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.
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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)
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Roofing drone nails down shingles (Construction/Roofing - 2019-09 - Technology.org)
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.