Drone News

Parrot CEO Henri Seydoux has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to reading the drone industry.  In 2018, Parrot has evolved from a consumer electronics company to a drone solutions provider offering an impressive range of products.

In a late 2015 article in Forbes magazine, Seydoux predicted “a bloody year” for drone manufacturers as prices fell and competition with China’s manufacturing power ramped up.   The following spring, 3DR – until then manufacturing the Solo, a consumer favorite – announced that it would cut jobs and shift focus.  After moving manufacturing from the U.S. to Mexico and then to China, 3DR dropped out of the consumer drone sector to focus on the enterprise market.  Parrot responded to the pricing pressure by carving out a specific pricing niche with the Bebop: small, easy to use, and under $500.

But Parrot had also made strategic investments at the other end of the pricing spectrum.  In 2012, Parrot invested in 2 companies spun out of EPFL, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology: drone mapping company Pix4D and fixed wing drone manufacturers senseFly, makers of the ultra-lightweight and long distance eBee.  With those two companies, Parrot had a stake in the enterprise sector too: the eBee quickly emerged as a major player at the upper end of the commercial drone market, and Pix4D as one of the leading drone mapping and modeling solutions.  Early in 2014, Parrot invested in agricultural drone solution company Airinov: and in 2016, Parrot invested $7.4 million in multispectral sensor company MicaSense.

When Parrot announced in January 0f 2017 that it would reorganize its drone business, a further shift towards the commercial business was clearly in the works, and all of the technology pieces were ready to be put closer together.  Their announcement pointed out that the “commercial drone business (mapping / monitoring, agriculture and inspection) has continued to develop. The range of commercial drones, services and solutions has been rationalized and has continued to be further strengthened.”

The change in direction was fast – and effective.  A few months later, Parrot announced that two of it’s consumer drones were being repurposed for the commercial sector.  The Bebop was sold with a Pix4D solution for professional 3D modeling:  the Disco was equipped with the Sequoia, a miniature multispectral payload for agricultural mapping.  Additional software and licensing changes made them a perfect fit for the pro market.

Now, Parrot has stopped making any of the other consumer electronic products that the company once offered, and it’s totally focused on drones.  With the development of Parrot Business Solutions, senseFly and Parrot are moving closer together – and the combined suite of products offers a fit for every size business and every size budget.

J.T. Célette, Chief Strategy and Product Officer at Parrot Business Solution, says that’s the point.  “The Parrot line of drones are oriented towards small and medium business solutions, while the senseFly drones are for enterprise customers,” says Célette.  “We want to make sure that every customer who needs a drone gets the right drone and the right tools in their hands, at the right price point for their business,” he says.  As the industry evolves, he points out, many companies want to start smaller while they develop a drone program.  “The lower price point allows any company to get in and figure it out,” says Célette.

Beyond offering hardware, those strategic investments along the way have meant that the company is in a strong position to provide an entire enterprise drone package.  “It’s not about the drone, its about the business solution,” says Célette.  “We do drone services, we do drone processing, we do sensors –now we have all of the ecosystem pieces… That’s something that’s really unique about Parrot.”


Tags: business, mapping, drone industry, drone processing



18/09/2018

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On a sticky late-August night in New York, Drake has chosen to share the stage with a non-human entity. As he bounces around the stage during “Elevate,” a cloud of drones illuminates the dark space above him.

Drake is an artist shaped by the internet, one whose latest meme-frenzy of a song, “In My Feelings,” defined the entire summer through dance challenges and memes. It’s not surprising that the artist would incorporate buzzy, high-tech entertainment into his tours. It is shocking that he’s still one of the few stage performers to do so, given the popularity of the aerial devices.

Drone company Verity Studios has been steadily building its live performance profile. Its drones have flown in performances by Cirque du Soleil and Metallica. But the Canadian rapper represents a new high point, says Verity founder Raffaello D’Andrea. “Drake is about as good as we can get.”

