Displaying items by tag: drones

A Chinese drone maker has unveiled an unmanned warplane that can fly around for forty hours without needing to be refueled. ‘The Spy Hawk’ is invisible to radar and can scout ground targets from 9,800 ft according to its developers.

Footage released by Sea Hawke General Aviation Equipment Company Ltd shows the drone taking off from a runway in an unspecified location, and was widely shared across Chinese social media on New Year’s Day.

It is the first time the top-secret drone has been showcased to the public, as details surrounding the aircraft were previously shrouded in secrecy by the Beijing government.

A prototype was revealed briefly to spectators during the China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai last November, but until now information regarding the aircraft remained widely unknown.

The Spy Hawk has a wingspan of 18m (59ft), can carry up to 370KG and is capable of taking a clear picture of a car's number plate while flying at the altitude of 3,000 metres (9,800 feet). The warplane can penetrate key enemy targets in a “highly threatening battling environment” says its designers, and is constructed of “world first” technologies.

The plane's deputy designer Wang Jianping says the drone is also equipped with China’s most advanced photo-electric aerial platform and contains seven different cameras that can turn 360 degrees.

It was announced last February by Sea Hawke that the drone had completed its first flight a month before. 

It is the fourth UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) from the Chinese company after predecessor stealth drones ‘Star Shadow’, ‘Sharp Sword’ and ‘CH-805’.

Published in Gadget

A catalogue of exciting products are set to the hit the American market in the new year but experts warn that 2019 could bring trust-related challenges for the tech industry.

US retail revenue is expected to climb to a record high of $398 billion this year, with upcoming releases such as 8K TVs, Alexa-controlled pianos and motion-detecting drones. The trade group behind The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) predicts sales of gadgets will be unaffected despite the privacy scandals and ongoing geopolitical tensions.

"There are so many cool things happening in the consumer electronics industry right now," said CTA vice president of market research Steve Koenig. "We are fast approaching a new era of consumer technology."

The Las Vegas trade fair will showcase an array of futuristic innovations; including foldable phones, super high resolution 8K televisions, driverless cars, gunfire-blocking drones, and will even demonstrate child-monitoring Lovot robots.

The 2019 event will focus on artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, smart homes, smart cities, and health wearables. They will feature 4,500 exhibitors across 2.75 million square feet of exhibit space, with 182,000 trade professionals expected to attend.

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) predict revenue growth in the US for smart phones, speakers, homes and watches along with televisions, drones, 'in-vehicle tech,' and streaming services, despite an array of 2018 scandals involving technology giants.

Last year, Amazon was forced to explain how virtual assistant Alexa recorded a private conversation and sent it to an Echo user without their knowledge. Facebook have also seen their shares plummet in the wake of privacy issues and face lawsuits in regards to their lax security of user data.

Published in Gadget

Two of the UK’s largest airports have invested in multi-million pound anti-drone systems, after an incident at Gatwick in December brought flights to a standstill.

Both London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports confirmed they have purchased high-tech systems to protect themselves from potential drone attacks.

It follows three days of chaos at Gatwick in December, after a reported drone sighting caused mass disruption and grounded nearly 1,000 flights during the busy Christmas period.

Flights were resumed after the British Army brought in Drone Dome equipment; reportedly manufactured by Israeli defense contractor Rafael, which allows operators to jam a drone’s radio signals and allow it to land safely. It is believed several airports have purchased their own ‘military-grade anti-drone apparatus’ to prevent future incidents which will provide a “similar level of protection,” after the army withdrew its equipment on January 3rd.

On December 19th, an airport security officer at Gatwick had witnessed two cross-shaped drones, flying over the south perimeter road with flashing lights. The sightings caused three days of flight cancellations, with over 140,000 passengers affected by the standstill; the biggest disruption since the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud in 2010.

Two people were arrested after the incident in December, but as of yet no one has been charged.  

In July 2018, the UK government passed a law that banned drones from flying above 400ft and within 1km of an airport boundary, because of fears they could cause damage to aircraft windows during take-off and landing.  

Published in Gadget

The UK government says it will introduce drone registration and safety awareness courses for owners of small unmanned aircraft (drones). The policy will affect all those who own a drone which weighs more than 250 grams (8oz).

Drone maker DJI has spoken out in support of the new measures. However, details of how the registration process will pan out have not yet been released, and the Department of Transport said “the nuts and bolts still have to be ironed out.”

The Department added that the drone safety awareness tests will involve owners having to “prove that they understand UK safety, security and privacy regulations.”

The UK government also plans to include the extension of geo-fencing, where no-fly zones are programmed into drones using GPS co-ordinates, around areas such as airports and prisons.

