Sophisticated, easy to fly drones are everywhere these days and like most new technologies, they have the potential for mischievous or malicious applications as well as positive ones. It follows that there's an increasing demand for improved surveillance and countermeasures specifically tailored for this type of aircraft. Billed as the world's first fully integrated system designed to detect, track and disrupt small and large drones, the Anti-UAV Defence System (AUDS) from Blighter Surveillance Systems uses radio beams to freeze drones in midair by interfering with their control channels.
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.
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.
Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), or drones, have quickly gained popularity with the public. And as is so often the case with rapidly advancing technologies, it can be hard for the public to know legally what they can and can't do with the technology – or in the case of drones, where they can and can't fly. To help dispel confusion surrounding drone flights, the US FAA is beta testing its B4UFLY smartphone app, which tells users about any restrictions on unmanned aircraft they might want to fly in a particular area.
In the drone photography world, names like Parrot and DJI (maker of the Phantom
series) are the closest things to a gold standard at the moment.
However, a Latvian startup is promising to deliver a
smartphone-controlled, lightweight carbon fiber drone that improves on
battery life by as much as 40 percent.
The United States boasts some of the most advanced multi-mission combat aircraft in the world, but this can be a liability as well as an asset. True, each aircraft can outperform an entire squadron of a few decades ago, but they're also very expensive, incredibly complex, and not exactly expendable. For these reasons DARPA has launched the Gremlins program, which aims to develop swarms of cheaper, smarter aircraft that can be deployed and collected in midair.
Radio tags have made things easier for environmental scientists tracking animal movements, but they still involve spending a lot of time and money traipsing over land by foot in search of a signal. This is particularly pertinent for Australian National University's (ANU) Debbie Saunders, who has spent years trying to track small, evasive birds. But work is set to become easier for Saunders and her team, who have developed the first radio-tracking drone that locates radio-tagged wildlife in a fraction of the time of previous methods.