Sunday, March 20, 2016

Scanse Sweep Consumer Affordable Drone and Robot Laser Mapping Tracking Navigation and Avoidance

At Gizmag, Stanley Goodner reports in Sweep sensor adds affordable autonomy and laser mapping to drones and robots that Scanse Sweep, a Kickstarter startup, has developed a lower-priced consumer-affordable sensor for object detection/tracking, terrain mapping, or navigation sense/avoidance for drones and robots.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Future Miniature Fuel Cells Will Kep Drones Aloft Much Longer

Most commercial consumer drones presently have a relatively short flight time, as determined by the amount of weight in batteries that a drone can carry for its power needs.

Colin Jeffrey at Gizmag reports on new developing research of a Miniature fuel cell to keep drones aloft for over an hour.

Our target in this regard is a drone equipped with a power source that will enable the drone to follow us around for one round of golf, i.e. 4 to 5 hours.

Given the newness and excitement in this new industry, we imagine that such an improvement will come earlier than we currently think.


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The New DJI Phantom 4 at the DJI Website Including Videos

See the new DJI Phantom 4 at the DJI website including videos at
http://www.dji.com/product/phantom-4

Aerial Video Selfies: New DJI Phantom 4 Drone Can "Follow (Me)" Solely On the Basis of a Person's Appearance

The "follow (me)" feature of commercial consumer drones is one of the most interesting aspects of drone technology, and it is getting even more interesting fast.

Ben Popper headlines his article at The Verge as: DJI's revolutionary Phantom 4 drone can dodge obstacles and track humans.

Matt McFarland has the story at the Washington Post in Drones are now smart enough to follow our every footstep.

According to McFarland, the new DJI Phantom 4 now has a thus far unique feature in that it can be programmed viz. set, as McFarland notes: "[to] identify and track a specific person or thing based solely on appearance", i.e. without that thing or person having to carry some kind of transmitter to which a drone responds.

This opens up a vast array of possibilities, and e.g. permits video selfies in which the drone follows a person involved in a given action, e.g. a sport, whether by land, sea or air.


AirDog is an Auto-Follow Drone for Adventure Sports and Follows the Wearer of the "Air Leash"

AirDog is an interesting "follow me" drone that is in its commercial infancy. It  was designed to use GoPro cameras to film persons involved in "adventure sports". AirDog in "auto-follow" mode follows whoever is wearing its programmable "Air Leash" e.g. around the wrist or on a helmet.

See AirDog | The Auto-Follow Drone For Adventure Sports.

The AirDog drone is currently selling for $1599 without the camera. See the AirDog Shop.

We find that the "Air Leash" (which can be worn e.g. on the wrist or on a helmet) could be a considerable improvement over the other "follow me" drones which require that the user carry around a large control apparatus that the drone can be set to follow.

The negative side of all of these "follow me" drones thus far is the limited flight time, which is 10 to 18 minutes for AirDog, which is below the 20 or more minutes that can be achieved with e.g. a Yuneec drone.

We expect improvements to be made here in the future, with battery weight apparently being the main problem, so that manufacturers may have to learn to integrate the battery better into the structure of the drone and perhaps use larger or better batteries.


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