A Tethered UAV Solves the Biggest Problem With Drones

Tethered UAV “Unleashes” Perpetual Drone Flight Time

The major problem with using drones for aerial surveillance, mapping, or inspection is the limited battery life.  Landing every 20-30 minutes to swap out batteries is a major pain.

Though the Tesla drone under development will have up to 60 minute flight time, a Boston-based upstart has a better solution.

CyPhy works has developed an ultralight microfilament tether to allow indefinite flight time, and data transfer.  They’ve coupled it with their newest drone system, called PARC (Persistent Aerial Reconnaissance and Communications).

“It’s basically a robot with unlimited time-of-flight. You send it up and it stays there,” said Cyphy Works founder Helen Greiner at the recent EmTech 2015 conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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The real secret is the ultra-light tethering cable developed by Cyphy.  Their tether is more like fishing line than a wire.  It  allows a 500 ft. flight altitude, and has an automatically controlled spooled real on the ground unit, to keep constant tension.

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Key benefits of the PARC tethered UAV system are:

  • EXTREME ENDURANCE  Ground power enables flight durations measured in days, not minutes.
  • SECURE COMMUNICATIONS  Direct connection with GCS can’t be intercepted, jammed, or spoofed
  • HIGH DEFINITION VIDEO  High quality, full frame rate, unbroken, hi-def video
  • NIGHT VISION  Combined EO/IR means no need to swap payloads when lighting changes
  • GYRO STABILIZED CAMERA GIMBAL  Clear video starts with stable video
  • 500 FEET ALTITUDE  See and communicate farther
  • FLEXIBLE POWER INPUT  Connect to generator, grid, vehicle, or other power source.
  • AUTONOMOUS OPERATION  Launch, hover, and land automatically
  • COMPUTATIONAL POWER  Vehicle has real-time access to GCS computer

Cyphy is also exploring the drone delivery market, following Google and Amazon.  Their most recent funding round of $22 million came from UPS and other venture capital firms.  They also have hobby drone models under development.

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Drone Camera Reveals Alarming Greenland Ice Melt

Up Close View Of Earth’s Climate Change From Drone Camera

There is very little on-the-ground data that researchers have to show how fast the earth’s polar ice melt is happening.

This mission of this recent expedition was to collect actual data to help scientists better understand how fast the ice is melting, and predict rising sea levels.

While there, NY Times staff member Josh Haner was able to capture this beautiful, and terrifying footage of the ice melt with his drone camera.

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Part of this drone video was used as an exciting interactive online feature that shows the melting of earth’s the largest ice chunk.

The cold temperatures limited the drone’s batteries to about 8 minutes flight time, so the flight had to be very carefully planned.

Also, the brittle nature of the ice made it too dangerous to recover the drone if it crashed!

Watch the video if the ice melt below, and share what you think about this!

See the crash landing of the drone on the next page–>


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Drones Emerging As Profitable Tool For Construction Industry

The Future Of Construction With Drones

The construction industry relies on skilled labor, with problem-solving skills that are beyond reach of the most advanced robotics today. Nevertheless, UAV’s are already being used in strategic situations, to help inspect buildings more efficiently, and safely at construction sites using aerial imaging capabilities.

For example, Danis Construction based in Dayton OH recently acquired a DJI phantom drone, and had this to say:

“There are a lot of ways this could help us do things more safely,” said Rob Mauro, MEP coordinator for Danis. “Whether it’s surveying an unsound roof or some kind of situation where we need to set up scaffolding or where there’s risk involved, this could help.”

Beyond aerial inspections, and mapping, UAV’s can actually be used to build structures.  In Switzerland, researchers have used a fleet of quadcopters to assemble a 6-meter tower by laying 1,500 prefabricated polystyrene foam bricks.

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The installation involves a fleet of quadrocopters that are programmed to interact, lift, transport and assemble the final tower, all the time receiving commands wirelessly from a local control room. The tower, which will boast a height of 6 meters (19.7 feet) and a diameter of 3.5 meters (11.5 feet), will be constructed within a 10 x 10 x 10 meter (32.8 x 32.8 x 32.8 foot) airspace, in which up to 50 vehicles can be tracked simultaneously

This video shows a swarm of quadcopters flying in coordinated formations, and even around obstacles. It demonstrates the huge potential for construction automation.  In fact, Swiss researchers have programmed quadcopters to build a working rope bridge.

Worldwide, drones are helping construction companies save time, money and risk with data collected with aerial mapping and inspections.  And with future advances in artificial intelligence, UAV’s may actually become master builders themselves!

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Drone Flyover Of Tesla’s New Gigafactory

An Early Look At A Building That Could Change The World

When completed, this 5.5M sq. ft building outside Sparks Nevada will produce batteries for Tesla cars, allowing production of affordable electric cars.

Elon Musk intends for this building to propel humanity forward to sustainable transportation, by bringing the entire lithium-ion battery manufacturing process under one roof.  Battery production would start in 2017, and be up to full scale production by 2020.

Not only will it be the biggest lithium-ion producing factory on earth, but bigger than all existing Li-ion battery facilities in the world combined!

