Drones can be helpful in many different situations since they can monitor and even deliver tangible items to areas with limited access. In farming especially, drone imagery can provide a close, more in-depth look at crops, without spending excessive time on the fields. In fact, farmers have been using drones for years now.
Because farms are often located in remote areas where powerful computers and networks are few and far between, the shift from centralized computing to edge computing is gaining traction. Aside from agriculture, edge computing is coming into play in many other industries as well. In general, this entails light processing on the periphery of the network, or the edge, as close to the originating source as possible. The end result is faster speeds with less strain on the core network.
With this advanced technology comes more precise, data-driven agriculture. Drones are a much faster, cost-effective way of combing through the field than obtaining images from satellites or planes. These days, drones can be launched and controlled with an app and come equipped to guide itself through the field and take detailed pictures in various lighting environments. Specialized software can then analyze all the data collected to pinpoint problems (ex. dead plants, poor drainage), allowing farmers to address these issues in a prompt manner.
For example, in conjunction with Fieldscanner (the latest product from software vendor DroneDeploy), farmers are able to view their crops in real-time, while the drone is still flying. Via a wireless link, computing takes place on board the drone and on the user’s Apple device.
Previously with DroneDeploy, an expensive drone-based modem and LTE connection was necessary to send photos to the cloud for instant analysis. Now with Fieldscanner, the images are sent to an Apple device in real-time. The need for internet connection is unnecessary thanks to the processing power of both the drone and the mobile device.
Aside from being able to address issues promptly, immediate feedback allows farmers to quickly move on if the area appears fine. This saves network capacity since a more detailed reading is unnecessary. In addition, farmers can upload the data to the computer or a cloud service and produce detailed 3D imagery.
While this drone software is still in beta testing, it is indicative of where the future of drones and farming is headed. What are your thoughts on farming with drones? Share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
We have seen a rise in the interest and use of drones in the consumer market, but the use of drones for businesses has been limited thus far. Some drones have been designed to work on oil rigs and telecommunication towers, while others have been used on construction sites, but we have yet to see more widespread use.
This limited use is not because of lack of technology or accessibility, rather the privacy and security issues that arise with the use of drones. “Rise of the Drones,” a recent report from the global technology association ISACA, delves into the potential uses of drones in a commercial environment along with critical elements which must be considered before implementing drone programs. Members were also polled in regards to the use and planning for drones within their industries.
According to these results, it seems we need more education and awareness in regards to drone use and security. Implementing drone programs prematurely can cost the business lots of money and hassles. While there is potential for drone use within enterprises, it appears most organizations are simply not ready yet.
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From law enforcement surveillance to recreational use by consumers, drones have grown in popularity over the years. Because of their advanced capabilities, a company has even created a drone home security system.
Proposed by Sunflower Labs, the system is designed to complement an existing alarm or security system. The drone streams video to your smartphone when a potential danger is detected, allowing you to determine whether you need to take further action or not.
The system is comprised of a drone plus in-ground smart lights used to detect motion, vibration, and sound. Using advanced data analytics, the system can differentiate humans from cars and animals. When there is a disturbance, artificial intelligence determines whether it is dangerous or not. For example, mail delivery persons will be recognized by their behavior (typically a quick stop by the front door or mailbox).
On the other hand, suppose a person approaches the back door and lingers. A push notification will be sent and you will be asked if you would like to look into the situation. Assuming you say yes, the drone will lift from its perch and autonomously fly to where the suspicious person is located. The drone will hover (30ft) until it is told to return to its nest. There is also an option within the app to alert local police.
By sending the drone to investigate first, Sunflower Labs CEO Alex Pachikov believes that this will decrease the number of false alarms. The drone also allows you to monitor your entire property instead of just entrances and exits, like most other security systems.
The drone is designed to be a minimal nuisance. Currently, the propellers automatically shut off if they hit anything, and considering its size, it is relatively quiet. The ultimate goal is decrease noises to a quiet hum and to get its weight down to half a pound (its current weight is two pounds) before it ships. In addition, it features two cameras which only capture footage of the home owner’s property in order to protect neighbors’ privacy.
