Category Archives: Drones

DroneDeploy Launches New Features for App Platform

Please share this article:

Drone software startup DroneDeploy is launching a new line of UAV-centered organizational apps.

The launch also enhances the company’s Progress Photo reports and adds other support options.

In 2016, the company created App Market, a drone-data hub that offers more than 75 public apps across 10 industries. “Over the past month, we’ve enhanced our platform capabilities to make drone data more accessible to our customers,” a company spokesperson stated. The new app functionality will allow DroneDeploy users to deploy any public app pre-loaded into their accounts.

“This makes it simple for everyone on your team to be successful, without having to hunt down the latest apps,” the spokesperson added.

The innovation will allow clients to create private apps using open APIs on top of DroneDeploy’s intuitive user interface.

The new launch comes on the heels of DroneDeploy’ s recent release of Progress Photos, a solution designed to simplify site documentation and reporting. The company bills it as the “first solution to automate visual site documentation throughout the life cycle of a project.”

The latest release improves Progress Photos by allowing users to select a desired point of interest anywhere within the mission area and capture up to 16 photos of on-site at once.

With DroneDeploy’s accuracy report app, users can empirically validate the relative and absolute accuracy of map data and download a PDF Annotation Report to create printable or sharable PDF documents of drone maps and annotations.

For construction and surveying, DroneDeploy data can be exported into custom coordinate systems. “Local coordinates make it easier to compare drone maps to design plans or operate in your custom coordinate system. We’re accepting beta testers.”

The company states in a new release:

“Exporting data into your custom coordinate system is simple. When you upload your images, provide a CSV file with the coordinates for your ground control points in two different systems — WGS84 (or another more familiar coordinate system for which there is an EPSG code), and your custom coordinate system. Then complete the GCP tagging process as normal, and we’ll process the map and use the two sets of coordinates to calculate the transformation between the two coordinate systems.”

Jason is a longstanding contributor to DroneLife with an avid interest in all things tech. He focuses on anti-drone technologies and the public safety sector; police, fire, and search and rescue.

Beginning his career as a journalist in 1996, Jason has since written and edited thousands of engaging news articles, blog posts, press releases and online content. He has won several media awards over the years and has since expanded his expertise into the organizational and educational communications sphere.

In addition to his proficiency in the field of editing and writing, Jason has also taught communications at the university level and continues to lead seminars and training sessions in the areas of media relations, editing/writing and social media engagement.

Email Jason
TWITTER:@JasonPReagan

Please share this article:

Vanuatu will use drones to deliver vaccines across its remote chain of tiny islands

Please share this article:

Vanuatu and UNICEF have issued a request for tender inviting drone companies to bid on a contract to deliver vaccines along the nation’s chain of tiny, remote islands — 83 volcanic islands strung along a 1600km atoll.

Current vaccine delivery uses 9-seater puddle-jumper planes that hop from island to island, landing on grass airstrips, but this is slow and inefficient, and frequently delayed by factors like jeep breakdowns at an island’s clinic.

Drone companies see this contract as a way to prove out (and shake down) the idea of drone delivery, going beyond the one-shot stunts from the likes of Google and Amazon.

That precarious process just gets the vaccines to the main clinic on each small island, notes Vasquez. Each island also has many remote and isolated villages, whose inhabitants may not visit the clinic. “It’s very traditional, and many villages are ruled by a chief,” he explains. “People live in family groups and don’t leave, so there’s been no need to build roads between one village and another.” When UNICEF workers set out to bring vaccines to the villages, they often hike for hours over volcanic mountain ridges. “And you need to keep the vaccines cold the whole time,” Vasquez says wearily.

With the current system, determined health workers and UNICEF staffers are getting vaccines to maybe 80 or 85 percent of Vanuatu’s children, Vasquez estimates. “But the curve is not linear,” he says. “Getting to those last 15 or 20 percent left behind is very difficult.”