Watch the video and share what you think!

https://youtu.be/7QDApUM41js

See Tesla’s Next Generation Drone Design

The entire building will be completely powered by renewable energy via rooftop solar panels, wind turbines, and geothermal energy.  The factory is perfectly aligned with true North to maximize solar efficiency, and allow GPS placement of the internal production centers inside the building.

The roof should be completed by Feb 2016.  Solar panels will be installed later, but the white covering will keep the roof cool, and optimize solar panel efficiency.

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The Gigafactory’s electrical infrastructure reportedly cost approximately $300,000.

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The foundation alone cost an estimated $16 million, and just the steel and concrete for the buildings mezzanine cost nearly $13 million.

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Let us know what you think!

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Thanks to Tech Insider and Tesla’s gigafactory for this article!

Watch How This Drone Get Its Battery Changed Automaically

Demonstration Video On An Automatic Inspection UAV System

It’s amazing to see fully automated drones working.  This is a video showing an automatic UAV survey &  inspection system, coupled with a user software interface.  All boundary coordinates are input into the mapping software, and the drone piloting, aerial images, and data is all downloaded automatically.

The coolest thing is that when the drone is low on batteries, it returns by itself to a small hanger, where it removes the spent battery, and replaces it with a fully charged one.  Then the drone takes off and resumes its mission!

Watch it here!

Today’s Drone Racer Is Tomorrow’s Wind Turbine Inspector

$6 Billion Market Drones Inspecting Wind Turbines For Next 9 Years

A new study projects a huge spike in drone-based maintenance services for wind turbines over the next 9 years.  This sector of the renewable energy market could reach $6 Billion (£4bn) by then.

The study was conducted by Navigant Research based in Colorado.  If you’re considering a career change, check this out.  Seems like a low-stress job, based on this video of a man on top of a 200ft wind turbine.

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Read the article below, and share with a fellow pilot.

Drones may have a significant part to play in renewable energy, according to a new study, which found that drone-based maintenance services for wind turbines could amount to an industry worth nearly $6 billion (£4bn) in less than 10 years.

Colorado-based analysts Navigant Research, which focuses on emerging technologies, said it expected cumulative global revenue for wind turbine UAV sales and inspection services to reach that figure by 2024, with drones already gaining ground in this field, where they are proving “more than a novelty”.

Blade repair

Wind turbines, which typically stand hundreds of feet high, are in constant contact with the elements, and their blades require regular inspection to ensure they maintain efficient energy production, and to avoid the possibility of “catastrophic” blade collapse.

These inspections are currently carried out either from the ground, with limited effectiveness, or by access via ropes or platforms. Drones offer a middle option, Navigant said.

“Commercial-grade UAVs handled by professional operators can provide higher-resolution visual inspections than ground-based inspections,” the report explained. “They also provide an inspection that is quicker, easier, and less costly and risky than rope access techniques.”

Navigant added specialised drones are required for the task, since they must provide sharp optics and be able to maintain stability in strong winds.

“Equally important is the integration of data analysis systems and inspection services that can help automate data processing and analysis to mitigate the photo fatigue that can occur photographing, analysing, and cataloging vast blade surface image data across fleets of wind turbines.”

The market is already significant in size, with nearly 270,000 individual wind turbines operating globally at the beginning of 2015, with more than 800,000 blades spinning on these turbines, according to the company.

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Free Aerial Mapping Software For Drones Goes Live

Get 3D Maps From Your Aerial Images

Aerial surveying is being rocketed into the future with this latest software from DroneDeploy, a tech company based in Silicon Valley.  Now, anyone with a drone equipped camera can upload their aerial imagery online, and Drone Deploy will create a 3D maps and models stored in a cloud.

This application has huge potential for construction, surveying, mining, and agriculture industries.  The software is also available in 120 countries.

Read the article below and let us know what you think

DroneDeploy, a Silicon Valley tech company that provides cloud–based aerial mapping software for commercial drone operations, announced today that they’ve made their software available for free to anyone in over 120 countries, providing users with the fastest solution available to automate their drones and receive detailed aerial maps and 3D models.

In addition to providing free, browser­based map creation software, the company announced a new feature called Map Engine, a way for businesses to easily create maps with any drone—regardless of manufacturer.

According to CEO Mike Winn, Map Engine was the logical next step for DroneDeploy. “In the past, DroneDeploy hasn’t been easily accessible to anyone with any drone,” said Winn. “That changes today. Map Engine is a way for any drone owner to create maps and 3D models by just uploading their data into DroneDeploy. And like the rest of DroneDeploy, it’s really simple and really fast, delivering most maps in under two hours.”

Users just need to upload aerial imagery into Map Engine and DroneDeploy’s servers handle the rest—producing fast maps and 3D models, stored in the cloud. “Needless to say, we’re really excited to get our mapping technology into more people’s hands and continue raising the bar in this industry,” touted Winn. “We have hundreds of users from all over the world that are extremely vocal about the ROI they’ve achieved with DroneDeploy.

Click here to continue reading the article.

Click here to get DroneDeploy map engine software, or download from Google Play

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