Flying Drone Taxis will be here this summer

Who said it would never take off…

What place better than Dubai to get something like this off the ground quickly. We were thinking that we’d start to see people carrying drones around soon but I much admit I didn’t think this summer would be on the cards. It will be interesting to see how this experience pans out. Check out this video that gives you some insight into how it might work.

The race is on for Global Internet coverage

Things are hotting up in the race for Global Internet coverage.

What will this mean for marketers?

The exciting thing is the opportunities for social media marketing with Facebook and Twitter suddenly becoming available to 7 billion people!!

SpaceX wants to cover the globe with gigabit Wi-Fi using a fleet of satellites

Space Exploration Holdings (aka SpaceX) filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday to launch a satellite system that would provide gigabit Wi-Fi internet across the globe. These satellites will be non-geostationary, meaning they will have different orbital velocities than the earth. They will also broadcast internet connections to fixed receivers on the ground through the Ku and Ka frequency bands.

If you’re not familiar with Ku and Ka, they are a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum in the microwave range of frequencies. Ku consists of the 12GHz to 18GHz portion while Ka is the 26.5Ghz to 40GHz portion. Ka resides directly above the main K band whereas Ku resides directly underneath the K band. Both are typically used by communications satellites.


The application was published by the FCC on Thursday, and reveals that SpaceX intends to launch a massive fleet consisting of 4,425 satellites, and that’s not including the in-orbit spares that will be used when primary satellites fail. Overall, the fleet will be operating on 83 orbital planes at altitudes ranging from 690 miles to 823 miles above Earth.

More specifically, the application shows that SpaceX plans to make an initial deployment of 1,600 satellites first, which will be divided up into 50 satellites per orbital plane, with a total of 32 planes in use at an altitude of 714 miles. After that, SpaceX will deploy 2,825 satellites across 32 planes at 670 miles up (50 per plane), eight planes at 702 miles (50 per plane), five planes at 792 miles (75 per plane), and six planes at 823 miles (75 per plane).

While this constellation of satellites has the potential of providing the entire planet with gigabit Wi-Fi, the Fixed Satellite Service proposed by SpaceX would at first only be provided in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. However, the system can provide service to all locations 70 degrees north and 55 degrees south for at least 75 percent of a 24-hour period.

“Once fully deployed, the SpaceX System will pass over virtually all parts of the Earth’s surface and therefore, in principle, have the ability to provide ubiquitous global service,” the company states in its application (PDF). “Because of the combination of orbital planes used in the SpaceX System, including the use of near-polar orbits, every point on the Earth’s surface will see, at all times, a SpaceX satellite at an elevation no less than 40 degrees, with increasing minimum elevation angles at lower latitude.”

On a whole, the size of the SpaceX satellite constellation is insane. Right now, there are 1,419 active satellites orbiting Earth, 576 of which stem from the United States alone (286 commercial, 132 government, 146 military). Even more, there are around 2,600 satellites floating in space that no longer work, trashing up Earth’s front yard. Add those two numbers together, and the SpaceX fleet is insanely huge given it’s to be deployed by a single company.

The plan is that the broadband service provided by these satellites will actually launch once SpaceX uploads the first 800 units into orbit. Again, their reach will cover the United States, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and part of Alaska. When that will be is anybody’s guess right now, as the application needs to be approved, the satellites built and launched, the receiving bases built, and a service established.



“Now is the Greathest Time to be Alive” – Barack Obama


When WIRED asked me to guest-edit the November issue, I didn’t hesitate. I know it’s the height of election season, and I happen to have a day job that keeps me pretty busy. But given the chance to immerse myself in the possibility of interplanetary travel or join a deep-dive conversation on artificial intelligence, I’m going to say yes. I love this stuff. Always have. It’s why my favorite movie of last year was The Martian. Of course, I’m predisposed to love any movie where Americans defy the odds and inspire the world. But what really grabbed me about the film is that it shows how humans—through our ingenuity, our commitment to fact and reason, and ultimately our faith in each other—can science the heck out of just about any problem.

