A Drone is the colloquial term for a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle), which is an aircraft piloted by remote control or onboard computers. (As such, a drone was the first autonomous device.) Drones are becoming the ‘flying’ companions to robots.

Originally intended for military purposes, drones are now used for wide-ranging applications in commerce, science, recreation, agriculture, policing, peacekeeping, and surveillance. Examples of use include transportation of goods (including home delivery), surveillance of remote or dangerous locations (such as pipelines or disaster management), flying taxis, and aerial photography (think real estate marketing). Domino’s claimed the world’s first drone pizza delivery in November 2016 in New Zealand. Current limitations on the expansion of the use of drones are caused by government regulation, as drones are integrated into air traffic control.



Shelf-scanning robots and drones (Retail – 2019-09 – ZDNet)

Drones help plant the smart seeds for forest recovery (Drone – 2018-11 – ZDNet)

A brief overview of the development of drone technology usage (Drone – 2018-03 – TechRepublic)

Tiny drones replacing bees as pollinators (Drone/Bess – 2018-03 – TechRepublic)

Drone technologies could increase farmers’ productivity by 500 percent (Drone/Farming – 2018-02 – TechRepublic)



Roofing drone nails down shingles (Construction/Roofing - 2019-09 -

Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a pilot version of an autonomous octocopter that attaches asphalt shingles to roofs with a nail gun. This requires positioning the nail gun on a nailing point, placing the nail, and moving to the next point.

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Alphabet’s Wing drones will soon be delivering FedEx and Walgreens packages in Christiansburg, Virginia (Transport/Courier - 2019-09 - Engadget)

Later in 2019, Alphabet’s drone delivery arm Wing will begin delivering goods for FedEx Express, Walgreens and a small retailer in Christiansburg, Virginia. The pilot program is to test the delivery of health care products, and fill last-mile delivery needs.

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Bell's new, self-flying cargo drone hauls a heavy load (Transport/Autonomous Vehicles - 2019-09 - Wired)

Bell Helicopter’s all-electric APT 70 can carry up to 70 pounds, cruise at 75 mph, and cover 35 miles with a fully charged battery.

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You’ll take your first ride in a flying car before 2030 (Transport/Flying Taxis - 2019-08 - Singularity Hub)

The history and future of flying cars! Smartphone components gave rise to autopilot control of drones, and the large drones that are flying cars or taxis. Four current challenges and time lines: Autopilot data (2022), Autonomous flight (2023), Batteries for flight time (2025), Government regulation (2029).

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Volocopter revealed its first commercial autonomous flying taxi (Transport/Flying Taxis - 2019-08 - Engadget)

The German company, Volocopter, revealed its first commercial autonomous flying taxi. The 18-rotor, electric vertical takeoff and landing VoloCity can travel 35 km at 110 km/hr, carrying two passengers and their hand luggage.

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Uber Air flying taxi service to be trialled in Melbourne (Transport/Flying Taxis - 2019-06 - ZDNet)

Melbourne joins Dallas and Los Angeles as pilot cities trialling Uber’s flying taxi service, Uber Air. Test flights start in 2020, with commercial planned for 2023. Uber Air is an “urban aviation ride-sharing product”, which will ease traffic congestion on the ground.

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Amazon' new Prime Air drone may be delivering packages within months (Transport/Courier - 2019-06 - MIT Technology Review)

Amazon’s latest prototype of its Prime Air package delivery drone with improved energy efficiency and safety, will be delivering soon. The goal is to have fully-electric drones that can fly up to 15 miles and deliver packages under five pounds to customers in less than 30 minutes.

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The insurance adjuster is a drone (Finance/Insurance Adjusting - 2019-06 - ZDNet)

Drones have become a key tool in the insurance sector, where damage assessments are frequently performed by drones equipped with machine vision and AI.

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A drone has been used to deliver a donor kidney for the first time (Medicine/Organ Delivery - 2019-04 - MIT Technology Review)

A custom-built drone with eight rotors to ensure stability and a special apparatus to control the environment, delivered a donor kidney to surgeons at the University of Maryland Medical Center, ferrying it from a hospital about three miles away. The kidney was then successfully transplanted into a patient with renal failure. It’s the first time a drone has been used to drop off an organ for a transplant.

