CSAIL’s Nick Roy helms Google’s delivery-drone project

Nick Roy

Friends and colleagues were aware, at some level, that Nick Roy, a researcher in MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), had been using his sabbatical to take on some sort of robotics-related role at Google.

But few people knew the full scope of his work until this past week, when Google X — the infamous idea incubator known for Google Glass, self-driving cars, and wireless hot-air balloons — unveiled a video introducing Project Wing, an ambitious delivery-drone initiative that Roy has overseen for the past two years.

At Google X’s secret Mountain View headquarters, Roy, an associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics, led a team of several dozen autonomy experts to determine the technical feasibility of self-flying delivery vehicles.

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Amazon and Google should develop drones overseas

elephant-in-the-roombanksyMore delivery drones, more hype. Amazon currently rules the drone delivery hype space and Google wants to show us they are in the game.

Its all too easy to trot out the line that the FAA is restricting unmanned aircraft development in the United States. To an extent it’s true. Years of hand wringing and posturing, cries of the most advanced drone programs in the world all seem much like the story of the emperor’s new clothes. It still looks very much like 2021 is the real target for widespread civil commercial RPAS integration in the USA. Lets hope I am wrong.

Five test sites have been chosen,  there is no publicly available schedule which to build and test towards. Nearest out there is that of the DHS RAPS (Robotic Aircraft for Public Service)

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Sony to begin developing drones

Officials of Sony say they have begun developing unmanned aerial vehicles commonly known as drones.

Sony holds the leading global market share for sensors that work like human eyes. They are used in digital cameras and other devices.

Sony wants to expand the use of the technology to drones.

Sony is considering drones equipped with these sensors to inspect infrastructure such as aging tunnels and bridges. The drones can also be used to check how agricultural crops are growing.

Analysts say that the economic effect of drones will be over 76 billion dollars in the US alone by 2025.

The new project may help Sony rebuild its finances, as its television business has been in the red for the past 10 years.

In the IT industry, there has been a global move to use drones for commercial purposes.

US-based online retailer Amazon.com announced in December last year a plan to deliver goods using drones.

Facebook in March announced its plan to use drones to beam Internet signals to various parts of the world as a way of expanding connectivity. The firm also began the development of solar-powered drones that can fly for long periods.

Original Article

Is It Time to Buy AeroVironment Stock?

AeroVironment’s Raven small spy drone. Fly! Be free!

Unmanned aerial vehicle maker (and producer of Posicharge fast-charging systems for electric cars) AeroVironment is scheduled to report fiscal Q1 2015 earnings after the market close on Monday, August 25 . With less than a week to go before earnings, investors are wondering: Is it better to buy AeroVironment stock ahead of earnings, or wait for the news to arrive before deciding?

As for me, I choose door number two.

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Navy tests drone landings on aircraft carrier along with manned plane

Navy tests drone landings on aircraft carrier along with manned plane
Credit: U.S. Navy photo taken by Mass Communications Specialist Seaman Apprentice Alex Millar/Released
The Navy has successfully tested the ability of a drone (the The X-47B) to execute takeoff and landings on an aircraft carrier (USS Theodore Roosevelt) along with a manned aircraft (an F/A-18 Hornet fighter plane). The test marks the first time that a drone has flown a mission in conjunction with manned aircraft as part of normal carrier operations.

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Tech companies thriving in San Diego–Tijuana border zone

3D robotics
Grant Lieberman, a flight engineer at 3D Robotics, test-flies the Y6 drone at the company’s engineering facility in San Diego.Eros Hoagland for Al Jazeera America

SAN DIEGO/TIJUANA — Six small gray plastic propellers whirred into action as flight test engineers Brad Golding, 34, and Grant Lieberman, 24, powered up the four-pound Y6 drone for a morning spin. The status lights blinked green, indicating the autopilot was initialized, and the three-armed vehicle lifted into the air and zipped off toward a pallet of shrink-wrapped supply boxes.

Outside the 3D Robotics office in San Diego the air was hot and still, with downtown Tijuana visible across the border with Mexico. It’s there — a 4-mile drone flight away (if the FAA allowed it) — where 3D Robotics has its manufacturing facility, and dozens of 20-something “associates” in blue lab coats, jeans and sneakers were busy printing circuit boards, testing autopilots and assembling 3D’s IRIS drone, sold online for $750.

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Business: Cape Cod drones still up in the air

Top Photo
John Ciluzzi, president of Premier Commercial, prepares to launch his drone in Dennis Port. Ciluzzi has started to use drones to produce aerial photos and video of properties for sale.

