You know the scenario, you’re having an amazing flight, but you’ve got to land because you’re running low on electrons. But what if you could charge your craft while your’re flying, untethered? A Canadian company called Solace Power, in partnership with Boeing, are working to make wireless charging more efficient, and they demonstrate the way their prototype works in the video above, with the green light indicating that the multirotor is charging, mid-air. From TechCrunch:
Introducing the New York City Drone Film Festival, a sold out event created to highlight cinematography captured via your favorite flying platform, the “drone”. The screening will take place on March 7th, 2015, and they might add a second screening, so hold on your your hats. From their website:
Presenting the NoFlyzone, a community driven database of properties that will prevent “drones” from flying over your house. Actually, its just a site where you can submit your property without residence verification and somehow in the future, UAV manufacturers will use this data to prevent their craft from flying over your property. Just like DJI is doing for the White House. Oh, nevermind.
Gizmodo has very interesting piece where the compare the early computer club movements of the 70’s and 80’s with the “DIY Drone” movement that we see now a days. They interview Chris Anderson, former Wired Magazine editor and CEO of 3D Robotics.
One of the most talked about events of in the realm of UAVs in the recent months was the “Drone lands on the White House lawn” incident, which occured on Janurary 26, 2015. First, lets describe the events and the way the media reported on it.
The president of the Academy of Model Aeronautics, Bob Brown, wrote a special note regarding President Obama’s reaction to the “Drone on the White House lawn” incident, where a call for more regulation is made.
AMA believes that a much better approach to managing the community is through education, not regulation. AMA has always believed that the best, and perhaps the only, way to successfully manage the recreational community is through a community-based set of safety guidelines and the combined efforts of the FAA and AMA.
I completely agree with this sentiment: regulation is not the key to keeping UAVs from restricted areas, especially because there Washington D.C. is already a no-fly zone. It was not a lack of regulation that enabled this incident to occur, it was a lack of education.
If the solution was to simply ban the technology, or even just disallow it under AMA programming, it’s unlikely that it would have any significant impact. If the goal is to thwart a nefarious attempt by someone using this technology, no rule or regulation will prevent that. The point is that it’s not the technology, it’s how the technology is used.
Check out the complete note. Its a worthwhile read.
Wired magazine just published a very interesting article titled “Why the US Government Is Terrified of Hobbyist Drones” where they discuss an eye-opening conference about the potential malicious uses of “drones” that happened just days before the “Drone at the White House” incident.
The conference was open to civilians, but explicitly closed to the press. One attendee described it as an eye-opener. The officials played videos of low-cost drones firing semi-automatic weapons, revealed that Syrian rebels are importing consumer-grade drones to launch attacks, and flashed photos from an exercise that pitted $5,000 worth of drones against a convoy of armored vehicles. (The drones won.)
This is a subject that many UAV enthusiats, including myself, would rather ignore, but we are very aware of the potential harm that off-the-shelf “drones” could inflict. I imagine we all have theorized how an individual with malicious intent could set out to harm and destroy people and property. They also had on display a DJI Phantom with 3 sticks of mock dynamite attached to it, as seen below:
But the most striking visual aid was on an exhibit table outside the auditorium, where a buffet of low-cost drones had been converted into simulated flying bombs. One quadcopter, strapped to 3 pounds of inert explosive, was a DJI Phantom 2, a newer version of the very drone that would land at the White House the next week.
They also discussed the new geofencing-enforcing firmware that will get pushed out to the DJI Phantom 2, how its basically ineffective and user reactions:
“One could theorize that every zone anywhere could be a restricted zone,” wrote another. “Thank you but no thank you. If I spend thousands of dollars then I want to fly wherever the heck I want as long as it is under 400ft and 500ft away from airports.”
Check out the full article below and let me know what you think.
I came across a new organization designed to protect, integrate and explore the commercial use of UAVs (their term is sUAS, or small unmanned aircraft system). Its called the Association of Commercial Unmanned Aircraft Systems and their website is located at: http://www.acuas.org/. Anyone is free to join and they also accept donations. Their mission statement, as state on their home page is the following:
The ACUAS firmly believes:
THE UNITED STATES DESERVES TO BENEFIT FROM THIS TECHNOLOGY
and businesses and citizens deserve the opportunity to move forward along with the rest of the world.
WE HAVE A RIGHT TO OPERATE SUAS FOR OUR BUSINESSES
and until proven necessary, our government has no basis for restricting commercial operations.
WE MUST INTEGRATE COMMERCIAL SUAS NOW
to include everyone who wishes to use and benefit from safe and responsible sUAS operations, without delay and without restrictive barriers-to-entry.
I encourage you to visit their website and join the organization, donate if possible. It these types of organizations and the people behind them that will help UAVs flourish.
Great news for fans of winter sports! ESPN has been given the greenlight by the FAA to use UAVs to film at this year’s Winter X-Games. This is the first time ESPN is using unmanned aerial vehicles for videography, but it has been done before at winter events, I do recall multirotors being used at the last Winter Olympics in Sochi.
In cooperating with the FAA, Calcinari said, ESPN had to provide thorough documentation to prove that the drones would be flying in a “closed-set” environment, one that limits access to the fly zone to only members of the production crew. As such, the area where ESPN will be using the drones to film won’t be accessible by the public — which, given the FAA’s known stance on the recreational handling of these devices, is no surprise.
Lets see what kind of footage ESPN is able to get. Just imagine the shots of the Flying Tomato from above!
The Verge is reporting that during a hearing at Congress a small UAV, more specifically a Parrot Bebop was flown, while Collin Gunn from 3D Robotics gave a presentation about the many potential uses of unmanned aerial vehicles and how they can help generate jobs:
It wasn’t much of a demonstration, but it got the point across. A number of representatives broke into smiles and voiced the opinion that drones could be useful for work in agriculture, disaster relief, and natural resource management. That would mean jobs: something every politician likes to stump for. “I was hoping you would fly over the whole room, not just one location,” said Smith, after the Bebop landed.
The last time I remember a radio controlled craft being flown inside the chambers where politicians work was the whole flying penis episode, but even more interesting is that since a multirotor from 3D Robotics is probably too big to be flown safely indoors, Collin decided to have a competitor’s quad flying while he spoke.