From Singapore, a silent, underwater drone that mimics a manta ray (Drone/Surveillance – 2017-11 – ZDNet)

Domino’s delivers pizza by robot wheels and drones (Drone/Courier – 2017-04 – ZDNet)

UPS using drones (Drone/Courier – 2017-04 – CNN Money)


Drones to be used for high-risk inspections of oil and gas facilities (Drone/Oil & Gas - 2017-12 -

GE Ventures’ Avitas Systems will focus on utilizing robotics and AI for the inspection of oil and gas facilities, which is dangerous for the inspectors, very costly, and time-consuming. Drones can handle the high temperatures, which avoids shutting down production for the inspection.

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The LAPD will be the largest police department to rely on drones (Drone - 2017-10 - Recode)

Drones will be used for aerial searches, recon intense situations, and other tasks where officers would otherwise be at risk. Flights are restricted to SWAT team members in dangerous situations.

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A drone that can switch between flying and rolling could soon be exploring underground mines without the aid of a human pilot (Drone/Mining Exploration - 2017-10 - New Scientist)

In open air, drones navigate autonomously using GPS, which doesn’t penetrate deep underground. So robot spelunkers require human pilots. A Swedish company, Inkonova, is developing an alternative positioning method. Using laser scanners and SLAM, a technology that calculates the distance between the drone and nearby objects, it quickly builds a map of its environment. The firm’s new autonomous drone combines the map with sensor input to position and move itself. When it encounters unusually shaped space, it uses wheels to move along the ground and tilt to fly or roll at an angle.

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Flying Fish: An amphibious drone that travels underwater (Drone/Water - 2017-10 -

A team at Johns Hopkins University created a drone, UAAV – an unmanned aerial-aquatic vehicle, that can travel underwater. The Flying Fish is propelled in the air and under the water by a single motor and propeller. The Flying Fish could fly autonomously at 48 km/h to land in the water, dive in to collect environmental data, then fly back to its base.

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Drone drops packages straight into your hands, with authentication using codes flashed from your phone’s LED (Drone/Courier - 2017-10 - The Verge)

UK/US technology research company, Cambridge Consultants, has unveiled a drone delivery concept that delivers a package directly into someone’s hands, using coded patterns sent via a phone’s LED flash to identify the recipient. DelivAir is ideal for items that are needed instantly or critically. The 3-stage package delivery involves using GPS to locate a person via their smartphone; then switching to optical tracking and a 3D-imaging and ranging system to locate and authenticate the recipient; finally, lowering the package using a stabilizing winch.

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Autonomous robots plant, tend, and harvest entire crop of barley (AI/Autonomous Vehicles - 2017-09 - IEEE Spectrum)

Harper Adams University (UK) researchers have managed to plant, tend, and harvest 1.5 acres of barley using only autonomous vehicles and drones. No human set foot on the field, although remote management was required. Person-free precision farming seems like an increasingly viable way to help keep the world fed.\

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A carbon-fiber cage could crash-proof drone delivery (Drone - 2017-09 - MIT Technology Review)

École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland) researchers have developed a giant carbon-fiber cage that sits around a drone to protect it—and its cargo —by providing “an all-round protective structure that physically separates the propellers from the environment.”

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Switzerland joins Rwanda and Tanzania with a network of drones delivering medical supplies (Drone/Hospital - 2017-09 - Fast Company)

Switzerland will be the first country in the developed world to have permanent drone networks, with drones flying through urban airspace near busy international airports. Permanent drone delivery networks are already in use in Africa, where drones send units of blood for transfusions to remote clinics in Rwanda, and will soon deliver other medical supplies such as antimalarial drugs and emergency vaccines in Tanzania. Matternet, a Silicon Valley-based tech company, designed the drones, along with a cloud system for sending and receiving platforms–and a newly launched system that can autonomously load, launch, and land the drones.

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Marine Corps replaces $30,000 hand-tossed surveillance drone with $615 3D-printed drone (Drone/Surveillance - 2017-09 - Popular Science)

The Marine Corps uses a battle-proven hand-tossed flying robot for local surveillance. Raven can fly at speeds of <50 mph with a range of <6 miles, feeding video back to the operator. It is bulky and costs $30,000. Its potential replacement is a 3D-printed drone, Scout, that uses an open-source flight controller, and open-source software for waypoint navigation. Its only payload right now is a camera. Its current range is <2 miles, with speeds of <50 mph for <20 minutes. Its assembly time is 3 minutes, and it only costs $615.