Drone Delivery Becomes a Reality in Remote Pacific Islands [Eliza Strickland/IEEE Spectrum]

(Image: Eric Gaba, CC-BY-SA)

Most “gaming” laptops look like props from cheap 1990s sci-fi: greebled plastic carbuncles, all edgy red LEDs and bloated bezels, whirring like drones in a tiled bathroom as soon as gameplay begins. The new Razer Blade 15, though, is not only as sleek as an ultrabook, but looks beautiful: like a 2001: Space Odyssey monolith […]

READ THE REST

Once again, the future has been unevenly distributed: Makita’s coffee machine was available in Japan years ago. I can’t wait to have one of these in my kitchen. Asahi Shimbun writes: Makita’s first coffee maker went on sale in 2015. It gained in popularity because the same types of batteries as its power tools also […]

READ THE REST

Beth Skwarecki reviewed the Motiv fitness-tracking ring and liked it a lot. I can’t get over how tiny and inconspicuous it is: it syncs wirelessly with a phone app and needs about an hour’s charge every two or three days. The limitations are that it only tracks heartrate and movement, deducing sleep, steps and active […]

READ THE REST

It’s not common that a game series survives as long as Sid Meier’s Civilization has. But, with a premise focused on creating an empire that stands the test of time, it seems appropriate that one of strategy gaming’s most venerable series continues to stay relevant more than 20 years after its birth. Winner of 15 E3 […]

READ THE REST

Smartwatches are pretty neat, but some of us still appreciate the classic aesthetic that comes with toting around an analog timepiece. Martian mVoice Smart Watches with Amazon Alexa let you leverage push notifications, voice commands, and the like, while adorning your wrist with their sharp, uncluttered 24-hour analog clock displays. They’re available in the Boing Boing […]

READ THE REST

Businesses big and small use Microsoft Excel for everything from data visualization to bookkeeping, and chances are you’ve already had some exposure to this ubiquitous tool. Whether you’re looking to improve your hiring potential or boost your Excel efficiency, the Ultimate All-Level Excel Bootcamp can get you Excel-savvy with nearly 70 hours of training, and it’s […]

READ THE REST

Please share this article:

Flying, Hands-Free Umbrellas Just Might Be the Perfect Use For Drones

Please share this article:

I’m impressed by the technological leaps and bounds that drones have made over the past few years, but until today, I haven’t had much interest in owning one. I have no need for aerial photography, and I’m happy to leave racing through psychedelic neon courses to the pros. But a hands-free umbrella that autonomously follows me through the rain? This is a technological breakthrough I can use.

A Japanese company, Asahi Power Services, believes there’s a big market for self-propelled umbrellas, not only as a way to stay dry in a downpour while staying glued to your phone, but also as an easy way to beat the heat on a sunny day. The Free Parasol, as it’s being called, will use a camera and AI to register, track, and autonomously follow a user’s head. It’s relying on technology that’s already in use with autonomous drones like the Skydio R1, so the concept isn’t totally out-there, but there are some design hurdles to overcome before everyone is walking around with a floating dome over their heads.

[embedded content]

The current prototypes of the Free Parasol weigh around 11 pounds and have a flight time of just 20 minutes. Your morning commute may be a lot longer than that, but the umbrella’s designers are confident they can reduce its weight to a lighter two pounds, and expand the flight time to at least an hour. That will certainly vary depending on the weather, however, if the gadget has to battle the constant downforce of falling rain, and the winds that usually accompany a storm.

The Free Parasol is expected to be available as soon as 2019, which seems optimistic, and will come with a bleeding-edge price tag of around $275. At that cost, it’s not the most expensive umbrella you could buy, but it’s still a device you wouldn’t want to leave behind on the subway. Although, this might one day be the first umbrella to autonomously hunt you down if and when it’s forgotten somewhere.

[YouTube via SoraNews24]
Please share this article:

Drones help scientists save entangled whales

Please share this article:

Discarded and lost gear from fishing boats has posed a threat to whales for generations. Loose nets and ropes can wrap around the giant mammals and impair their ability to swim and eat, causing them to starve or drown. For decades, NOAA and its volunteers have worked to free entangled whales with knives on long poles, but this process is both dangerous and time consuming.

Working to free a 45-foot, 40-ton animal is risky — a volunteer was killed just last year when struck by an entangled whale’s tail — but a new program between the administration’s Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary and non-profit Oceans Unmanned is using drones to make the process more efficient and safe for all involved.

“In the past, we had to get close to the whales at least three times,” said Oceans Unmanned founder Matt Pickett. “Once to figure out where the animal was entangled, once to cut them free and once to make sure the job was done right and nothing was left behind.”

Those three encounters were each a chance for injury, but with the drones, the two steps to assess the entanglement and then the success of the rescue can be done remotely leaving just one necessary close-up maneuver to free the whale. Having a way to inspect the whale aerially can also give a better view of the problem and arm the rescuers with a better plan to start with.

Called the freeFLY program, researchers are using remote-controlled quadcopters with cameras and accessories donated by DJI. Oceans Unmanned is training Maui-bases volunteers to operate the drones from small boat in support of the disentanglement teams. The volunteers receive lessons that meet Federal Aviation Administration requirements for flying drones and certify them for NOAA Fisheries Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program permits to approach within 100 yards of a whale.