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Food and medication from local Australian businesses to be delivered by drone (Retail/Courier - 2019-04 - MIT Technology Review)

Alphabet’s drone division, Wing, has launched its first public delivery service for about 100 homes in Canberra, Australia, processing orders for food and medication from 12 local businesses to be delivered by drone in minutes. Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority granted regulatory approval after an 18-month trial involving 3,000 deliveries.

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UPS has started using drones to deliver medical samples in the US (Transport/Courier - 2019-04 - MIT Technology Review)

UPS has started delivering medical samples, using drones built by Matternet, at the WakeMed hospital and campus in Raleigh, North Carolina. The drones can carry up to 5lbs pounds over <12.5 miles. This is the first revenue-generating drone delivery scheme to be approved by the FAA.

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Flying robot scans shelves faster than clerks or ground robots (Retail - 2019-01 - ZDNet)

Pensa is a New York company that makes an autonomous mobile perception system to track inventory in stores. Pensa uses drones which are faster, quieter and less obtrusive than ground robots.

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Alphabet’s Wing spinoff is about to launch drone deliveries in Finland (Drone - 2018-12 - MIT Technology Review)

Alphabet’s Wing spinoff will launch a drone delivery service in Helsinki in Spring 2019 – its first operation in Europe. The small-scale trial will be limited to packages up to 3.3 lb. (1.5 kg) on a round trip of <20 miles. Wing is surveying customer preferences with options including medicine, groceries, and lunch. Show full article

The British Army is carrying out a massive test of military robots and drones (Drone - 2018-11 - MIT Technology Review)

The British Army is testing out over 70 new technologies, including unmanned vehicles and surveillance drones, in a four-week experiment on one of its biggest training grounds.

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Window washing drone can be used to clean buildings and extinguish fires (Drone - 2018-11 - The Telegraph)

A drone, created by Aerones, a San Francisco company, can wash skyscraper windows 20 times quicker than manual cleaners. It can also extinguish fires, and will be in operation in 2019. Weighing about 200 lb, it is tethered to the ground with a hose supplying water and electricity.

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Researchers design drones for subterranean search and rescue (Drone - 2018-10 - ScienceBlog)

Researchers from Boulder, Denver and Boston have partnered to design autonomous teams of drones that can explore underground environments like subway tunnels, mines and caves, for 2-3 hours. Completion date is late 2021. Flying and rolling drones willo work together to search through dark and dangerous environments to find human survivors of earthquakes, chemical spills and more.

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Tiny drones pull 40x their own weight (Drone - 2018-10 - TechCrunch)

Inspired by spiders and wasps, these tiny drones pull 40x their own weight, using 3 components: anchors to attach to objects, winches to pull, and sticky feet to provide a sure grip.

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Iceland to test the commercial viability of food delivery by drone (Drone - 2018-09 - IEEE Spectrum)

An Icelandic startup called Aha is using a Chinese-made drone and an Israeli logistics system to deliver hot food, groceries, and electronics to households in Iceland’s capital city of Reykjavik. Drones only use GPS with no safety features, and deliveries are lowered to the house with neighbours’ permission.

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How drones will change your business (Drone - 2018-08 - Entrepreneur)

Drones provide provide high-resolution images that fit between ground-level and satellite views. Multiple uses range from item delivery in remote areas to roof inspections (with time reduced from 6 to 1 hour.

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Utility drone market to hit $539M by 2023, driven by demand in hazardous work settings (Drone - 2018-07 - TechRepublic)

A new report from MarketsandMarket predicts the market share for utility drones to grow from US$110.2 million (2018) to $538.6 million in 2023, due to increased demand in hazardous work conditions.

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AI-powered drones increase efficiency, reduce cost, spotting problems humans might miss (Drone - 2018-06 - TechRepublic)

Drones monitor construction sites, farms, and critical infrastructure, sending back real-time data, which is subjected to AI analysis to spot problems. This increases efficiency, reduces costs, and may spot problems humans might miss.