Still, there are safety, privacy, and nuisance concerns about the drone. Since August, new rules allow operators who have passed an aeronautical exam to fly commercial drones under 55 pounds no higher than 400ft. And autonomous flying is not allowed for commercial drones.
Despite this, Sunflower Labs has no worries. They believe the policies will not apply as the homeowner will use the drone for non-business purposes. Since recreational users face fewer restrictions, homeowners will likely be held in the same regard.
As this system continues to develop, more details will emerge. As for now, the lights are expected to cost $159 each, and the drone may be rented for a fee (comparable to the cost of traditional alarm systems).
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Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), are aircrafts without human pilots on board. They can be preprogrammed or piloted remotely. Their use spans from surveillance to search and rescue to firefighting to recreation. Before you purchase a drone, there are a few things you need to know.
Drones are made in three grades: Consumer Grade, Prosumer Grade, and Commercial Grade.
Consumer Grade Drones
These are best for beginners, as you can get a quad copter, possibly with a camera and micro SD card, for under $300. These are smaller than average, with a range of about 100 ft plus 10 minute flying time. These are great for practice and, until you have really mastered flying it, you can expect to crash more than once. You will find that you must do extra work for tasks that could be automated.
These drones are in the $300-$1,500 price range, and you can tell the difference. With these, you will find longer lasting batteries, farther range, computer automation to stabilize them in the air, built-in HD cameras with increased storage space, plus improved controllers. The controllers may have built-in video or have the ability to sync with your devices.
Drones with GPS fall within this grade and can offer excellent and practical benefits. If you adventurous or active, you may want to record your excursions. These drones can follow you when you partake in things like water skiing or snowboarding. They can even sense a low battery and will automatically bring the drone back down for a safe landing. Another added bonus: these drones will prevent you from flying within 5 miles of an airport, thus keeping you out of trouble for the most part.
These are the truly specialized kind of drones. For example, these are the ones that will herd sheep, deliver your pizza, or even guide a lost student around campus. You may have seen them, or viewed an exceptional aerial view when watching your favorite football team. Commercial drones are gaining popularity in Hollywood as well. While they are used for filming, the paparazzi have also used them in an attempt to get exclusive shots of the stars.
You will want to invest in accessories to keep your drone safe. If your drone doesn’t come with a case, you can find cases on the market that are great for travelling (think backpack or suitcase types) and even cases with molded foam for increased protection. Extra batteries and extra blades are good to have on hand just in case.
The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) is now requiring drones to be registered (thanks to some people who flew them where they shouldn’t have). Luckily, a $5 fee is good for 3 years, and covers all your drones, if you have more than one.
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Drones can be very beneficial when it comes to surveillance. Also known as unmanned aerial vehicles, drones provide benefits such as decreased risks, relatively lower costs, the ability to house advanced technologies, and more.
Because of this, Transport Canada is looking to employ a drone to patrol the Canadian Arctic. They are looking to enhance their efforts in monitoring things such as ice and oil spills. Currently, three manned airplanes are handling the job – one over each the Atlantic and the Pacific, and the third based in Ottawa for the Arctic.
With manned aircraft, the need for a qualified pilot on board can limit flight times, and some areas are simply too difficult and dangerous for the pilot to access.
Drones, however, are compact, can last longer, and can also reach more difficult areas. Without having to wait for skilled personnel, drones are flexible when it comes to flight and coverage times. They can also be modified with the appropriate technologies and devices for more comprehensive and effective surveillance.
The ideal drone would possess sensors, ground control equipment, and satellite communications, along with maintenance support including spare parts. The drone would need the capabilities to identify and track oil slicks, icebergs, whales, and foreign fishing vessels, to name a few. The necessary range would be at least 6,500km, and it would need to be able to track its target for at least six hours.
A likely candidate would be the Northrop Grumman Global Hawk, valued at about $300 million per new aircraft. The U.S. military already actively uses these Global Hawks.
