Amazon Files Patent for Safer Drone Delivery in Urban Areas

Amazon’s drone delivery program faces the challenge of getting drones near enough to large population centers, but the company just filed a patent application for a solution. What Amazon calls “multi-level fulfillment centers for unmanned aerial vehicles” would place drones in the midst of cities in vertical structures, thereby letting drones fly in and out of the building while avoiding pedestrians. Although this idea would solve one problem, it raises others pursuant to drones flying in the sky above a city. Continue reading Amazon Files Patent for Safer Drone Delivery in Urban Areas

Super Bowl Halftime Show Offers Glimpse into Future of UAVs

During Sunday’s Super Bowl halftime show, about 160 million viewers saw something never seen there before: an army of 300 synchronized drones that morphed from stars to a waving flag above the Houston skyline. That effect was courtesy of the Intel Shooting Star drone system, which also has more serious applications, in search-and-rescue and agriculture among other possibilities. The Shooting Star squad has also performed at Disney World and, last year, set a world record by simultaneously launching 500 UAVs into the sky above Sydney. Continue reading Super Bowl Halftime Show Offers Glimpse into Future of UAVs

Leaked Documents Offer Details of U.S. Military’s Drone Wars

Two years after government contractor Edward Snowden famously leaked secret NSA documents, another release of classified information has occurred. This time, The Intercept — which is staffed by journalists who previously worked with Snowden — has published what it claims is a comprehensive breakdown of the U.S. government’s military drone program. The report, featuring documents provided by another whistleblower, offers details regarding U.S. strategy to kill foreign targets in Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen — and highlights the unintended consequences involved with drone wars. Continue reading Leaked Documents Offer Details of U.S. Military’s Drone Wars

Amazon Proposes Zones for Drones, Ensuring Safe Air Travel

At a conference hosted by NASA, Amazon described a plan that would split U.S. airspace into specific heights for various types of unmanned aerial vehicles. A high-speed transit zone, from 200 to 400 feet above the ground, would be reserved for the kind of delivery drones being developed by Amazon and others. Consumer and industrial drones would be restricted to below 200 feet, and aircraft would fly above 500 feet, with a 100-foot no-fly zone. All drones would be banned from in and around airports. Continue reading Amazon Proposes Zones for Drones, Ensuring Safe Air Travel

Amazon Assures FAA That Prime Air Drones Safe for Deliveries

Amazon recently filed another request with the Federal Aviation Administration in which it advocated for a change in the regulations that are preventing the company from launching its drone-based delivery system called Prime Air. In its most recent proposal, Amazon claims to have addressed some of the safety concerns the FAA has had with drones for commercial usage. Among those claims, Amazon said its drones would rely on sensors and computers to safely travel on their designated routes. Continue reading Amazon Assures FAA That Prime Air Drones Safe for Deliveries

DJI Introduces Two New Phantom Drones Featuring 4K Cameras

DJI recently announced the addition of two new drones to its collection — the Phantom 3 Professional and the Phantom 3 Advanced — both of which are expected to launch in upcoming weeks. Unlike previous models of the Phantom, the Professional and Advanced versions come equipped with a 4K (30fps)/12-megapixel and 1080p (up to 60fps)/12-megapixel camera, respectively. In addition to the cameras, both models have improved Wi-Fi features, an indoor sensor and auto-take off and landing.   Continue reading DJI Introduces Two New Phantom Drones Featuring 4K Cameras

Augmented Reality: 3D Virtual Tech Being Developed for Drones

French company Sysveo is developing software that will enable drones to see and record virtual 3D images in the videos they shoot while in flight. The technology would work so that a drone could be programmed to display the specific blueprints of a building or home for example, against the background of a location such as a neighborhood or city. The project, which is currently in an early stage, is being developed on a patent from France’s CNES space agency and funding from the European Space Agency. Continue reading Augmented Reality: 3D Virtual Tech Being Developed for Drones

FAA Reportedly Has Plans to Adjust Commercial Drone Policy

With a few exceptions, the use of commercial drones in the U.S. remains an illegal practice. Of more than 750 requests, the Federal Aviation Administration has exempted only 48 companies from the nationwide ban. For those exempted, the use of drones is often delayed by a policy that requires companies to receive government approval before using a drone on every new project. This policy may soon cease to exist, as sources report the FAA has planned to waive the policy for some time now. Continue reading FAA Reportedly Has Plans to Adjust Commercial Drone Policy

Perceptiv Labs Launches Subject-Tracking Accessory for Drones

Perceptiv Labs, a startup from Waterloo, Ontario is launching a device for drones called SHIFT that can be used to capture remarkable aerial shots of an intended subject without ever going out of focus. The two-part accessory, available for pre-order now, comes with a processor and vision sensor that can be attached to the DJI Phantom and 3D Robotics Iris drone models. Users can then use their mobile devices to designate what they want to track and where they want to track it. Continue reading Perceptiv Labs Launches Subject-Tracking Accessory for Drones

Solace Power Develops Wireless Solution to Charging Drones

Solace Power, a small Canadian startup, has developed a technology that wirelessly charges unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) while still in flight. The company has a standing partnership with Boeing and recently secured government funding from Industry Canada to help facilitate the technology for military drones. The technology, which could effectively eliminate the need to physically charge a drone while on land, works using energy transmitters that communicate to receivers attached to the UAVs. Continue reading Solace Power Develops Wireless Solution to Charging Drones