Can Bay Area startup’s firefighting drones save us from catastrophe?

With flame-ravaged Bay Area communities still mired in a tough recovery after California’s worst fire season destroyed more than 1,000 Bay Area homes, a Silicon Valley startup says its artificially intelligent firefighting drones could help stop future catastrophes.

If drones from Rain Industries had been in position around the Bay Area during this August’s lightning storms, the aircraft could have contained 72% of the fires within 10 minutes of ignition, the Palo Alto firm’s co-founder and CEO Maxwell Brodie said. “This is a transformative technology,” Brodie said. “If it is us or someone else that does this, it doesn’t really matter. This will happen.”

After starting out with a smaller, six-rotor prototype drone that successfully doused small fires by dropping balls full of retardant, Rain is now testing autonomous aircraft resembling small helicopters that it says can fly preemptively during potentially hazardous wildfire conditions and use their infrared sensors to

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Next-generation drones could learn from bumblebees’ amazing flight

Next-generation drones could learn from bumblebees' amazing flight
A bumblebee flying within shrubs while foraging needs to devise effective strategies to avoid collisions that may cause damage to its wings and body. By perceiving the gaps between obstacles in relation to its own wingspan and body shape, bees display a remarkable ability to safely fly through even tight spaces. Credit: Charlotte Doussot.

An international study, led by researchers from UNSW Canberra, has discovered the secret of bumblebees’ self-aware dexterous flight—with potential applications for the next generation of drones and autonomous vehicles.


Research lead author, Dr. Sridhar Ravi, studied how bumblebees navigated through a tunnel with a series of gates featuring different-sized holes. The bees were able to successfully fly through the apertures, thanks to a remarkable sense of their own size and a detailed perception of the obstacles’ openings.

Dr. Ravi said that by scanning the aperture, bumblebees were able to skilfully fit through the gates by manipulating

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When Sharks Turned Up at Their Beach, They Called in Drones

Once rare off Southern California beaches, great white sharks are beginning to show up more often. The newcomers are mostly juvenile sharks, which prefer the warm waters closer to shore. That means many beachgoers who are now spotting sharks have never seen the predators before.

“When these little fins started to pop up, everyone was scrambling to figure out what was going on,” said Douglas J. McCauley, a marine science professor and the director of the Benioff Ocean Initiative at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

A new project using artificial intelligence called SharkEye may help keep track of these fearsome fish. The technology is being developed by Dr. McCauley’s lab (which works with A.I. researchers at Salesforce, the company led by his lab’s sponsor, Marc Benioff) and computer scientists at San Diego State University to monitor more of the oceanfront while learning about shark migrations.

SharkEye has been tested

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New guide on using drones for conservation

New guide on using drones for conservation
A drone. Credit: Karen Anderson

Drones are a powerful tool for conservation—but they should only be used after careful consideration and planning, according to a new report.


The report, commissioned by the global conservation organisation WWF, outlines “best practices” for using drones effectively and safely, while minimising impacts on wildlife. This is the 5th issue in a series on Conservation Technologies and Methodologies.

The lead authors are Dr. Karen Anderson and Dr. James Duffy, of the Environment and Sustainability Institute at the University of Exeter.

“This is a detailed handbook for conservation practitioners—not just academics—to understand the benefits, opportunities, limits and pitfalls of drone technology,” Dr. Anderson said.

“Drones are often hailed as a panacea for conservation problems, but in this guide we explain—with reference to detailed case studies by conservation managers and scientists—how and where drones can be used to deliver useful information, and what the key considerations surrounding

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Artificial intelligence could be used to hack connected cars, drones warn security experts

Cyber criminals could exploit emerging technologies including artificial intelligence and machine learning to help conduct attacks against autonomous cars, drones and Internet of Things-connected vehicles, according to a report from the United Nations, Europol and cybersecurity company Trend Micro.

While AI and machine learning can bring “enormous benefits” to society, the same technologies can also bring a range of threats that can enhance current forms of crime or even lead to the evolution of new malicious activity.

“As AI applications start to make a major real-world impact, it’s becoming clear that this will be a fundamental technology for our future,” said Irakli Beridze, head of the Centre for AI and Robotics at the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute. “However, just as the benefits to society of AI are very real, so is the threat of malicious use,” he added.

SEE: Cybersecurity: Let’s get tactical (ZDNet/TechRepublic special feature)

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Holiday Gift Ideas: Save Up to 60% Off These HD Camera Drones

Photographers are always looking to take the most perfect and unique shots. And that sometimes means putting themselves in precarious positions, which is just plain dangerous. Thankfully, those situations can be avoided. All you need is a camera drone and, luckily, several of them are on sale right now — and at prices that practically anyone can afford.

TRNDlabs Spectre Drone

Aerial HD photography is totally affordable with the Spectre Drone — price dropped for a limited time to $59.99. Featuring ultra-simple flight controls, virtually anyone can take off, snap a photo, and then land again without causing any damage to the surrounding area or to the drone itself. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll find yourself doing acrobatic stunts with relative ease, which will only serve to increase the number of photographic applications this drone can provide.

Force1 U49WF Wi-Fi FPV Drone with HD Video Camera

Looking

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KERI, independently develops Korea’s first ‘motor/generator technology for drones!

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IMAGE: Researcher : Dr. Lee, Ji-yeong in KERI
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Credit: Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute(KERI)

As COVID-19 is increasingly emphasizing the importance of contactless services more than ever, the smartization in the logistics industry is taking place as well. In the meantime, a research team in Korea successfully developed a core technology of motor/generator that would contribute to speeding up the pace of commercialization of ‘drone delivery’, known as a future delivery system.

A research team led by Dr. Lee Ji-yeong of Electric Machine and Drives Research Center at Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute (KERI), the nation’s only institute dedicated to electricity research under the National Research Council of Science & Technology (NST) of the Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) developed an ‘axial flux permanent magnet motor/generator’ used for the ‘hybrid-electric propulsion system of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)’ for the first time in Korea with its own technology through SME

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Drones that patrol forests could monitor environmental and ecological changes — ScienceDaily

Sensors for forest monitoring are already used to track changes in temperature, humidity and light, as well as the movements of animals and insects through their habitat. They also help to detect and monitor forest fires and can provide valuable data on how climate change and other human activities are impacting the natural world.

However, placing these sensors can prove difficult in large, tall forests, and climbing trees to place them poses its own risks.

Now, researchers at Imperial College London’s Aerial Robotics Laboratory have developed drones that can shoot sensor-containing darts onto trees several metres away in cluttered environments like forests. The drones can also place sensors through contact or by perching on tree branches.

The researchers hope the drones will be used in future to create networks of sensors to boost data on forest ecosystems, and to track hard-to-navigate biomes like the Amazon rainforest.

Lead researcher Professor Mirko

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Revolutionary technology to manage the production using drones arrives at the Spanish citrus sector

Selecting the citrus fruits in the field at the time of harvesting in order to meet a specific demand is difficult to plan and very expensive when most of the farms are organized under a smallholder model, as is the case in Spain. The Spanish citrus sector is facing increasing competition from third countries, so cost efficiency is vital for the survival of a sector that has been hit hard in recent years, and digitization of the field may be key.

In August of this year, San Antonio Fruits, a company specialized in the production and sale of citrus fruits based in Alicante, Spain, announced an agreement with the company Aerobotics, a technology company devoted to data analysis and aerial images, which focuses on offering agricultural producers a service that gives them valuable and accurate information through the use of drones.

“Through state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms enabled by visual and

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