This drone has an origami arm that unfolds to pick up objects

By | Drones | No Comments

“Folding, packaging of everyday things are everywhere,”….“Why not for robots?”
Scientists have created a foldable robotic arm that allows drones to pick up objects inside narrow ditches.The arm, described in a study published today in Science Robotics, is made of seven plastic actuators that look like rectangular boxes stacked up on top of each other and stretching up to 27.5 inches (70 centimeters) in length. But what’s special about the actuators is that they can be folded flat, so that the arm is stowed away. Scientists attached the arm to a drone. When equipped with finger-like grippers, the arm could grab an object at the bottom of a ditch. When equipped with a camera, it could take video among tree branches.

In the future, this robotic arm could help scientists collect samples from crevices or inspect chimneys, pipes, and other narrow spaces

Read the full article here

Droneflight acquires QuestUAV DataHawk PPK Fixed Wing

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L1002278-1As our clients needs have grown in scale and complexity we have invested in a fixed wing drone with PPK capability.  This enables us to undertake much larger surveys with greater efficiency than with a multirotor drone, it also means that we do not have to place ground control points to deliver a very accurate survey.  This is particularly important in situations where access to the survey area is restricted or to reduce the overhead of placing ground control points (GCPs).

When it came to select a fixed wing platform we had a number of key requirements:

  • Accuracy, it had to be able to deliver high quality results using PPK or RTK alone.
  • Flight time, we needed around 40mins.
  • Robustness, fixed wing drones typically have a “tougher life” than multirotors.
  • Real local support, we wanted to work with a company with real expertise in the UK.
  • Capability to operate with smaller take off and landing area.
  • Cost, its always a factor!

We looked at a range of fixed wings some VTOL, some RTK, some really expensive!  In the end it was the QuestUAV DataHawk PPK that met our needs and we found them exceptionally helpful.

For more information on the DataHawk PPK visit QuestUAV’s website.


Thinking of starting a Drone Operator business? – Read this first!

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As a new year begins and many people consider a career change a Drone Market Sector Report for 2017 has been published by Skylogic Research, LLC based on data collected from 2,600 respondents in 60 countries worldwide.  Some key statistics include:

  • Nearly 80% of operators only complete between one and five operations per month, and
  • 85% of these operators make less than $50,000 (£45,000) gross per annum

This doesn’t come as news to people in the field, Its the same with any new business venture, it can be a hard slog getting established, and if you are thinking of a career change make sure you talk to people who will help you with top quality training, and make the most of what you can leverage from your existing network and experience.


John Moreland, Head of Assessment, DronePartners

Droneflight establishes specialist drone training division – DronePartners

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SmallLogoAfter providing drone training services and support consulting for over 3 years Droneflight has established a specialist training division.  In the past, Droneflight has worked with a number of different NQE’s to deliver ground school training to our clients, but after seeing the CAA’s latest recommendation, for NQE’s to assess pilots in the context of their operations,  we decided we needed to establish our own NQE to make the drone ground school more relevant to the needs of new operators.  Our training team is not without a strong heritage in this area with John Moreland the former Chief Operating Officer at EuroUSC joining as our training manager.  John has personally delivered over 200 ground schools and supported many of the existing NQEs.  Our trainers include highly experienced drone pilots who have operated demanding COMAH Tier 1 sites, off shore and with the emergency services.

With DronePartners we have addressed, head on, the CAA’s requirement to assess pilots in the context of their operations with different levels of flight test and flying locations that include semi-congested areas and a COMAH Tier 1 site.

“It’s really important that new entrants to the drone market get training delivered by real practitioners with the real world experience that provides the students the best possible start.  You can literally have a ground school tutor who is trained on PIX4D, as a Thermographer, with off shore experience, and students can ask those real world questions they need answers to.” – Andrew Griffiths, Managing Director, Droneflight.

To find out more visit the website.

New powers for police to address illegal and unsafe use of drones

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Police are set to be given powers to prevent the unsafe or criminal use of drones as part of a new package of legislation.

The draft Drone Bill, which will be published next spring, will give officers the right to order operators to ground drones where necessary. Officers will also be able to seize drone parts to prove it has been used to commit an offence.

New measures will also make it mandatory for drone owners to register to improve accountability. And drone operators will be required to use apps – so they can access the information needed to make sure any planned flight can be made safely and legally.

Banning all drones from flying above 400 feet or near airports could also form part of the new regulations.

For more on this story visit Gov UK site

EHang 184 in the flesh – personal transportation solution

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L1001848Basically, wow.  We have seen some very large drone platforms in past but putting a person into the mix changes the game.  Obviously you are not going to be getting a flying drone taxi in the UK soon but the fact that the kit is here and being promoted at this stage is surprising.  Also, if your over 5 foot 6 inches you aren’t going to be getting a ride (even if you wanted to!).

DPM Engineering have some short term practical application for this, which we can’t talk about and also an interesting collection of other drones including the very unusual SeaDrone.

Thanks to Darren and Kate for getting a close look at this.


Testing Elios for use in Police Firearms Teams

By | Clients, Drones, Training | No Comments

L1001433-14We always love a great testing opportunity and this was a really good one – using drones to increase situational awareness in Firearms operations.  Its great to see police forces innovating in this way to enhance the safety and effectiveness of their operations.  The Elios was used as it is collision tolerant, you can literally bump it off the walls.  Like every new technology it has advantages and disadvantages – if someone has shut an internal door you can’t fly the drone though it!  The Elios is equipped with the thermal and visible light camera and it also has its one lighting system.

It remains to be seen what the level of adoption of this type of drone is in the police but it was great to be their testing it first!  This has provided us with real practical insight into the required operating procedures and systems to use this type of drone in this very specialised application.

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