drone


Drone Pilots Deserve Privacy Too

Slate

Who's flying that drone over my house, and what exactly are they looking for? Is the pilot a police officer, a search-and-rescue volunteer, or Creepy Steve from four doors down? These concerns over the origin and intention of small drones have bedeviled the drone industry for as long as it has existed. Our inability to figure out who is piloting the weird quadcopter over our neighborhoods surely has a lot to do with why so many still distrust drones. People are working on it, though.


FAA Certifies Google's Wing Drone Delivery Company To Operate As An Airline

NPR

The Wing company, a Google spinoff, has won federal approval to operate its drone delivery system as an airline in the U.S. Wing hide caption The Wing company, a Google spinoff, has won federal approval to operate its drone delivery system as an airline in the U.S. The Federal Aviation Administration has certified Alphabet's Wing Aviation to operate as an airline, in a first for U.S. drone delivery companies. Wing, which began as a Google X project, has been testing its autonomous drones in southwest Virginia and elsewhere. "Air Carrier Certification means that we can begin a commercial service delivering goods from local businesses to homes in the United States," Wing said in a statement posted to the Medium website. The company has touted many advantages of using unmanned drones to deliver packages, from reducing carbon emissions and road congestion to increasing connections between communities and local businesses. "This is an important step forward for the safe testing and integration of drones into our economy. Safety continues to be our Number One priority as this technology continues to develop and realize its full potential," Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao said in a statement from the agency.


Drone discovers a Hawaiian plant that was thought to be extinct

Mashable

The plant, which is also known as "Wood's hau kuahiwi" and was thought to be extinct, is apparently still around and possibly even flourishing in its native Hawaii. Researchers for the National Tropical Botanical Garden on the island of Kauai made the discovery with a little help from a drone. Three of the plants were spotted in footage captured by a drone that was sent out to explore Kalalau Valley. The remote region of Kauai is known for its biodiversity, thanks to cliffs that make the region inaccessible to the humans and goats that pose a threat to local plant life. You can see the NTBG's drone footage below, and see the plant itself (clearly marked) at roughly the halfway point.


NTT to launch trial of farming support service with drones and AI tech in Fukushima

The Japan Times

Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (NTT) said Thursday it will launch a trial for a farming support service using drones and artificial intelligence technology, with a goal of commercializing the service in Japan and other Asian countries. The new system, which connects drones with GPS satellites, is anticipated to help the farm industry in the nation amid a serious labor shortage. NTT aims to raise crop output by up to 30 percent through the new service. The telecommunications giant will conduct the trial service on 8 hectares of a rice field in Fukushima Prefecture from later this month to March 2021. It aims to launch the service on a commercial basis in Japan in two years.


How robots helped the French save Notre Dame Cathedral

USATODAY

Paris firefighters used drones and a water-spitting robot to help tame the Notre Dame Cathedral fire. Putting out Monday's fire at the famed Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris was a joint effort between hundreds of firefighters, emergency personnel and modern technology. Parisian firefighters used a combination of robots and drones to see, track and contain the blaze that ravaged the 800-year-old cathedral's roof, spire and stained glass windows. One instrumental player was Colossus, a water-firing robot that was deployed to quell the flames from inside the smoldering Gothic cathedral after firefighters were forced to evacuate certain areas. The tank-like robot, which was designed to transport equipment and wounded people, is equipped with cameras that allow the person who's operating it to see what's happening within danger zones.


AI and Robotics Are Transforming Disaster Relief

#artificialintelligence

During the past 50 years, the frequency of recorded natural disasters has surged nearly five-fold. In this blog, I'll be exploring how converging exponential technologies (AI, robotics, drones, sensors, networks) are transforming the future of disaster relief--how we can prevent them in the first place and get help to victims during that first golden hour wherein immediate relief can save lives. When it comes to immediate and high-precision emergency response, data is gold. Already, the meteoric rise of space-based networks, stratosphere-hovering balloons, and 5G telecommunications infrastructure is in the process of connecting every last individual on the planet. Aside from democratizing the world's information, however, this upsurge in connectivity will soon grant anyone the ability to broadcast detailed geo-tagged data, particularly those most vulnerable to natural disasters.


Japan's Lower House OKs ban on flying drones over military sites and Olympic venues

Japan Times >> News

A bill to prohibit the flying of drones over Self-Defence Forces and U.S. military facilities in Japan, as well as venues for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, cleared the Lower House on Tuesday. The bill, aimed at guarding against terrorism, has sparked protests from the media over its potential disruption of newsgathering activities. Taking these into account, a House of Representatives panel added a supplementary provision to the legislation, requesting the government ensure press freedom and people's right to know. The ruling parties aim to enact the bill, an amendment to the existing law on drones, during the current Diet session through June. The legislation also bans drones from flying over venues for this year's Rugby World Cup.


Gatwick drone attack possible inside job, say police

BBC News

The drone attack that caused chaos at Gatwick before Christmas was carried out by someone with knowledge of the airport's operational procedures, the airport has said. A Gatwick chief told BBC Panorama the drone's pilot "seemed to be able to see what was happening on the runway". Sussex Police told the programme the possibility an "insider" was involved was a "credible line" of inquiry. About 140,000 passengers were caught up in the disruption. The runway at the UK's second busiest airport was closed for 33 hours between 19 and 21 December last year - causing about 1,000 flights to be cancelled or delayed.


Wing Officially Launches Australian Drone Delivery Service

IEEE Spectrum Robotics Channel

Alphabet's subsidiary Wing announced this week that it has officially launched a commercial drone delivery service "to a limited set of eligible homes in the suburbs of Crace, Palmerston and Franklin," which are just north of Canberra, in Australia. Wing's drones are able to drop a variety of small products, including coffee, food, and pharmacy items, shuttling them from local stores to customers' backyards within minutes. We've been skeptical about whether this kind of drone delivery makes sense for a long, long time, and while this is certainly a major milestone for Wing, I'm still not totally convinced that the use-cases that Wing is pushing here are going to be sustainable long term. I've still got a bunch of questions about these things. For example, does the drone have any kind of in-flight sense and avoid?


The Future of Warfare: Small, Many, Smart vs. Few & Exquisite? - War on the Rocks

#artificialintelligence

In the 1970s, faced with the USSR's overwhelming superiority in numbers, the Department of Defense decided to compensate by focusing on high technology platforms. This led to the highly successful F-15, F-16, F-18, Abrams tanks, and Bradley fighting vehicles. Since then, the United States has continued to pursue cutting edge technology that has resulted in the highly capable F-22 and, when the testing and software development is complete, perhaps a highly capable F-35. Unfortunately, cost has accelerated faster than capabilities. And thus numbers have declined precipitously. The U.S. Air Force initially planned to buy 750 F-22s, but the high cost led Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to cap the program at 187. Nor has the Air Force been alone in pursuing top end systems. The Navy attempted an entirely new concept with "Streetfighter." Meant to be a low-cost, highly capable ship to replace the Navy's frigates and minesweepers for operations in brown water, it evolved into the Littoral Combat Ship.