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Drones


Here's What It Takes to Fly a Drone on Mount Everest

WIRED

On the morning of July 10, 2018, a cook at K2 Base Camp in Pakistan was looking through his binoculars toward Broad Peak when he spotted something that looked like a body about 2,000 feet below the summit. The cook shared his discovery with Bartek Bargiel and his brother Andrzrej, members of a Polish expedition hoping to make the first ski descent of K2, the world's second-highest mountain. At first, the Poles thought they were looking at a corpse. But after more careful study they realized that it was a man in distress, clinging to the side of the mountain with an ice axe. There was no communication between the teams in the two separate base camps, so the Poles immediately dispatched one of their teammates, who took off running to the other camp, which was five miles down-glacier.


NASA is about to fly a helicopter on another planet for the first time

New Scientist

NASA's Ingenuity Mars helicopter photographed by the Perseverance rover on 5 April The first drone on another world is ready to fly. The Ingenuity helicopter is primed to lift off from the surface of Mars on 12 April, which will be the first powered flight on another planet. NASA's Perseverance rover, which launched in July 2020 and arrived on Mars on 18 February, carried the Ingenuity helicopter folded up in its belly. After the rover landed, it dropped Ingenuity onto the ground and drove off so the drone could ready itself for its first flight. "It has survived launch, it has survived the journey through space, the vacuum and radiation, it has survived the entry and descent and landing onto the surface on the bottom of the Perseverance rover," said Bob Balaram at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Ingenuity's chief engineer, during a 23 March press conference.


Why flying a helicopter on Mars is so damn hard

Mashable

On Earth, humans put more than a century of work into the art of flying. On Mars, we're just getting started. NASA's four-pound helicopter, Ingenuity, touched down on the the surface of Mars on April 3 and will begin test flights in early April. It will be the first time humans have flown anything on another planet. In a nod to the Wright brothers' first flight, it's carrying a tiny piece of the plane that flew at Kitty Hawk.


Answer Man: AI program for Answer Man reporting? Fear of long words? Drone deliveries?

#artificialintelligence

Question: A friend of mine who has a connection to the Asheville Citizen Times told me that because of the staff shortage in the newsroom, the paper has purchased a software program using artificial intelligence that researches and then generates the answers to about half of the Answer Man columns. From what I've heard, this is being done to provide the Answer Man more time to work on other writing assignments. Apparently, the only part of the AI questions that are actually addressed by the real Answer Man are the smart aleck answers, because the AI program is not that developed. Could you please provide some additional information on how this is going? My answer: You've got to admit it would be nice to have some intelligence in this column.


Best photography drone in 2021

ZDNet

Increasingly the line between the two is blurring, with prosumer and sub-$4,000 drones delivering commercial-level quality and advanced flying features that just a few years ago were exclusive to the highest-end equipment. The best aerial hardware and technology stacks for keeping an eye on operations, individuals, and valued assets from above. It can be daunting wading into the deep roster of drones designed for enterprise photography and video. Sure, DJI, long the market leader, makes some truly fantastic devices, but before you go out to buy the first Mavic you come across for your business photography needs, take a moment to appreciate the nuanced diversity of UAV hardware out there and understand the strengths and weaknesses of the current offerings across a variety of applications and budgets. To help, we reached out to video and photography professionals to hear what they had to say.


Best surveillance drone in 2021

ZDNet

Security and surveillance are one of the biggest growth areas in the ever-expanding UAV sector. While it's a relatively recent addition to enterprise toolkits in many industries, the use of drones to provide aerial assessments of activities on the ground is actually a return to form for the technology, which has seen some of its most ambitious development in defense applications. A lineup of aerial hardware stacks to fit a variety of enterprise photography and video use cases. Aerial vehicles can cover vastly more terrain than slower, clumsier ground-based surveillance systems -- which is why they've been a key component of military and law enforcement applications for decades. But drones, which are smaller, cheaper, and more efficient than manned-aircraft like helicopters, have very quickly democratized access to aerial security and surveillance and opened up the skies to companies of all sizes across sectors.


Genesis broke a world record for the most drones in the sky

Engadget

Drone shows are quickly becoming the tool of choice for people and companies that want to grab your attention, and Genesis knows that all too well. The Hyundai-owned car brand marked its entrance into China by breaking the Guinness World Record for the most Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in the air at the same time, using 3,281 drones to display its logo and otherwise advertise over Shanghai on March 29th. The company flew'just' 3,051 drones in September 2020. That, in turn, smashed a record set by a 2,200-drone performance in Russia just days earlier. Intel, which has a reputation for drone light shows, last claimed the record with 2,066 drones flying over Folsom, California in July 2018.


Drone captures stunning footage of a giant reindeer 'cyclone' in the Arctic Circle

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Breathtaking drone video taken in the Arctic Circle captured a spellbinding reindeer'cyclone.' When threatened, reindeer will begin to stampede in a circle, making it hard for a predator to find an individual target. In the clip, the herd's fawns and does are in the middle of the swirl with the bucks running around them in a protective'dance.' The deer stampede was captured by a photographer last week in Murmansk, Russia, right before a veterinarian was about to give the herd its anthrax vaccinations. Such behavior has been observed in dolphins, bison and even elephants, but the aerial view--coupled with the herd's speed and size--makes for a truly hypnotic visual.


Tethered freefall: Will drones deliver stuff via long ropes?

ZDNet

A developer of a tethered freefall drone delivery mechanism recently completed the first commercial deployment of its so-called rapid delivery system. A2Z Drone Delivery, LLC, partnered with drone services provider DroneUp to make residential package deliveries in Coffee County, GA, using A2Z's tethered delivery system to safely land packages on the ground. Drone delivery is coming, but there are some prickly safety problems to solve before residential deliveries can become a possibility in the eyes of legislators. Drones have rotors that spin very fast and are very dangerous, to name one big one. As drone delivery continues to expand in the US, the industry is looking for ways to mitigate consumer concerns about safety and the detrimental impact low-flying drones could have on tranquility and privacy.


English towns trial drones and AI to tackle litter - Cities Today - Connecting the world's urban leaders

#artificialintelligence

A pilot scheme in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) will see drones used to help councils reduce litter. BCP Council is partnering with the environmental charity Hubbub, startup Ellipsis Earth and fast food brand McDonald's – which is funding the trial – to use drone data to inform the placement of bins, street cleaning schedules and behaviour change campaigns around litter. The partners have called the pilot "the most scientifically robust litter survey ever undertaken in the UK". Drone imagery is processed by Ellipsis Earth software to automatically and rapidly detect discarded litter items and quantify them by type and brand to create litter heatmaps. This data, along with expert analysis and recommendations, will be shared with BCP council, Hubbub and McDonald's, to help them better understand and prevent littering.