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Archive for the ‘drones’ category

Oct 21, 2021

Autonomous Racing Drones Dodge Through Forests at 40 kph

Posted by in categories: drones, robotics/AI

It seems inevitable that sooner or later, the performance of autonomous drones will surpass the performance of even the best human pilots. Usually things in robotics that seem inevitable happen later as opposed to sooner, but drone technology seems to be the exception to this. We’ve seen an astonishing amount of progress over the past few years, even to the extent of sophisticated autonomy making it into the hands of consumers at an affordable price.

The cutting edge of drone research right now is putting drones with relatively simple onboard sensing and computing in situations that require fast and highly aggressive maneuvers. In a paper published yesterday in Science Robotics, roboticists from Davide Scaramuzza’s Robotics and Perception Group at the University of Zurich along with partners at Intel demonstrate a small, self-contained, fully autonomous drone that can aggressively fly through complex environments at speeds of up to 40kph.

Oct 21, 2021

In first, ocean drone captures footage from inside hurricane

Posted by in categories: climatology, drones, robotics/AI

In a world first, US scientists on Thursday piloted a camera-equipped ocean drone that looks like a robotic surfboard into a Category 4 hurricane barreling across the Atlantic Ocean.

Dramatic footage released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed the small craft battling 50-feet (15 meter) high waves and winds of over 120 mph (190 kph) inside Hurricane Sam.

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Oct 20, 2021

A Drone Company Will Airlift Stranded Dogs. Over a Stream of Lava?

Posted by in categories: drones, habitats, sustainability

In an interview with Reuters, Jaime Pereira, CEO of Aerocamaras, said “it’s the first time an animal is being rescued with a drone and the first time it has to be captured. If that’s the last option that the dogs have? Then we’re going after them.” Pereira also mentioned a possible nightmare scenario caused by the limitations of drone battery technology, and the tricky nature of the operation, which relies partly on the cooperation of the stranded canines: “What we don’t want is to run out of battery when flying over the lava,” he said. In order to carry out the mission as safely as possible, the drone operator is currently carrying out test flights to practice before sending its drones to the location near the live volcano.

Though this is likely the first time a dog has been carried to safety by a drone, operators in China guided a herd of wayward elephants home with the aid of drones. In that case, however, the drones were only used to keep track of the animals. The technology is also being trialed for first responder operations in the case of natural disasters and emergencies. Here’s hoping the novel method for extracting the otherwise inaccessible animals to safety goes off without a hitch.

Oct 20, 2021

Smokey the AI

Posted by in categories: drones, information science, robotics/AI

Smart image analysis algorithms, fed by cameras carried by drones and ground vehicles, can help power companies prevent forest fires.

Oct 17, 2021

Goodbye Paradrops! Bell Showcases Its New Autonomous Supply Drop Drone

Posted by in categories: drones, military, robotics/AI

“This speed bag resupply feature is a game changer for the warfighter,” said in a statement Mike Goodwin, sales and strategy manager Bell. “With the ability to drop supplies quickly and efficiently in a drop zone or a remote location, we can get critical supplies delivered as soon as they’re needed.”

Bell claims the APT has already flown 420 times at U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, in Georgia, and other sites. Now, the company is seeking to demonstrate how the aircraft can drop supplies on demand at its cruising speed of 80 mph (129 km/h).

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Oct 14, 2021

Germany: Heavy-duty drone takes first flight in Hamburg

Posted by in categories: drones, government

German air taxi manufacturer Volocopter launched a self-developed heavy-duty drone in public for the first time on Tuesday at the ITS World Congress in Hamburg.

In cooperation with German logistics provider DB Schenker, the company demonstrated the integration of the VoloDrone into logistics supply chains.

The test flight, which lasted about three minutes, took place around the harbor area of the city in northern Germany. The ITS congress is an international digital transport event.

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Oct 14, 2021

Drone Delivers Lungs to Transplant Recipient, a Medical First

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, drones

Two Toronto hospitals were involved in the expedited organ delivery.

Oct 13, 2021

Autonomous drones can now zip through the woods at insane speeds

Posted by in categories: drones, information science, robotics/AI

Thanks to artificial intelligence, drones can now fly autonomously at remarkably high speeds, while navigating unpredictable, complex obstacles using only their onboard sensing and computation.

This feat was achieved by getting the drone’s neural network to learn flying by watching a sort of “simulated expert” – an algorithm that flew a computer-generated drone through a simulated environment full of complex obstacles. Now, this “expert” could not be used outside of simulation, but its data was used to teach the neural network how to predict the best trajectory, based only on the data from the sensors.

Oct 9, 2021

Bipedal robot can ride a skateboard and walk a slackline

Posted by in categories: drones, robotics/AI

Researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have built a bipedal robot that combines walking with flying to create a new type of locomotion, making it exceptionally nimble and capable of complex movements.

Part walking robot, part flying drone, the newly developed LEONARDO (short for LEgs ONboARD drOne, or LEO for short) can walk a slackline, hop, and even ride a skateboard. Developed by a team at Caltech’s Center for Autonomous Systems and Technologies (CAST), LEO is the first robot that uses multi-joint legs and propeller-based thrusters to achieve a fine degree of control over its balance.

“We drew inspiration from nature. Think about the way birds are able to flap and hop to navigate telephone lines,” explained Soon-Jo Chung, Professor of Aerospace and Control and Dynamical Systems. “A complex yet intriguing behaviour happens as birds move between walking and flying. We wanted to understand and learn from that.”

Oct 9, 2021

Alphabet’s Wing tests drone deliveries from shopping center rooftops in Australia

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, business, drones

It’s piloting the new delivery model in Logan, Queensland.


Alphabet subsidiary Wing has launched a pilot program that will have its drones fly products from the rooftops of shopping centers. In fact, it has already started the program in its biggest market, Logan, Australia. The subsidiary has teamed up with Australian retail property group, Vicinity Centres, to test the new model at Logan’s Grand Plaza, where Wing’s drones have been flying orders to customers from businesses directly below their launching pad.

Wing has been operating in Logan over the past two years, but up until now, businesses have had to co-locate their products at the company’s delivery facility. This is the first time the subsidiary is conducting deliveries from participating merchants’ existing location instead. Wing has been flying its drones from the rooftop of Grand Plaza since mid-August, delivering sushi, bubble tea, smoothies and other products from merchants in the shopping center. Starting today, the drones will also deliver over-the-counter medicine and personal care and beauty products.

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