Drones News - Page 10
With Google's recent acquisition of Titan Aerospace, many have wondered what it would do in our skies - well, now we have somewhat of an idea what the Mountain View-based giant will do. Google has asked the Federal Communications Commission for permission to take to the skies with experimental drones that would provide Internet access to remote areas.
Google wrote to the FCC on Friday, asking it to keep most of the testing details under wraps, but it did write: "Google recently acquired Titan Aerospace, a firm that specializes in developing solar and electric unmanned aerial systems ('UAS') for high altitude, long endurance flights. These systems may eventually be used to provide Internet connections in remote areas or help monitor environmental damage, such as oil spills or deforestation. The STA [Special Temporary Authority] is needed for demonstration and testing of [REDACTED] in a carefully controlled environment".
Starting on October 6, 2014, Google wants to start testing out its drones for 180 days. We should see the site of these tests "in a square east of Albuquerque and south of Santa Fe, New Mexico, centered roughly on the unincorporated community of Stanley", according to consulting engineer Steven Crowley. Google will transmit at frequencies between 910MHz and 927MHz, and from 2.4GHz to 2.414GHz. What will Google be transmitting at those frequencies? No one knows, as this information was redacted from the document, with the company refusing to comment on its application.
Heading to Disney in the future? Don't be surprised if you see drones flying overhead, as the company recently filed multiple patents to use drones in its amusement parks. It seems Disney wants to substitute drone-assisted shows for fireworks or large light shows, providing customers with a new experience.
Disney recently filed three patents for drone use, including a multi-drone projection screen system, possible overhead light displays, and drones attached to puppets or balloons to give them motion capabilities. The drones would be controllable from the ground, but would be pre-programmed and have synchronization to avoid contact with one another while in the air.
Drone use by militaries and governments seem to get the most attention, but there is a booming market for civilians and private sector companies trying to expand their capabilities. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is currently working on commercial drone laws, as more private sector companies want to use small drones for commercial purposes.
The National Park Service banned drones from flying over national markets because of safety issues and noise problems, and it seems a banned drone was crashed into Yellowstone National Park's Grand Prismatic Spring on August 2.
The drone hasn't been recovered and specific damage to the natural spring remains unknown, but will try to determine where the drone crashed. The spring is 300 feet across and up to 160-feet deep, making it the largest in the United States.
"We don't know what damage may have been caused when it entered the hot spring, but we also don't know what kind of damage could be caused by leaving it there or by taking it out," said Amy Bartlett, a U.S. National Park Service official, in a statement to LiveScience.
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will no longer be allowed to fly over U.S. national parks, with concerns of safety and noise complaints. The ban covers all 84 million acres of land the National Park Service manages, so visitors won't be able to fly their drones while visiting parks.
A visitor at the Grand Canyon National Park crashed into the canyon and disrupted park visitors observing a sunset. Later in the month, Zion National Park officials noted an unmanned aircraft frightened bighorn sheep at the park.
"We embrace many activities in national parks because they enhance visitor experiences with the iconic natural, historic and cultural landscapes in our care," said Jonathan Jarvis, National Park Service Director, in a press statement. "however, we have serious concerns about the negative impact that flying unmanned aircraft is having in parks, so we are prohibiting their use until we can determine the most appropriate policy that will protect park resources and provide all visitors with a rich experience."
Back in 2011, the Islamic Republic took down one of the United States' Lockheed Martin Sentinel RQ-170 drones, but between that event and now, Iran has been working on making a copy of the US spy drone, something the country just started showing off.
Iran will be doing some test flights soon, according to officials at the IRGC's Aerospace Exhibition. Iran showcased its reverse-engineered drone next to the original US built on, with the exhibition seeing Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Khamenei, state that the Iranian model sports an advanced system of data collection, video and radar telecommunications.
