Drone flyovers of New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle

Vice shot drone video of the nearly deserted streets of New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle. I live LA's San Fernando Valley, and when I walk in the hills I still see plenty of cars driving on the freeways and Ventura Blvd, though.

Image: YouTube Read the rest

An eerily beautiful drone video of shutdown San Francisco

Dan Denegre (Space Race Studio) used his DJI Mavic 2 Pro drone to shoot this eerie yet beautiful video of San Francisco on pause. The soundtrack is "La Guitarra Triste" by Cast of Characters.

"Thankfully few people are outside (I wasn't even close to a person), but seeing the shops boarded up is tough to see," Denegre writes. "I made sure the drone wasn't a nuisance to anyone while shooting this short documentary of this...very weird time in San Francisco."

(Thanks, Imaginary Foundation!) Read the rest

Drone walks dog

Vakis Demetrious posted this clip from Limassol, Cyprus. He writes:

5th day quarantine.

Stay Home Safe but don't forget your dog happiness..

(And yes, I understand that if the dog wanted to run off, it could easily pull the drone right along with it.) Read the rest

Creepy video of drones in china scolding those who aren't wearing masks

Drones are now hovering over people in the streets of china, scolding those who aren't wearing face masks to protect them from the coronavirus, and it's quite eerie. Watch the video in the tweet below from the Communist Party's Global Times of the different folks the drone calls out, including an older woman: “Yes, auntie, this is the drone speaking to you. You shouldn't walk about without wearing a mask. Yes you'd better go back home and don't forget to wash your hands.”

Source: The Washington Post Read the rest

US Interior bans Chinese drones and UAVs with made-in-China parts over espionage concerns -- with few exceptions

Order says data collected ‘could be valuable to foreign entities’

The United States Interior Department today introduced a no-fly rule that covers pretty much all Chinese drones, and all unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) made with Chinese parts, with some narrow exceptions. The big fear is espionage. Read the rest

Building and testing a drone made almost entirely from LEGO parts

On the highly-recommended Brick Experiment Channel, "BEC" (the unidentified, silent LEGO engineer you never see or hear) tries his hand at building a quad drone using LEGO bricks and other LEGO components. The only non-LEGO parts he uses are the battery, the receiver, the flight controller, and a motor driver circuit.

For the flight controller, BEC used the Matek F411-mini. For the motors, he used four LEGO L-motors [88003-1].

Besides the cool LEGO drone he ends up with, I love watching his experimentation and iterative process. And like many fellow 'tubers such as Jimmy DiResta and Primitive Technology, the un-narrated video is kind of mesmerizing to watch as you hear only the sounds of making. Read the rest

Robot bird with real pigeon feathers to improve agility

PigeonBot is a robotic bird outfitted with real pigeon feathers that move to reshape its wings like an actual bird. Developed by researchers in Stanford's LentinkLab, the remote-controlled PigeonBot demonstrates how morphing wings improves flying agility. (Video below.) Their resulting technical paper is the cover story in the current issue of the journal Science Robotics. From Science News:

Birds can modify the shape of their wings by fanning out their feathers or shuffling them closer together. Those adjustments allow birds to cut through the sky more nimbly than rigid drones....

Researchers bent and extended the wings of dead pigeons to investigate how the birds control their wing shape. Those experiments revealed that the angles of two wing joints, the wrist and the finger, most affect the alignment of a wing’s flight feathers. The orientations of those long, stiff feathers, which support the bird in flight, help determine the wing’s shape. Based on those findings, the team built a robot with real pigeon feathers, whose faux wrists and fingers can morph its wing shape as seen in the pigeon cadavers.

Read the rest

Mystery drone squadrons flying over Colorado and Nebraska

For the last couple weeks, residents of Colorado and Nebraska have reported squadrons of large drones flying overhead. The drones are large, with a reported 6-foot wingspan, and their operators and purpose remain a mystery. The Federal Aviation Administration has now opened an investigation into the matter. From the New York Times:

Some have suggested they might be part of a simple mapping operation, or a land survey conducted by an oil and gas company — but why would such flights run at night?...

The drone sightings started in northeast Colorado around mid-December and have only grown more widespread since then. Almost all the sightings have occurred between sunset and about 10 p.m., though (Palisade, Nebraska resident Missy) Blackman said she had seen them out later one night in Nebraska and, for the first time on Wednesday, during daylight hours. She said she had looked at them through binoculars and did not see any markings, just plain silver and white coloring.

Across the state line in Colorado, Captain Yowell tried to photograph the drones on Tuesday night with the camera he uses to document crime scenes, but came away without a clear image. He estimated that up to 30 drones were flying each night, though not all in the same place...

Sheriff Todd Combs of Yuma County, Colo., said in a Facebook post Tuesday that the drones appeared to be staying at least 150 feet from buildings or people, based on the footage he has seen.

“There are many theories about what is going on, but at this point, that’s all they are,” he said.