Flight conditions for drones are tricky and vary by venue. An outdoor concert has to contend with weather, while an indoor performance has space constraints. Flying over people is a tricky task; one malfunction could send the machine plummeting into a crowd, resulting in bodily injury or worse. In the case of Drake’s concert, they fly solely around the performer, Aubrey himself.

Verity’s job for Drake required 200 autonomous drones that were assembled and shipped in less than 30 days. The company doesn’t tour with the artist, but it provides equipment that his team’s own operators can start and stop during performances. According to D’Andrea, the team made over 40 changes with Drake’s people to finalize the performance.

“Drake wanted the freedom to move around on stage and not worry about being fenced in,” he says. The drones needed to be elevated above him, and they couldn’t land on the stage and block his path. “There isn’t much space between Drake and the audience,” D’Andrea adds. “So we had to land the drones in between Drake and the audience.”

Verity’s drones are only active for a handful of songs, not the entire performance. (Verity provided The Verge with a ticket in order to see the drones perform live alongside Drake.) Their presence is a quiet one, wherein they hover as a little light show around the singer. From a distance, they look a bit like fireflies on a summer night — or perhaps the light flashing from an eager fan’s phone. Close up, it’s hard to tell what formation they’ve taken around the singer. They exit as quietly as they appear, and the show moves on.

On Drake’s current tour, drones — no matter how technologically impressive — are far from the flashiest trick on display. During different parts of the show, the stage transforms into an iPhone scrolling through Drake’s Instagram account, as well as a laser-lit basketball court, and a flying yellow Ferrari briefly hovers above the crowd at one point.


D’Andrea declined to comment on the cost of the drones at Drake’s show, though it’s worth noting its Cirque del Soleil show (in which the drones donned lamps) was roughly half a million. He says Verity hopes to expand its abilities beyond simple light shows. That may include costumes, or even the ability to safely fly around the audience. “I don’t know if drones are the future of entertainment, but I do think robotics and AI has a huge potential in live events,” he says.

“There isn’t really a lot of high tech in live events. We feel there’s a lot of opportunity there.”


Tags: drone, events, UAV, drone photography, light show, drone swarm



18/09/2018

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Drone use in the real estate business is skyrocketing. The aerial perspective drones offer to help real estate agents sell homes as it gives home buyers an even better view of their future purchase. Taking a high-resolution photo with a drone is not hard as even smaller, more inexpensive drones like the DJI Spark take incredible images. Operators must have careful control over their drone to utilize these high-resolution cameras and take photos that make a home stand out. Now, let’s go over 5 tips to take your drone real estate photography to the next level.

1. PREPARE THE LANDSCAPE

No matter what property is being photographed there is always potential objects scattered around the house that will appear distracting in a photo. These include children’s toys, vehicles in the driveway, and construction equipment if a house is still in its final building stages.


Preparation of the landscape should be done before photos are taken to make the house the main focus, not what car the current owner drives. This prep work can make or break the sale of a house and should be done prior to getting your drone up in the air. If you notice something is distracting as you line up the photos, fix it while you can to avoid tedious editing work.


2. ADJUST YOUR SETTINGS

Drones made by companies like DJI have countless settings that deal with the flight of the aircraft and the operation of the camera. Tweaking the photo settings is a must before going on any shoot, here are a few quick tips when switching things in the DJI Go 4 app.


Shoot your photos in RAW, these file sizes are larger but will give you so much more flexibility when you sit down to edit the photos. If your drone’s camera allows it, change the aspect ratio to 3:2 to take photos at their maximum resolution. If not, 4:3 does the trick. Finally, I would suggest using autofocus. Manual focus is just one more thing to worry about when flying a complicated drone and you could end up with soft images that are not in focus.


