Here Comes the War for Commercial Drone Dominance

Into this universe comes Airbus SE, the European aerospace conglomerate. Airbus is starting a new data company, called Airbus Aerial, to provide an array of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) services, a field the company estimates could increase to more than $120 billion annually as the use of these fleets expands, said Dirk Hoke, CEO of Airbus’s defence and space group. Hoke introduced the new company Wednesday at Xponential.

Source: Here Comes the War for Commercial Drone Dominance – Bloomberg

Wedge-tailed eagles winning war of the skies against drones

Unmanned aerial vehciles become unlikely prey for wedge-tailed eagles in Western Australia’s Goldfields.

Source: Wedge-tailed eagles winning war of the skies against drones

“People couldn’t believe I was able to get such a good photo of an eagle airborne, but I didn’t … another eagle took that photo,” he said.

“I was flying the tailings dam out at St Ives and I was getting attacked by two eagles simultaneously.

MIT Drone Autonomously Avoids Obstacles at 30 MPH

CSAIL says Barry’s software runs 20 times faster than existing obstacle detection software. Operating at 120 frames per second, the open-source software allows the drone to detect objects and map its environment in real time, extracting depth information at 8.3 milliseconds per frame.

Source: Watch: MIT Drone Autonomously Avoids Obstacles at 30 MPH – Robotics Trends

Barry wrote about the system in his paper “Pushbroom Stereo for High-Speed Navigation in Cluttered Environments” (PDF) and says he needs to improve the software so it can work at more than one depth and dense environments.

Point-and-shoot weapon stops drones without destroying them

The tool is a point-and-shoot system, and has a range of some 400 meters. It gains control of the drone, immobilizing it so no remote action can occur. It does so by either disrupting remote control or GPS navigation.

The drone then either lands in the vicinity or flies back to its starting point, and effectively suffers no damage.

Source: Point-and-shoot weapon stops drones without destroying them

The Dream of Delivery Drones Is Alive (And On A Truck)

But there’s hope yet for drone delivery. Cincinnati-based Amp Holdings is currently developing a drone, called Horsefly, that deploys from a compartment in the roof of an electric delivery truck. After each delivery, the aircraft would return to the truck for its next package. It’s strong enough to carry parcels as heavy as 10 pounds (double what Amazon is shooting for), and durable enough to fly through, wind, rain and snow on its appointed rounds.

via The Dream of Delivery Drones Is Alive (And On A Truck) | Popular Science.

I had this idea a couple years ago when Amazon announced this.  Launching from the truck is the most feasible both logistically and technically.  The truck does not need to be connected to the Internet.  All drone coms can be done via a local wifi and perhaps a server in the truck.  This can make the truck driver more efficient and less dangerous as he/she doesn’t have to get out of the truck in traffic.

Drones On Demand

Supposing you can make the whole thing safe, then it might stand a chance. The app could summon a drone using its GPS for location and the internet to communicate with the drone. This means the drone has to have a good internet connection and a satellite link seems like the best option, but the technology for this isn’t easy to get right.

via Drones On Demand.

The DIY drone that tracks your devices just about anywhere

The researchers behind an earlier version of Snoopy that tracked only Wi-Fi signals have already used it to track more than 42,000 unique devices during a single 14-hour experiment in 2012 at the King’s Cross train station in London. They have also unleashed Snoopy in a variety of other environments over the past two years, including at several security conferences. By taking careful notice of the Wi-Fi networks the devices have previously accessed (and continue to search for), the researchers were able to detect likely relationships among users. Four devices that hailed an SSID that the researchers geolocated to a London branch of one of the UK’s largest banks, for instance, were presumed to belong to coworkers of the financial institution.

via Meet Snoopy: The DIY drone that tracks your devices just about anywhere | Ars Technica.

This is why devices should default to wifi being off and only turned on when a user wants to use a public wifi.  Devices with wifi on will try and get an IP address via DHCP from any open wifi or wifi with a well known SSID — which can be spoofed by anyone.  This usually isn’t a problem.  The most they get is the layer 2 MAC address of the device which is unique.  This could be put into a database and used for tracking.

Sometimes devices will spill IP addresses through ARP requests  on networks they think they are still on and this can be problematic.

Renault’s Off-Roader Concept Launches a Drone Out of Its Roof

Forget taco-copters or same-day shipping — drones are the perfect companion for off-roaders. They can scout locations, keep tabs on terrain, and when you’re back on paved roads, give you a heads up about that tool that flipped his pickup on your morning commute. And that’s exactly what the Renault Kwid concept is promising.

The French automaker is looking to get back into the Indian market, where high-riding compact crossovers are the norm, and the Kwid is Renault’s attempt at getting up-and-coming younger buyers into the fold.

via Renault’s Off-Roader Concept Launches a Drone Out of Its Roof | Autopia | Wired.com.

FAA Selects Six Sites for Unmanned Aircraft Research

In selecting the six test site operators, the FAA considered geography, climate, location of ground infrastructure, research needs, airspace use, safety, aviation experience and risk. In totality, these six test applications achieve cross-country geographic and climatic diversity and help the FAA meet its UAS research needs.

via FAA Selects Six Sites for Unmanned Aircraft Research.