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Dubai delays licensing autonomous air taxis for 5 years while establishing safety protocols (Drone/Air Taxi - 2017-09 - CTVNews)

Dubai is considering two autonomous air taxi versions. One, the 18-rotor Volocopter, has a maximum flying time of 30 minutes at 50 kph, with a maximum airspeed of 100 kph. Batteries charged in climate-controlled areas near the pads would be swapped in as needed. Dubai will take the next five years to come up with laws and develop safety procedures.

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Swiss company introduces new commuter drone to be launched by 2018 (Drone/Autonomous Vehicles - 2017-09 -

A Swiss company, PassengerDrone, introduced a two-seater, 8-rotor, 3-landing-wheel prototype commuter drone, which can fly at a speed of up to 80 km/h and is operated via a touchscreen. Testing started in May 2017, with launch planned in 2018, at a cost of $15-200,000. Competition is expected from Kitty Hawk and Daimler, and various world universities, including MIT.

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Myanmar is using drones to plant a forest (Drone/Tree Planting - 2017-08 - Fast Company)

For the past 5 years, villagers in the Irrawaddy River delta in Myanmar have manually planted 2.7 million mangrove trees trying to restore an ecosystem that has been disappearing for decades. Drones, from startup BioCarbon Engineering, can plant up to 100,000 trees in a day, leaving the villagers to focus on care for the young trees. The drone technology involves a first pass to map the topography and soil quality, leading to a second pass to plant the best species in the best locations by firing seed pods to penetrate the soil.

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MIT creates drone system that reads RFID tags from tens of metres (Drone/Warehouse - 2017-08 - FutureScope)

MIT engineer and Assistant Professor Fadel Adib leads a research team that has developed an aerial drone system capable of reading RFID tags from tens of metres away and identifying the location of the package within 19 centimetres, by relaying the signals emitted by the reader over larger distances. Rfly could save retailers billions in inventory shrinkage while reducing inventory logging from a multi-day activity for a team of workers to less than one day’s activity.

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Australia is using AI drones to stop shark attacks (Drone/Surveillance - 2017-08 - FutureScope)

Debuting in September after a year of R&D, quad-copters will fly above the greenish-blue water of the Gold Coast, relaying video to image-recognition technology that determines if the footage is of sharks. The drone sounds an alarm and can drop a four-person life raft and communication device to enable swimmers to call for help. Shark-spotting is only about 18% accurate from a helicopter, and 12% from an airplane, while the drones achieve 90% accuracy.

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The world's first fully autonomous drone delivery service launched in Iceland (Drone/Courier - 2017-08 - TechRepublic)

The world’s first fully autonomous drone delivery service launched in Reykjavik, Iceland this week, with online marketplace AHA partnering with drone company Flytrex to deliver food and products on demand across the capital city. Delivery could take up to 25 minutes, while the drones can reduce this to 4 minutes, with a 60% reduction in delivery cost.

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Hybrid gas/electric drones can carry 20 lbs for 100 miles (Drone/Courier - 2017-08 - Science Blog)

MIT initiated development of commercialized hybrid gas-to-electric drones, providing an order-of-magnitude increase in range, payload size, and power over battery-powered counterparts. Available in fall 2017, Top Flight Technologies’ drones can fly for more than 2.5 hours ­— enabling ranges of up to 100 miles — while carrying up to 20 pounds. They’re developing a 100-kilowatt hybrid drone that can lift 100 kilograms for up to three hours.

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Japan's Space Agency released footage From Its resident robot drone in the ISS (Drone - 2017-07 - The Verge)

Japan’s space agency has released photos and videos taken on the International Space Station by its resident 3D-printed drone, which can be remote-controlled from Earth. It looks like a floating ball with luminous blue eyes.

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Vertical takeoff and landing aquatic unmanned aerial vehicle (Drone/Sea-plane - 2017-07 -

A team from the University of Sherbrooke has designed a drone that can take off from water and land, either normally, or by stalling or precision roll. The drone can right-side itself, and its takeoff design is based on that of mallard ducks.

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Vertical take off and landing drone flies up to 6 hours (Drone - 2017-07 -

Wirth Research unveiled a vertical take-off and landing drone with a tilt-rotor, that uses a lightweight hydrogen fuel cells as its primary energy source and delivers six hours of flight time with a payload.

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Amazon’s vision for the future: delivery drone beehives in every city (Drone/Courier - 2017-06 - The Verge)

Amazon has filed a patent application detailing a multi-level building in a city centre with drones being loaded manually and flying to their destinations from high floors. Nois may be reduced by new drone blade design, and drones may have redundant engines.

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Autonomous drones with rotors and wheels (Drone/Search&Rescue - 2017-06 - Engadget)

A team from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) has developed a fleet of autonomous drones that have rotors and wheels, giving them the capability to avoid obstacles on the ground and to go underneath overhead obstructions. The design may also be used for flying cars.

