An App For Drone Insurance

August 24, 2016 in Daily Bulletin

The drone economy is upon us, and even as entrepreneurs come up with new and exciting ways to exploit their capabilities, we can also expect to see the launch of companies that aim to serve drone owners. Arriana McLymore wrote about one such service:

  • Verifly, an app, allows users to purchase short-term drone insurance, for an individual drone flight.
  • The insurance policy will cover damages resulting from any injury liability caused by the drone, and for legal damages as a result of invasion of privacy.
  • The policy can cost as little as $10, and can cover as much as $1 million in damages.
  • The policy cost is determined by the risk factors of the area the user is in – such as the presence of buildings like schools, or expensive housing neighbourhoods.
  • The insurance policy won’t cover any damages done to the drone.
  • It also won’t cover drones that fly indoors, are entered into competitive racing competitions, or those that fly above 400 feet.

Read more over here.

Source: CNBC

Next Up: Drone Ships

December 29, 2013 in Daily Bulletin

Drones continue their relentless march towards world domination – at least on the theoretical level. John McDuling took a look at the role they could play on the oceans:

  • Rolly Royce is looking into building drone ships for cargo shipping.
  • Such ships would be lighter and would have more space for cargo since life support equipment wouldn’t have to be included.
  • The biggest barrier is differing ocean regulations across nations.
  • Unmanned ships would also be vulnerable to pirates – although the ships could carry missile equipped drone aircraft or launch mini sea drones to fight them off.
  • The European Commission is looking into a system where the ship would be unmanned for most of its voyage, and then have a crew board as it came close to docking on shore.

Read more about this possible future here. Read the rest of our series on drones here.

Source: Quartz

The Drone Economy In China

September 4, 2013 in Daily Bulletin

It might be China that drives the rise of the drone economy writes Gwynn Guilford:

  • One company is testing drones that would deliver parcels in China.
  • The drone has a maximum altitude of 100 meters. Unfortunately it can’t carry packages weighing more than around 3 kg.
  • This isn’t China’s first experiment with drones – in July an aerial cake delivery “pie in the sky” service was launched.
  • Drones might be especially important to China as it is struggling with traffic and pollution in major cities.
  • China’s infrastructure is also ill-equipped to handle the rise of e-commerce. Drones that could easily connect the entirety of China would be a big boost.

Check out our series on the economics of drones here. And read more about what’s holding drones back in both China and the United States, and UFO drones over here.

Source: Quartz

Drones In Archaeology

August 29, 2013 in Daily Bulletin

The Guardian wrote about the increasing use of drone aircraft in archaeological endeavours in Peru:

  • It used to take archaeologists years to produce two dimensional maps of archaeological sites. With drones three dimensional maps can be produced in days.
  • Researchers used to strap cameras to small planes for the same purposes but this was expensive and unwieldy.
  • Drones on the other hand can be built for £650 and offer archaeologists fine control. They can take photos anywhere from three meters to 3,000 meters up.
  • Experts are also considering the use of drone blimps for extended functionality.

Read more about the challenges of archaeological research in Peru, why speed is of the essence, and the types of drones that are used over here. Check out our entire series on the future of drones over here.

Source: The Guardian

Via: Marginal Revolution

The End Of Tanks?

July 6, 2013 in Daily Bulletin

Tom de Castella ponders if the era of the battle-tank might be coming to an end:

  • The decline of tanks began in WW2 with the rise of air power. Tanks were sitting ducks for fighter jets.
  • Since then tanks have often seen action – but only in flat areas where there are wide open spaces. In the jungles of Vietnam and the mountains of Afghanistan helicopters have ruled supreme.
  • In fact the British Ministry of Defense even commissioned a paper asking if all its tanks should be replaced with helicopters.
  • Tanks still serve a symbolic value. They were used by China to clamp down on Tiananmen Square protesters and Saddam Hussein liked to use them as a status symbol.
  • And while the use of tanks might be falling in NATO and the west, the number of tanks is increasing in Asia and the Middle East.
  • Future tank battles though are likely to be fought with drone-tanks rather than the one we’re used to seeing.

Read more about the history of the tank, how the defeat of the Axis powers was due, in part, to the decline of the tank, and more over here.