“It makes the entire process much safer for both the humans and the whales,” said Pickett.

In the past 30 years, NOAA has overseen the disentanglement of 1,300 whales. This new program could make those rescues far more efficient and less risky for the volunteers and the whales.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments.

Please share this article:

IPP: FAA Grants Botlink North Dakota UAS Partnership

Please share this article:

The FAA’s recently announced UAS Integration Pilot Program is empowering a variety of smaller companies and start-ups to grow their drone businesses. For example, Fargo-based, drone-software firm Botlink is flying high after being granted a state-government partnership

The IPP is described by the FAA as “an opportunity for state, local, and tribal governments to partner with private sector entities, such as UAS operators or manufacturers, to accelerate safe UAS integration.” For Botlink, that means providing command-and-control UAS software in partnership with the North Dakota Department of Transportation.

The UAS Integration Pilot Program will allow local and state governments to evaluate drone usage in commercial applications, including:

  • Methods for expediting FAA airspace approval
  • Collaboration between private sector and government for commercial applications
  • Inform standard operational procedures
  • Demonstration of solutions to reduce waivers
  • Incorporation of community participation that invokes meaningful dialog regarding drone operations

According to a company press release, Botlink has “developed flight control software, allowing autonomous flights for commercial applications, and cloud-based storage and processing to provide data to commercial customers including aggregate and agriculture.”

“This is an excellent opportunity for Botlink and North Dakota to be a part of a select group of governments and private-sector companies chosen to shape the future of drone technology for the U.S.,” said Terri Zimmerman, CEO of Botlink.

The platform offers a user-friendly control, safety and data delivery process allowing seamless integration of drones into real-time workflows.

“Botlink integrates with users’ existing industry analysis tools, while eliminating the problems that prevent many users from incorporating Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) technology, such as a lack of aviation knowledge and flight guidelines.”

In 2015, Botlink unveiled its XRD (Extended Range and Data) drone-control package at Interzone

Using cellular telemetry tech, XRD allows pilots to stich imagery and process data in real time at extended range, integrating current Botlink software with fully-automated drone control, ADS-B traffic advisories, airspace alerts and real-time position and weather data overlays on moving maps.

Jason is a longstanding contributor to DroneLife with an avid interest in all things tech. He focuses on anti-drone technologies and the public safety sector; police, fire, and search and rescue.

Beginning his career as a journalist in 1996, Jason has since written and edited thousands of engaging news articles, blog posts, press releases and online content. He has won several media awards over the years and has since expanded his expertise into the organizational and educational communications sphere.

In addition to his proficiency in the field of editing and writing, Jason has also taught communications at the university level and continues to lead seminars and training sessions in the areas of media relations, editing/writing and social media engagement.

Email Jason
TWITTER:@JasonPReagan

Please share this article:

Here's some of the coolest things drones are being used for

Please share this article:

When you order a takeaway, you’d generally expect to see a van from the company pull up, with your extra cheesy pizza.

Or maybe someone on a bike, bringing you your chicken nuggets with extra mayo.

But how surprised would you be if it was actually being brought to you by a drone?

Well drone-delivered meals is now a thing in Shanghai in China!

Don’t get too excited though – the drone doesn’t actually come to people’s doors.

That job is still down to a person. But the drone speeds up the delivery.

This is how it works – when your meal is ready, a delivery rider takes it a short distance to the nearest drone station.

Then the drone carries the meal to your nearest drone station, and another delivery rider picks up the food and takes the food to your door.

The service has just launched on the outskirts of the Chinese city, and is flying meals along 17 particular routes, bypassing busy roads that would normally mean your meal arrives late as well as cold.

Sounds pretty cool!

But this is far from the first time we’ve heard of drones being used for some pretty amazing things, or to make jobs quicker and easier.

In fact we’ve heard of drones bring used for…

Delivering parcels

Media playback is unsupported on your device

In 2016 the UK government’s got together with the retail giant Amazon to start testing flying drones that can deliver parcels to your door.

Now two years later, the system is still in development.

But if it’s rolled out, it would mean that customers could place Amazon orders and receive their package very quickly.

Rules that previously blocked such services in the UK are being changed, with the National Air Traffic Control Service relaxing the rules

Could this pave the way for a sci-fi future where parcel-carrying drones clutter the skies?

Some tech experts say we could see drones bringing boxes to our front doors as soon as 2019.