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Teaching teams of drones to work alongside humans and nature (Drone - 2017-06 - The Crunch)

One demo in the Robust Adaptive Systems Lab on the Carnegie Mellon campus involves 15 pocket-sized drones lined up, three by five. They lift off in unison; then split into smaller groups, and explore the boundaries of the cage, before converging again and moving around as one. The batting cage is a motion capture arena, designed to track the quadcopters’ choreographed movement with pinpoint accuracy. Another demo in the arena uses 8 high-powered floor fans to mimic natural wind. The drone slowly adapts to its surroundings.

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Watch a drone playing catch! (Drone - 2017-06 -

Researchers at the Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control at ETH Zurich developed a drone that is able to fly in any orientation, with rotors positioned at different angles. A prototype is shown catching a small ball in a net. The control algorithm is able to generate around 500,000 trajectories/sec, select the smoothest one within 20 milliseconds, and guide the drone from its initial position to catch the ball.

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Drones tested in Queensland, Australia for disaster management and policing (Drone/Disaster Management - 2017-05 - ZDNet)

The Local Government Association of Queensland has announced a live trial of drone technology to be used for disaster management, with drones flying beyond visual line of sight. The drones would survey terrain and bridges in disaster zones in real time, and would drop medical supplies. They are also testing drones in police chases, as drones can be launched from police vehicles within seconds, and at a far lower cost than helicopters.

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Boeing's modular drones can lift anything (Drone/Courier - 2017-05 -

Boeing has developed a universal lift vehicle that can be quickly reconfigured based on the size and the weight of the payload. If the weight of a payload is less, then a single drone is used to transfer the payload. If a payload is heavier, then multiple drones are connected together to build a lift vehicle that can carry the heavy payload. A patent application has been filed.

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Japanese drone deliveries in 2020, Self-driving trucks in 2022 (Drone/Courier - 2017-05 - Reuters)

Japan plans to allow package delivery by drone sometime from 2020 and the commercialization of self-driving trucks by 2022. This move is urgent because its workforce has shrunk dramatically enough to force companies to start scaling back operations. More use of Big Data and AI will be encouraged to help diagnose medical conditions. Regulations will be temporarily eased for some firms, using what is known as a regulatory sandbox, to allow companies to test new technologies right away, free of the burden normally imposed by regulation.

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Disney develops innovative applications of drone technology (Drone/Disney - 2017-04 -

Disney plans to use drones extensively in Disneyland. Disney has developed crazy drone technology that includes creating flying displays using drone pixels, flying projections screens and projectors using drones, even using drones as puppeteers for flying puppet shows. They also have a unique airbag for drones to keep the audience safe from crashing drones.

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Spherical video-touting drones with 360 degree visibility in 2019 (Drone/Aerial Ads - 2017-04 - ZDNet)

NTT Docomo, the Japanese telecommunications giant, has revealed what may be the future of advertising – spherical video-touting drones which ensure you can see ads from every angle. Drones include an external frame and a LED spherical display created through eight strips which curve from top to bottom. The unmanned aerial vehicle is held within the sphere and legs protrude underneath for take-off and landing. The drone is roughly 88cm in diameter and together with the 144 x 136-pixel screen, the UAV only weighs 3.4kg and will be available by 2019.

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NASA designing autonomous drones for Mars exploration (Drone/Mars - 2017-04 - ZDNet)

The next Mars rover in 2020 could be equipped with a UAV to get a bird’s eye view of the planet. Engineers at NASA’s Langley research center are developing a concept for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, a.k.a. drones) for Mars. The project, called Mars Electric Reusable Flyer, takes advantage of the technology that underpins the newest autonomous robots and self-driving vehicles. With 100 times less atmosphere, liftoff will be especially difficult.

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Uber sets 'flying car' launch for 2020 (Drone/Air Taxi - 2017-04 - RelaxNews)

Uber announced partnerships with Dubai and the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolis in Texas to manufacture “vertical takeoff and landing” vehicles, and put networks (dubbed Uber Elevate) in place by 2020 with full-scale operations in Texas by 2023. Manufacturing will involve US-based Bell Helicopter, Brazil’s Embraer, and Slovenia’s Pipistrel.

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18-rotor electric ‘flying taxi’ for 2018 (Drone/Air Taxi - 2017-04 - The Verge)

E-volo, a German aviation startup, has been using ultralight, electrically powered “multicopter” technology for several years. Its Volocopter VC200, an 18-rotor drone-helicopter hybrid, announced its first production model, which seats 2. Its maximum range is 17 miles at 43 mph, and its maximum flight time is 27 mins at an optimal cruising speed of 31 mph. Flying taxi pilot projects will commence in 2018.