A bright white drone, with four arms jutting from its center, whirs to life.

John Ciluzzi, armed with a remote complete with GPS tracker and video screen, navigates the battery-powered drone into the air in an empty parking lot near a property he is marketing via his real estate company, Premier Commercial.

Weighing just a couple of pounds, the device lifts about 20 feet into the air and projects video back to his screen on the ground.

Ciluzzi purchased his drone in June and formed a new venture, Altitude Films, to provide aerial video and film for clients of Premier Commercial.

“I really think it provides a competitive advantage for us,” he said.

But hovering over all real estate agents who consider using the devices are the objections of the Federal Aviation Administration. The government agency states that commercial use of drones is not allowed, including for real estate purposes.

A National Transportation Safety Board administrative judge ruled in March that the FAA did not have authority over small unmanned aircraft.

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Should Obama Take Executive Action on Drone Privacy?

The Associated Press

Obama wants to get moving on drone privacy rules.

President Obama plans to wield his executive authority in a new area: drones. The president is planning to order the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, an arm of the U.S. Commerce Department, to draw up privacy guidelines for commercial drone use. The Federal Aviation Administration is already drafting commercial drone regulations, but experts predict the agency will miss its September 2015 deadline.

It’s unclear when exactly Obama will issue the executive order, but Politico reports that the National Telecommunications and Information Administration plans to bring together consumer groups and companies to outline draft rules. White House spokesman Ned Price told Politico, “We don’t have any details to share at this time, but there is an inter-agency process underway.”

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Drone version of Quadrotor Hoverbike hits Kickstarter

Having revealed its original Hoverbike design back in 2011, Malloy Aeronautics has been hard at work developing its ambitious, science fiction inspired vehicle. The team has made some significant changes in the last few years, moving from a dual rotor to quad rotor design while adding some serious stability credentials in the process. Chris Malloy has now launched a fundraising campaign on Kickstarter where backers are being offered a working 1/3rd scale version of the second generation Hoverbike, while giving the team a helping hand in the development of the eventual, manned vehicle.

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DroneCast introduces advertising by octocopter


The 19-year-old founder of DroneCast, a Philadelphia-based startup company, drew crowds on the Las Vegas Strip Wednesday, flying an octocopter with a 3-by-12-foot banner promoting his company on the first day of a national media and promotional tour.

There’s only one problem.

Federal government officials say what Singh and DroneCast are doing is illegal. In the case of Wednesday’s flights in front of The Mirage volcano, the unmanned aerial vehicle, an 11-pound, $25,000 craft, was being used commercially and not by a hobbyist.

Officials working with Nevada’s fledgling unmanned aerial systems industry say that makes the flight illegal because it’s in FAA-administered airspace.

Singh disagrees.

“I’ve been advised by my legal counsel that there are no laws restricting this use,” he said. “Those are FAA policies and not enforceable law.”

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AeroVironment UAS performing commercial oil field tasks

AeroVironment, a maker of unmanned aerial systems, says its Puma AE aircraft is performing routine commercial services, such as mapping, in Alaska for an oil company under a five-year contract.

Alaska, June 11 (UPI) —An unmanned aerial system is performing routine commercial services in Alaska for BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. for the next five years.

AeroVironment said the contract for mapping and other commercial information services at the Prudhoe Bay oil field is the first such contract in the United States and complies with Federal Aviation Administration regulations.

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Alaska Fire Still Raging Now Monitored by Drone Aircraft Read more at http://guardianlv.com/2014/06/alaska-fire-still-raging-now-monitored-by-drone-aircraft/#gUmXH3w1sQ8MtQ9H.99

The massive wildfire raging on Alaska’s Kenai Penninsula is now being monitored by a drone aircraft called ScanEagle. The unmanned aircraft was launched by catapult on Friday to fly over the area and map fire boundaries and hot spots. It is flying its first mission over an Alaska wildfire in almost five years, after receiving permission from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) last Monday. It was Friday morning before the last approvals and issues with restricted airspace were resolved and the plane allowed to fly.

The ScanEagle can fly at altitudes up to 22,000 feet, and can remain airborne for up to 20 hours. It has a wingspan of 10.2 feet and is 5.1 feet in length. The drone carries two different types of camera: one infrared, which shows the contrast of cool areas and heat areas, and a regular visual camera. The aircraft records a video that is analyzed and given to fire officials to analyze the fire and determine their next actions in fighting it.

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