Waiting on tables

Media playback is unsupported on your device

In 2015 we saw one restaurant in Singapore trying out a group of flying drones which can automatically deliver your dinner to your table.

Infinium’s robots whizz above the heads of diners on paths mapped out by a computer program, and find their way using infra-red sensors placed around the restaurant.

I wonder how good their customer service is though.

Transporting people

Media playback is unsupported on your device

The world’s first ever driverless passenger drone was tested in southern China earlier this year.

Passengers simply get in, belt up and let the drone drive itself to where they need to be.

It can go at 100km per hour!

Herding sheep

Media playback is unsupported on your device

One farmer in Ireland didn’t have a sheepdog, so his brother decided to try out using a drone instead.

The little remote controlled aircraft encourages the sheep into their pen.

Picking up plastic waste

Media playback is unsupported on your device

If plastic ends up on beaches it can easily get into the sea, and cause harm to fish and animals.

This issue is that no one knows where all the plastic is – so one charity had the idea of using drones to find out.

The drone flies high up in the sky, and takes pictures of the land below.

Any plastic in the photos can then be tagged so it can be removed.

Tracking sharks

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Some beaches in Australia have a real problem when it comes to sharks.

The ocean predators can sometimes end up too close to the shore, either by accident or whilst looking for food.

Many beaches have lifeguards and shark spotters to keep an eye out for the beasts, and to keep people out of the water when they appear.

But now experts are trying a new idea – drones.

They think that eyes in the sky are better at spotting sharks than humans.

Racing

Media playback is unsupported on your device

This one’s just for fun, but it’s actually become a pretty big sport.

Last summer thousands of people came to watch the world’s best pilots race around an obstacle track in the Drone Champions League.

Paris’s most famous street, the Champs-Elysees, was even closed for the weekend – to make way for the drones.

Please share this article:

Here's some of the coolest things drones are being used for

Please share this article:

When you order a takeaway, you’d generally expect to see a van from the company pull up, with your extra cheesy pizza.

Or maybe someone on a bike, bringing you your chicken nuggets with extra mayo.

But how surprised would you be if it was actually being brought to you by a drone?

Well drone-delivered meals is now a thing in Shanghai in China!

Don’t get too excited though – the drone doesn’t actually come to people’s doors.

That job is still down to a person. But the drone speeds up the delivery.

This is how it works – when your meal is ready, a delivery rider takes it a short distance to the nearest drone station.

Then the drone carries the meal to your nearest drone station, and another delivery rider picks up the food and takes the food to your door.

The service has just launched on the outskirts of the Chinese city, and is flying meals along 17 particular routes, bypassing busy roads that would normally mean your meal arrives late as well as cold.

Sounds pretty cool!

But this is far from the first time we’ve heard of drones being used for some pretty amazing things, or to make jobs quicker and easier.

In fact we’ve heard of drones bring used for…

Delivering parcels

Media playback is unsupported on your device

In 2016 the UK government’s got together with the retail giant Amazon to start testing flying drones that can deliver parcels to your door.

Now two years later, the system is still in development.

But if it’s rolled out, it would mean that customers could place Amazon orders and receive their package very quickly.

Rules that previously blocked such services in the UK are being changed, with the National Air Traffic Control Service relaxing the rules

Could this pave the way for a sci-fi future where parcel-carrying drones clutter the skies?

Some tech experts say we could see drones bringing boxes to our front doors as soon as 2019.

Waiting on tables

Media playback is unsupported on your device

In 2015 we saw one restaurant in Singapore trying out a group of flying drones which can automatically deliver your dinner to your table.

Infinium’s robots whizz above the heads of diners on paths mapped out by a computer program, and find their way using infra-red sensors placed around the restaurant.

I wonder how good their customer service is though.

Transporting people

Media playback is unsupported on your device

The world’s first ever driverless passenger drone was tested in southern China earlier this year.

Passengers simply get in, belt up and let the drone drive itself to where they need to be.

It can go at 100km per hour!

Herding sheep

Media playback is unsupported on your device

One farmer in Ireland didn’t have a sheepdog, so his brother decided to try out using a drone instead.

The little remote controlled aircraft encourages the sheep into their pen.

Picking up plastic waste

Media playback is unsupported on your device

If plastic ends up on beaches it can easily get into the sea, and cause harm to fish and animals.

This issue is that no one knows where all the plastic is – so one charity had the idea of using drones to find out.

The drone flies high up in the sky, and takes pictures of the land below.

Any plastic in the photos can then be tagged so it can be removed.

Tracking sharks

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Some beaches in Australia have a real problem when it comes to sharks.