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Swiss hospitals use drones to exchange lab samples (Drone/Hospital - 2017-03 - The Verge)

Two hospitals in Lugano have been testing the use of drones to transport laboratory samples. Since mid-March, logistics company Swiss Post has operated more than 70 tests flights and plans a regular service by 2018. It’s the 1st time drones will be used commercially for this purpose in an urban area. The drones are made by American company Matternet, have a load capacity of up to two kilograms, a range of 20 kilometers, and a top speed of 36 kilometers per hour.

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Biomimetic microdrones with flapping wings (Drone/Surveillance - 2017-03 - TechCrunch)

UK biomimetic engineering startup Animal Dynamics is building a microdrone with wings inspired by the flapping flight of a dragonfly. The project started in June 2015 and is being funded with £1.5 million from the UK Ministry of Defence. The company is confident they’ll have a flying prototype of their Skeeter drone by this summer — with the tech potentially deployed in the field by the end of 2018.

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Walmart patent for in-store product retrieval drone (Drone/Walmart - 2017-03 -

Walmart was granted a patent for a system in which drones would shuttle products between different departments inside its stores. The drones would use nets or hooks to grab and carry items or would be loaded manually. They would mostly avoid buzzing above customers’ heads by being routed over shelves. Sensors on the drones would help them avoid obstacles. Several drone landing zones would be created in stores.

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Israel authorizes commercial, fully unmanned drone flights (Drone/Surveillance - 2017-03 - TechCrunch)

A startup based in Petah Tikva, Israel, Airobotics, has scored the right to fly drones autonomously for use in site surveying, security and other industrial applications in Israel. The Civil Aviation Authority of Israel (CAAI) was the first in the world to authorize commercial, fully unmanned drone flights in their nation’s airspace.

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Two cities launch flying taxi service plans for the 2030s (Drone/Air Taxi - 2017-03 - Big Think)

Singapore and Dubai plan to use driverless drone taxis by the 2030s. Singapore is also planning an on-demand bus system to supplement its rail transit. Car ownership is deemed superfluous. 3 prototypes being considered are the Russian Hoversurf Scorpion, the German Volocopter VC200, and, the favorite, Chinese Ehang184.

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Land Rover has created a special Discovery with a roof-mounted drone (Drone/Courier - 2017-03 - The Verge)

Land Rover has created an unusual version of its Discovery, featuring a quadcopter drone that launches from the top of the SUV. The drone can take off and lands while the vehicle is moving. It is designed primarily for search and rescue missions. The Austrian Red Cross is actively deploying the new Land Rover “Project Hero” vehicles, and trialing the drone.

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UPS is testing drones that allow its delivery trucks to be in two places at once (Drone/Courier - 2017-02 - Quartz)

UPS announced today that it has successfully delivered a package in Florida using an autonomous drone that launched from the roof of one of its delivery trucks. The process is: The driver scans a package, puts it in a retractable cage that sits below the drone, and then plugs in a destination on a tablet near the driver’s seat. The roof of the truck then retracts, and the drone flies off to its destination. Once there, it lands, opens its cage, drops off the package, and sets back out to meet the driver as they continue along their route.

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The drone industry could become a $10 billion industry in 10 Years (Drone - 2016-12 - Casey Research)

A review of some of the potential use of drones: Package Delivery, Farming/Agriculture, Filmmaking, Real Estate Appraisals and Sales, Construction, and Monitoring Everything

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Domino’s delivers world’s first ever pizza by drone (Drone/Courier - 2016-11 - CNBC)

Domino’s claimed the world’s first unmanned drone pizza delivery on Nov 16th in New Zealand, delivering two pizzas to a customer at Whangaparaoa, just north of Auckland. Domino’s said that drones were set to become an essential part of pizza deliveries, and is considering trials in Australia, Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Japan, and Germany.

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Google's launching test of prototype drone delivery system (Drone/Courier - 2016-09 - CTVNews)

Google’s Project Wing team has a drone delivery system that will test run multiple flights in Virginia delivering lunches prepared in an on-site food truck by Mexican food chain Chipotle.

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7-Eleven just made the first FAA-approved commercial delivery by drone (Drone/Courier - 2016-07 - The Verge)

Drone startup Flirtey partnered with convenience store chain 7-Eleven to make the first commercial delivery to a private residence in Reno, Nevada on July 11. Flirtey flew an autonomous drone a mile from a 7-Eleven location. The order was packaged into two containers, each flown separately, and lowered to the ground to be retrieved by the homeowners.

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