US will allow small drones to fly over people and at night in a significant step forward for drone deliveries

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STEP FORWARD FOR DRONE DELIVERIES
  • The Federal Aviation Administration announced its new rules on Monday
  • Drones will now be allowed to fly at night and above people
  • The rules mean that drone delivery for companies is one step closer
  • UPS, Google, Amazon and Walmart are all working on drone deliveries 

Small drones will be allowed to fly over people and at night in the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said on Monday, a significant step toward their use for widespread commercial deliveries.

The FAA said its long-awaited rules for the drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles, will address security concerns by requiring remote identification technology in most cases to enable their identification from the ground.

Previously, small drone operations over people were limited to operations over people who were directly participating in the operation, located under a covered structure, or inside a stationary vehicle – unless operators had obtained a waiver from the FAA.

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DARPA says it’s getting closer to snatching drones out of midair

Kris Holt

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The agency is still working on its Gremlins reusable drone project.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is still developing its Gremlins project, which is apparently getting closer to grabbing drones out of the sky. The agency said it was “inches from success” during its latest round of test flights.

Each of the three X-61A Gremlins Air Vehicles (GAV) flew for more than two hours in the third series of test flights. DARPAmade nine attempts to capture the GAVs using a docking bullet extended from a C-130, but none were successful. The agency said that “relative movement was more dynamic than expected.” The GAVs parachuted safely to the ground.

“All of our systems looked good during the ground tests, but the flight test is where you truly find how things work,” Scott Wierzbanowski, Gremlins program manager at DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office, said in a statement. “We came within inches of connection on each attempt but, ultimately, it just wasn’t close enough to engage the recovery system.”

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The Navy’s underwater drone is the future of submarine warfare

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The Navy could theoretically procure many armed Orcas for the price of a single Virginia.

Here’s What You Need To Remember: The Orca isn’t the first underwater drone under construction, and it certainly won’t be the last.

At a military parade celebrating its 70th anniversary, the People’s Republic of China unveiled, amongst many other exotic weapons, two HSU-001 submarines—the world’s first large diameter autonomous submarines to enter military service.

The unarmed robot submarines visibly had communication masts and sonar aperture suggestive of their intended role as tireless underwater surveillance systems intended to report on the movements of warships and submarines of other navies in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

While the United States may not be the first to operationally drone a Large Diameter Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (LDUUV), it is not far behind with a slightly smaller sub Extra Large UUV. In February 2019, the Navy awarded Boeing a $274.4 million contract to build four (later increased to five) Orca autonomous vehicles, beating out a more elongated and cylindrical design proposed by Lockheed Martin.

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World’s 1st fully autonomous fruit-picking drones are smarter than humans

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Israel-based agricultural drone manufacturer Tevel Aerobotics Technologies Ltd. is completing its third round of funding – a $20 million financing round raising its valuation to a cool $45 million

These orders are meant for autonomous drones developed by Tevel Aerobotics which are equipped with a one-meter long mechanical claw. This mechanical extension can be used to pick fruit or for thinning and pruning tasks in orchards.

Tevel claims to use artificial intelligence capabilities on a ground-based mobile unit that acts as the autonomous brain of the drones. The brain lets them identify fruit types, blemishes, and the level of ripeness.

Even though the global fruit-cultivation is expected to grow, the company expects the number of agricultural workers in the field to reduce, projecting a a potential for $3 billion in annual sales to growers in the U.S. and Europe

The wide range of utility that drones offer is sure to make them a popular instrument in the coming years. As a testimony to this, Israel-based agricultural drone manufacturer Tevel Aerobotics Technologies Ltd. is completing its third round of funding – a $20 million financing round raising its valuation to a cool $45 million.

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Insect-inspired robots that can jump, fly and climb are almost here

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Roboticists who designed these robots, called Tribots, took inspiration from the real-life trap-jaw ant’s locomotion strategies.

Did you envision a giant machine assembling cars, Data from “Star Trek,” C-3PO from “Star Wars” or “The Terminator”? Most of us would probably think of something massive — or at least human size.

But a whole arm of robotics is focusing on bug-size ‘bots (and smaller).

It’s not just the size of tiny insects that are inspiring roboticists; it’s also the many complex tasks and physical feats that comprise the everyday lives of many fleas, flies and other six-legged creatures.

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Amazon Unveils a flying security drone

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A security drone is on the way from Amazon and it has more than few people asking questions about privacy. At the same time, tech enthusiasts seem to be pretty excited about this newest addition to the home surveillance marketplace.

Amazon’s smart home security division Ring has unveiled a new home security drone that will launch into the air and begin recording if it detects a suspected break-in. Dubbed the Always Home Cam, users will be able to access instantaneous streaming video once the drone launches.

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The 5 biggest technology trends in 2021 everyone must get ready for now

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It might seem strange to be making predictions about 2021, when it’s far from certain how the remainder of 2020 is going to play out. No-one foresaw the world-changing events of this year, but one thing is clear: tech has been affected just as much as every other part of our lives.