Read the rest

"China flight systems jammed by pig farm’s African swine fever defences"

"China flight systems jammed by pig farm’s African swine fever defences." That headline from the South China Morning Post sums up this strange story. Gangs in China reportedly send drones to drop material infected with Swine Flu on pig farms. Then, the gangs buy the meat on the cheap and sell it to unwitting customers. (Swine flu rarely passes to humans.) From the South China Morning Post:

The farm, in northeastern China, was ordered last month to turn in an unauthorised anti-drone device installed to prevent criminal gangs dropping items infected with the disease, according to online news portal Thepaper.cn.

The device came to light after a series of flights to and from Harbin airport complained about losing GPS signals while flying over Zhaozhou county in Heilongjiang in late October. In some cases, the ADS-B tracking technology – which determines an aircraft’s position via satellite navigation – failed.

(via Daily Grail)

image: "Main symptoms of swine flu in swine" (Public Domain) Read the rest

Polar bears are eager to know what a camera drone tastes like

Polar bears have been at the shit end of the global warming stick for some time now. Food has grown scarce for the massive beasts, causing them to move inland in search of sustenance, eat carcasses they never would have touched in the past and, apparently, look to flying camera drones as a potential source of nutrition. Read the rest

Protestors use laser pointers to bring down police drone

As William Gibson wrote, "The street finds its own uses for things."

More in this vein:

• Hong Kong protesters use lasers to blind security cameras

• After student arrested for carrying laser-pointers, Hong Kong protesters stage "stargazing" laser-protest

(Thanks, UPSO!) Read the rest

Drone detectives to identify evidence and create immersive simulations of crime scenes

AirCSI is a prototype drone system that scans crime scenes from above, identify possible pieces of evidence, and then collect more detailed images and data of such items of interest. Leading the development of the system is Pompílio Araújo, a researcher at the Intelligent Vision Research Lab at Federal University of Bahia who often assists the Federal Police of Brazil in crime scene investigation. From IEEE Spectrum:

"...AirCSI provides a sketch with the localization of the evidences, as well as a detailed crime scene imagery,” says Araújo. His team used simulation software to test this newer version of AirCSI, and found that using multiple angles to detect evidence is up to 18 percent more effective than using only one angle...

While the researchers have yet to test the new, multi-angle approach beyond simulations, they expect to try it out in a real environment by the end of this year or early next year...

He also plans on developing a way to completely reconstruct crime scenes using the drone footage, creating a virtual environment that investigators can explore indefinitely—or at least until the crime is solved.

"Multi-Perspective Object Detection for Remote Criminal Analysis Using Drones" (IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters) Read the rest

This bipedal robot is a flying drone with legs

From Catlech's Center for Autonomous Systems and Technology, LEONARDO (LEg ON Aerial Robotic DrOne) is a bipedal robot that's uses dronelike propellers to balance and walk around. Eventually, the propellers will boost LEONARDO's ability to jump. The demo video above was just released. The following is from a February article by Evan Ackerman in IEEE Spectrum:

IEEE Spectrum: Where did the idea for a robot like this come from?

Mory Gharib: For many applications that we’re thinking about for the future, like a flying ambulance project that we have or missions to Mars, there is a huge need for I would say a third party—a robotic partner that can, in very extreme situations, conduct scouting or help people in ways that that either drones or bipedal robots can’t do. That was the whole idea—we need to have a system that basically can defy gravity to go places where other robots cannot. And because this machine is not going to fly in the way that drones do, because it has most of the time its legs are on the ground, it can carry a much heavier battery and payload...

If everything works perfectly, what kinds of capabilities will the robot have?

Soon-Jo Chung: Walking on flat terrain, walking, running, and jumping to overcome small obstacles by using the lift generated by the propellers. And it should be able to in a very soft and stable fashion land after it jumps or flies. The ultimate form of demonstration for us will be to build two of these Leonardo robots and then have them play tennis or badminton.

Read the rest

This $1000 self-flying 4K video drone looks cool

The Skydio 2 autonomous drone with six 4K cameras and uses AI to "smoothly fly around obstacles while capturing amazing videos and photos." You just attach a small beacon to a person or moving thing and it will follow. Pretty amazing tech for $1,000. Read the rest

With state secrets privilege, U.S. ends challenge by journalist over drone ‘kill list’

A U.S. judge today dismissed a lawsuit by an American journalist who sought to challenge his placement on a drone “kill list” by U.S. authorities in Syria. Read the rest

Robotic bird inspired by seagull steals show at World Robot Conference in China

The fifth annual World Robot Conference was open to the public in Beijing last Thursday, August 22, and this bionic flying bird based on a herring gull was one of the more spectacular sights.

Other robots on show at the annual event in China included robo-superheroes, and Taiji-playing robots.

Rough cut of video from Reuters is here (no reporter narration).

[via] Read the rest

Autonomous vehicles fooled by drones that project too-quick-for-humans road-signs

In MobilBye: Attacking ADAS with Camera Spoofing, a group of Ben Gurion security researchers describe how they were able to defeat a Renault Captur's "Level 0" autopilot (Level 0 systems advise human drivers but do not directly operate cars) by following them with drones that projected images of fake roadsigns for a 100ms instant -- too short for human perception, but long enough for the autopilot's sensors. Read the rest

More posts