3. UTILIZE INTELLIGENT FLIGHT MODES

Drones of all kinds come with some sort of autonomous flight modes that change the way the aircraft behaves. Using DJI again as an example, try to use intelligent flight modes and experiment with different things. My go-to flight mode is tripod mode, which can be found on most of the drones DJI currently produces. This slows down the top speed on your drone significantly which helps tremendously with lining up shots. There’s no need to be buzzing around a property at top speed.


4. KEEP YOUR DRONE LOW

A common mistake amongst drone photographers shooting real estate is height. I often times see homes being photographed from high altitudes where the frame is filled with the roof and not the actual house. Taking a photo like this above the property is good to show home buyers what to expect, but all of the other shots should be taken lower to the ground.

5 tips for taking better real estate photos with your drone

The example above is what you shouldn’t do. There is way too much roof showing and not enough of the house itself. This won’t give a potential buyer the correct feel of the home.

5 tips for taking better real estate photos with your drone

This example is much better as the height of the drone is only 20-25 feet high. You’re still able to utilize the drone by shooting from a different vantage point a common DSLR cannot reach, but you are staying low enough to show the house itself, not the roof.


5. CAREFUL EDITING

I always like to think of photography as 50% shooting and 50% editing. When shooting in RAW, there is so much that can be changed to make a dull image look incredible. For my workflow I like to use Adobe Lightroom or Adobe Photoshop, both programs are in a sense the same. Using photo editing software, you can reduce harsh shadows, tweak colors if necessary, and totally change the white balance even after the photo was taken. Here is a before and after of a photo that was taken for one of my clients.

5 tips for taking better real estate photos with your drone

If you are a current or prospective real estate photographer looking to use a drone, following these 5 tips will ensure you take great photos every time. The beauty of photography is that each individual has their own process. 



14/09/2018

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There are many benefits to opting for a drone roof inspection. Below are a few points explaining the advantages of having a drone roof survey –

You can save up to 70% of the cost when you take into account the cost of hiring access equipment such as scaffolding.

Hiring a cherry picker or organising for scaffolding to be erected can take time and organisation. A drone pilot can be on site much quicker without all the need for expensive access equipment.

Expensive roof survey drones are equipped with high-resolution cameras. The cameras take highly detailed photographs and video footage safely from the ground. Roof surveyors on the ground can view the live video footage or images and instruct the drone pilot with directions accordingly.

The CAA approved drone pilots carry out their inspections by adhering to a strict code of conduct. The safe code of conduct minimises the chances of accidental damage to people’s property. Following the safety code of conduct also helps to avoid any accidents with pedestrians passing by.

A roof survey cost in the UK will increase in price if another person is required to assist the drone pilot. In some situations, a second person is needed to operate the drone’s camera.  The drone pilot will be free to concentrate on flying the drone in a safe manner. A second person is sometimes used to watch for road traffic and passing pedestrians. The last thing a drone pilot needs to deal with is pedestrians walking into the take-off and landing zone.


How Much do Drone Roof Surveys Cost?

The cost of a drone roof inspection will depend on the size of the building. A larger structure such as a church or office block will take much longer for a drone roof inspection to complete than it would for a semi-detached house. Our drone roof surveys are carried out using the most up-to-date technology. Using the most up to date technology allows us to carry out roof surveys in a relatively short period of time. Our drone pilots are committed to providing our clients with a detailed & hassle-free roof survey.

Drone roof survey costs cannot be finalised until everything has been taken into account. A drone pilot has to research the surrounding area where the aerial roof inspection is going to take place. The location itself might require a survey to make sure it’s safe enough to carry out a roof inspection. Many business owners and homeowners live close to military bases and airports. The operator of the drone will need to find out if permission is required to fly a drone safely in that airspace.

There is much more involved in carrying out aerial photography than what first meets the eye. All this is taken into consideration when putting together a quote for a drone roof inspection.