Another thing that is clear is that today’s most important tech trends will play a big part in helping us cope with and adapt to the many challenges facing us. From the shift to working from home to new rules about how we meet and interact in public spaces, tech trends will be the driving force in managing the change.

In many ways, Covid-19 will act as a catalyst for a whole host of changes that were already on the cards anyway, thanks to our increasingly online and digital lives. Things will just happen more quickly now, with necessity (long acknowledged as the mother of invention) as the driving force. And should it be the case that – as certain US presidents have predicted – Covid-19 “magically disappears” – the changes it has brought about will not, as we will have learned to do a lot of things more efficiently and safely.

Here’s my overview of how the major tech trend that I identified in my most recent book Tech Trends in Practice, are likely to play out during the next year. Some will play their part in helping us to recover “normality” (whatever that means), while some of them will make it easier for us to understand and navigate a changed reality.

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Using drones to disrupt the status quo

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Drone-based digital imagery can be used to better estimate the size of large crowds.

From Standing Rock to Syria, drones are being used to hold the powerful to account. Let’s keep it that way.

The civil rights movement and Moore’s law are colliding to transform politics. On the street, smartphone technology is being used to document social life as never before, putting power into the hands of the public and making eyewitnesses of us all.

This same technology, bolted onto cheap and easy-to-fly drones, is also providing a birds-eye view of politics on the ground. Indeed, a recent explosion in the availability and affordability of drones has driven an uptick in their use in support of social movements. In the years since the first use of a drone to document a protest — a 2011 event organized against Russian president Vladimir Putin — they have been a consistent presence at protests in societies where democracy is under threat.

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Walmart launches on-demand drone delivery pilot. But it might take time before drones deliver your next order

Your future Walmart order might be delivered via drone.

 UPDATED: Days after Walmart announced its first drone pilot Sept. 9, the retail giant announced Monday it was teaming up with Zipline “to launch a first-of-its-kind drone delivery operation in the U.S.” and will test on-demand deliveries of select health and wellness products near Walmart’s headquarters in Arkansas.

The retailer announced the launch of an on-demand drone delivery pilot program with Flytrex, an end-to-end drone delivery company, on Wednesday in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

In a blog post, Tom Ward, Walmart’s senior vice president of customer products, said the pilot focuses on delivering select grocery and household essential items from Walmart stores using Flytrex’s automated drones.

“The drones, which are controlled over the cloud using a smart and easy control dashboard, will help us gain valuable insight into the customer and associate experience – from picking and packing to takeoff and delivery,” Ward said.

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A plane-sized drone just completed China’s first autonomous cargo flight

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China’s largest delivery company completed its first autonomous cargo drone flight

SF Holdings wants plane-size cargo drones to deliver goods to rural areas in China.

Companies around the world are building unmanned civilian aircraft for the freight business

Using small drones to deliver packages straight to your door isn’t a new idea: businesses from Amazon to UPS are already experimenting with the technology. But now the company that owns China’s largest express delivery service is taking the concept further.

SF Holdings said it successfully completed a trial of the country’s first unmanned cargo flight in northwest China last Friday. Unlike some companies that are testing small delivery drones to drop off a single package at nearby locations, SF’s aircraft is said to be capable of flying longer with a payload of up to 1.5 tonnes.

The giant drone is designed to reach a maximum flight distance of 1,200km at a speed of 180km per hour. On Friday, it flew nearly an hour from the mountainous region of Ningxia to Inner Mongolia.

This puts autonomous delivery into a different category from what many other companies have been working on. Amazon revealed last year that its Prime Air drone can fly up to 24km and deliver a package that weighs a little more than 2kg.

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Sky Drone & China Mobile partner to create 5G drone network

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Sky Drone and China Mobile HK have partnered to explore the advantages 5G can have on drone networks by signing a memorandum of understanding earlier this week.

China Mobile HK (CMHK) has already set up up a 5G innovation center that is supporting industries transferring from 4G to 5G as smoothly as possible. The company’s regional laboratory is working with Sky Drones to help with the transfer within the world of drones.

Sky Drones produces 4G/LTE systems that allow drones to always have a connection while in the air. Keeping drones connected while flying long missions is important to ensure the drones stay safe and keep out of the way of other aircraft. The always-connected status of the drone also means data can constantly be sent to the cloud as it’s recorded, allowing for faster turnaround times and removing the chance of the drones going down with the data.

Sky Drones currently has three products, the FPV 3 which is a low latency HD video and control system that uses 4G/LTE networks to always remain connected to the ground station. The Link 3 is a 4K Ultra-HD video transmitter that can be used with any camera that has an HDMI connector with no range limits. Sky Drone also makes a 4G/LTE upgrade kit for the Yuneec H520 drone that turns it into an always-connected drone.

The two companies together have been promoting the use of 5G to government agencies and companies that are using drones autonomously in the following industries:, infrastructure monitoring, surveillance, cargo, and delivery. The Hong Kong government heavily subsidizes 5G developments creating a higher demand for the new tech to be produced and implemented as fast as possible.

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