Advances in robotics and AI have led to modern commercial drone technology, which is changing the fundamental way enterprises interact with the world. Drones bridge the physical and digital worlds. They enable companies to combine the power of scalable computing resources with pervasive, affordable sensors that can go anywhere. This creates an environment in which businesses can make quick, accurate decisions based on enormous datasets derived from the physical world.
The Xponential 2017 national conference was held May 8-11 by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) in the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, Texas. The event took place in the largest exhibit hall ever dedicated to unmanned systems and robotics, with over 370,000 square feet. It featured over 650 robotics organizations – companies, research institutions, universities, consultants, nonprofits and more – from the U.S. and countries worldwide.
According to AgFunder’s 2016 AgTech Investing Report (supported by The Robot Report’s own research), 2016 drone funding fell 64% from 2015 levels. Also, the type of companies getting funded were sensor, payload and analytics-based add-ons or service-providing companies rather than drone makers.
Delivery robots are touted as gaining widespread popularity in the near future. Wheeled models could be suitable for urban areas, while UAVs have great potential in accessing difficult areas and carrying a variety of payloads. But first we have to overcome technical barriers, safety issues and more than a few legal aspects.
This week (April 05-07, 2017), the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas will host ISC West 2017 in what they say is “the largest security industry trade show in the U.S.”, drawing an estimated 29,000+ security professionals. The show will feature ISC West’s first-ever Unmanned Security Expo focused on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs) and various systems to support robotic technology. The Expo will include a fully functional flight cage and robotics demonstration area, booth exhibits and free education sessions.
Robotics undoubtedly has the potential to improve lives in the developing world. However, with limited budgets and expertise on the ground, putting this technology in place is no small task. Step forwards WeRobotics, a new Swiss/American NGO dedicated to meeting this goal through the creation of in-country ‘flying labs’. Co-founder Adam Klaptocz explains all.
The Amazon is home to thousands of local indigenous communities spread across very remote areas. As a result, these sparsely populated communities rarely have reliable access to essential medicines and public health services. Local doctors in the region of Contamana report an average of 45 snakebites per month and no rapid access to antivenom, for example. We recently traveled to the rainforest to learn more about these challenges, and to explore whether cargo drones (UAVs) could realistically be used to overcome some of these problems in a sustainable manner.
After the devastating earthquake in Amatrice, Italy, on August 24th, the Vigili del Fuoco (Italian fire brigade) requested assistance from the TRADR (Long-Term Human-Robot Teaming for Robot-Assisted Disaster Response) project (EU FP7 framework, grant No. 60963). TRADR deployed two Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs) and three Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to assist the post-earthquake response in Amatrice.
Over the past 15 years, drones have progressed from laboratory demonstrations to widely available toys. Technological improvements have brought ever-smaller components required for flight stabilization and control, as well as significant improvements in battery technology. Capabilities once restricted to military vehicles are now found on toys that can be purchased at Wal-Mart.
Samira Hayat was one of the few women in Pakistan studying electrical engineering. In this interview, she talks about her research exploring networks of drones. Rescue missions performed by drone networks are highly involved, covering areas such as detection and communication. She is particularly interested in determining optimal processes from a mathematical perspective.
Our penultimate video features the initial “Big Vision” trailer we produced at the beginning of this project. The video showcases the basic components of the robotic system we targeted (surface station, relay chain, ground swarm) and how we imagined our collective of underwater robots forming coherent swarms.
Our underwater swarm research started in a few cubic centimeters of water with some naked electronics on a table. Over the next three and a half years, our swarm increased by a factor of 40, and the size of our test waters increased by a factor of 40 million as we went from aquariums and pools, to ponds, rivers and lakes, and finally ending up in the salt water basin of the Livorno harbour. Quite a stretch for a small project!