Its important to remember it’s not all about the costs when having a roof inspection carried out by a drone operator. You have to think of the savings too, especially if you are the owner of a business. An aerial survey of the roof means no scaffolding is not required. There will be no disruption to the business. The business will be able to operate as usual. Drones are the ideal solution for carrying out regular roof inspections and fault finding in hard to reach places.


Drone Roof Surveys

Why Should I Hire a CAA Registered Drone Pilot to Carry Out a Roof Survey?

Registered drone pilots who carry out roof inspections are governed by strict rules set out by the civil aviation authority (CAA). The civil aviation authority will only approve drone pilots once they have passed all theory and practical tests. Drone operators have to be approved by the CAA to carry out commercial work such as roof surveys. The civil aviation authority has strict guidelines, which need to be adhered to. The rules are there to protect the public by ensuring safe flying and avoid people’s property getting damaged.

It’s imperative that you hire a CAA approved drone operator when having aerial photography or footage taken of your roof. An experienced drone operator will know how to carry out roof surveys safely and without breaking any laws. All registered drone pilots will have public liability insurance in place. Public liability insurance covers themselves and your property from accidental damage.

Drone Roof Inspection

What are the benefits of having a drone roof survey?

High-Resolution Inspection Images

Our drone teams will capture detailed aerial photographs of the roof so you can see the condition of the roof for yourself. A drone survey of a roof will be able to help to identify problems with flat roofs, gutters, pointing, lead flashing, parapets, chimneys and even structural problems.


Access Hard to Reach Areas

A drone can safely inspect buildings and structures that are difficult to gain access to. Some buildings have protruding features or obstructions. These obstructions make traditional methods of gaining access to the roof  more difficult and dangerous. A drone roof survey will significantly reduce the usual costs implicated for a task of this magnitude. Not to mention no lives at risk either.

A church steeple would be a perfect example of a building with a hard to access steeple. It is usually older buildings that have a roof structure which is likely to be higher pitched. These are the types of buildings that are difficult to get access to. The cost for setting up scaffolding to look at the church steeple would be incredibly expensive not to mention time-consuming. A drone is a perfect solution to carry out a roof inspection such as this. In this situation, a drone would provide high-resolution images all within a relatively short period of time.


Cost Effective Aerial Imagery

There are several reasons why the owner of a building or a manager would want high-resolution aerial photographs of their buildings. The images could be used for documenting the current condition of a roof for insurance purposes. Aerial photographs are often used for the development and planning of a property.

Aerial imagery of building provides the owner or manager of a building to better assess the performance of the drainage system on the roof. One of the main factors in the longevity of a roofing system is how quick the roof system drains water away. The less time water is left to ponder on the roof the better. Having high-resolution digital images of a roof can inspect how well the drainage system on the roof is working. Pooling water is a bad sign as it can lead to leaks in the roof.



14/09/2018

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Commercial drones are revolutionizing quarries with faster, more frequent surveying, less costly equipment, and more efficient workflows. Surveying as an irreplaceable part of the aggregates industry, and you need to have accurate, recent data to effectively manage your stockpile volumes, see progress and productivity, and, of course, conform to design. For the last, you want to know as soon as possible if you’re outside of the plan.

Advances in technology have made the drone an affordable tool for worksites. While they may seem like a fancy piece of equipment, drones have become no more unusual than a GPS rover, but just as vital to operations. Unlike traditional professional surveyor equipment, however, you don’t need tons of special training and education to use it.

Depending on where you’re located, you might not need any certification at all—as with Australia, where flying small drones at low altitudes is okay for anyone. In the US, you’d just need to get certified with the FAA.

Survey Your Quarry with Drones

drone survey of a quarry

After you’ve flown your drone and photographed your quarry, that’s where a processing platform like Propeller comes in. Accessed from the browser on your device, the Propeller Platform uses photogrammetry methods and our software to stitch the images together. This involves pinning the images to the ground control positions, and getting powerful machines and data experts to digest all the raw photos, find overlaps and common points in images, and make a 3D reconstruction of the terrain.

