Showing posts with label AR.Drone. Show all posts
Showing posts with label AR.Drone. Show all posts

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Why the word "drone" is scaring neighbors, creating bad legislation, and blocking an economic boom.

Sensationalist coverage and fabricated illustrations have cemented the word "drone" as a weapon in the public psyche. But it may not be too late to change public opinion about the technology behind the word.

A few years ago, a colleague and her husband, an ex-helicopter pilot, realized a tectonic shift was disrupting industries in which they had devoted entire careers.

This disruption had a passing resemblance to what happened to other American industries. The hard work once done by skilled, human hands was now being automated by the calculating actuators of a machine.

Automation had long since dominated the appliance, automotive, and electronics industries. But this was a brand new territory – aviation.

The reduced price and size, and the increased reliability and capability of processors, sensors and batteries meant unmanned aviation had been unleashed. A nouveau DIY revolution meant that basements and garages were once again incubating nascent technology, just as they did in the 1970s when the personal computer was being developed.

The silver lining is that the cost of search and rescue, disaster relief, monitoring wildlife, guarding endangered animals from being poached, and even medication delivery to underserved populations all could be slashed.

Like many other small startups in the unmanned aviation industry, my friend and her husband saw an opportunity. And despite criticism of slow progress on regulations, the Federal Aviation Administration also sees it. The FAA estimates that the market for commercial unmanned aerial systems will eventually reach $90 billion.

The Association for Unmanned Vehicles and Systems International (AUVSI) believes there will be an economic impact of $13.6 billion within 3 years that unmanned aircraft are integrated into the national airspace.

Where to start? What better way to get acquainted to the industry than attend one of the premier industry conference in the nation, hosted by AUVSI?

She learned about new applications for unmanned aircraft. She listened to a UAV operator who used his homemade robotic aircraft to assess flood damage in Thailand. The information gathered from the aerial vehicle allowed the government to make decisions that mitigated flooding in the country’s capital.

This was great. But when it came to talk shop, things became awkward when she used a five-letter word that began with the letter “d.”

“The conversation would just stop,” she said. “Just completely stop dead.”

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

"Drone" over SXSW provides aerial view of NASA's shiny new space telescope

Unmanned aircraft made their South By Southwest debut this year, and prominently so. A session with Chris Anderson, former Wired EIC turned full-time head of 3D Robotics, and Ryan Calo of The Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, among others, included a discussion on the many commercial uses for UA.

On the same day, at the Palmer Events Center, near a full-scale replica of NASA's James Web Space Telescope, another panel was being held that featured a live demonstration of an unmanned system.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

World's most popular consumer drone gains autonomous flight

Since it was introduced in 2010, the AR.Drone has been a success among hobbyists, hackers, engineering students, drone journalists, activists, and aspiring UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) operators. Produced by the French wireless products manufacturer Parrot, this camera-enabled quadrotor can be controlled over WiFi via iOS or Android-enabled phones and tablets.

This has been the go-to item for many news organizations trying to understand the new world of UAS without a tremendous investment. The Sydney Herald recently used one to help bring context to their story about privacy concerns amidst the proliferation of "drones."

A news crew in Florida also tried using an AR.Drone to get a better view of a live event, but they were chased out of the sky by angry bees.

Since launch, it has sold over 300,000 units. That's ten times the number of UAS that the FAA anticipated would by flying in American airspace... by 2020.

A selling point of the RC aircraft from the beginning has been augmented reality dogfights with other AR.Drones, facilitated by on-board image recognition. Parrot recently unveiled another addition to the drone's list of AR abilities -- a GPS receiver.