December 2015

First, this General Alert regarding our favorite LiPo batteries. Last week I had been using some steel wool and left a blob on my workbench. I then started a little project when all of a sudden the steel wool caught on fire. That’s right. I had pushed the blob against a 500 LiPo and the strands connected with the female end and set it on fire. Set steel wool on fire. It was somewhat exciting as I found pliers to throw the crap on the cement shop floor. Never a dull moment with this hobby.

Ok, let’s take a deep breath and start with this thrilling December Quad Talk.

I’ll start off by wrapping up on the Bodega Bay Bird Adventure. As I said last month, I purchased a $200 one year insurance policy along with the Phantom 3 Pro. The warranty is provided by Squaretrade http://www.squaretrade.com/ amazingly efficient and professional company. The repair included a new top and bottom shells and a new 4K camera with gimbal. I actually got to talk to the tech who repaired it and he ran down all the stuff he did during the repair. He tested all the systems and really flew it outdoors and indoors to check sonar.  I strongly recommend a few more bucks if you are going to fly in tricky environments. Like around birds. UGH! Anyway, I have now named my P3 ‘Hitchcock’ since it was attacked in Bodega Bay about a mile from where The Birds movie was filmed in 1963.

Touch And Go’s

1-How about that guy in Kentucky that shot down a ‘drone’ spying on his daughters (Or, checking out the weed harvest.) Interesting turn of events where a judge was more sympathetic to the shooter than the drone owner. Note to self. Stay out of Kentucky. http://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/drone-slayer-cleared-after-shooting-down-uav-over-his-home/?&utm_term=DT%20Newsletter

2- More about how we might control air space. ‘CACI International, the defense and an intelligence contractor, are working on a system that could soon track and overtake rogue drones flying too close to airports, an increasing concern of the Federal Aviation Administration as it struggles to regulate the proliferation of flying robots. ME: Lots of ‘then a miracle happens though. http://wapo.st/1M3N8lj

3- Well, if you think a quad or two flying around our field is annoying standby, how about this? This past week, the a team of researchers not only launched an astounding fifty drones into the air, but controlled all of them with just a single operator http://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/researchers-launch-record-fifty-drones-at-once/

4- A self-contained drone that is amazing with a new tech called re-localization. This system, built on a small AscTec Firefly hexacopter, uses a combination of sensors and a stereoscopic camera to calculate velocity, orientation, and gravity. It then compares these calculations with images from the camera and creates a 3D map of its environment, all on board. Checkout the video. http://dronelife.com/2015/10/30/new-drone-shows-can-see-learn-from-its-environment/

5- DJI continues to develop products and hire the very best talent. Now in Palo Alto with a $75m pop from VC firm Accel http://dronelife.com/2015/10/30/fortune-dji-to-open-west-coast-rd-center/

6- DJI Manifold http://fortune.com/2015/11/02/dji-manifold-computer/  DJI has a strong position in the drone market—71% of commercial drone use cases approved by the U.S. FAA in August involved DJI drones. But well-funded competitors like Qualcomm QCOM 1.57% and Intel INTC 0.27% also want to produce the computers that drones use. Qualcomm revealed a chip last month that is optimized for drones. Intel has been investing in drone makers and has partnered with one of DJI’s rivals, San Francisco-based 3D Robotics.

So what could Manifold be used for? Hovering security cameras? Smart autonomous flying weapons (as feared by the US military)? Super-smart scientific monitoring devices to take away risk of harm to humans? Who knows – it's all in the hands of the inventors and big businesses now.

7- I thought you might like this story from The Washington Post.

Google confirms it will launch a drone delivery service in 2017. This system and approach seems to make much more sense than landing on your stoop. http://wapo.st/1PhQzFY

8- And another cute delivery rig that kills folks on sidewalks.  http://wapo.st/1LMls2Z

https://ph-files.imgix.net/5332de92-746e-4ed7-b7a9-abcd9de4be5c?auto=format&w=326&h=204

9- Here again is what the visual accumulation might look like on future self-aware and ‘on the fly’ anti-collision technology systems. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2015/11/03/the-significance-of-an-mit-drone-weaving-around-tree-branches-at-30-mph/

10- One of those rare balanced articles about drones today and tomorrow. Very long. So, get a beer or two. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/11/playing-defense-against-the-drones/407851/

11- Totally want to mount one of these on my old P2, Sparkle. And, you thought having a camera was invasive. http://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/pyro-mini-shoot-fireballs-from-your-bare-hands-like-magic/?&utm_term=DT%20Newsletter

12- Weird ad but interesting as to why the GPS?? Not sure what the GPS capability actually does? But, pretty sure that the FAA will have a fit with a flying wing on an autonomous 25 minute mission. That is a lot of mileage and certainly out of operator’s sight. http://secure.campaigner.com/Campaigner/Public/t.show?96sd5--5wmpw-vrrljj1

13- And, the hourly update on how the FAA is going to control all flying things over one half pound. Imagine, the FAA dealing with such a ridiculous proposal. I guess an unworkable plan is better than no plan in the world of politics.

http://www.roboticstrends.com/article/like_it_or_not_drone_licensing_is_coming

This Christmas, go buy a quad!

EBRC Drone Daze are in the works.

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