“Moore’s Law has never moved faster than is moving inside the phone you’ve already got in your pocket. The pace of development and the price performance curve is moving faster in smartphones than it’s ever moved in history and we’re taking advantage by drafting off this momentum and by employing military-grade technologies at toy prices,” said Chris Anderson at last weekend’s Engadget Expand event at Fort Mason, San Francisco.
The military has deployed 7,500 aerial drones; Chris Anderson’s company, DIY Drones, has got 40,000. Every sort of copter and plane, as shown on the diagram below, is included in the universal autopilot chipset that DIY Drones sells (for $129). And this chip also includes features like geofencing, follow me, and fly by wire.
Anderson’s fast-paced presentation is well worth watching particularly when he discusses how drones can be used for precision agriculture right now, today:
Chris was just part of a really interesting 3-person panel where the other two presenters were Marc Raibert from Boston Dynamics and Steven Cousins from Willow Garage. Marc Raibert is CEO of Boston Dynamics (of Big Dog and Cheeta fame) and described how and why Boston Dynamics builds robots designed to work in rough terrain. He emphasized what Chris said earlier, that military grade technology was moving to the robotics industry at toy prices subsidized by DARPA and smartphone buyers.
Amongst other interesting things Cousins discussed, he also answered the question about what is going to happen at Willow Garage now that the funding has stopped.