The Federal Aviation Administration has been vocal on the dangers of drone flight, evidenced by its painstaking approach to drafting new laws, public awareness campaigns and even a smartphone app. But its warnings can only go so far amid a flood of enthusiastic new drone owners itching to get their machines into the sky, so it is turning to technology to help ensure public safety. The agency has teamed up with private firm CACI to test out technology that detects drones and their pilots buzzing around airports, in hope of preventing potential collisions with manned aircraft.
Just as drones have transformed wildlife conservation and illegal fishing patrols, they may soon make a big impression on forest conservation. Unmanned aerial vehicles could replace people in monitoring forest regeneration projects in the tropics, with consequent savings in time and money as well as much-improved data collection.
As is the story throughout much of the protected parklands across Africa, endangered species in Tanzania are under serious threat from poaching. So following in the footsteps of other conservationists across the continent, Tanzania-based Bathawk Recon has field-tested surveillance drones to better protect the local wildlife, with results indicating these eyes in the sky can seriously bolster anti-poaching efforts in the country's nature reserves.
Expansive skies, mind-blowing scenery, a dozen motorcycles to follow and no pesky drone laws to stop us from publishing the video ... Loz spent two weeks in gorgeous Western Mongolia with a Phantom 3 Professional to give it a proper aerial photo and video test – and the results were pretty spectacular.
The crowdfunded drone explosion continues with the FLYBi, a
quadcopter designed to put you in the "cockpit," sort of. It aims to
fulfill the promise of earlier concepts like Oculus FPV that merge virtual reality tech with drones to provide a first-person view of the flight.
Despite the increasing number of companies making and marketing consumer drones, there’s apparently still room for growth and innovation. For example, Axis Drones' Aerius quadcopter is touted as the smallest one ever manufactured. We got some hands-on time with the wee wonder.
As we learned earlier this year, researchers at ETH Zürich's institute for Dynamic Systems and Control are looking at ways in which flying construction robots can be programmed to autonomously build tensile structures. Now it appears they've taken a significant step forward. Literally. The team has demonstrated a rope bridge built by drones that can support the weight of an adult human as they walk across it.
Yep, it's another prosumer quadcopter – ProDrone's Byrd. So, what's so
special about this one? Well, among other things, it combines folding
propeller arms with swappable camera gimbals and a 29-minute flight
Children of the 1970s may recall Kenner's Smash-Up Derby set, in which
two toy cars flew into pieces when they crashed into each other – the
neat thing was, they could then just be snapped back together. Well,
Vantage Robotics' Snap is sort of like the Smash-Up Derby of drones. The
4K camera-packin' quadcopter's main body is attached to the folding
propeller assembly by magnets, allowing it to come off under impact
without incurring any lasting damage.
Last month, DJI released the Phantom 3 Standard drone, which slotted in below the Phantom 3 Advanced and Phantom 3 Professional in the company's lineup. At the time, DJI promised compatibility with a series of intelligent flight modes would be forthcoming in a software update and the company has now delivered on that promise.