The Future Of Drones

August 8, 2012 in Daily Bulletin

We’re watching the beginnings of a revolution in drone technology. Owen Bowcott and Nick Hopkins looked at what its future could be:

  • They could be used in search and rescue missions by going places that humans can’t go such as ash clouds.
  • Currently forest fires aren’t doused at night and are allowed to burn. Drones could continue to fight fires overnight.
  • Drones no bigger than a hummingbird are being equipped with cameras for crowd monitoring purposes.
  • One company produces drones that are disguised as birds which fly around and scare away geese at airports so that they don’t get sucked into engines.
  • Biological drones are being developed as well. This involves implanting electrodes into the brains of birds to control them.
  • A Welsh developmental agency wants a drone that could count sheep.

The full article is much wider in scope and looks at where the drone market currently is, and what’s needed to help it fulfill some of its early potential. The drone revolution could be just as transformative as the computing one, and if you’re interested in finding out the full picture, click here.

Source: The Guardian

Via: Marginal Revolution

Drone Studies: A College Major That Guarantees A $200,000 Salary?

May 10, 2012 in Daily Bulletin

The massive surge in the number of unmanned aerial vehicles has led to the potential of a new major being introduced in the near future: drone studies. Erik German and Robert Johnson highlight:

  • The United States is now training more drone pilots than fighter jet and bomber pilots.
  • There are expected to be an additional 23,000 jobs created in the drone industry in the next 15 years.
  • US airspace has enough room for around 30,000 drones by 2020.
  • Yet people with the qualifications necessary to do the difficult job of building, maintaining, flying, and analyzing the data from drones are rare. This is creating high starting salaries, which anecdotal evidence suggest can be as much as $200,000.

To read more about the universities that are poised to capitalize on this rising trend, why those in the industry hate the word ‘drone’, the amount of money that will be spent on drones world-wide, and why drones aren’t like the Roombas vacuuming your floors, click here and here.

Sources: The Daily, Business Insider

Via: Newmark’s Door

The Tacocopter

April 10, 2012 in Daily Bulletin

Jason Gilbert reports on what Centives believes to be the greatest development in food technology since sliced bread. We present to you the Tacocopter:

  • When you feel the itch for a taco you type in your order into your smartphone, and then send it across along with your GPS location. A kitchen makes the taco fresh, loads it onto an unmanned drone which then delivers the taco straight into your hands.
  • Current FAA regulations regarding the use of unmanned drones for commercial purposes are preventing the business from starting up.
  • Other potential problems include keeping the food warm, avoiding birds, ensuring that the tacocopters aren’t stolen, and that the food gets to the right person.
  • In the future we might see entire restaurants where your food is delivered by unmanned drones rather than waiters.

To read more details about what is, let’s face it, an awesome and brilliant idea please do click here.

Source: Huffington Post

Via: Marginal Revolution

The History of Drones

February 29, 2012 in Daily Bulletin

John Sifton notes that February marked the tenth anniversary of the first targeted killing by an unmanned drone. In a far-reaching article that explores society’s relationship with the unmanned drones, Sifton’s description of their history stands out:

  • During WW1 the navy tried to develop “air torpedoes” – unmanned biplanes filled with TNT that would be catapulted over enemy lines and would vertically drop after a pre-determined distance. The end of WW1 saw the end of the program.
  • In WW2 the Navy launched a program where pilots took off in explosive-laden B52s and then parachuted out of the cockpit, allowing the Navy to remotely control the planes from a separate aircraft so that the B-52s crash landed into select targets. The program was an abject failure.
  • Germany, on the other hand, decided to put its faith in rocket technology. At the end of WW2 a lot of the German scientists that developed rockets for the Nazis came to further develop the same technology for the US Military in exchange for citizenship.
  • This led to the era of cruise missiles. These can be thought of as proto-drones, with certain variants having the capability to be guided mid-flight and even to change targets once launched.
  • However cruise missiles could not linger over a battlefield or deploy multiple weapons. This led to the development of the first wave of drones. The current generation of drones is in operation in countries ranging from Pakistan to Somalia today.

To read the wider article that goes into the bureaucratic infighting that preceded the development of the drones, the role that Osama bin Laden had to play, and the unfortunate naming choices that have contributed to the uncertainty that many Americans feel about the idea of drones click here.

Source: The Nation

Via: The Boston Globe