Inside a drone delivery center in Rwanda–the first in the world to make medical deliveries at a national scale–staff answered an emergency call in July. A hospital needed blood for a 24-year-old woman who had just given birth by caesarian section. The hospital had transfused her with two units of blood. But she bled out of those units in 10 minutes.
“In that case, that mom is likely to lose her life–not just in the developing world, but even in the U.S. that mom is in a really difficult, dangerous position,” says Keller Rinaudo, CEO of Zipline, the startup that developed and runs the drone network for the Rwandan government, which supplies it with blood and other medical necessities to deliver to its far-flung clinics. “But in this case, the doctors called Zipline, started placing emergency orders, and Zipline basically instantly did delivery after delivery.”
In the wake of several high profile drone accidents and a spike in reported sightings over the past year tracked by the Federal Aviation Administration, the government is cracking down on the unmanned flying objects. By the end of the month new drone registration requirements are expected. The AS-MC01-P multicopter unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), developed by Aerosense Inc., a joint venture between Sony Mobile Communications Inc. and ZMP Inc. (Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg)
The FAA and the Department of Transportation want drone registration and have called on a handful of interested parties—ranging from drone manufacturers to Amazon and other companies with drone delivery systems in their sights—for recommendations. Thursday marks the final day of a three-day meeting of the new “drone task force,” which has been issued a November 20 deadline to hand in its formal suggestions for policing drones.
Score one for Hollywood.
Six movie and television production companies convinced the Federal Aviation Administration that they are capable of safely using drones while filming scenes in the U.S., opening the door to broader commercial use of the unmanned aircraft.
The FAA today said it granted the six companies waivers from regulations on general flight rules, pilot certification and equipment mandates designed for traditional aircraft as long as they meet certain conditions for safety. The agency is working with a seventh company on a similar drone approval and has at least 40 additional waiver requests pending for commercial use of unmanned aerial systems.
To minimize coverage of an anti government protest in Argentina, the government banned access to the airspace around the event to limit images that could lead a viewer to estimate the size of the crowd, or the actions of the authorities.
El Cipayo simply used a radio controlled model helicopter to get the job done, posting the videos on YouTube.
Big Brother may be here, but the common man is sharing the technology.
“Drones are essentially flying–and sometimes armed–computers,” the Brookings Institution noted in a paper published last month. They’re robots who follow the curve of Moore’s Law rather than the Pentagon’s budgets, rapidly evolving in performance since the Predator’s 2002 debut while falling in price to the point where Make magazine recently carried instructions on how to launch your own satellite for $8,000.