Drones Are Keeping Watch on the Arctic’s Polar Bear Population

By Lauren Sigfusson | October 4, 2017 3:46 pm

That’s the spot! Thanks to drone technology, this polar bear was spotted getting cozy. (Credit: Intel Corporation)

Polar bears’ fortunes are deeply tied to the whims of a changing climate, and as the Arctic continues to warm it’s increasingly important to keep an eye on their populations. But the Arctic’s stark white terrain can make that a difficult task to accomplish.

In the past, helicopters have been used to spot the bears, but those aircraft are both costly and disturbing to the wildlife. However, drones are a low-cost, less invasive alternative. On a recent Arctic mission, drones helped gather data about polar bears that will help researchers get a better idea of how climate change in the region, and around the world, affects wildlife. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, Top Posts

New York’s Drone Superhighway Officially Launches

By Lauren Sigfusson | September 29, 2017 10:54 am
This is what SAFIRE looks like. Here you can see the package delivery routes for two different drones and numerous other data points that are important for pilots. (Credit: Screenshot from livestream)

This real-time 3D visualization includes flight path and numerous other data points that are important for pilots to know. (Credit: Screenshot, U-SAFE livestream)

Showcasing technology that could help usher in the era of commercial drones, the first phase of New York’s 50-mile long drone test corridor took place Thursday at Griffiss International Airport in Rome, New York.

Using NASA-led research, the Unmanned Aircraft System Secure Autonomous Flight Environment (U-SAFE) is a five-year program that will provide the infrastructure and resources to integrate drones into low altitude airspace. Drone detection and sensing company Gryphon Sensors is leading the initiative, with help from the Federal Aviation Administration, NASA, New York State, and Griffiss International Airport. Read More

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

Drones Can Accurately Detect Heartbeats from the Sky

By Lauren Sigfusson | September 28, 2017 1:27 pm

(Credit: Shutterstock)

Drones have the ability to do a lot of good, and recently they’ve been proving useful to rescuers in the United States by helping with hurricane recovery efforts. But what if they could do more than just document damage or survey areas? What if they could actually detect life?

Researchers from the University of South Australia conducted a study published in Biomedical Engineering Online that shows drones can successfully measure heart and respiratory rates from the sky. Aerially detecting vital signs could be huge for recovering people after natural disasters, detecting security threats, and monitoring infants and the elderly. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Top Posts, Uncategorized

Dubai’s Flying Taxi Drone Takes First Public Flight

By Lauren Sigfusson | September 26, 2017 12:41 pm

Duabi’s flying taxi drone, the Volocopter made by Volocopter GmbH, took its first public flight on Monday. Who’s ready to jump in? (Credit: Nikolay Kazakov, Karlsruhe, Volocopter)

Dubai’s flying taxi drone took its first public flight on Monday. The autonomous Volocopter, an 18-rotor electrically powered drone made in Germany, can fit up to two people and includes safety parachutes — just in case.

From testing drones for a taxi service to deploying robocops, Dubai is constantly positioning itself as forward-thinking. Originally the city was testing the Ehang-184 passenger drone for its air-taxi service, but later switched to Volocopter for undisclosed reasons. Other companies working to ferry people around in flying cars include Uber and Airbus. Read More

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

Drones Help Discover Lost City With Ties to Alexander the Great

By Lauren Sigfusson | September 25, 2017 1:26 pm

Morning view over the city Qalatga Darband, a lost city that was recently found with the help of drone technology. (Credit: The British Museum)

With the help of drones, archaeologists discovered a lost city with ties to Alexander the Great, according to the British Museum in London.

Qalatga Darband, an ancient city located in what is now Iraqi Kurdistan, lies along the Darband-I Rania, or a pass at the Zagros Mountains. What’s so significant about this path? Besides being a historic route from Mesopotamia to Iran, Alexander the Great traveled the path more than 2,000 years ago. Read More

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

Drone Pilot Bobs and Weaves Through Moving Freight Train

By R.G. Edmonson | September 22, 2017 2:52 pm

Flying low, through a truss bridge, under a Union Pacific train, and even in a boxcar are just a few of the stunts a drone pilot shows off in a YouTube video while a UP mixed freight is in motion.