“Our measures prioritize protecting the public while maximizing the full potential of drones,” said Aviation Minister Lord Martin Callanan, BBC reported. “Increasingly, drones are proving vital for inspecting transport infrastructure for repair or aiding police and fire services in search and rescue operations, even helping to save lives.”

Callanan added, “But like all technology, drones too can be misused. By registering drones and introducing safety awareness tests to educate users, we can reduce the inadvertent breaching of airspace restrictions to protect the public.”

While drones are undeniably useful and innovative, there have been reports of the aircraft being used to deliver drugs to prison inmates. There have also been incidents of drones narrowly missing commercial aircraft in the sky. However, no significant accidents involving a drone have been reported yet.

Dr. Alan McKenna of the University of Kent told BBC: “Registration has its place. I would argue it will focus the mind of the flyer – but I don’t think you can say it’s going to be a magic solution. There will be people who will simply not be on the system, that’s inevitable.”

The US attempted to introduce similar rules which were successfully challenged in court in March 2017 and as a result are currently not applicable to con-commercial flyers.

Dr. McKenna raised the issue of how it would be difficult for police to identify drone owners and whether personal liability insurance should also be a legal requirement in the event of a drone causing an accident.

DJI spokesperson Adam Lisberg said the plans sounded like “reasonable common sense.” He said, “The fact is that there are multiple users of the airspace and the public should have access to the air – we firmly believe that – but you need system to make sure everybody can do it safely.”

Lisberg added, “In all of these issues the question is, where is the reasonable middle ground? Banning drones is unreasonable; having no rules is also unreasonable. We’re encouraged that [the UK government] seems to be recognizing the value drones provide and looking for reasonable solutions.”

Published in Gadget

The US government has announced that it is set to refocus its efforts on examining ways in which it can help speed up the process of taking new technologies to the marketplace. The Trump administration has announced its intentions to bring together a group of drone makers, wireless companies and venture capitalists to explore practices that will enable the commercialization of these technologies in a much more streamlined fashion.

It has been confirmed that President Donald Trump will meet with the CEOs of General Electric Co, Honeywell International Incorporated and AT&T. Representatives from major drones industries and venture capitalists will also attend the meeting as part of a combined effort to focus on innovative technology in a bid to kick-start new job growth.

The White House’s deputy chief technology officer, Michael Kratsios has said the primary objective of the discussions is to drive ‘economic growth’. He said: “The goal of the session is to find ways the United States can maintain its leadership, creating and fostering entirely new technologies that will drive our economic growth."

The Trump administration has expressed its desire to promote the development and commercialization of emerging technologies – and has shown a particular interest in the development of unmanned drones and 5G wireless technologies. Some analysts have predicted that the impact of 5G will be similar to that of electricity.

The Obama administration has implemented rules and practices that enabled low-level small drones to be deployed for education, research and routine commercial use. It has been reported that the Trump administration is currently weighing up the option of expanding drone use for purposes such as deliveries where aircraft would fly beyond the sight of an operator. However, security issues would need to be resolved before such legislation could be passed.

The FAA has projected that by 2021 the number of small hobbyist drones will more than triple – whilst the commercial drone fleet will increase tenfold to about 442,000. In addition to this, last year, the FCC cleared the way for 5G - with the race to commercialize the technology underway which is expected to be deployed by 2020.

New 5G networks are expected to provide speeds at least 10 times and maybe 100 times faster than today's 4G networks. The next generation of wireless signals needs to be much faster and far more responsive to allow advanced technologies such as virtual surgery or controlling machines remotely, regulators say. The networks could help wirelessly connect devices such as thermostats or washing machines to facilitate the internet of things.

Published in Government

Qualcomm Incorporated through its subsidiary, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., announced at its Internet of Things (IoT) industry analyst workshop that the company is currently shipping more than 1 million chips per day for the Internet of Things.

This momentum reflects Qualcomm Technologies' unique ability to invent and deliver the technologies needed for the IoT, and to meet challenging customer requirements for interoperability, connectivity, compute and security.

The company uses its technical expertise to design platforms that help customers commercialize IoT products quickly and cost-effectively in areas including wearables, voice and music, connected cameras, robotics and drones, home control and automation, home entertainment, and commercial and industrial IoT.

"We are focused on significantly expanding capabilities at the edge of the network by supporting everyday objects with the connectivity, compute and security technologies required to build a powerful Internet of Things, where devices are smart, convenient, work well together and incorporate advanced security features," said Raj Talluri, senior vice president, product management, IoT, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.

"While hundreds of brands have shipped over 1.5 billion IoT products using our solutions, we are just getting a glimpse of the benefits that the IoT can deliver, with analysts estimating that IoT applications could have a total economic impact of up to 11 trillion dollars a year by 2025. We have built strong capabilities on top of our leadership in mobile inventions, and we are innovating in exciting new areas such as deep learning, voice interface and LTE IoT that will power a new generation of IoT devices."

Qualcomm Technologies' traction in IoT spans across a variety of ecosystems. For instance, the company's wearables platforms have been adopted in more than 150 wearable designs, and over 80 percent of Android Wear™ smartwatches launched or announced are based on Snapdragon Wear 2100. In smart homes, more than 125 million TVs, home entertainment and other connected home products from leading brands have shipped using Qualcomm Technologies' connectivity chips.

For commercial and industrial IoT applications, over 30 designs are using the company's MDM9206 modem with multimode support for LTE categories M1 and NB1, E-GPRS and global RF bands. MDM9206 is purposely developed for IoT applications and is commercially available today.

To address this wide variety of ecosystems, form factors and requirements in the IoT, Qualcomm Technologies offers one of the broadest portfolios of chips and platforms, including mobile, multimedia, cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth system-on-chips. These solutions include comprehensive software with platform-specific applications and APIs, as well as support for multiple communication protocols, operating systems and cloud services.

To further help manufacturers develop IoT devices quickly and cost-effectively, Qualcomm Technologies makes available more than 25 production-ready reference design platforms through a network of original design manufacturers (ODMs) for products including voice-enabled home assistants, connected cameras, drones, VR headsets, lighting, appliances and smart hubs/gateways.

Published in Internet of Things

US aircraft companies have revealed that the demand for drone pilots has risen – and that is why they have launched an initiative aimed at persuading young people to consider carving out a profession as a drone pilot.

The plea comes due to a shortage of skilled aviators in the industry – with many of the young generation deeming ‘drone technology’ to be cool, the specific aim of the leaders in the unmanned aircraft sector is to get that generation to select drone aviation as a career path.

In the US, commercial pilots must obtain a federal aviation administration (FAA) drone license and some companies that employ such pilots have started selling classes that help students prepare for the FAA test or just figure out whether they would be interested in such a career – as a result of the significant shortage of skilled aviators in that sector.

Drone-makers are chasing a market that is forecast to grow an average 32% annually over the next decade to reach $30billion. It is an extremely hyped market at present, and some of the world’s biggest companies such as Google, Apple and Amazon are all involved in developing drone technology.

Businesses use drones to take photos and video, for security and to conduct inspections or surveys, among other things. With the number of commercial drone operations outpacing the pool of certified drone pilots, experts say more training is needed to help young flyers operate the planes legally and safely.

Some companies have already embarked on autonomous drone deliveries with one American company revealing last month that it had successfully completed 77 autonomous delivery missions.

James Barnes founded the New Jersey Drone Academy in an old miniature golf and driving range complex over three years ago. He has revealed that his primary motivation behind the project was to give kids from urban and underprivileged areas – who cannot afford to go to college the chance to learn a trade and make decent money.

He said, “We are growing at an outrageous pace, but I hardly see anybody in the country moving in that direction. I’m trying to hire two experienced drone technicians at $20 an hour and I can’t find anybody.”

The drone industry will continue to expand, and the demand for drones now represents a real opportunity for young people interested in the sector to carve out a living as a drone pilot.

Published in Gadget

Nokia and the United Arab Emirates General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) have entered into a strategic collaboration to drive the development of an end-to-end UAS ecosystem that will make the UAE the first country in the world to allow the operation of drones by both businesses and government agencies in a safe, secure and managed environment.

The project is part of an initiative by the GCAA to make Dubai one of the world's smartest cities by 2017, and will allow Dubai government security network operator Nedaa to develop a next generation network for mission-critical and smart city services within the GCAA regulatory framework.

At the heart of this new ecosystem will be Nokia's UAV Traffic Management (UTM) concept, which is being developed to manage drones in and around cities, and coordinate their interactions with people, manned aircraft and an increasingly diverse array of connected objects.

The Nokia UTM system will provide capabilities such as automated flight permissions, no-fly zone control and beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) that are critical for the safe operation of UAVs in densely populated urban areas. The ecosystem will also serve as a testing ground for various applications of drone technology, which can be explored in a safe and controlled environment.

"The UAE is committed to making Dubai the smartest city in the world, and UAVs are expected to play a critical role in this process by supporting a wide variety of smart city services,” said Bernard Najm, head of the Middle East Market Unit at Nokia. “This collaboration with the GCAA, the first of its kind in the world, gives us a unique and extensive test bed where we can trial and refine our UAV Traffic Management system, and shape the future of UAV management overall. This is an exciting opportunity that builds on our strong relationship with the UAE to help facilitate its smart city journey."

Drones are quickly emerging as important tools for businesses and governments alike, providing substantial benefits such as infrastructure monitoring and maintenance, public safety applications, logistics and transport and many more. The GCAA has launched this initiative so businesses and local government can take advantage of these benefits, making the city smarter while minimizing any hazards that UAVs may present.

Nokia's UTM concept combines its expertise in 4G LTE and leadership in developing 5G and Mobile Edge Computing and related services - including managing the Network Operations Center, planning and optimizing the network for UTM connectivity and integrating UTM to other application platforms - to provide a platform that can support the extreme low latency and exceptional reliability and resiliency needed to manage UAV traffic. The system will be able to monitor airspace and flight paths, and share data between UAVs, operators and air traffic controllers and establish no-fly zones that can be continually refreshed with the latest data.

Published in Telecom Vendors

GoPro, the American manufacturer of eponymous action cameras and mobile apps, recently released its first drone called Karma, tailored for its first-person-action mini-cameras. The drones where on sale last month, but on November 8, the company had to recall the drones it had sold (about 2,500) due to instances of power cut out during flight.

"Safety is our top priority," said GoPro founder and chief executive Nicholas Woodman in a release announcing the recall. "A very small number of Karma owners have reported incidents of power failure during operation." The drones were priced at $799. GoPro shares plunged more than nine percent to $9.88 in after-market trades following the announcement.

The company has said it will offer complete refunds, and is coordinating with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Federal Administration. So far, no reports of injuries or property damage have been received, said GoPro.

"We are very sorry to have inconvenienced our customers and we are taking every step to make the return and refund process as easy as possible," Woodman said.

GoPro introduced its highly anticipated drone in the hope of lifting profits battered by competition from all sides, AFP reported. The launch of the Karma drone, tailored for its first-person-action mini-cameras, came with the debut of improved Hero5 cameras that ran into a production problem blamed for hampering opening sales.

The drones could have been a hit, boasting a simplistic joystick and touch-screen controls. It could be easily folded and stored in a provided padded backpack. The drones featured an image-stabilizing grip designed to hold Hero cameras, which are not included in the backpack.

Issues with GoPro’s drones came as the company strives to distinguish itself in an increasingly competitive market for mini-cameras that can be used to capture adventures or sports from personal perspectives. GoPro became an early hit with extreme sports enthusiasts who used the mini-cameras to film their exploits, and went on to win over teens and young adults interested in sharing videos on YouTube and social networks.

Published in Devices

Two teams of scientists from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and the University of California Berkley created an insect-computer hybrid robot using a live beetle. The group of engineers came up with a way to remotely control insects, which they believe could provide an alternative to remote-controlled drones.

Since beetles are agile and require no engineering to keep them in the air, the scientists believe their technology could realistically provide an “improved alternative to remote-controlled drones.” The researchers published a journal paper which reads: “Unlike manmade legged robots – for which many tiny parts, sensors and actuators are manufactured, assembled and integrated – the insect-computer hybrid robots directly use living insects as nature’s readymade robot platforms.”

The scientists inserted electrodes at specific parts of the beetles’ legs, optic lobes and flight muscles which when triggered by a radio single, make the insects walk at a specific rate, fly, hover, and turn left or right. The insects carry microchip backpacks which are connected to the electrodes. The backpacks consist of a processor and a lithium battery. Organic beeswax is used to attach the packs to the insects, which allows them to move easily.

“Different walking gaits were performed by recording the applied stimulation signals,” said the research team. “By varying the duration of the stimulation sequences, we successfully controlled the step frequency and hence the beetle’s walking speed. To the best of our knowledge, this paper presents the first demonstration of living insect control with a user-adjustable walking gait, step length and walking speed.”

The use of drones is growing around the world, for purposes such as filming, delivery, emergency services, military services and construction purposes. But drone technology has received backlash concerning surveillance and safety risks. For example, Britain called for stricter rules on drone management, while London police are considering training eagles to snatch drones out of the sky following a rise in unregistered drones.

Drone beetles could be used to search collapsed buildings and disaster sites, says Hirotaka Sato, assistant professor at the NTU Singapore’s School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. He told the Telegraph: “This technology could prove to be an improved alternative to remote-controlled drones as it could go into areas which were not accessible before. For example, it could be used in search-and-rescue missions as it could go into small nooks and crevices in a collapsed building to locate injured survivors.”

So far giant flying beetles (Mecynorrhina torquata) have been used in experiments with the technology. The beetles measure an average of six centimeters in length and eight grams in weight. The species was chosen for its ability to lift relatively heavy loads. Plus, all of the beetles involved in the project went on to live out their usual lifespan of between five and six months.

Published in Gadget