Much to the chagrin of aspiring pilots, drones will certainly play a leading role in many forms of aviation in the not-too-distant future. So how do you build a talent pipeline of kids who know how to fly and repair drones? Kyle Sanders, U.S. Drone Soccer Vice President and former U.S. Air Force combat pilot, is seeking to do just that by educating students in robotics, coding, and aerospace. Drone Soccer, which according to a spokesperson looks a lot like Quidditch from the Harry Potter books, was introduced in South Korea in 2016 and has moved to the U.S. as an educational and fun sport. "Drone Soccer is an educational sport where students must first learn how to build, program, fly, and repair high-performance drones," Sanders tells me.
Hot-air balloon pilot Richard Varney typically spends his weekends transporting tourists around central Massachusetts in a huge, multicolored balloon. But on a recent Sunday, Varney drove to a local community college and learned to fly a different type of aerial vehicle. "I want to try something new," he said as he watched an instructor demonstrate how to steer a $2,000 drone equipped with a camera. "This could help me launch a side business taking aerial photos of local towns." At least 15 community colleges across the country now have courses that teach people how to pilot drones, according to research conducted by MIT Technology Review.
Telecommunications firm Verizon has acquired Skyward, a drone operations management company. Skyward develops software for drone operators to manage flight tracking and logging, maintenance scheduling, and contract management. The drone startup will join Verizon's Internet of Things portfolio. Kenya's government has implemented regulations for commercial drone use. The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority will begin allowing businesses to import and use drones for a range of operations.
A drone successfully delivered medical supplies to the New Jersey coastline straight from the deck of a ship, marking the first ship-to-shore delivery in the US. The flight was designed to test whether drones could be used to carry human medical supplies to and from areas that cannot be access during major storms, earthquakes or other disasters. The test was run by disaster preparedness non-profit Field Innovation Team. Drone-firm Flirtey, which managed the first land-based drone delivery of medical supplies to a rural health clinic in July 2015, flew medical samples to Camp May in partnership with Dr Timothy Amukele, assistant professor of pathology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. While drones have already been muted as one way to deliver goods, such as Amazon's Air Prime drones, Amukele said that biological samples "are not like a shoe or a book, they are pretty fragile items".
It's every college student's dream – airborne drones that deliver burritos to campus. Alphabet's Project Wing and Chipotle have teamed up for a pilot program that flies these stuffed tortillas to the students at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. The hybrid drones will fly to the delivery location from a Chipotle food truck, hover over the customer and lower the order down using a wire cable. Chipotle and Alphabet Inc.'s Project Wing have teamed up for a pilot program that flies these stuffed tortillas to the students at Virginia Tech. The drones will fly to the delivery location from a Chipotle food truck, hover overhead and lower the order down to the customer using a wire cable.