UAVs

  • 7-Eleven delivers by drone in Reno including, yes, Slurpees

    7-Eleven delivers by drone in Reno including, yes, Slurpees

    7-Eleven Inc. and a tech startup called Flirtey have beaten Amazon to the punch in making the first drone delivery to a customer’s home in the U.S. Most already know 7-Eleven, the convenience store retail chain that boasts about 10,800 stores in North America and 59,500 in total around the world. Flirtey is a privately held company based in Reno, Nevada, which builds and operates drones… Read More

  • Endangered ferrets are being saved by drones that drop vaccine-laced M&Ms

    Endangered ferrets are being saved by drones that drop vaccine-laced M&Ms

    Here’s your weird but interesting technology story for the day. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is using M&M-dispensing drones to save endangered black-footed ferrets in rural Montana. The ferret’s main source of food is prairie dogs, which are being killed by the sylvatic plague, a disease spread by rats and fleas that has existed since the 1800s. To date… Read More

  • Iris Automation is bringing eyes, and situational awareness, to drones

    Iris Automation is bringing eyes, and situational awareness, to drones

    New drone regulations in the U.S. ostensibly make it easier for companies to put flying robots to work whether that’s in media, construction or agriculture. But drones are still limited to flying within the “line of sight,” or the range where a human operator can see them. So we can’t have pizzas, or prescriptions, delivered by drones as a going concern, yet. And… Read More

  • Flirtey delivers drugs by drone from ship to shore in New Jersey

    Flirtey delivers drugs by drone from ship to shore in New Jersey

    The Jersey Shore is finally famous for something besides fake tanning. A Reno, Nevada-based startup called Flirtey Inc. conducted the first domestic “ship to shore” drone delivery this week along the New Jersey coastline. The company’s proprietary drone is a six-rotor system constructed from carbon fiber, aluminum and 3-d printed components. No, they weren’t… Read More

  • Dedrone raises $10 million to detect aerial intruders

    Dedrone raises $10 million to detect aerial intruders

    As civilian drones become more affordable, sophisticated and common around the world, a company called Dedrone Inc. has raised $10 million in venture funding for systems that monitor the skies and tell people when drones have entered their airspace. Menlo Ventures led the Series A investment in Dedrone bringing the company’s total capital raised to date to $12.9 million. According… Read More

  • WTF
    Firefighting drone serves as a reminder to be careful with crowdfunding campaigns

    Firefighting drone serves as a reminder to be careful with crowdfunding campaigns

    And then there’s this: an Indiegogo campaign for the world’s first firefighting drone. As a lover of both drones and crowdfunding campaigns, I nearly wet myself with excitement. But alas. The campaign, it turned out, is a great exercise in how a little bit of basic due diligence should advise you to step away from the “support” button and run for the hills. Read More

  • FAA releases report detailing categories for drones flying over crowds

    FAA releases report detailing categories for drones flying over crowds

    On Monday, the Associated Press got early access to a report commissioned by the FAA on how drones flying over or near people should be categorized and restricted. Today, that report was officially released, with all the juicy (and boring) details you’ve come to expect from government task force briefings. Read More

  • I Have Seen The Future, And Its Sky Is Full Of Eyes

    I Have Seen The Future, And Its Sky Is Full Of Eyes

    Allow me just a little self-congratulatory chest-beating. Four years ago I started writing a near-fiction thriller about the risks of swarms of UAVs in the wrong hands. Everyone I talked to back then (including my agent, alas) thought the subject was implausible, even silly. Well, it’s not like I’m the next Vernor Vinge — it always seemed like a pretty blatantly obvious… Read More

  • “For Those Who Don’t Want To Believe”

    “For Those Who Don’t Want To Believe”

    I feel uncomfortably like a prophet. In January, and again last week, I wrote about the prospect of UAVs used as weapons by terrorists; yesterday a man was arrested who “planned to attack the Pentagon using ‘small drone airplanes’ filled with explosives and guided by GPS.” In August I wrote about omnipresent mobile phones turning the world into a panopticon… Read More

  • Droning On Towards A Date With Destiny?

    Droning On Towards A Date With Destiny?

    Have you been watching the skies? I have. As the US expands its unmanned air force, researchers are testing and demonstrating autonomous drones — ones that could “hunt, identify and kill the enemy based on calculations made by software, not decisions made by humans.” (According to the author of the wonderfully-titled Army-funded study Governing Lethal Behavior in… Read More

  • Video: Lockheed’s “Samarai” Drone Spins Like A Maple Seed

    Video: Lockheed’s “Samarai” Drone Spins Like A Maple Seed

    Anyone who lives near a deciduous forest knows the joy of the maple seed, or as we called them when we were kids, helicopters. Their single wing spins the seed, slowing its descent — so why shouldn’t a similarly-designed wing be able to spin faster and actually fly upwards? Lockheed Martin has demonstrated a new drone platform, not quite a nano air vehicle but still simple and… Read More

  • Tiny Barebones Quadrocopter Is Adorable And I Want One

    We’ve always liked the Parrot AR Drone quadrocopter, and of course the four-rotor layout is gaining popularity among robocists everywhere — but this is something totally new. Weighing in at just 20 grams (that’s only slightly more than DARPA’s hummingbot), it’s basically just a PCB with rotors on it — and with the telemetry being handled off-device… Read More

  • When The Drones Come Marching In

    Way back in the 1970s, hardware-hacker hobbyists built kit computers like the Altair 8800 — and in doing so paved the way for the computer revolution that would reshape every facet of modern life. Today the same breed of people are building and selling kit flight controllers for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Just sayin’. Drones are far from new: the US military has been using… Read More

  • Cyber-Cute Overload: Quadrocopter Drone Has Its Own Little Home

    Oh no! I’ve been wrong all this time! The Robocalypse won’t be a sudden proliferation of hunter-killers and corpse-eating tanks — it’s going to be a Cutezkrieg! Japan will be, I am afraid, the first to fall. They are already a slave to the kawaii. This little bugger is called the Scandicraft, and it lives in that mailbox until there is a perimeter breach, at which point… Read More

  • Boeing gets in on the drone action with the hydrogen-powered Phantom Eye

    What’s with the ominous names for these things? You’ve got the Predator, the Taranis, the EATR, and now the Phantom Eye? I guess there’s a bit of psychological warfare going on there. You don’t want the enemy to look up and say “Maybe we shouldn’t… what if there’s a Model BAE-2455G up there somewhere?” So when Boeing unveiled their new… Read More

  • UAVs can do more than kill without compunction?

    And here I thought that these drones were born to kill. In fact, they’re being put to good use, and such as the ones they’ve got cruising in the ocean, or these, which they’ve deployed to help combat wildfires. The drones can go into dangerously smoky areas and use IR cameras to point out hot spots for firefighters — man and machine working alongside one another… Read More

  • Killercopter UAV snipes you with onboard .338 precision rifle

    Not terrifying at all! And of course, it’s flown with a modified Xbox 360 controller. How do they expect to get headshots with that? Mouse and keyboard, baby. But I digress. This robocalyptic aerial hunter-killer is 26ft long, goes 117mph, and can carry a payload of 150lb. That means it can carry a sniper rifle and a hugbot. Read More