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.
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.
This fall’s new FAA regulations have made drone flight easier than ever for both companies and consumers. But what if the drones out on the market aren’t exactly what you want?
A new system from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) is the first to allow users to design, simulate and build their own custom drone. Users can change the size, shape and structure of their drone based on the specific needs they have for payload, cost, flight time, battery usage and other factors.
Over the last couple of years, we have seen an increase in state regulation of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). A recent report published by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) titled “A Guide to State Laws Impacting UAS/UAV Operations” identifies the restriction of operations near critical infrastructure among the leading trends in state regulation of UAS. Notwithstanding the emergence of state regulation in this field, the enactment of the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act, 2016 (the “Act”), indicates that Congress intends to vest the authority to protect critical infrastructure from UAS with the FAA. In light of this development, states that have enacted laws or are considering regulating in this field, should consult with the FAA in order to promote a unified national framework that addresses local concerns.
When designing robots to help in the search for victims after a natural disaster, a number of features are important: robustness, long battery life and ease of transport. With this latest constraint in mind, a team from Floreano Lab, EPFL and NCCR Robotics will present their new drone with insect-inspired folding wings at IROS 2016.
This morning, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released the highly anticipated rules governing the operation of small UAS (sUAS) for commercial purposes. The new rules are scheduled to take effect in late August – until that time, commercial operators may continue to operate under Section 333 exemptions. As expected, Part 107 generally follows the proposed rules that were contained in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that was issued by the FAA in February 2015.
The U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives have passed competing drafts of the National Defense Authorization Act, which establishes funding priorities for the Pentagon. We reviewed both bills to determine how they will affect the Department of Defense’s drone programs. Here’s what you need to know.