The ocean predators can sometimes end up too close to the shore, either by accident or whilst looking for food.

Many beaches have lifeguards and shark spotters to keep an eye out for the beasts, and to keep people out of the water when they appear.

But now experts are trying a new idea – drones.

They think that eyes in the sky are better at spotting sharks than humans.

Racing

Media playback is unsupported on your device

This one’s just for fun, but it’s actually become a pretty big sport.

Last summer thousands of people came to watch the world’s best pilots race around an obstacle track in the Drone Champions League.

Paris’s most famous street, the Champs-Elysees, was even closed for the weekend – to make way for the drones.

Please share this article:

Moscow Recruits Drones to Help Lifeguards at 11 Public Beaches This Summer

Please share this article:

Eleven city beaches suitable for swimming have opened in Moscow for the summer, this year with the addition of patrol-drones and rescue dogs for added safety.

Muscovites can cool their heads at 11 urban beaches every year from June 1 to Sept. 1, including ponds like Serebryany Bor 2 and 3 in northern Moscow, Levoberezhny and Akademicheskiye Prudy.

Read More

11 City Beaches to Beat the Moscow Summer Heat

“The drones will help rescue workers quickly detect drowning [swimmers], unattended children, as well as those who make bonfires in the wrong places,” Moscow City Hall announced Friday.

Twenty unmanned aerial vehicles will beam live images into the rescue workers’ tablet computers, a year after the technology was tested over Moskva River, it added.

On the ground, at least 10 volunteer Newfoundlands, Golden retrievers and other rescue dogs will roam the ponds wearing bright orange vests equipped with rescue handles to latch onto.

“Having grabbed onto it, the drowning person will be easily brought ashore by the dog,” City Hall said.

Please share this article:

These Fantastic New Drone Books for Kids are the Best End of School Present Ever

Please share this article:

It’s never too soon to get kids interested in science and aviation – and drones are a great way to do it.  Now there are two great new drone books for young kids to keep the interest going when you aren’t flying.

The books are developed and written by the Sharon Rossmark and Wendy Erikson, the talented team behind WomenandDrones, an innovative site for connecting and supporting women in the drone industry.

“The Fun With Drones:  Coloring and Activity Book and Drone Girls and the Air Show Adventure are designed to empower parents, teachers, camp programs and scout leaders with a tool to introduce children to a popular STEM subject – Drones!” says Rossmark. “We know that drones are an exciting subject for students making it an ideal pathway for learning about STEM and aviation.”

Most of the characters pictured in the books are girls, which Rossmark says is a “purposeful, important part of our commitment to engaging more girls in STEM careers.”

“The drone books for children stems from our commitment to engage more children especially girls in STEM and aviation.  Our educational theme centers on ‘learning through the wonders of flying robots,’” says Rossmark. “The books are designed to give young children a platform to see girls as drone pilots and girls interested in learning about aviation.”

The books targeted audience are younger children – they are ideally suited for story time, family time, camps, and after school programs.

The books are available now on Amazon, at the following links.

Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
Email Miriam
TWITTER:@spaldingbarker

Please share this article:

Illinois legislature approves bill allowing police drones to monitor large gatherings of people

Please share this article:

Police departments will be allowed to deploy unmanned aerial vehicles over any assembly of at least 1,500 people.

(Getty Images)

The Illinois House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a bill greatly expanding the ability of state’s police departments to deploy unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, to surveil any large gathering of people.

The measure targets any public or private assembly of at least 1,500 people. The House had defeated a previous version of the bill last week after Chicago-area Democrats, wary that additional police drones would unfairly target events in predominately black neighborhoods, objected to the bill’s allowance of facial-recognition software and a much lower threshold for crowd sizes.

The Illinois Senate passed a version of the bill, which is backed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and law-enforcement groups throughout the state, earlier this month.

The revised bill the House passed Wednesday contains amendments banning the use of facial-recognition programs and raising the minimum crowd size from 100. Opponents of the original bill said a threshold that low could’ve opened relatively small events like block parties and family gatherings to drone surveillance.

While the amended bill passed by a wide margin, the compromise wasn’t without detractors.

“It was disappointing that the definition of a crowd size went from 100 to 1,500, but that was part of the negotiations or the bill might have died,” Ed Wojcicki, executive director for the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, told the State Journal-Register in Springfield.

The American Civil Liberties Union’s Illinois chapter, which had previously expressed its opposition to the bill, said it was disappointed by the House’s passage. The amended bill will have to be voted on by the Illinois Senate before it goes to Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Please share this article: