Inside Drones - November 1st, 2016

Inside Drones (Nov 1st, 2016)

Medical drone deliveries in Australia, DJI accidentally films factory, meet the drone racing world champion

A consortium in Australia has launched a project to deliver vital medical supplies to remote areas in the Outback. The Angel Drone project, founded by the Australian RPAS Consortium, will start with a trial run to carry blood samples in a specially-designed medi-drone with an incubator to keep the blood at the right temperature. Neurosurgeon Charles Teo said the drone trials carrying blood and organ transplants could begin within 12 months, though Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority has yet to receive applications for approval. The consortium is made up of eight groups interested in the hardware, security and legal aspects of drones, including UAS International and the University of Sydney. - MASHABLE

DJI accidentally sent a customer video footage of an employee at its drone factory. The worker was double-checking that the drone’s camera and SD card were working before it was packaged up for shipping, and forgot to erase the test footage. The customer who bought the drone loaded the memory card and found a strange clip of a bored-looking worker in a pink shirt and a glimpse of the factory in the background — not enough to give away any secrets, but enough to show the monotony of assembly work. - GIZMODO

The current world champion in drone racing is a former firefighter from Albuquerque who gave up his career to fly full time. Shaun “Nytfury” Taylor claimed the title at the DroneWorlds championships in Hawaii last week. He told local news outlet KOAT, “This is a special time. Drone Racing League [is] bringing us to the masses.” Taylor said he designed his own drone, which goes from zero to 60 mph in one second and can hit speeds of more than 100 miles per hour. In an earlier interview, he said it was sad to give up his firefighting job to go professional, but “it’s something I’ve got to do, I’ve got to take the leap.” - KOAT

Toronto-based company Spin Master has released a game that combines drones with augmented reality.Air Hogs Connect: Mission Drone” comes with a $150 toy drone and an immersive AR game for smartphone or tablet that lets you fly the drone through a 3D digital universe. The game takes Air Hogs pilots through a series of search and rescue missions to save the world from alien invaders. It’s now on sale at U.S. retailers including Barnes & Noble and Amazon. - VENTURE BEAT

AirGon has launched the Bring Your Own Drone (BYOD) Mapping Kit to help drones become a surveying tool for mining, industrial and construction sites. The kit includes software that allows professional surveyors to map terrain using a DJI Phantom or Inspire 1, a low-cost option that can help them make informed choices in situations where they don’t need high accuracy. Lewis Graham, president of parent company GeoCue Group, says he expects every survey truck to have a drone on board within two or three years. - COMMERCIAL UAV NEWS

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania are theorizing that it might be better to let drones bump into things every so often. Grappling with the challenge of obstacle avoidance for drones that don’t have high-tech sensors and controllers, the GRASP Lab came up with roll cages for their small quad vehicles, allowing them to bump into things without crashing. The concept is inspired by small flying insects like bees, which are designed to quickly recover after flying into objects (or each other). - IEEE SPECTRUM

Taiwan’s support for a U.S.-led limit on military drone sales could hamper the country’s commercial drone industry. Taiwan signed on with Washington’s declaration that countries take “appropriate transparency measures to ensure the responsible export and subsequent use” of UAVs, but analysts say this show of diplomacy could slow the approval of UAV exports for purposes like aerial photography and surveillance. Taiwan makes up less than 10% of the growing world UAV market, and developers reportedly want more traction. - FORBES


People on the FPV Racing subreddit are enjoying this amazing video from Stingersswarm of a drone flight through an office park. 

“You’re an amazing pilot,” say k918. “I’m thinking of selling my drone because it’s a pain in the ass to work with and maintain, but this video might’ve convinced me to stick with it.” Stingersswarm replies, “It does take a lot of work to keep yourself in the air. I don’t know how long I would’ve kept it up if it wasn’t for the good friends I’ve made in the hobby.” xanatos451 wants to know, “What kind of VTX and receiver/antenna setup are you using to prevent breakup, or do you momentarily get video dropouts during the flight?” Stingersswarm says, “I get breakup like everyone else. Just keep flying through it.” 

Over on the Drones subreddit, austinallen01 has finally received his DJI Mavic and is live-blogging the initial test runs. “First impression of the controller is that it is a tight fit,” he says. “My iPhone 7+ fits but it is a stretch, but I had to take the case off to get it in there.” atag012 replies, “This is slightly disappointing DJI overlooked such an obvious design flaw but at least it still works.”

austinallen01 continues, “First three flights went well. Considering the wind around here today it is very stable. The vision system works well for indoor flights around the living room too. First firmware update, IMU and compass calibrations took almost 40% battery life so plan on that when yours shows up.

"The functionality within the DJI GO App is nearly identical to the Go App with other DJI systems, as to be expected. There are plenty of new options to customize the additional buttons on the controller but other than that, if you've used the app with a P4 or an Inspire then you'll be right at home. The built in display on the controller gives a good snapshot of typical telemetry but also includes a visual representation of vision sensors as well as motor RPMs in the top right corner. All in all, I'm impressed and look forward to getting more stick time later this week."

Do you think there are uses for drones in gaming, aside from just races? Any interest in combining piloting a drone with a more conventional video game experience?

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