10 minutes, according to the company.


Drone footage shows SpaceX Starship being built with stainless steel towers gleaming in Florida sun

Daily Mail - Science & tech

A birds-eye view of three of SpaceX's glimmering Starship spacecraft shows that the vessels are slowly but surely coming together. In aerial footage taken by videographer John Winkopp, the Starship craft's shimmering stainless steel body can be seen taking ship at the company's facility in Cocoa, Florida. As reported by CNBC, the video also shows the first stainless steel bands of another Starship prototype, the Mark 4, being assembled. The progress gives credence to a claim from SpaceX CEO and Tesla founder, Elon Musk, who claimed that the next-generation craft will be ready for test flights between October and November. An FCC filing surfaced in September that revealed SpaceX requested permission to fly Starship more than 12 miles into orbit and then land the craft back down in the same spot.


5 Key Benefits of Drones in Surveying and Mapping

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From mining to construction, topographical surveying is essential for getting the job right. The rise of drone technology is changing the way surveying is done, making it accessible to a wide range of industries. With the help of drones, it is possible to carry out surveys and process and deliver surveying data in a timely, accurate and safe way. Using drones for surveying and mapping has many advantages. Watch this video to know 5 key benefits of drones in surveying and mapping.


Open AI Caribbean Challenge: Mapping Disaster Risk from Aerial Imagery

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In areas like the Caribbean that face considerable risk from natural hazards like earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods, these forces of nature can have a devastating effect. This is especially true where houses and buildings are not up to modern construction standards, often in poor and informal settlements. While buildings can be retrofit to better prepare them for disaster, the traditional method for identifying high-risk buildings involves going door to door by foot, taking weeks if not months and costing millions of dollars. This is where AI can help. WeRobotics and the World Bank Global Program for Resilient Housing have teamed up to prepare aerial drone imagery of buildings across the Caribbean annotated with characteristics that matter to building inspectors.


Drone Delivery Is One Step Closer To Reality

NPR Technology

Matternet CEO Andreas Raptopoulos walks next to an operator carrying a drone used to deliver medical specimens after a flight in March at WakeMed Hospital in Raleigh, N.C. Matternet CEO Andreas Raptopoulos walks next to an operator carrying a drone used to deliver medical specimens after a flight in March at WakeMed Hospital in Raleigh, N.C. Underneath it is a metal box -- smaller than a shoebox -- with vials of blood samples inside of it that are now heading across the campus to the lab for analysis, guided by a drone operator on the ground. "This facility happens to be across a very busy road from our main campus hospital," says Stuart Ginn, an ENT surgeon and medical director of innovations at WakeMed. But when taken by carrier on foot or by car, he says "the logistics of getting those samples across often resulted in about a 45-minute time of delivery."