The video went live on Sept. 20 and has already received more than 250,000 views as of Friday morning. The recording shows a double-tracked right-of-way bridging a river near a highway. The location appears to be just south of Verdi, Nev., on former Southern Pacific tracks over the Truckee River — also the route of Amtrak’s California Zephyr.

Federal Aviation Administration representatives responded to Trains News Wire‘s request for comment and said that if the pilot were a hobbyist, that person would have to follow local community safety standards such as ones spelled out by the Academy of Model Aeronautics.

“… [T]he relevant part of which says, ‘All pilots shall avoid flying directly over unprotected people, vessels, vehicles or structures and shall avoid endangerment of life and property of others,'” says FAA representative Les Dorr. “A train would qualify as a ‘vehicle.'”

Dorr also cited UP’s drone policy which requires prior written permission from the railroad before a pilot may take off, land on, or fly over UP property. UP’s rules are online. In the video, viewers can see the drone weave between freight cars, come close to the open window of the lead locomotive, fly underneath a hopper car, fly inside a boxcar, and briefly land on top of what appears to be a boxcar roof.

Calls to Union Pacific and the Federal Railroad Administration were not immediately returned.

This post originally appeared in Trains.

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

What, Exactly, Happens When Drone Meets Head?

By Lauren Sigfusson | September 21, 2017 2:27 pm

Watch out dummy, there’s a drone coming at you! (Credit: Virginia Tech)

Thanks to a dummy we now have a better idea of what happens when a drone hits a person’s head.

A study by researchers at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) one of the Federal Aviation Administration’s UAS (unmanned aircraft systems) test sites, suggests that commercial-sized drones can cause a wide range of injuries to people on the ground. Read More

MORE ABOUT: drones, robots

Why Scientists Are Flying Blood Over the Desert

By Lauren Sigfusson | September 19, 2017 11:43 am

That blood flew for three hours inside a climate-controlled container that was attached to a drone. But why would blood even travel that long via drone, anyways? (Credit: Medical Drones, Vimeo)

Drone delivery is sexy. We’ve seen Domino’s pizza and 7-11 Slurpees dropped by drone. And then there are drones delivering something every human needs to live: blood.

Timothy Amukele, a pathologist with Johns Hopkins University, and his team flew a drone for three hours with blood samples as its payload to see if drones offer a viable solution to transport blood over long distances in hot temperatures. It took a little ingenuity, but they once again demonstrated the usefulness of getting airborne cheaply. Read More


This Hybrid Drone Just Set an Unofficial Endurance Record

By Lauren Sigfusson | September 14, 2017 10:00 am

The Skyfront Tailwind is a hybrid powered drone that can be powered by both gasoline and electricity. And it just broke a record ― well, sort of ― for the longest drone flight. (Credit: Skyfront)

What story would you believe: A story about a drone that can fly for 4 hours or 4 minutes? Probably the latter, but this is a story about a hybrid powered drone that can fly for hours.

Whether it’s a researcher using drones to drop bugs onto crops or a hobbyist trying to capture epic aerial photos, drone pilots are often plagued by low flight time. But that’s not a problem with Skyfront’s Tailwind drone, which the company says flew for 4 hours and 34 minutes. That’s right. This drone was in the air for more than four hours. It flew in winds that were between 8 and 10 mph, with gusts up to 15 mph. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Top Posts, Uncategorized
MORE ABOUT: drones, energy, robots

Transformer Drones Are Getting Real

By Lauren Sigfusson | September 12, 2017 10:00 am

(Credit: Marco Dorigo and Nithin Mathews)

In the future, we may have drones that can autonomously change size, shape and function. Basically, Transformers is starting to get real.

Currently, most autonomous robots are stuck with the function and form they were designed for, but scientists are working hard to change that. In a study published Tuesday in Nature Communications, a team led by Nithin Mathews of the Universite Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium showcased its fleet of “mergeable nervous system” (MNS) robots. Basically, their gang of bots not much larger than tennis balls are connected to a central decision-making robot (called the brain), and they can merge and morph it different formations to serve any number of functions. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Top Posts, Uncategorized
MORE ABOUT: drones, robots


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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