FAA Rule Upheld: Most Drones Will Be Remote ID Compliant

A federal court upheld Federal Aviation Administration rules ensuring drones use Remote Identification technology to transmit a “digital license plate” with unique identifiers while in flight. The rule was challenged by Tyler Brennan, owner of the drone e-tailer RaceDayQuads, who argued the FAA’s Remote ID rules amount to “constant, warrantless governmental surveillance,” in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment. The rules are widely supported by the drone industry, which sees them as a path to expanded drone use by addressing concerns about safety and security. Continue reading FAA Rule Upheld: Most Drones Will Be Remote ID Compliant

Amazon, Google Among Companies Testing Drone Deliveries

Companies including Amazon, Google and Walmart are quietly beginning drone deliveries across the U.S., according to reports. Everything from Advil to take-out meals are fair game for robot delivery to one’s doorstep, with the various companies experimenting in the space completing between dozens and up to hundreds of deliveries a day. Walmart has begin working with San Francisco startup Zipline on deliveries in Arkansas. Israeli startup Flytrex, specializing in U.S. food delivery, opened a station in Texas following testing in North Carolina. Wing, a unit of Google-owner Alphabet, is delivering in Virginia. Continue reading Amazon, Google Among Companies Testing Drone Deliveries

Flowcopter Says Its Hybrid Drone Can Fly 6 Hours, 500 Miles

Flowcopter is said to be creating the world’s first gas-fueled drone, with a flight range of hundreds of miles, potentially spanning hours. Current drones rely on battery power or electrical recharging. While the consensus is that battery technology is advancing rapidly, and will someday permit lightweight, long-range travel in drones and other vehicles, fossil fuels currently provide denser sources of energy with less weight and at lower cost. The reasons there are no gas-fueled quadcopters to date is their engines aren’t as precisely controllable as are electric motors. But Flowcopter feels it has overcome that. Continue reading Flowcopter Says Its Hybrid Drone Can Fly 6 Hours, 500 Miles

CES: Updated Drone Tech Offers Possibilities for Production

While drone announcements failed to generate the same buzz during CES 2022 as in previous years, several new products should be of interest to consumers and professionals, especially those in photography, video and movie production. In addition to demonstrations of hydrogen fuel cell tech promising increased flying time and new underwater micro-ROVs touting a range of enterprise applications, CES included affordable feature-rich drones such as Autel Robotics’ Dragonfish with built-in 4K video and 50X optical zoom; Skydio’s self-flying drone, geared toward cinematographers; and Sony’s Airpeak S1, the smallest drone to support a full-size mirrorless Alpha camera. Continue reading CES: Updated Drone Tech Offers Possibilities for Production

Qualcomm Introduces Its Latest Drone Platform with 5G & AI

Qualcomm unveiled its Qualcomm Flight RB5 5G platform, with the hopes of speeding up development of commercial, enterprise and industrial drones. The new platform, which is powered by Qualcomm’s QRB5165 processor and builds on the company’s IoT products, enables drones to utilize 5G and artificial intelligence technologies. Low power 5G drones can capture and transmit a lot of data via cameras that it transmits to an operator or over a network. AI enables the drone to determine what data is most valuable. Continue reading Qualcomm Introduces Its Latest Drone Platform with 5G & AI

ETC Publishes its Perspective on Consumer Electronics Show

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) set “the global stage for innovation” in an all-digital format when CES 2021 opened its four-day run in January. The annual confab shaped up less as a showcase for breakthrough future technology and more as a bellwether for a world massively altered by the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, instead of key product trends to define our media and entertainment industry focus, the ETC@USC team emphasized four dynamics to drive much of the discussion: Adaptation, Change, Snapback and Opportunity. For an examination of these themes, ETC’s CES report is now available online. Continue reading ETC Publishes its Perspective on Consumer Electronics Show

CES: Airpeak Drone Designed for Capturing Photos and Video

First announced in November of last year, Sony unveiled a drone at CES 2021 that the company says is the smallest of its kind capable of accommodating a Sony Alpha mirrorless camera for professional photography and producing video projects. While Sony did not reveal pricing or specs, the drone is is said to be shipping sometime this spring. The quadcopter design shown during the all-digital CES featured two landing gear extensions that are designed to retract during flight so they do not get in the way of shooting stills or video. Continue reading CES: Airpeak Drone Designed for Capturing Photos and Video

