Dubai creates its own rain to break heatwave by sending drones to ‘zap’ clouds

The mini-planes ‘shock’ the clouds into releasing their moisture

By Michael Moran

With temperatures soaring to over 120F (49C), Dubai desperately needs rain – and a new initiative from the Brit university is delivering a bigger downpour than expected.

Drones that give clouds ‘electric shocks’ to encourage rainfall are being tested in the skies above Dubai.

The United Arab Emirates [UAE] is one of the world’s driest countries, and with a summer heatwave driving temperatures up as high as 122F (49C) locals are desperate for a few drops of rain.

Average rainfall in the Emirates is just under four inches per year (compared to almost 35” in the UK) and the UAE is only expected to get hotter and drier as climate change takes hold.

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New Algorithm Flies Drones Faster than Human Racing Pilots

To be useful, drones need to be quick. Because of their limited battery life they must complete whatever task they have – searching for survivors on a disaster site, inspecting a building, delivering cargo – in the shortest possible time. And they may have to do it by going through a series of waypoints like windows, rooms, or specific locations to inspect, adopting the best trajectory and the right acceleration or deceleration at each segment.

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Dubai police will use citywide network of drones to respond to crime

An Airobotics drone and its base station

By  David Hambling

Dubai police will be able to respond to an incident anywhere in the United Arab Emirates city within a minute, thanks to a network of pre-positioned drone bases.

The quadcopters, supplied by Israeli company Airobotics, will operate from base stations during the Expo 2020 event starting in October this year, an exhibition said to be the third largest event in the world after the Olympics and the World Cup. The drones will reduce police response time from 4.4 minutes to 1 minute according to a tweet from Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Each base has a sliding roof that allows the drones to enter and exit. The drones can fly pre-programmed patrols, or be dispatched to a specific location, allowing an operator at police headquarters to inspect the scene, or follow a suspicious individual or vehicle and pass data to other police units.

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Nebo Recharge Infrastructure Will Use Drones to Keep Your EVs Rolling Forever

By Cristian Curmei

The future of EVs looks more and more promising. With technology advancing at an alarming rate, it won’t be long until everyone has an EV. However, all this raises on very important question; where is everyone going to charge their vehicles?

This question, ladies and gentlemen, is a very valid one that an array of manufacturers are working on solving. In the meantime, a group of designers from South Korea have gotten together and have created an idea so out there, that it just might work. 

The drone you see here is known as Nebo. However, it’s not just a drone, it’s an entire EV charging network. The way it works is something like refueling an airplane while in flight. These drones are simple fuel (electric charge) carriers that come in and recharge you EV while you’re on the go. No joke. 

Even though this system isn’t one you can utilize today, as it’s still just a project with a paper model and a few renderings, it’s so ingenious and so in line with how things seem to be moving in the EV world, that this or a similar system will most likely exist, at some point.

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Researchers have taught a drone to recognize and hunt down meteorites autonomously

by Nancy Atkinson

Example image of two meteorites deployed during a field test near Walker Lake, Nevada. The meteorites are marked with orange flags. Note the dark shadow of the quadrictoper drone. Credit: Robert Citron et al.

Planetary scientists estimate that each year, about 500 meteorites survive the fiery trip through Earth’s atmosphere and fall to our planet’s surface. Most are quite small, and less than 2% of them are ever recovered. While the majority of rocks from space may not be recoverable due to ending up in oceans or remote, inaccessible areas, other meteorite falls are just not witnessed or known about.

But new technology has upped the number known falls in recent years. Doppler radar has detected meteorite falls, as well as all-sky camera networks specifically on the lookout for meteors. Additionally, increased use of dashcams and security cameras have allowed for more serendipitous sightings and data on fireballs and potential meteorite falls.

A team of researchers is now taking advantage of additional technology advances by testing out drones and machine learning for automated searches for small meteorites. The drones are programmed to fly a grid search pattern in a projected “strewn field” for a recent meteorite fall, taking systematic pictures of the ground over a large survey area. Artificial intelligence is then used to search through the pictures to identify potential meteorites. 

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Manufacturing drone wings with locust wing capabilities

by Bob Yirka

3D printed locust-inspired forewing preparation process from left to right: actual locust forewing, finalized 50 μm PVC reinforced forewing prototype (CF-PETG-1), venation pattern mould, 3D printed forewing exoskeleton, and the measured average profile thickness. Credit: Royal Society Open Science

A team of researchers from the University of Lincoln in the U.S. and Huazhong University of Science and Technology and Guangzhou University, both in China, has developed a way to manufacture drone wings with locust wing properties, allowing drones to glide for long distances. In their paper published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, the group describes how they developed their technique and how well it worked when tested.

