Drone Use Will Skyrocket By 2021, Government Says

Jonathan Vanian for Fortune: In addition to data about hobbyist-owned drones, the FAA said that it expects roughly 442,000 drones to be used by businesses by 2021 for tasks like taking pictures of farmland or inspecting cell phone towers. That's nearly ten times as many drones than the 42,000 the FAA said businesses used in 2016.

Drone Use Will Skyrocket By 2021, Government Says

Jonathan Vanian for Fortune: In addition to data about hobbyist-owned drones, the FAA said that it expects roughly 442,000 drones to be used by businesses by 2021 for tasks like taking pictures of farmland or inspecting cell phone towers. That's nearly ten times as many drones than the 42,000 the FAA said businesses used in 2016.

Drone Defense Startups Flock to the Rescue

Reuters: Airspace is among some 70 companies working on counter-drone systems as small consumer and commercial drones proliferate. But unlike others, it aims to catch drones instead of disabling them or shooting them down.

Perceptual Robotics, Autonomous wind turbine inspection

SUAS News:  Perceptual Robotics is applying leading edge autonomy concepts to industrial applications.  Currently based in the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, our passion is to bridge the divide between academia and industry.

Perceptual Robotics is applying leading edge autonomy concepts to industrial applications.

Currently based in the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, our passion is to bridge the divide between academia and industry.  Through our Innovate UK project, we will be developing a fully autonomous system for the intelligent, efficient and reliable inspection of wind turbines.  Cont'd...

Crashing Drones Into Test Dummies for Safety

Alan Levin for Bloomberg:  Hank sat impassively on a Virginia Tech athletic field, ready to take it on the chin for the future of drone commerce.

About 30 yards away, an eight-rotor unmanned copter hovered, buzzing like a swarm of bees. The 21-pound drone tilted forward, accelerated sharply and slammed into Hank’s head, smacking the crash-test dummy’s neck backward and embedding shards of shattered propeller in his plastic face.

There is little disagreement that the small- and medium-sized drones flooding the U.S. market can seriously injure or even kill someone. Understanding and minimizing the risk will be key to convincing regulators to expand their permitted uses, clearing the way for plans by Amazon.com Inc. and Alphabet Inc. to have them deliver packages or news outlets such as Time Warner Inc.’s CNN to use them for aerial video.  Cont'd...

DJI Introduces M200 Series Drones Built For Enterprise Solutions

Rugged, Versatile Platform Is Designed For Aerial Inspection And Data Collection

How drones are helping design the solar power plants of the future

Katie Fehrenbacher for The Guardian:  At the edge of a plot of muddy farmland, a few miles down the road from the University of California at Davis, an engineer takes a few quick steps across crop rows and lets go of a three-foot drone. Within seconds, the device – which weighs less than 2lbs and carries a powerful camera – ascends hundreds of feet into the cold, clear, blue sky and begins to snap detailed photos of the ground far below, including a long row of large solar panels mounted on steel poles.

This flight is just a test, demonstrated by Kingsley Chen, the drone fleet coordinator for SunPower at the solar company’s research and development center, which is under construction and about a two-hour drive northeast of the San Francisco Bay Area. The drone will enable SunPower to survey a wide region and help design a solar power farm that can fit more solar panels on a piece of land, more quickly and for lower costs than it previously could.  Con'td...

DroneDeploy Selected by CNH Industrial for Intuitive New Drone System Targeting Ag Customers

North American Distribution Agreement Offers Economical Path for Growers to Act Upon Drone Data Insights

What went seriously wrong with Lily Robotics

Kayla Matthews for VentureBeat:  Lying in general is a bad idea, but lying to your would-be customers is an especially awful thing to do. That’s the lesson allegedly being learned by Lily Robotics, which, at the end of January, was raided by San Francisco police as part of a potential criminal investigation.

Let’s back up. Why is the SFPD raiding the headquarters of a robotics company? It’s been a long, strange road, but let’s go back to the beginning.

In 2016, Lily Robotics took more than 60,000 preorders for an upcoming product — preorders valued at more than $34 million. Naturally, these customers expected the product to be delivered within the specified time frame and to work as depicted in the company’s promotional videos.  Cont'd...

Aeryon and DroneDeploy Partner to Deliver End-to-End Enterprise UAS Solutions

Best-of-breed UAS hardware and software provide single source, integrated solutions for industrial-grade commercial applications.

Trump's freeze on new regulation means that we won't get drone delivery anytime soon

April Glaser for RECODE:  When President Trump signed an executive order last week requiring two federal regulations to be rescinded for every new one passed, he simultaneously put the brakes on the future of drone delivery in the United States.

While many industries see the prospect of less regulation as positive, the nascent drone industry actually needs regulations in order to grow.

The reason drones need regulations is that in 2014, the National Transportation Safety Board classified drones as aircraft, which means drones need to abide by FAA regulations in order to fly. The problem is that many drone regulations don’t yet exist, and the FAA will have a hard time killing existing rules to make room for new ones.

“If regulations for unmanned aircraft are held up or are stripped away, there’s actually no way for drones to access the airspace,” said Gregory McNeal, co-founder of Airmap, a drone mapping company.  Cont'd...

New IDTechEx report reveals much larger drone opportunity

Just when many investors are running for the exit, having burnt their fingers with toy drones and the like, IDTechEx reveals a much bigger picture with considerable potential for the level-headed.

Intel Drones Light Up Lady Gaga Performance During Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI Halftime Show

• Three hundred Intel® Shooting StarTM drones light up the sky over Lady Gaga to kick off the Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI Halftime Show performance. • Following the show, a 10-second Intel ad showcased the drones forming a Pepsi logo that morphed into an Intel logo.

Watch a new robot fly just like a bat

Lindzi Wessel for ScienceMag:  Forget drones. Think bat-bots. Engineers have created a new autonomous flying machine that looks and maneuvers just like a bat.

Weighing only 93 grams, the robot’s agility comes from its complex wings made of lightweight silicone-based membranes stretched over carbon-fiber bones, the researchers report today in Science Robotics. In addition to nine joints in each wing, it sports adjustable legs, which help it steer by deforming the membrane of its tail.   Full Article:

Taking Flight: Consumer Drones Are Nuisances, Not Profits

The global market for drones is already big and it's getting bigger fast as people see what is possible. Firms like The Teal Group estimate it could be a $91B market over the next few years.

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