Thanks to ground control points (GCPs), like our AeroPoints, and a known coordinate system (local calibration or otherwise), your data is accurate. This means you can measure right off the visual representation on your browser. Know your site’s progress and productivity in a few clicks by reviewing the timeline and checking the 3D site survey against design.

See how much has been extracted and what’s left to do

Using the easy-to-navigate interface takes only minutes to master. We didn’t build this for scientists. We built it for regular people. You can check stockpile volumes in seconds—and then track changes over time through reports or our timeline feature.

Similarly, pit volumes are quick and simple to complete. With additional calculators, you can take the guesswork out of tonnage measurements, and thus the value of your stockyard.

run of mine volume measurement using drone data

While we’ll be talking more in-depth about safety later, it’s important to note that drone surveying enables you to monitor haul roads more closely and access potentially hazardous areas without endangering personnel. With frequent surveys and easy grade checks, you can keep track of performance and change roads for optimal fuel burn and measure heights of safety windrows.

Monitor quarry productivity and quality with drone surveying

A good way to think of drone data analytics is how it improves stockpile management. The ease of surveying with an unmanned autonomous vehicle (UAV) allows for more frequent surveys. Quickly calculating accurate volumes with the Propeller platform increases processing plant management with more consistent grades going into the crusher and overall increased accuracy and safety.

Ensuring you have the correct grade blends going through your crusher is essential to success. Too often, insufficient input grades are only discovered after the fact, when the final resource doesn’t add up with what went in to your processing plant. Instead of backtracking to see what went wrong where, you can use your data in Propeller to monitor your stockpiles before something goes wrong, and see what’s been taken from where.

We know waste dump surveys, too, can be difficult. It’s nearly impossible to send someone out to walk those piles, but with drone surveying you can capture the data you need in hours not days.

Once you’ve got the imagery you need, you send it to Propeller for processing. Twenty-four hours later, your survey is rendered and you can begin measuring stockpile volumes in a few clicks and measuring road grades with an easy-to-understand colorized slope map. To get a better idea of overall progress, just upload your design surface and compare with the 3D survey, right in your browser.

You can also use drone-captured data for elevation surveys of blast areas. Whether you’re flying your whole site regularly or are specifically targeting areas for preblast planning, you can use the 3D survey to accurately calculate levels in just a few clicks. And, if you have any design or linework, overlay that into the model to help with accuracy and quality—and make sure you’re not leaving resources in the ground, a.k.a money on the table.

Pre blast volume measurement in a quarry


Pre blast volume measurement in a quarry

Should your quarry be using any autonomous machines, updating plans of the entire working area with each new drone survey can increase their safety and efficiency. Quarry plans for autonomous machines more frequently refreshed with new data grant greater accuracy.

Collaborate using a single source of truth

Everyone reports to somebody. Collaboration and reporting should be painless, though it’s often anything but. And collaboration challenges—internal and external—span the entire life of any quarry. At each stage, ensuring the right parties have the information to understand a project’s needs and complete their work on time, on budget, and to specification is critical to success. You and your team need to be able to check if estimates are correct, see overall progress, and ensure the right grades are going into your mill throughout the life of the quarry.

Because the Propeller Platform is a browser-based tool, anyone with an internet browser can use it without installing complicated programs. Internal and external collaboration is made easy.

quarry managers collaborate using drone data

It’s simple to let personnel back at the main office see the same information and share measurements and notes with the whole team. Everyone can upload drone survey data from wherever they are. But this is not limited to a single quarry. The Platform itself can give you an overall view of multiple sites, allowing for greater insight into each, while significantly reducing the need for site visits.


Further, it houses everything in the same place: your present and past surveys; your designs and any iterations; your notes; your reports; and, of course, all your files, in the formats you require. This makes access and collaboration, whether with the head office or your internal team, a piece of cake.


