Cool stuff on the open frontier of technology: drones

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub before they merged into Adobe Stock.
Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub before they merged into Adobe Stock.

A few articles I’ve noticed recently on the open frontier of drone technology.

7/7 – Behind the Black – Boston Dynamics – Atlas, The Next Generation – The skill of robots.


Astounding. Amongst many items to notice in the video is the lack of an external power supply

6/08 – The Guardian – World’s first passenger drones cleared for testing in Nevada

A Chinese company will start testing a drone capable of carrying a passenger for 23 minutes up to an altitude of 11,000 feet at a speed of 63 mph. The concept is a drone taxi – input your destination when you get in and the drone does all the work of delivering you where you want to go.

Amongst the long list of hurdles to clear is proving air worthiness to the FAA.

6/24 – Washington Examiner – FAA OKs ‘drone journalism’ starting in August – Article is thin on details, but apparently the FAA has approved news organizations using drones to cover news events. There is some sort of requirement that drone pilots be tested and licensed, but people quoted in the article say the federal restrictions are very minor.

Watch for drones covering all sorts of public events really soon.

7/14 – Popular Mechanics – Small bird-shaped drone crashes in Mogadishu – Check out the photo of the drone which has passing resemblance to a bird. Looks like the ends of the wings are hinged so they might flap in flight.  No indication in the article who was running the drone, but could you make an educated guess what country might have that capacity?

Before long, it will take a careful, focused observation from the ground to distinguish a real bird and a drone.

8/19 – War is Boring at The Week – Enemy drones forms are coming for American troops, Army warns – Cheap, off-the-shelf drones with cameras are now being used by insurgents fighting American troops.

New doctrine manual surveys the threats and starts to discuss countermeasures. Small, inexpensive drones can be used at the tactical level for reconnaissance and possibly even for precise delivery of small explosives.

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