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.
Over the past year, 398 audiences of up to 2,000 people witnessed an octet of colorful lampshades perform an airborne choreography during Cirque du Soleil’s Broadway show Paramour, which ran until April 20th. The work behind the design and choreography of the flying lampshades, which turn out to be self-piloted show drones, bears the signature of the Swiss high-tech company Verity Studios.
But how novel is it really that robots have appeared in theater? Since Karel Capek’s science fiction play R.U.R. (short for Rossum’s Universal Robots) introduced the word “robot” to the English language and to science fiction almost 100 years ago, the technical challenges of incorporating robots into live performance and theater have been difficult to master. Before these Broadway drones, nearly all theater robots were remote-controlled puppets, relying on humans hidden off-scene to steer their movements and provide their intelligence.
JD Claridge’s story epitomizes the current state of the drone industry. Claridge, founder of xCraft, is best known for being the first contestant on Shark Tank to receive money from all the Sharks – even Kevin O’Leary! Walking the floor of Xponential 2017, the annual convention of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems Integration (AUVSI), Claridge remarked to me how the drone industry has grown up since his TV appearance.
Soil compression can be a serious problem, but it isn’t always, or in all ways, a bad thing. For example, impressions made by hoofed animals, so long as they only cover a minor fraction of the soil surface, create spaces in which water can accumulate and help it percolate into the soil more effectively, avoiding erosion runoff.
Three hundred drones flashed their colored lights and created a flying American flag as Lady Gaga sang a blend of “God Bless America” and “This Land Is Your Land” to 160 million viewers of the Super Bowl. Oh, and two football teams played into overtime, and the final score was 34 to 28.
Toy and entertainment drones, camera drones for professional and business use, moon-shot drones and military drones are all becoming more and more distinct as much of the drone industry gets commoditized. Prices are dropping even as impressive new features are added. It’s a difficult time in the drone business.
UPDATED 1/13/2017: SF District Attorney files false advertising suit against Lily Robotics. Details added below.
Bioinspired robots that take their designs from biology has been a big research area in recent years, but a team from NCCR Robotics, Floreano Lab have just gone one step further and designed a feathered drone to fully replicate the agile flight of birds.
Key executives leaving (or were requested to leave) Goggle’s drone delivery Project Wing; GoPro recalls all of its newly launched Karma drones and doesn’t offer a replacement; DJI slashes prices. What’s going on?
In October, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission released a report, China’s Industrial and Military Robotics Development, prepared by the Defense Group, Inc. at the Commission’s request. The report examines the development of China’s unmanned industrial, service, and military robotics systems, such as drones and driverless cars, and the economic and national security implications of these trends for the United States.
CB Insights Drone Quarterly Financing Trends to VC-Backed Companies shows a downward trend. The Robot Report’s monthly funding reports show something different: a change in the nature of drone applications getting funded.
On July 15, 2016, Congress enacted the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act (the “Act”), which among other things, directs the Secretary of Transportation to establish a process to enable applicants to petition the FAA Administrator to “prohibit or restrict the operation of an unmanned aircraft in close proximity to a fixed site facility.” Congress tasked the FAA with establishing a process for designating fixed site facilities no later than 180 days from the date of enactment. Below is an outline of the key problematic provisions in Section 2209 and a proposed path forward for establishing a process that meets the Congressional directive while not unnecessarily restricting industry.