However, not every person on your quarry needs, or should, know what’s happening everywhere. Propeller has no limits on the number of view-only users you can share your data with, making it simple and cost effective to give everyone the best collaboration solution available. You can set permissions for different teams or individuals, as you see fit.


Additionally, Propeller has readable, ready-to-go reports in both CSV and PDF that you can pull to send to your boss or your direct reports. These, and the Platform overall, can help mitigate delays due to inclement weather, accidents, bad estimates, and more. With Propeller, you can close the information gap between you and your quarry.

Sample mine report on the Propeller Platform

Use drone data analytics to work and plan with confidence

Measuring and managing your quarry with drone data analytics saves on time and money, and prevents mistakes and rework. As we’ve seen, the Propeller Platform gives you the power to see the status of your quarry in minutes, measure stockpile volumes with a few clicks, ensure the best haul road grades for your machines, and, with rock solid data and a timeline for the life of your site, resolve disputes should they arise.


Further, you can streamline workflows related to safety and inspections, collaboration and planning, and day-to-day operations all from your browser. Cut down on commute time and cost by having a recent visual of your quarry with you wherever you are.



13/09/2018

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InterDrone 2018 took place in Las Vegas this month, and MarketScale was on hand to talk with many industry leaders. One of the top cross-industry drone conferences was again a success, and attendees connected with others in the field and had access to workshops, panels, and special events. Two attendees this year shed some light on an important intersection of industries—drones in agriculture.

Uzayr Siddiqui, Founder, and CEO of DroneEntry, a young startup, explains how his company’s platform connects drone pilots to professional projects. A sort of career social media for drone pilots, DroneEntry aims to fit the right pilot with the right project while serving the needs of both ends of the relationship. The various components on the site’s dashboard allow users to customize information regarding pilot competency, types of drones, and project descriptions. DroneEntry wants to help pilots build a strong portfolio, using industry-standardized metrics to offer a proficiency score. The platform hopes to encourage pilots to seek more training and round out their resume by offering an honest view of where they stand. Their focus is highly agricultural, as farmers are a primary user of drone technology, and it is critical that growers have access to the best pilots for their various needs.

Todd Colten, Chief Aerospace Engineer for Sentera, echoes those notions and discusses these needs. Sentera develops and builds drones and drone parts, and Colten runs the engineering team, which integrates various camera applications for the drone. When it comes to the agricultural space, he explains, pilots need proper training and certification, a thorough understanding of the intricacies of surveying crops, and strong data management expertise. At the junction of drone technology and agriculture is the vital need for reliable data. A pilot must be able to take good photographs that can also be broken into helpful zones with critical information about the details of each section of land. Sentera equips drone cameras used in the agriculture space with an NDVI (normalized difference vegetation index) sensor that sees wavelengths of plant light that gives data about that plant. The sensor measures vegetation health at the cell level. It then assigns values to each pixel and compares those values over time to determine a crops’ health and growth. The data received is used to create individualized software for the grower’s equipment, including robotic tractors, in order to meet the specific needs of that farm.

Companies like these work together at the intersection of agriculture and technology and reflect the need for strong data management and professional proficiency for both to flourish. You can learn more about these companies by visiting the websites for DroneEntry and Sentera today.



13/09/2018

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Yeah, drone shots are cool, but they're so much more than that.

I think we can all unanimously agree that drones have not only made filmmaking more fun but also took cinematography to a new level. Now that this stylish kind of camera work is accessible to just about everyone, shots like aerial overheads and orbits have become a common fixture in films, music videos, and just about any other type of video out there. But adding these shots to your work isn't just about making stuff look cool—they can speak volumes to your audience.

Take a look at this video from Adorama to get a crash course on five of the most essential drone shots being used right now and then continue on to learn more about how you can use each of them to tell more engaging visual stories.

Now that you have a better idea of how to move your camera when flying a drone, I think it's important to also learn why you might want to do it in the first place. Again, making something look cool isn't really a good enough reason for narrative filmmaking; you also need a motivation behind your stylistic choices. So, let's quickly go over a few scenarios in which each of these shots would help you further your stories along.