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You Must Pass the FAA’s TRUST Test to Legally Fly a Drone in the U.S.

By JARON SCHNEIDER

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has released its TRUST test, a free online training program to certify that pilots understand the rules of drone flight. It is required in order to fly a drone, even recreationally. 

The Recreational UAS Safety Test, otherwise known as TRUST, applies to all pilots. Even those who just operate a drone “for fun or personal enjoyment” must take this test in order to legally fly in the United States. If a drone weighs more than 0.55 pounds, pilots must additionally register it through the FAA’s Drone Zone.

The test is designed to provide education and testing for recreational flyers on important safety and regulatory information. The FAA says that even pilots who fly drones recreationally under the Exception for Recreational Flyers — which includes drone flights for educational purposes — must pass the test before they can legally fly.

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This drone tracks human screams (to save lives)

By I. Bonifacic

A team of researchers from Germany’s Fraunhofer FKIE institute has created a drone that can locate screaming humans. While it sounds like the stuff of dystopian fiction, it’s actually something they set out to create to make it easier for first responders to find survivors following a natural disaster.

“(Drones) can cover a larger area in a shorter period of time than rescuers or trained dogs on the ground,” Macarena Varela, one of the lead engineers on the project, told The Washington Post. “If there’s a collapsed building, it can alert and assist rescuers. It can go places they can’t fly to or get to themselves.”

To create their drone, the researchers first recorded themselves screaming, tapping and producing other sounds that someone in need of help might make. They then used those recordings to train an artificial intelligence algorithm and tweaked the software to filter out ambient sounds like the hum of the drone’s rotors. Outside of software and UAV, the rest of the system isn’t that complicated. The team used the type of microphones you might find on your smartphone, mainly because they wanted to keep the drone light and agile.

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New BAE ‘pseudo satellite’ can remain aloft at 70,000 feet for a year

By Bruce Crumley 

British aeronautic and defense giant BAE Systems has developed a solar-powered, stratosphere-flying drone that can act as a backup option to disabled communications satellites.

Dubbed Phasa-35, the so-called “pseudo satellite” is designed to operate at altitudes of up to 70,000 feet – far above weather systems that could block its solar source of power. The High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) craft will most frequently be used to provide continual high-quality images of terrestrial locations, as well as for monitoring, surveillance, security, and conventional communications services. 

But in the case of disruption or destruction of a satellite, the Phasa-35 can also act as a stand-in to relay information between ground stations or airborne planes – or, in war situations, between troops and remote commanders. 

BAE says the  drone “will provide both military and commercial customers with capabilities that are not currently available from existing air and space platforms.” Using 5G and other communications technologies, it says, the Phasa-35 can also be a far more affordable tool to disaster relief and border protection services than traditional satellite options.

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US Will Try Using Lasers to Send Data From Space to Drones

An MQ-9 Reaper sits on the flightline at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada. STOCKTREK IMAGES VIA GETTY

By PATRICK TUCKER 

In the first experiment of its kind, military researchers will attempt to link drones to satellites via light.

Early next year, the U.S. military’s Space Development Agency will test whether low-earth orbit satellites can communicate with an MQ-9 Reaper drone via optical links, or lasers. 

If the experiment is successful, it will pave the way for a new, less hackable means of communication between drones, jets, and other weapons and commanders and operators from afar. 

“In just a few short days, we’ll be launching several satellites. Two of those are [MQ-9 maker] General Atomics satellites to be able to do the laser conductivity in space,” Derek Tournear, the head of the Space Development Agency, told Defense Oneduring a taping of a segment to air next week during the Defense One Tech Summit. “Then those satellites will also be able to do the laser conductivity down directly to an MQ-9 platform.” 

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India to start drone trials for delivery of food, medicines, vaccines: Check details

DELIVERY OF COVID-19 VACCINES BY DRONES IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN, TRANSPORTING 10,000 VIALS FROM A CENTRAL LOCATION TO PRIMARY HEALTH CENTRES NEARBY

A global drone services provider ANRA Technologies will hold experimental deliveries of medicines in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Technology Ropar and with Swiggy for food deliveries.

India will carry out the first long-range drone flights for delivery of medicines and food in parts of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan and Punjab.

The experimental deliveries will be conducted using long-range drones that can fly upto 20 kilometers, a report in The Economic Times said. This will mark the first time for use of such drones as India permits only drone flights within visual line of sight or 450 metres from the operator.

A global drone services provider ANRA Technologies will hold experimental deliveries of medicines in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Technology Ropar and with Swiggy for food deliveries, the report added.

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