Posts tagged "Multirotors Research"

By Victoria Greene – @vickyecommerce

At the beginning of December, it will have been 5 years since Amazon kingpin Jeff Bezos announced plans for Amazon Prime Air. Initially mocked in popular culture, everyone soon realized that it’s precisely the sort of thing Amazon could and would do, and settled back to see where the chips would fall.

Today, the dream has yet to come to fruition — and other companies have followed suit in betting big on drone delivery hardware and systems — yet the smart money remains on Amazon being the big beneficiary of this automated revolution, especially since it has put so much time and money into getting it right.

amazon prime air droneCredits: Amazon Prime Air

However, by the time Amazon’s Prime Air drone fleet goes live (whether in 2019 or much later), it will need to have overcome some major hurdles that currently face all drone delivery systems. What hurdles are those? Let’s go through them.

Legally using airspace

The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) is still in the early stages of figuring out how it’s going to handle approval for drone fleets, and thus far its regulations have focussed on manned personal drones. To this point its limitations have been based on maintaining the privacy of citizens and protecting airspace required for other things (such as planes).

Add Prime Air to the mix and you get a tremendously complex situation. Who will be monitoring the drones, and how? How will Amazon avoid drones getting in the way of planes, particularly in busy urban areas? Presumably there will need to be an overarching cross-system network to keep everything neatly synched, but that will increase the complexity.

And in the event of something going wrong, who will ultimately hold responsibility? How will anyone know for sure? If a Prime Air drone crashes into a drone from a rival shipping company (and self-destructs, apparently), each company might claim the fault must have been with the other. It’s certainly understandable that authorities would want to take a lot of time to figure out how everything is going to work before opening the floodgates.

Public distaste for automated transport

On the topic of responsibility, there remains a lot of antipathy towards automated transport systems and smart technology in general. For better or worse, people like to feel that cars, buses, bikes, planes, trains, and, yes, drones are manually controlled. When something goes wrong, there’s someone to blame — someone to hate (and to sue if needed).

When you take the manual control away — or move it back several levels to a position of limited oversight — you attract pushback. Not only do people not want to entrust shadowy automated systems with important tasks (and even their fates), but they also don’t like the consequences in the world of employment.

Just think about what will happen if Prime Air becomes a roaring success and the drone delivery system becomes an ecommerce staple. Heavy things will still need to be shipped by road, naturally, but that will be cold comfort to the many delivery drivers likely to be pushed elsewhere to work for smaller and cheaper companies that can’t afford or justify drones.

The world of technology may have greatly expanded the business opportunities for entrepreneurial types (with a laptop and an internet connection you can take courses, start a store and sell your small business for a tidy profit), but not everyone wants to learn tech. They want to preserve their careers, and drones will prevent them from doing so. The antipathy will eventually fade, but there will be many bitter pills to swallow first.

Keeping communications secure

Amazon Prime Air will invariably have manual oversight (if only to keep investors happy and placate the public), but secure communication will be essential regardless. The more drones are in the air at any time, the more carefully they will need to be arranged to avoid clashes. But the networking demands go past that.

When you establish a high-profile network of any kind, you inevitably attract attempts to hack it: to shut it down, draw data from it, or alter its protocols somehow. Each drone will need to be able to send and receive data to and from the main Amazon system, so people will no doubt attempt to seize drones and analyze them to find a way to break into it.

Could people find ways to locate drones holding expensive items and reroute them? It’s plausible. Very unlikely, I’d say, since I don’t think Amazon would go live without being very confident in its ability to keep its software secure, but this is certainly an obstacle that will need to be completely overcome before getting anywhere.

Establishing enough fulfilment centers

Drone fleets (using today’s technology, at least) will offer incredible flexibility and convenience at the cost of range. When Prime Air was announced, it was noted that a drone delivery must be within a 10-mile radius of an Amazon fulfilment center, which means that Amazon will need a lot more fulfilment centers if it hopes to ever make Prime Air a default delivery option.

And even if it manages to get that many fulfilment centers set up, how will stock levels be handled? The level of complexity will go through the roof. Might we see complex chains of drone deliveries, with one transporting an item to another fulfilment center to be picked up and carried along by another drone? Or will Amazon simply rely on demand prediction models and keep Prime Air as an occasional delivery method?

I don’t anticipate it replacing next-day (or even same-day) standard delivery, but I can certainly see it becoming a very common option. It won’t happen until Amazon gets the infrastructure in place, though, so let’s see how things proceed.

Amazon Prime Air has a lot of promise, but there are many challenges for it to pass before any of that promise can be fulfilled. Thankfully, once it does pass those challenges, there will be a convenient fulfilment system available to make it happen.