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17 drone disasters (Drone - 2018-06 - TechRepublic)

Love them or hate them, drones are here to stay. Here are 17 drone mishaps that show why some people are still wary.

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Drones hauling a 20lb load for 500 miles and landing on a moving target (Drone - 2018-05 - The Edge)

Start-up Volans-i’s drones can travel up to 500 miles carrying 20 pounds of cargo at a top speed of 200 mph. They use fixed wings, along with vertical-take-off-and-landing systems, for flight, and both batteries and fuel for propulsion. They can take off or land on any flat 15×15 ft platform.

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An innovative, AI-powered, autonomous, nano drone brings new capabilities (Drone - 2018-05 - TechRepublic)

Researchers from ETH Zurich and the University of Bologna have created the first nano-drone capable of flying itself without a human operator – a breakthrough in AI miniaturization. All computation and navigation controls are created fully onboard the device.

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Drones hauling a 20lb load for 500 miles and landing on a moving target (Drone/Courier - 2018-05 - The Edge)

Start-up Volans-i’s drones can travel up to 500 miles carrying 20 pounds of cargo at a top speed of 200 mph. They use fixed wings, along with vertical-take-off-and-landing systems, for flight, and both batteries and fuel for propulsion. They can take off or land on any flat 15×15 ft platform.

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Autonomous drone can evacuate wounded soldiers and disaster victims (Drone/Evacuation - 2018-05 - Digital Trends)

Tactical Robotics’ Cormorant drone can be deployed for a wide range of military, industrial, and civilian rescue and evacuation applications. The unmanned Cormorant is a compact, single-engine VTOL aircraft. Internal lift rotors allow the drone to land and take off in a large SUV-sized horizontal surface.

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Drone technology implementation held up by security and privacy concerns (Drone - 2018-03 - TechRepublic)

A survey from ISACA showed 75% listed security or privacy as their biggest concern regarding the use of drones in the enterprise. Drones are already being used on oil rigs, telecommunication towers, and construction sites. A Gartner report predicted that the global drone market will hit $11.2 billion by 2020, with nearly 3 million new drones produced in 2018.

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Drone deliveries in the US could start in mid-2018 (Drone - 2018-03 - TechRepublic)

Limited package deliveries by commercial drones could be coming to the US shortly, overcoming regulatory roadblocks. Australia, Singapore, and Britain are the leaders in drone delivery technology. A food delivery service in Iceland is using autonomous drones to deliver orders, and UAVs are in use in the agricultural space.

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Tiny drones replacing bees as pollinators (Drone/Bees - 2018-03 - TechRepublic)

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev is developing a small, artificial bee, currently in the format of a drone. Some plants can pollinate, only if there’s enough wind. Some plants need a current location of the pollination onto the flower itself. We are currently creating enough wind.

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Switzerland plans to integrate unmanned drones into their air traffic management systems (Drone/Air Traffic Control - 2018-03 - Futurism)

Skyguide, a Swiss air traffic control operator, is partnering with AirMap, maker of a leading global airspace management platforms for drones. This is part of U-Space, which plans to promote safe and secure access to European airspace for millions of drones and their operators.

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Drone technologies could increase farmers' productivity by 500 percent (Drone/Farming - 2018-02 - TechRepublic)

Drones are being used across the world, with the help of DroneDeploy software, to enable field surveillance, and detect issues (relating for example to weed detection and planting needs), and provide farm equipment with the data to fix the issues. Drones only cost about $1,000, and the software another $1,000.

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Personal, robotic transportation by drone will be tested in Dubai and Las Vegas (Drone - 2018-02 - Popular Science)

A major Chinese drone maker is testing it’s Ehang 184 flying taxi, providing personal, robotic transportation by drone. After >1,000 tests in a broad range of conditions, more test will start in Dubai and Las Vegas. It can fly for 10 miles at speeds of up to 80 mph, but for only 23 minutes. Competitors include Airbus.

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