The Reveal: These shots make excellent establishing shots. So, if you want to reveal the city or town your film takes place, an important location in your film, or even your protagonist, fly your drone over or through an area that obstructs your audience's view of it.

Tilt Reveal: Much like a simple Reveal shot, the tilt reveal adds a little bit of mystery to the scene. Why? Because the camera acts as the eye of the audience, scanning the area looking for something interesting or mysterious to pique its interest.

Top Down: These shots are compelling to look at because they offer a point-of-view that most of us never get to see, and that quality is actually what makes it such a compelling shot narratively, as well. Because that perspective is unfamiliar, these shots can be disorienting to your viewer, forcing them to make sense of what they're looking. They also have an inherent connotation ("God's-eye-view") to power, surveillance, paranoia, fear, and distrust.

The Orbit: An orbit shot makes the world look like it's spinning around a subject, which could be useful if you want to tell your audience that, well, your subject feels like the world is spinning. Use it to communicate negative emotions, like panic, inebriation, or feelings of being lost, as well as positive emotions, like love, euphoria, or even a sudden realization—an "everything is coming together" moment.

Tilt While Tracking: This shot is interesting because its effect on the viewer changes depending on what you choose to focus on. For example, if you tilt down on a man walking, not only is your audience going to think that he is important to the story in some way, but they'll also feel as though things are not what they seem or a bit of distrust. However, if you tilt down on an object, like a statue or a flagpole, it might simply cause a disorienting feeling to prepare for an ominous or topsy-turvy scene.

This is just the beginning. There are so many other important drone shots that are worth exploring. What are some of your favorite drone shots and how have you used them to tell better stories?



07/09/2018

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An underwater drone that can keep watch over the Great Barrier Reef’s health and kill invading species is ready to be put to the test.

Researchers from Queensland University of Technology say their robot reef protector can monitor coral bleaching, water quality, pest species, pollution and sediment buildup.

It has also been trained to detect crown-of-thorns starfish with 99% accuracy and can inject the coral-eating starfish with vinegar or bile salts, both deadly to the invasive predator.

Professor Matthew Dunbabin said RangerBot was not only autonomous but could also stay under water three times longer than a human diver and operate in all weather conditions.

“It’s an impressive piece of technology, [it’s] also deliberately low cost to allow production to be scaled up once the next level of operational testing is completed and all the necessary approvals are in place,” he said on Friday.

Dunbabin said the team hoped to eventually launch the drones up the length of the 2,300-kilometre long reef.

He said the robot was fitted with real-time guidance so it can avoid obstacles by moving in any direction.

Great Barrier Reef Foundation managing director Anna Marsden said the robot could become an extra pair of eyes and hands for frontline staff managing the reef.

“Due to [the reef’s] size and complexity, effective management is a mammoth and expensive task,” she said.

RangerBot is a collaboration between QUT, Google and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.



07/09/2018

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Fascinating drone footage taken above Burning Man shows stunning views of prominent installations at the arts and culture festival as thousands of revelers make their way around the desert by foot and bicycles.

Drone footage taken above the Burning Man festival captures stunning  views of prominent installations and the thousands of revelers


The Burning Man Webcast team captured the fascinating footage on Monday at the festival north of Reno, Nevada


Photos from the drone footage show bikers trek around the desert and aerial views of art installations such as the Burning Man Temple (above)


An estimated 70,000 people are said to be in attendance to the eight-day revelry this year


An aerial view of the Temple is pictured at the festival on Monday in Reno


Bikers make their way around the desert at the Burning Man Festival in Reno on August 27, 2018


An estimated 70,000 people are in attendance to the eight-day revelry - which sees burners don wild costumes and leave their cash at home for a week of all-night parties in the temporary city known as the playa, north of Reno, Nevada.

