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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The forecast for passenger drones is sky high

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EHANG 184 AAV Manned Flight Test by EHANG CEO Mr. Hu Huazhi

A new forecast for passenger drones and the eVTOL aircraft market predicts dramatic growth over the next 10 years.

According to the new market research report from MarketsandMarkets on the “eVTOL Aircraft Market … Global Forecast to 2030”, the eVTOL aircraft market is projected to grow from USD 162 million in 2025 to USD 411 million by 2030, at a CAGR of 20.42% from 2025 to 2030.

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New drone technology promises a 5-minute recharge

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 A FlashBattery-packin’ drone lifts off from the StoreDot charging stationStoreDot

 Most multicopter drones can only fly for about 30 minutes, after which their battery has to be recharged for one to two hours – this limits their practical use. According to Israeli company StoreDot, though, its FlashBattery tech delivers a full charge in just five minutes.

We last heard from StoreDot three years ago. At that time, the startup reportedly used a higher-capacity version of the FlashBattery system to recharge an electric car’s battery pack in five minutes.

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How to hide from a drone – the subtle art of ‘ghosting’ in the age of surveillance

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The federal government has used military-grade border patrol drones like this one to monitor protests in US cities.

Drones of all sizes are being used by environmental advocates to monitor deforestation, by conservationists to track poachers, and by journalists and activists to document large protests.

As a political sociologist who studies social movements and drones, I document a wide range of nonviolent and pro-social drone uses in my new book, “The Good Drone.” I show that these efforts have the potential to democratize surveillance.   But when the Department of Homeland Security redirects large, fixed-wing drones from the U.S.-Mexico border to monitor protests, and when towns experiment with using drones to test people for fevers, it’s time to think about how many eyes are in the sky and how to avoid unwanted aerial surveillance.

One way that’s within reach of nearly everyone is learning how to simply disappear from view.   Crowded skies   Over the past decade there’s been an explosion in the public’s use of drones – everyday people with everyday tech doing interesting things. As drones enter already-crowded airspace, the Federal Aviation Administration is struggling to respond.

The near future is likely to see even more of these devices in the sky, flown by an ever-growing cast of social, political and economic actors.

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The F-16’s replacement won’t have a pilot at all

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Somehow, Skyborg will be an operational weapon system in just three years.

The U.S. Air Force is planning to field an operational combat drone by 2023.

The service says Skyborg will replace older weapon-slinging drones and even early models of the F-16.

Skyborg will be reusable but could be sacrificed in combat if necessary.

The U.S. Air Force plans to have an operational combat drone by 2023. The service plans to build out a family of unmanned aircraft, known as Skyborg, capable of carrying weapons and actively participating in combat. The Air Force’s goal is to build up a large fleet of armed, sort-of disposable jets that don’t need conventional runways to take off and land.

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