During a broadcast on Iranian TV, an officer said: "Our engineers succeeded in breaking the drone's secrets and copying them. It will soon take a test flight". When Khamenei looked at the drone, he said: "This drone is very important for reconnaissance missions". The United States used its Sentinel RQ-170 UAV during covert operations in Afghanistan from 2005-2007. It was used as it is one UAV that is hard to detect with long range radar thanks to its special stealth coating - making it visible from a distance of around 40km.
A report is making the rounds that the police in Compton, California carried out a secret experiment in 2013 that involved the use of surveillance drones. The drone aircraft was equipped with a HD video camera and allows operators to zoom in on any point within the municipality. Compton spans about 10-square miles.
The demonstration was conducted by a company called Persistence Surveillance Systems and one of its workers named Ross McNutt says, "We literally watched all of Compton during the times that we were flying, so we could zoom in anywhere within the city of Compton and follow cars and see people."
The drone used can stay in the air for six hours. It produces feeds that are similar to Google Earth where the operators can zoom in on specific areas. The cameras are said to not have the resolution to identify faces.
Technology isn't just helping the NSA track every move you do online, but it is also helping criminals, too. In the UK, criminals are using heat-sensing drones to find weed farms, after which they'll go in and take it all in a heist.
Growing weed is obviously illegal, but you're not exactly going to report that your farm of weed is gone. This leads to violence, with a thug talking to Halesowen News, admitting that his crew steals from, and imposes a tax on their targets because "the people growing [weed] are not gangsters". Local members of Parliament are reportedly not in the know, but Tom Watson, who is the Chair of a Parliamentary group on drones had something to say about the weed-heisting using drones.
He said: "This ... story shows the proliferation of drone technology which can be used for both good and bad".
For weeks now it has appeared that Facebook would be swooping in and buying up drone manufacturer, Titan Aerospace, but today Google has apparently beaten Facebook to the punch and picked up the company itself. While no price has been mentioned on how much the deal cost Google, it does mark the third company of this type that the Mountain View-based company has added to its stables.
"Titan Aerospace and Google share a profound optimism about the potential for technology to improve the world. It's still early days, but atmospheric satellites could help bring internet access to millions of people, and help solve other problems, including disaster relief and environmental damage like deforestation," said a Google spokesperson.
Google says that it will utilize technology from Titan Aerospace, its Project Loon, and Makani Airborne, a wind turbine company it acquired last year, to work on a solution that will bring unbiased, and unfiltered internet to developing and war-torn countries around the world. "Titan Aerospace and Google share a profound optimism about the potential for technology to improve the world," Google said. "It's still early days, but atmospheric satellites could help bring internet access to millions of people, and help solve other problems, including disaster relief and environmental damage like deforestation."
Facebook has devised ways to deliver internet to many parts of the world- using drones, satellites and even lasers. After announcing internet.org last year, Mark Zuckerberg hired a team of scientists for the purpose to improve internet access across the world.
The social networking company hired scientists who worked in organizations such as NASA, the National Optical Astronomy Observatory and Ascenta which developed solar powered drones.
Facebook isn't the only one to provide internet access in remote areas. Google started 'Project Link' in November 2013 which aims to provide fiber network for developing nations. It also announced its project codenamed 'Project Loon' which will use hot air balloons to provide internet access.
During the winter months when it gets cold, it gets much harder to get to the shops and buy your beer... so what step do you take next? You order your beer to be delivered by an unmanned aerial drone, that's what.
Lakemaid, a Minnesota-based brewing company, has done just that - after it saw 60 Minutes' bit on Amazon's same-day delivery system that uses drones. The owners of Lakemaid Brewing Company developed its own unmanned aerial delivery vehicle, which just delivered Lakemaid's popular winter lager to an ice fishing shack near Lake Millie Lacs.
A drone had a 12-pack of Lakemaid's popular Winter Lager strapped to it, where it took off to its delivery point. The video above, was met with divided response, with beer fans wanting to know when their local brewers would adopt the same technology, but was also met with criticism as drones are often used for surveillance by the military.