Victoria Greene: Brand Marketing Consultant

Victoria Greene is an ecommerce marketing expert and freelance writer who can’t wait to jump on the drone delivery bandwagon. You can read more of her work at her blog Victoria Ecommerce.

Stay tuned on the Personal Drones Blog for the latest quadcopter and multirotor news!

Thanks to David from DronesBuy.net for sharing this nice story and infographic with us! Make sure you check out his nice original full article at https://www.dronesbuy.net/history-of-drones/ 

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If you’re on this site, you’re already familiar with the incredible drone revolution going on these days.

Personal drones are becoming more and more popular, their prices are coming down, their technology is getting better and simply put, they become more accessible to more people- that’s why you keep hearing about them all over the place.

Personal drones however, have evolved, like much of our cutting edge technology from a more scary past – a military past. The commercial and consumer drone revolution has both an interesting, a curious and even a more terrifying past – the history of drones is, in fact, extremely interesting.

It’s interesting to read and understand how drones technology has come about and how it has matured over the years – incredibly drones have been evolving for more than two centuries. Quite a lot of different technologies had to come together to eventually enable the current version of drones.

The following Infographic from DronesBuy.net fully explains the timeline of the historical evolution of drones as it happened through the ages, from the first ever unmanned hot-air balloon flight, to the current usage of personal and commercial drones.

History of drones infographicHistory of drones infographic

But let me tease your curiosity with a few questions about the history of drones:

  • Did you know that the first unmanned vehicle flight took place in 1782 by the Montgolfier brothers?
  • Did you know that the first historical military use of drones first occurred in 1848 in Austria?
  • Did you know that Tesla (the inventor not the car) played an important part in the evolution of the history of drones?
  • Did you know that the first drone which could take photos was deployed at the end of the 19th century?
  • Did you know that Marilyn Monroe was discovered when working within a military drone facility?
  • Did you know that beyond personal drones, these days synchronised UAVs are being used to create spectacular lighting effects in concerts such as the Superbowl by artists such as Lady Gaga?

Have a look at the infographic above, or click on the image to read the full article about the full history of drones and UAVs.

Press Release

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MicroPilot autopilots have achieved STANAG 4586 compatibility through integration with Lockheed Martin’s unmanned systems software ecosystem.

June 1st, 2017 – Stony Mountain, Canada – Working with Lockheed Martin CDL Systems, MicroPilot Inc. has developed a Vehicle Specific Module (VSM) to communicate with STANAG 4586 compliant ground control station (GCS) software. This will enable MicroPilot customers to utilize Lockheed Martin’s many previously unavailable tools as part of its unmanned systems software ecosystem with over 1.5 million flight hours worldwide.

Micropilot autopilotMicropilot autopilot

STANAG 4586 is a NATO standard interface for Unmanned Control System and UAV interoperability. MicroPilot was able to cooperate with Lockheed Martin CDL Systems to create the VSM to make MicroPilot autopilot’s able to communicate with Lockheed Martin’s mGCS software, which is STANAG 4586 compliant.

“We are pleased that MicroPilot has invested in to STANAG 4586 compatibility and specifically integration with Lockheed Martin CDL Systems.” Says John Molberg, Business Development manager at CDL systems. “We are two proud companies who have been in the unmanned systems market for decades. This investment allows Micropilot customers access to our unmanned systems software ecosystem. Users can utilize our STANAG 4586 enabled software, such as our mobile Ground Control Station, optimized for controlling multiple disparate small UAS systems for military, civil and commercial uses. Further, these users are now immediately compatible with our Hydra Fusion Tools companion software which creates a complete spatial picture of a drone’s operational environment, including the ability to create real-time 3D maps.”

MicroPilot customers now have more options and utilities than ever to get the most out of their MicroPilot autopilots and the STANAG 4586 compatibility provides opportunities and attractive options for new customers as well.

About MicroPilot

Started in 1994, with 1000 clients in over 85 countries, MicroPilot is the world leader in professional autopilots for UAVs and MAVs. MicroPilot is an ISO 9001 autopilot manufacturer to bring to market an ISO 9001 sub 30 gram autopilot, triple redundant autopilot, and full-function general purpose autopilot. MicroPilot offers a family of lightweight UAV autopilots that can fly fixed-wing, transitional, helicopter, and multirotor UAVs. MicroPilot also provides complementary products such as the XTENDERmp SDK, and trueHWIL2.

A drone developed by the Dario Floreano’s team in the Laboratory of Intelligent systems in the EPLF (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) in Switzerland is geared toward flying more like a bird than like small helicopters, as most available multirotors currently do.

This should allow a much greater tolerance to challenging environmental flight conditions.

For more information check full story on the EPFL website here and the video below.

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Stay tuned on the Personal Drones Blog for the latest quadcopter and multirotor news!