We have yet to see if Transport Canada’s wishes come to fruition. Do you think drones would be a more efficient way to patrol the seas? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, or Pinterest. You can also find us on Vine.
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Safety, on all levels, is a major concern. With recent events across the world, now more than ever do we need increased security measures. We should become more vigilant to protect ourselves from possible threats or danger. As our technology continues to improve, law enforcement agencies are taking advantage and utilizing these security devices to keep the people safe.
With advanced license plate readers, high definition security cameras, drones and wide area surveillance, officers are able to do their jobs more efficiently. These devices allow them to better identify and apprehend criminals, resulting in safer communities.
License plate readers are often mounted on police cars, allowing officers to monitor drivers for safety. Because these license plate readers are more advanced than before, they can parse through the many plates that zoom by and cross reference them to a criminal database. It makes it easier to find wanted suspects, stolen vehicles, aids in amber alerts, and more. By enabling our officers to capture these criminals, we work toward building safe streets and communities.
High Definition (Facial Recognition)
Security cameras with high definition are becoming more common, and some are even equipped with facial recognition technology. This is obviously helpful in the sense that suspects can be more easily identified when attempting to elude law enforcement. These cameras can also pick up on suspicious activities and alert law enforcement accordingly. For our safety, it is better to be proactive than reactive.
Drones & Wide Area Surveillance
Drones have gained popularity in the commercial arena, however, they can serve an extremely beneficial purpose for security and law enforcement. Much like helicopters can offer an aerial view, drones work the same way, but because of their small size and advanced features, they can better track a suspect, making it harder for him or her to evade police. Wide-area surveillance offers a bigger picture, recording all movement within a given area for hours. When crimes are reported, footage can be reviewed to verify details and stories.
As these devices start to become more widely used in law enforcement, do you think crimes rates will begin to noticeably decline? We would love to hear from you. Share your thoughts with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest.
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During the holiday season, the big guns come out and innovative tech gadgets hit the market. It’s always fun to see what’s offered during this time. It seems this year the buzz surrounds new wearable tech, smart devices, and commercial drones. TGI Fridays decided to take this technology a step further and use drones to spread some holiday cheer within their restaurant.
The Fridays Mobile Mistletoe is a mistletoe carrying drone which travels around the restaurant and hovers over unsuspecting couples. Per mistletoe tradition, the pair is supposed to kiss. The drone then captures the magic moment on its camera.
A pilot program was originally launched at the TGI Fridays Manchester Royal Exchange restaurant in the United Kingdom. The positive response inspired locations in New York Westbury and Brooklyn to introduce these holiday drones into their restaurants.
The concept of a mistletoe drone is festive and smart, but the execution could potentially cause problems. As the Brooklyn location rolled out the Mobile Mistletoe, it is reported that a person suffered a minor injury from the drone. This may cause legal concern for both the establishment as well as concerns about personal safety among diners.
In addition to injury risk, questions arise about the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations on commercial drones. However, since these drones are being used indoors as opposed to outdoors, jurisdiction becomes cloudy.
What do you think about the Fridays Mobile Mistletoe drone? If your local Fridays restaurant had them, would they entice or discourage you from dining there? Share your thoughts with us. Connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest.
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We all know how innovative apps can be these days, but did you ever think your phone could immediately help you in an emergency? Not only does the LifeLine Response app allow your phone to become a panic button, but at the release of your thumb from the button, police are notified and dispatched while a drone speeds to your rescue.
The LifeLine Response app, created by Peter Cahill, was inspired by an attempted abduction on Cahill’s nieces. The app, available for iPhones and Androids (availability for Windows phones coming soon), costs $9.99 yearly, but can provide safety for many. LifeLine Response likens the app “as a home alarm system you can take with you everywhere you go.”
Once the app is installed on your phone, you can open it when you feel concerned about your safety. The press of a button connects you to controllers, and you can express your concern. As soon as pressure is released from the button, law enforcement and a drone will be sent to your GPS location. The drone travels 60 mph and can stay with you until authorities arrive, or it can follow the suspect, all the while recording the incident. Besides its recording abilities and speed, the drone is meant to scare off a potential attacker to provide safety for the individual.