Read the rest of the article here

Robots will soon be delivering groceries in Washington, DC

Can you imagine seeing hundreds of these things buzzing around? What are the delivery drivers who are going to be out of a job going to think (and do). Going to be interesting…


Order a grocery delivery in the Washington D.C. area in the coming months and you could find yourself opening the door to a self-driving robot.

The company behind the wheel-based autonomous bot is about to start testing grocery and restaurant takeout deliveries in the East Coast city after it became the first in the U.S. to greenlight use of the diminutive delivery vehicle, Re/code reported this week.

Built by Starship Technologies — a London-based company started by two Skype co-founders — the trundling robot uses nine cameras, an array of sensors, and GPS software to navigate its route. The maps, compiled by Starship, are said to be accurate to the nearest inch, though if the robot has any unexpected problems on the way to its destination, a human operator will be on hand to take control remotely.

Starship had hoped to get permission to use the robot in San Francisco, but the company was reportedly put off by the city’s demand that it pay a hefty $66 permit fee for every side of a city block that it wanted to use. Washington officials are charging no such fee, though it does stipulate that the robot mustn’t exceed 10 mph. Perfect, as it only has a top speed of 4 mph.

But such a slow speed means deliveries could take a long time over longer distances. With this in mind, the team partnered with Mercedes-Benz to build a specially designed van capable of holding eight of the robots and up to 54 deliveries. The bots will be driven to an appropriate location close to the delivery addresses, whereupon they’ll travel back and forth, taking ordered items to customers until all the deliveries have been made.

The Washington trial won’t be the first for Starship’s delivery robot. It’s also being tested by Switzerland’s postal service, and has been delivering pizza in Estonia, too.

A growing number of companies are looking at how robotic technology can help with last-mile deliveries, with some solutions focusing on the use of autonomous quadcopters or similar kinds of flying machines. However, strict guidelines issued recently by the Federal Aviation Administration currently forbid drones from flying beyond the line of sight of the operator, suggesting services like the one proposed by Amazon could be a ways off.

As for Starship’s ground-based solution, its biggest problem may be dealing with ne’er-do-wells who want to either steal the robot’s delivery, steal the entire machine, or simply give it a good bashing. After all, remember poor ol’ Hitchbot?

Source: FoxNews


Drones to the rescue! German lifeguards test quadcopters for rescuing swimmers

What an amazing new use of Drones. Great Idea!!

drone rescue germany microdrones sar body

New film shot by totally autonomous drones

rones have aided in search and rescue attempts, recorded history unfolding, and explored the skies — and now, they’re telling a love story, and all without a human operator directing the flight pattern. In the Robot Skies, the first fiction film shot entirely by autonomous drones, is expected to debut at the London Film Festival on Oct. 8.

Directed by Liam Young and written by Tim Maughan, the film uses drones to record the story while simultaneously treating the unmanned aerial vehicles themselves as a cultural object — much as the subway created hip hop and graffiti, the video’s creators explained.

Related: This auto-follow drone uses artificial intelligence to predict your next move

In the movie’s science fiction society, two teenagers are confined by police and a network of security drones. The unmanned aerial vehicles identify and track people, and using the on-board computer systems, identify antisocial behavior, categorizing which numbered citizens are societal risks. Using hacked drones, the two teens find ways to communicate with each other as the quadcopter becomes not just a security tool but a way to fall in love.

But drones play a big role in more than just the film’s storyline. The production team collaborated with the Embedded and Artificially Intelligent Vision Lab in Belgium to program camera drones with a set of cinematic rules — essentially, the entire movie was shot with autonomous drones that follow a set of rules without human input. Of course, programming the drones involved human input to create a different set of rules for creating different camera effects, but the automated video operation is impressive regardless.

The film isn’t director Liam Young’s first shot at using drones either. A self-described speculative architect, he also collaborated in the exhibit “Under Tomorrows Sky” (yes, the apostrophe is missing intentionally) on what cities of the future might look like, and “City of Drones,” another conceptual piece of art.

Produced using drones supported by DJI, the production team released a trailer yesterday. With the debut scheduled for the London Film Festival, there’s no word yet on how (or if) the film will be widely distributed.

Source: Digital Trends