At the beginning of December, it will have been 5 years since Amazon kingpin Jeff Bezos announced plans for Amazon Prime Air. Initially mocked in popular culture, everyone soon realized that it’s precisely the sort of thing Amazon could and would do, and settled back to see where the chips would fall.
Today, the dream has yet to come to fruition — and other companies have followed suit in betting big on drone delivery hardware and systems — yet the smart money remains on Amazon being the big beneficiary of this automated revolution, especially since it has put so much time and money into getting it right.
However, by the time Amazon’s Prime Air drone fleet goes live (whether in 2019 or much later), it will need to have overcome some major hurdles that currently face all drone delivery systems. What hurdles are those? Let’s go through them.
If you’re on this site, you’re already familiar with the incredible drone revolution going on these days.
Personal drones are becoming more and more popular, their prices are coming down, their technology is getting better and simply put, they become more accessible to more people- that’s why you keep hearing about them all over the place.
Personal drones however, have evolved, like much of our cutting edge technology from a more scary past – a military past. The commercial and consumer drone revolution has both an interesting, a curious and even a more terrifying past – the history of drones is, in fact, extremely interesting.
It’s interesting to read and understand how drones technology has come about and how it has matured over the years – incredibly drones have been evolving for more than two centuries. Quite a lot of different technologies had to come together to eventually enable the current version of drones.
MicroPilot autopilots have achieved STANAG 4586 compatibility through integration with Lockheed Martin’s unmanned systems software ecosystem.
June 1st, 2017 – Stony Mountain, Canada – Working with Lockheed Martin CDL Systems, MicroPilot Inc. has developed a Vehicle Specific Module (VSM) to communicate with STANAG 4586 compliant ground control station (GCS) software. This will enable MicroPilot customers to utilize Lockheed Martin’s many previously unavailable tools as part of its unmanned systems software ecosystem with over 1.5 million flight hours worldwide.
A drone developed by the Dario Floreano’s team in the Laboratory of Intelligent systems in the EPLF (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) in Switzerland is geared toward flying more like a bird than like small helicopters, as most available multirotors currently do.
This should allow a much greater tolerance to challenging environmental flight conditions.
Tech startup Makeblock releases Airblock, a Modular Drone that Transforms Into a Hovercraft
SAN FRANCISCO — November 2, 2016 — Shenzhen-based robotics startup Makeblock released the new Airblock, a modular six-axis drone that transforms into various flying configurations, including hexacopter and hovercraft. Airblock combines the best of building blocks with flight physics and engineering to make each flying experience unique.
Airblock consists of magnetic, modular parts that are easy to assemble and disassemble without tools. Included in each set are a control core, a hovercraft base, six blade modules, six spare blades, ten blade shields, one wall charger, one lithium-ion rechargeable battery and one USB cable.
I am glad to publish the following press release by MicroPilot
HI-RISE – 15009 High Integrity RPAS by Innovative Software Engineering Project Leader: MicroPilot (Canada)
To reach their full potential, Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), must operate over built up areas such as towns and cities where there are many high value tasks that a UAS can perform. Flying a UAS over built up areas is not currently possible due to perceived lack of safety. For this reason, there is a need for UAS that comply with recognized safety standards (e.g. DO-178C). HI-RISE is a framework within which UAS and innovative uses for a UAS can be developed taking into account safety regulations and standards.
An advanced eight-rotor model dubbed the octocopter (see ‘Flight-al statistics’), has been put through its paces by researchers led by Andrew Riche of Rothamsted Research, an institute devoted to plant, soil and agricultural science that receives strategic funding from UK bioscience funders BBSRC.
Rothamsted is the site of the longest running field experiments in the world, where farm systems and inputs such as fertiliser, pesticides and crop growth have been running for more than a hundred years. In the 21st century, they want to see if drone surveillance can take much of the drudgery and footwork out of these large-scale experiments that span over 200 hectares of picturesque English countryside. As a demonstrator technology, the researchers are embarking on a rigorous programme of regularly recording experiments over five hectares (the size of seven football pitches) to see exactly what this airborne marvel is capable of.
“This year we have focused on monitoring crop height through the season and also crop maturity, says Riche. “Different wheat lines mature at different rates, and we regularly monitor this on the ground – this year we hope to have done it from the air.”
I am glad to publish the following release by SPH Engineering. Click on the image below to visit their web site:
Also check out this video, in which the software is used together with 3D Robotics multirotors:
SPH Engineering is pleased to announce that UgCS is now out of Beta stage and is available for purchase.
Our work for nearly two years have resulted in UgCS version 2.1 Which now we have tested to be exceeding or having abilities at least on par with native mission planning software of supported vehicles.
Currently we support vehicles equipped with following autopilots: MikroKopter, Ardupilot APM/Pixhawk, DJI Naza-M(Phantom 2)/Wookong-M/A2, ARDrone, Microdrones. Our skilled engineers can add support to additional autopilot by request in less than 3 months including field tests. Continue reading UgCS ground station software goes commercial→
I’m thrilled to announce our partnership with the Linux Foundation to create the new Dronecode Foundation, a non-profit organization that brings together the leading open source UAV software projects under the professional management and leadership of one of the world’s foremost open innovation organizations. Continue reading Chris Anderson launches the DoneCode Foundation→
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