Cahill ensures that efforts have been made so that their drones comply with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations. The drones would be stored at appropriate law enforcement headquarters, enabling quick response to potential crime scenes. It has been reported that about 30 college, corporate, and hospital campuses have elected to be of the first to use this technology, though names have not been disclosed.
While this endeavor seems promising, do you think the masses will accept this type of emergency system? As drones gain in popularity and their applications expand, do you believe this app, in particular, will shine a good light on drone use? Join our discussion on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest!
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Utilizing a surveillance system demonstrates the ability to aid in suspect identification to help solve crimes. Technological advances have expanded these systems to overhead monitoring via aircrafts, similar to drones. Persistent Surveillance Systems (PSS) has created a manned aircraft equipped with several cameras to record ground activity over a 25 sq mile (64.7 sq km) area.
The PSS aircraft is houses 12 high-resolution cameras which work together to create one wide range view to be transmitted to analysts below. Persons in question are able to be tracked, but cannot be clearly identified from these cameras.
Instead, tracking a person’s movement is the goal. These aircrafts were tested in different areas. For nine days in early 2012, the PSS aircraft was used in Compton, CA. During this time, the PSS surveillance footage captured various crimes. The suspect’s movement before and after the occurrence were recorded. Access to this information, in conjunction with firsthand testimony, helps to create accurate timelines.
This information can offer some insight on details of the crime, possible accomplices, whether it was premeditated or not, and more. By having an aerial view and being able to accurately track persons, we can more quickly and effectively locate those evading police. We can save time, money, and manpower as the PSS aircraft can do the work in the sky. These surveillance aircrafts could be vital in capturing and punishing suspects, thus restoring the safety and security of our neighborhoods.
Do you think your local police department should adopt this type of technology to help prevent crimes? Please share your thoughts with us on our social media sites. You can find us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest.
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Drones have been in the news as of late for many reasons. These unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) seem to be the next big thing when it comes to delivery, whether it be packages to your doorstep, emergency supplies to remote areas, or simply bottles to a table. However, their commercial use has caused quite a stir.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations and privacy issues seem to be the major roadblocks for commercial drone use. However, Disney recently made a surprising move by applying for three patents, which would utilize drones for their entertainment shows. The applications are as follows: Aerial Display System with Floating Pixels, Aerial Display System with Floating Projection Screens, and Aerial Display System with Marionettes Articulated and Supported by Airborne Devices.
What exactly do these patent applications mean? And what role will the drones play in all of this? For now we are left wondering, but we can make likely predictions of what to expect.
According to Disney, “floating pixels” combine picture and element. These, in conjunction with drones carrying projection screen equipment could potentially create a beautiful 3D show conducted in the sky. The special effects that the drones could possibly execute are vast. Drones could act as a marionette for large scale character shows, produce animated 3D images, and more.
Aside from enhancing shows, drones are excellent eyes in the sky. When incidents occur or a child goes missing, drones can provide aerial views for better insight to the situation. Access to this may increase security and decrease problems.
While monitoring from above, drones could possibly capture candid moments between family and friends. These will add to the memories created by photos with characters or semi-candid shots from different rides. People may fancy this idea, but others may argue an invasion of privacy. Moving forward with this idea would warrant much discussion and debate to please the masses.
Drones can also help with parking. Having to pay high rates for parking alone can stress drivers out, let alone navigating through the numerous parking areas trying to find a decent spot. With the aerial view of drones, empty spaces can be spotted and filled more efficiently, cutting down on parking time and possibly reducing stress.
Drones can also play music for guests or better Wi-Fi connection by toting routers. By supplying these amenities, guests may enjoy their overall park experience more. The possibilities are seemingly endless when it comes to the use of drones and our advancing technology.
Can you find any flaws or issues that may arise if these applications and FAA regulations permit the use of drones? Do you think Disney’s implementation of drones will prove successful? Share your thoughts with us on our social networks – Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and Twitter.