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...
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Glaser for RECODE: When President Trump signed an executive order last week requiring two federal regulations to be rescinded for every new one passed, he simultaneously put the brakes on the future of drone delivery in the United States.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...
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:
Commercial Drone Startup, Identified Technologies, Grows Revenue 900% in 2016, Brings in High Profile Staff and Adds New Customers Nationwide
From Seeker: The Pentagon may soon be unleashing a 21st-century version of locusts on its adversaries after officials on Monday said it had successfully tested a swarm of 103 micro-drones.
The important step in the development of new autonomous weapon systems was made possible by improvements in artificial intelligence, holding open the possibility that groups of small robots could act together under human direction.
Military strategists have high hopes for such drone swarms that would be cheap to produce and able to overwhelm opponents' defenses with their great numbers.
The test of the world's largest micro-drone swarm in California in October included 103 Perdix micro-drones measuring around six inches (16 centimeters) launched from three F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets, the Pentagon said in a statement.
"The micro-drones demonstrated advanced swarm behaviors such as collective decision-making, adaptive formation flying and self-healing," it said. Cont'd...
Alan Boyle for GeekWire: If there are any Robin Hoods out there who are thinking about shooting down drones while they’re making deliveries, Amazon has a patented plan to stop you.
The patent, filed in 2014 but published just last week, lays out countermeasures for potential threats ranging from computer hacking to lightning flashes to bows and arrows.
If nothing else, the 33-page application illustrates how many things could possibly go wrong with an autonomous navigation system for unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs.
The “compromise system” that Amazon’s engineers propose relies on an array of sensors to orient the drone based on the sun’s position in the sky, if need be. That’s in case the drone gets confused by, say, lightning or a muzzle flash. Cont'd...
Steve Arar for All About Circuits: Recently, Vijay Kumar’s lab at the University of Pennsylvania in cooperation with researchers from Qualcomm has unveiled a quadrotor which can fly aggressively through a window. You may think that you have seen similar robots before; however, there is a big difference between previously designed robots and this new technology.
Generally, to exhibit challenging maneuvers, a quadrotor depends on an array of cameras mounted on the walls and some external processors. The image captured by the cameras is processed and the outcome is delivered to the robot. The computer can issue precise commands and the only thing that the robot needs to do is to follow the orders. However, the new robot performs both the image capturing and processing onboard.
The quadrotor carries an IMU, a Qualcomm Snapdragon, and Hexagon DSP. With the onboard sensors and processors, the robot is able to perform localization, state estimation, and path planning autonomously. Cont'd...
Glenn McDonald for Seeker: Want to know what drones of the future will look like?
So does David Lentink, editor of Interface Focus, a journal that, as its title suggests, looks at the interface of different scientific disciplines. Each issue zeroes in on a particular intersection of physical sciences and life sciences and invites the world's top scholars to publish their latest work.
The latest issue of Interface Focus brings together biologists and engineers to discuss a topic that's relatively straightforward and, well, pretty empirically cool:
"It's completely focused on how animals fly and how that can help us build flying robots," said Lentink, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Stanford. Can't argue with that.
The new issue features 18 newly published papers on various ways that engineers are borrowing ideas from nature to make the next generation of drones and aerial robots. Several of the papers detail prototype drones that have already been built and tested. Cont'd...
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