Your Next Pilot Could Be Drone Software

By Jeremy Straub, North Dakota State University | April 18, 2018 1:56 pm

(Credit: Shutterstock)

Would you get on a plane that didn’t have a human pilot in the cockpit? Half of air travelers surveyed in 2017 said they would not, even if the ticket was cheaper. Modern pilots do such a good job that almost any air accident is big news, such as the Southwest engine disintegration on Tuesday.

But stories of pilot drunkenness, rants, fights and distraction, however rare, are reminders that pilots are only human. Not every plane can be flown by a disaster-averting pilot, like Southwest Capt. Tammie Jo Shults or Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger. But software could change that, equipping every plane with an extremely experienced guidance system that is always learning more. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, Top Posts
MORE ABOUT: drones, transportation

The Fantastic Bionic Flying Fox

By Lauren Sigfusson | April 2, 2018 2:17 pm

Let’s just hope this robot flying fox be used for good … (Credit: Festo)

Flying foxes — also known as fruit bats — have an elastic membrane that stretches from their fingers (they also have thumbs) to their toes, making them incredibly aerodynamic and agile while flying. For the engineers at Festo, a German automation company, bats are the perfect specimen for bioinspired drones. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, Top Posts
MORE ABOUT: animals, robots

Future Cities Could Be Designed for Drone Delivery

By Lauren Sigfusson | March 23, 2018 2:09 pm

These could be the delivery drones of the future. (Credit: YouTube/Denzeen)

When you think of drone delivery, what comes to mind? Pizzas falling from the sky, crowded skies or maybe you just don’t think it’ll ever happen? No matter the case, a new video shows what a future with delivery drones might look like.

PriestmanGoode, an industrial design agency based in London, released the trailer for “Elevation” — a film of a drone delivery concept — at the GREAT Festival of Innovation in Hong Kong earlier this week. The delivery system, called Dragonfly, is  seamlessly integrated into the cities of the future and serves as the main method of delivery. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, Top Posts

Drones Get Grabby With an Origami Arm

By Lauren Sigfusson | March 14, 2018 4:08 pm

(Credit: Kim et al., Sci. Robot. 3, eaar2915 (2018))

We all know drones offer unique views from above, but give ‘em a hand and they can do a whole lot more. With a functioning arm they could better enter tight areas or lend a hand in gathering samples.

Taking inspiration from origami, a team of researchers from Seoul National University in Korea created a deployable arm that easily attaches to a drone and unfurls when needed. In the past, origami-inspired designs were limited because they aren’t exactly structurally sound. Researchers, however, found a way to make arms both fold-able and stiff. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Top Posts, Uncategorized

Drones Aid in Penguin Mega-Colony Discovery

By Lauren Sigfusson | March 6, 2018 3:18 pm

Some Adélie penguin communities are holding strong despite a trend of decline. (Credit: Louisiana State University, Courtesy Michael Polito)

What’s black, white and always dressed to impress? A penguin! And scientists, with the help of drones and poop stains, recently discovered a mega-colony of these dapper animals.

The Adélie penguin population in the Antarctic continues to decline, particularly on the west side of the Antarctic Peninsula, which some studies link to climate change. However, little is known about the population residing on the east side of the continent. After analyzing old satellite images, researchers saw signs of penguin guano that suggested there may be more penguins in the area than initially thought.
Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, Top Posts

A Drone Crashed into Apple Park … Oops

By Lauren Sigfusson | February 22, 2018 3:47 pm
drone- crash-apple-park-dji-phantom-video

Upside down, on top of a solar roof is not how you want a drone flight to end. Not at all. (Credit: Matthew Roberts/YouTube)

It turns out more than just Apple employees are crashing into the Apple campus. (Seriously, they’re running into its glass walls)

A drone pilot recently crashed a drone at Apple Park — Apple’s spaceship-like headquarters in Cupertino, California. Unfortunately, the pilot didn’t know where the precious drone crash-landed, so he recruited a fellow drone operator to help. Matthew Roberts, known for his drone videos documenting the development of Apple Park, and his DJI Phantom 4 Pro came to the rescue. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, Top Posts
MORE ABOUT: drone, drone videos, gadgets

Drones Are a Greener Way to Receive Packages

By Lauren Sigfusson | February 13, 2018 3:53 pm
(Credit: Shutterstock)

Compared to delivery methods (conventional aircraft, rail and truck), delivery drones like this illustrated one could actually benefit the environment.  (Credit: Shutterstock)

One annoyance of ordering items from the internet is waiting for delivery. That’s why many companies are set on making sure you get your items as quickly as possible — like Amazon Prime’s free two-day shipping.

But shipping, especially fast, comes at an environmental cost. Previous studies have shown that moving goods by conventional aircraft is four times more carbon-intensive than by truck, which is 10 times more carbon-intensive than rail. Since many companies including Amazon, UPS, Boeing and Flirtey are working toward adding drones to speed up the delivery process and greenhouse gases are releasing into Earth’s atmosphere at an alarming rate, it’s important to look at the potential environmental footprint of delivery drones.  Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, Top Posts

How Americans Really Feel About Drones

By Lauren Sigfusson | February 13, 2018 2:07 pm

(Credit: Shutterstock)

If you’re a fan of drone technology or a drone pilot yourself, it’s easy to think the tech is mainstream. It’s not.

And it turns out drone owners are just a small sliver of Americans — just 8 percent own a flying drone, according to a December 2017 study from Pew Research Center. Even though many people don’t own drones, almost 60 percent have seen someone operating one.

As of January, more than 1 million people have registered as drone owners with the FAA. That includes both hobbyist and commercial drone owners. The mandatory registration was initially instituted in 2015 but was found illegal in 2017 — it was reinstated in December 2017.  Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, Top Posts
MORE ABOUT: drones, gadets, robots

Airbus’ Self-Flying Taxi Drone Takes First Flight

By Lauren Sigfusson | February 2, 2018 2:28 pm

(Credit: Airbus)

Airbus first announced its plans to create a self-flying taxi service in 2016. On Jan. 31, after two years of planning and building, it proved it isn’t just a pipedream — the Vahana successfully completed its first flight test.

The full-scale aircraft flew fully autonomously for 53 seconds at an altitude of 16 feet (gotta start somewhere) at its testing grounds in Pendleton, Oregon. It conducted another flight the following day, which seems to have gone well, too. The FAA was in attendance of the flight tests. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Top Posts, Uncategorized

Robots to the Rescue: Saving Lives with Unmanned Vehicles

By Alex Ramirez-Serrano, University of Calgary | January 25, 2018 12:23 pm

A Westpac Little Ripper drone helped rescue two teens off the coast of Australia by dropping a flotation device to them.
(Credit: Westpac Little Ripper)

Last week’s sea rescue of Australian swimmers by an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) is just the start of a robotics revolution.

On January 18, an Australian lifeguard piloted a drone over the turbulent ocean off the far north coast of New South Wales to rescue two teens in distress. As thrilling as it was to watch a tiny drone drop a flotation device to the two struggling swimmers, the rescue was relatively easy, using proven robotic technology in an ideal, wide-open environment. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, Top Posts


From studying wildlife to building drones that "think," unmanned vehicles are changing the ways scientists work and the questions they probe. Here at the Drone360 blog, we’re keeping tabs on the exciting ways drones are advancing science every day.

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