Insect-like drones have taken one large step closer to becoming a practical reality. Researchers at Harvard, MIT and the City University of Hong Kong have developed tiny insect-inspired drones that can not only maneuver in extremely tight spaces, but withstand bumps if things go wrong. The key is a switch to an actuation system that can flap the drones' wings while surviving its share of abuse. To date, drone makers wanting to go this small have had to ditch motors (which lose effectiveness at small sizes) in favor of piezoelectric ceramic-based rigid actuators. The new drones rely on soft actuators made from rubber cylinders coated with carbon nanotubes.
Sometimes the capturing of an image or a single video can have a transformative effect. George Floyd's killing is an example. The eight-minute, 46-second video speaks for itself. That is why it sent so many Americans onto the streets. And anyone contending with state violence, whether they are in Minneapolis, Hong Kong or the Middle East, knows that sometimes all they need to prove their point - to expose illegality - is the right picture.
Hong Kong (CNN)Australia has its first "loyal wingman." Boeing Australia presented the country's Air Force on Tuesday with a prototype of a jet-powered drone that they hope will one day fly alongside manned warplanes while bringing artificial intelligence to the battlefield. The Loyal Wingman, at 38-foot-long (11.5 meters) and with a range of 2,000 miles (3,218.6 kilometers), will "use artificial intelligence to fly independently, or in support of manned aircraft, while maintaining safe distance between other aircraft," according to Boeing's website on the project. The drones will be able to engage in electronic warfare as well as intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance missions and swap quickly between those roles, according to Boeing. The aircraft delivered in Sydney on Tuesday is the first of three prototypes Boeing is producing.
EHang specializes in aerial landscaping. In consumer drones it is dwarfed by fellow Chinese drone maker SZ DJI Technology Co Ltd, which is the world's largest maker of non-military drones and plans to list in either Hong Kong or mainland China, people familiar with the matter told Reuters last year.
The Hong Kong's Civil Aviation Authority (HKCAA) suggests that UAV users may need to register their drones with authorities, undertake training, pass tests and meet certain insurance requirements. As per the new rules, drone weighing over 9 ounces would need to be registered and the operators need to undertake short web-based training. But before making any changes, Hong Kong needs to go through a three month period of public consultation. The proposal will also include making certain parts of the island into no-fly zones. Still, there are number of countries that require proper registration and a license to fly.
China's Legal Daily reported today that officials in the country just shut down a major smartphone smuggling scheme. A total of 26 suspects were arrested in connection with the plot. The individuals allegedly used drones to string two cables between Shenzhen in southern China and Hong Kong and with the setup, they could reportedly transport as many as 15,000 phones in a single night. Those arrested are accused of smuggling 500 million yuan (approximately $79.5 million) worth of smartphones. Attempts to smuggle devices from Hong Kong to China are fairly common.
As recreational drone popularity takes off, so has the wealth of DJI founder Frank Wang Tao, whose company is the world's biggest consumer drone maker. Wang has cracked the Forbes "Richest in Tech" list of the world's top 100 in the industry, taking the 76th spot with $3.2 billion. And at 36, Wang is also Asia's youngest. The China native founded DJI 11 years ago from his dorm room at the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, later setting up a manufacturing hub in nearby Shenzhen. Today, DJI dominates the drone market, particularly in the price zone exceeding $1,000, where more serious hobbyists and professional filmmakers are.
Robots that serve dinner, self-driving cars and drone-taxis could be fun and hugely profitable. But don't hold your breath. They are likely much further off than the hype suggests. A panel of experts at the recent 2017 Wharton Global Forum in Hong Kong outlined their views on the future for artificial intelligence (AI), robots, drones, other tech advances and how it all might affect employment in the future. The upshot was to deflate some of the hype, while noting the threats ahead posed to certain jobs. Their comments came in a panel session titled, "Engineering the Future of Business," with Wharton Dean Geoffrey Garrett moderating and speakers Pascale Fung, a professor of electronic and computer engineering at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology; Vijay Kumar, dean of engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, and Nicolas Aguzin, Asian-Pacific chairman and CEO for J.P.Morgan. Kicking things off, Garrett asked: How big and disruptive is the self-driving car movement?