Source: BBC

A Drone (Operator’s) Strike

July 6, 2013 in Daily Bulletin

Drones might be pilot-less aircraft, but they still have human controllers on the ground. The Economist looked at how someday soon we could see those who support drone strikes go…on strike:

  • Despite not actively being in a combat zone the life of a drone pilot is hard – one operator reports having had to work around the clock for five days straight.
  • Not to mention the trauma of laying the groundwork to rain death on other human beings from the sky – the advanced cameras on drones can at times provide a little too much detail into the human lives of the targets.
  • And these aren’t necessarily trained military personnel dealing with these conditions. Civilian pilots are allowed to fly spy planes and maintain the aircraft.
  • Operators used to at least be compensated well for their struggles – salaries started at over $100,000 a year – but due to the sequester and the winding down of America’s wars, wages have fallen.
  • Civilian Drone Operators have thus formed a collective-bargaining organization that promises to stand up for drone-operator rights.

Read more about why there won’t be a military drone operators union, what would cause civilian drone operators to strike, and more over here.

Source: The Economist

Why Drones Aren’t That Important

May 7, 2013 in Daily Bulletin

Centives has done its part to suggest that drones are the future. Konstantin Kakaes thinks that the importance given to drones is overblown:

  • Technology that is used by the military isn’t always useful for civilian purposes. There aren’t, for example, many stealth passenger jets ferrying us across the skies.
  • Drones are expensive. The technology behind it requires huge capital investments, and the pilot on the ground controlling the aircraft still costs money – as does the satellite uplink that allows the pilot to see what’s going on.
  • Small drones would have some commercial uses – if they could stay in the sky for any period of time. Yet most small drones have a flight time of under an hour.
  • We might over-estimate the range of drones because when we see photos and videos we underestimate how large they are (see what the one in the picture above looks like on the ground here). Those large enough to carry fuel to stay in the sky for appreciable periods of time are also the ones that aren’t of much use to most people.
  • In this way drones are like helicopters. Helicopters too were meant to transform the world through the use of ‘helicopter taxi’ services and express helicopter mail. Neither happened – though helicopters are still used for military and specific industry purposes.

Read more about why this means that privacy concerns related to drones are over-blown, what the American Customs and Border Protection inspector general has to say about drones, and the planes the FBI maintains over here.

Source: Slate

The American Navy’s Latest Toy

December 20, 2012 in Daily Bulletin

The American Navy is now testing a drone aircraft, called the X-47B, on an aircraft carrier, writes Sharon Weinberger:

  • Most unmanned aircraft are controlled by humans on the ground, but the X-47B is a fully autonomous drone, able to fly without any human instruction.
  • On the deck of the aircraft carrier the plane is maneuvered by a remote control strapped to somebody’s arm.
  • The drone has a range of 3,200km and sometime in 2014 the Navy will test its aerial re-fuelling capabilities to see if that can be extended further.
  • When normal aircraft takes off from a carrier, the pilot generally salutes the deckhands to indicate that they’re ready for launch. In a nod to this tradition, the X-47B blinks its lights to signal that it is ready.

Read more about the drone, its weapons capabilities, why it might not ever be produced on a mass scale, and more over here.

Source: BBC

The Future Of Police Cars

November 29, 2012 in Daily Bulletin, Signature

Each year the LA Design Challenge asks major automobile companies to predict the future. This year they were asked to suggest what law enforcement might look like in 2025. Some of the ideas that stood out included:

  • General Motors outlined a future where highway patrol uses different, specialized vehicles based on the task at hand. Depending on the objective, the police can choose a vehicle specially designed to either “observe”, “pursue”, or “engage”.
  • Honda saw the police of the future operating out of a vehicle that acted as a command and control center. That vehicle would simply monitor the roads, and then could launch unmanned road-drones that could pursue and pull-over wayward drivers.
  • BMW combined the best of GM’s and Honda’s ideas. It too envisions a future where the police operate out of a single mothership like vehicle with the ability to launch drones. However it envisions the cops being able to launch different types of specialized drones depending upon the situation.
    • In heavy traffic a flying drone can descend upon a suspicious driver, and in other scenarios the police can launch a ground drone to pursue their target.

Read Subaru’s, Honda’s and Mercedes’ speculations about the future of law enforcement over here.

Source: Autoblog

Via: Popular Science

Hunting From The Comfort Of Your Own Home

September 22, 2012 in Daily Bulletin, Signature

Jakob Schiller reported on an idea that made the tacocopter look tame in comparison:

  • In the future you could send out a drone aircraft to go hunting, shoot a wild animal, and then bring it back for dinner.
  • You could control it through a remote control that provides a video feed from a camera on the drone. Or with advanced enough AI, the drone could simply hunt without human direction.
  • While the inventor has no plans to actually manufacture the aircraft, a vibrant DIY drone community might be inspired by the idea and take things into their own hands.

Read more about what the idea tells us about society, and see a mockup of what the drone control interface might look like over here.

Source: Wired