- Buyers Guide
Pat Hindle, MWJ Editor
I have been closely following the UAV market and related news for the last 6 months. Most of the focus was on collecting market information and determining future directions that would be related to the RF/microwave market for the August cover feature article “UAVs Unleashed.”I was then able to attend the AUVSI Unmanned Systems show in August and was able to see some of the new platforms in person (see blog posting summarizing the AUVSI). And now it seems like UAVs are almost in the news every week with some new use case. From monitoring the health of crops to aiding in search and rescue to observing wildlife behaviors. Being TGIF, I came across a couple of fun UAV applications with videos that caught my attention so have fun with these:
Researchers at MIT SENSEable City Laboratory have developed SkyCall that will allow users who need help navigating the complicated layout of the MIT campus to summon and communicate with the quadcopters via a mobile app for directions. The visitor calls the quadcopter via their phone using the app; the quadcopter locates the visitor and asks, “where do you want to go?” The visitor enters the location on their phone and the quadcopter leads them to the location noting points of interest along the way. According to MIT, the quadcopter utilizes onboard autopilot and GPS navigation systems with sonar sensors and WiFi connectivity (via a ground station), enabling it to fly autonomously and communicate with the user via the SkyCall app. The UAV also integrates an onboard camera as both an information gathering system (relaying images to a ‘base’ location upon encountering the user), as well as a manually-controlled camera, accessible to the visitor-come-tourist again via the SkyCall app. The video below demonstrates the technology and pokes fun at “someone you would typically expect to be lost within MIT.” Hint, the video’s character wears a bowtie and a Harvard lanyard and pin. Chalk up another point for MIT in the MIT versus Harvard ongoing competition.
This one is in the category of when can I get this! A UK film production company has produced a promotional video for a beach-front bar using a quadcopter and octocopter. The quadcopter is used to deliver a bottle of beer to a person sitting on the beach, and then the larger octocopter delivers a whole keg for his buddies. The company’s quadcopter was used for the first beer bottle drop, which had two small servos with cam rotors installed underneath to act as the catch and release mechanism for the beer bottle. The bottle was hung underneath the craft and flown over the actor and then released. The larger octocopter was used to similarly deliver a keg of beer for his friends. Enjoy your Friday!