A new tracking and avoidance system, drones that assist firefighters, a Phantom firmware rollback, drone waiters that bring your meal, a personal No Fly Zone, shooting down those pesky drones, Qualcomm buys KMel Robotics, and California seeks to regulate drones below 400 feet.
PrecisionHawk released an automated traffic control system for UAVs said to aid with the integration of UAVs into the National Airspace (NAS). The “Low Altitude Tracking and Avoidance System” (LATAS) uses global cellular networks on speeds as low as 2G. to provide real-time flight planning, tracking and avoidance for UAVs.
LATAS is small (3x2x1in) and light and was developed to be plug and play or integrated into a UAV’s circuit during manufacturing.
Last November, the US Office of Naval Research conducted a demonstration of its Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot (SAFFiR) along with an autonomous quadcopter drone. The robot/drone combination is intended to assist firefighters aboard naval vessels. This is under the Office of Naval Research’s Damage Control Technologies for the 21st Century (DC-21) project. The quadcopter comes from Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute and Sensible Machines.
Flyability has introduced what it calls “the world’s first collision-proof drone.” The “Gimball” search and rescue drone is spherical and bounces off obstacles to keep flying. It has a coaxial twin rotor design inside a rotating protective carbon fiber frame. In Crash-proof UAV takes out US$1 million Drones For Good Competition we learn that the Flyability Gimball took first place in the Drones For Good contest.
DJI has rolled back the geofencing firmware update for the Phantom — also known as the “White House patch” — because there have been reports of “unanticipated flight behavior.”
Infinium Robotics specializes “in providing autonomous UAV solutions for commercial applications.” That includes food delivery by drone in some Singapore restaurants. The rotors are completely enclosed to avoid injury and the UAVs utilize sense and avoid technology.
Singapore currently has a shortage of workers in the food industry so this is covering a real need.
NoFlyZone creates a GeoFence around your home after you register your property. Currently, the service works with UAS manufacturers DroneDeploy, YUNEEC, HEXO+, PixiePath, RCFlyMaps. EHANG, and Horizon Hobby.
The Oklahoma State Senate Judiciary Committee passed Senate Bill 492, giving property owners the right to shoot down drones without fear of civil liability. Backers say that drones are increasingly being used by cattle thieves. This bill would protect property owners should they be sued by thieves over a shot down drone.
Chipmaker Qualcomm has acquired startup KMel Robotics, which specializes in multi-rotor drones. Qualcomm isn’t providing any details other than to point to the KMel Robotics website: “We are extremely excited to become part of the Qualcomm team and look forward to bringing aerial robotics to the next level together.”
KMel Robotics has produced videos demonstrating impressive flight coordination:
- Flying Robot Dance unveiled at CES 2014.
- Flying Robot Rockstars where hexacopters create music.
- Amazing in Motion demonstrates swarming quadcopters.
California bill SB142 bans trespassing by drones flying below 400 feet.
The University of Ontario Institute of Technology has launched the ACE Centre for UAV Research.