The festival's webcast team shot drone footage early this week, which aired on the Burning Man Live Stream. 

Photos from the drone footage show bikers trek around the desert and aerial views of art installations such as the Burning Man Temple. 

The festival is scheduled to run through the next Monday with celebrity guests such as the likes of Cara Delevingne and Elon Musk among previous years' attendees. 

Burners shared photos on social media this week from the mega-party, showing off nights with lit up bicycles, DJ sets and skimpy outfits. 

Tickets for the event went on sale for $1,200 in January. The only items sold within the festival are coffee and ice, with attendees expected to bring everything else they may need.  

Thousands of festival-goers were forced to put their Burning Man plans on hold Sunday, as the event was delayed on its first day. 

Revelers waited for hours on the entrance road outside of the festival due to sand storms, potholes and construction.

This year's event has kicked up a significant amount of controversy as law enforcement officials threaten to set up traffic stops on the road to the venue and the #MeToo movement calls the appropriateness of the signature 'Orgy Dome' into question. 



06/09/2018

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Drones have, as with most technologies, a wide spectrum of usefulness. What one uses to pick fruit, another will use to kill a human being. Companies are increasingly looking to drone technology to solve big and small problems but what does the future hold for this helpful and lethal technology?


Kevin Bolen, Principal, Innovation & Enterprise Solutions, KPMG is paid to know such things and spoke recently about the regulation reviews surrounding drones; "Both the US and UK have similar regulations in place around the flying of drones, which restrict commercial applications. Drones must weigh less than 55 lbs, and be flown within line of sight of the pilot, in daylight, below 400 feet and away from restricted airspace (e.g., airports). A pilot can only control one drone at a time. With so many restrictions, the primary utility now is for video streaming/recording; cameras are lightweight, and drones can easily access areas that are costly or unsafe for humans. [Streaming/recording] can prove helpful for inspection of large assets (e.g., oil rigs or bridges) or conducting an inventory of livestock or other materials."


Despite limitations, drone use is increasing and could add to GDP of most countries (2% for the UK alone per PwC research). When asked, Bolen agrees companies will likely rent more drones rather than buy them. In some cases owning will make more economic sense but the key is to think beyond your needs right now and partner with the right people; "As the demand for drones increases, the scale and efficiency of the companies servicing this demand will grow and they will continue to optimize the performance and range of offerings faster than an individual firm could handle on their own." Bolen also believes that specialized licenses will be commonplace for drone operators as with the trucking industry.


Bolen is bullish on the privacy, security and safety angles posed by drones and believes the most significant risk is the over the collection of data (facial, locational ) and believes firms may find themselves in violation of shifting privacy laws without the proper strategy and insights. More exciting use cases for drones will emerge once regulatory issues subside according to Bolen. From replacing cranes to precision metrics during construction, replacing damaged communication infrastructure autonomously (natural disasters, old-age) to lifting hoses for firefighters, drones offer organizations a new era of utility and creative solutions to old problems.


Practically-speaking, starting with drones is easier than other emerging technologies thanks to low price-points and the simple nature of drones - i.e. it's not like implementing Blockchain. Bolen recommends brainstorming a range of data points you wish to have that you don't have access to today and engage a service provider to run a few experiments to see if the drones are indeed able to source the data. From these tests, Bolen argues that ROI is more straightforward to determine than a lot of emerging technologies; "...you can also determine the time and cost to capture the data, the frequency required, as well as the utility of the date itself to gauge the ROI and assess whether a subscription or ownership model is most economical."

The critical thing about drones is often to change your mindset or perspective. "Not all drones fly,"Bolen says; "Hospitals have used drug delivery drones, and autonomous cars are large drones. I think we need to consider an environment where we are interacting and being served by intelligent drones moving goods alongside us on our roads and sidewalks. In the water, you could envision automated refueling stations that will come to you mid-voyage when summoned."



06/09/2018

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