FAA Greenlights Amazon’s Plan to Develop a Fleet of Drones

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) just approved Amazon’s plan to create a fleet of drones. The e-commerce company will still need to jump through some hoops before beginning limited tests of package delivery to U.S. customers. Amazon also has testing sites in Austria, Canada, the United Kingdom and other international locations but can only perform tests in the UK and U.S. Before drone delivery becomes widespread, the FAA must complete rules for remote identification and for letting drones fly above populated areas. Continue reading FAA Greenlights Amazon’s Plan to Develop a Fleet of Drones

Drones Take on Essential Roles During Coronavirus Pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic, drones have been put to good use. In Florida, for example, UPS Flight Forward is delivering medicine from a CVS pharmacy to a nearby retirement community. As former roboticist Daniel Wilson, author of “Robopocalypse” put it, “the machines we’re used to fearing are uniquely well suited to swoop in and save the day.” Although drones have successfully shed some of their dystopian image, privacy advocates and others are still wary of their use by police for broad surveillance. Continue reading Drones Take on Essential Roles During Coronavirus Pandemic

Robots and Drones Make More Deliveries During Pandemic

All around the globe, from China to Israel to the U.S., robots and drones are delivering everything from groceries to medical supplies during the coronavirus pandemic without the threat of transmitting COVID-19. In Sacramento, for example, startup Nuro’s R2 robots are delivering personal protective equipment, clean linens and food from a supply depot to a field hospital. But, as many businesses and governments are eager to use robots, the startups that make them are challenged to ramp up production to meet demand. Continue reading Robots and Drones Make More Deliveries During Pandemic

Drones in Delivery Tests, U.S. Agency Bars Chinese UAVs

Amazon, Alphabet’s Wing and Uber Technologies are conducting government-approved trials of drones to deliver packages. Wing is in Christiansburg, Virginia and Uber will begin tests in San Diego before the end of 2019. United Parcel Service also gained FAA approval to create a fleet of drones to deliver health supplies and, ultimately, consumer packages. The FAA predicts that drones for commercial purposes will reach 2.7 million by 2020. Meanwhile, the Department of the Interior is grounding more than 800 drones that were manufactured in China, citing national security concerns. Continue reading Drones in Delivery Tests, U.S. Agency Bars Chinese UAVs

Uber Demonstrates Its Drone Delivery Service in San Diego

Uber demonstrated the transport of a McDonald’s meal via its Uber Elevate A4200 drone with custom-designed delivery box. The drone was set to fly only half a mile away, but the trip was canceled due to a 26-knot breeze. The demo is still noteworthy as a practical application of the technology. Uber isn’t the only company pinning some of its high-tech hopes on drone delivery. Google already has the greenlight from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to make similar unmanned commercial deliveries in Virginia, and Amazon also debuted its drone delivery service. Continue reading Uber Demonstrates Its Drone Delivery Service in San Diego

FAA Approves Commercial Delivery For Alphabet’s Drones

Wing Aviation, a unit of Alphabet, received the Federal Aviation Administration’s first authorization to deliver consumer goods via drone. Being first is a coup for Google’s parent company and a harbinger that many other companies — Amazon among them — will soon launch drone delivery services. Not long ago, officials predicted that the FAA wouldn’t implement the first rules for unmanned aircraft delivery until 2020 or 2021. The current FAA permit for Wing Aviation only includes a rural area around Blacksburg, Virginia. Continue reading FAA Approves Commercial Delivery For Alphabet’s Drones

HPA Tech Retreat: Drones, Photogrammetry as Useful Tools

Singularity Imaging founder/chief executive Eric Pohl discussed how drones and photogrammetry methods can be used to extract 3D information and create large point-cloud scenes. Uses include previsualization for production, content for set extensions, VR/AR and gaming applications. Pohl noted that, at last year’s HPA Tech Retreat, a presentation showed how the Unity game engine could be used to map and plan a production. “Mapping and remote sensing are quite mature, but drones bring something new to it,” he noted. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Drones, Photogrammetry as Useful Tools

Google Plans Not to Renew its Defense Department Contract

Influenced by employee discontent, Google will not renew a contract with the Pentagon’s Project Maven when it expires next year. Google Cloud business head Diane Greene, who won the contract, was the one who announced the company’s decision in a weekly employee meeting. The Maven project uses artificial intelligence to interpret video images and, among its potential uses, could be employed to improve drone attack targeting. Many Google AI researchers worried aloud that it was a step towards using AI for advanced weaponry. Continue reading Google Plans Not to Renew its Defense Department Contract