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Updated: 13 hours 29 min ago

John Deere partners with Kespry to bring drones and aerial data to construction and forestry

March 7, 2017 - 4:59pm
 Heavy equipment makers Deere & Co., better known as John Deere, have forged a strategic alliance with drone-tech startup Kespry, the companies announced Tuesday in Las Vegas at CONEXPO, an international trade show for the construction industry. The deal could prove a boon for sales of Kespry’s drones and data analytics software. It could help John Deere tap into a new, high-tech means… Read More

AirMap raises $26 million to manage air traffic as drone use surges

February 23, 2017 - 4:33am
battle-drones Lower airspace isn’t crowded with drones quite yet. But as drones become more pervasive, a startup called AirMap is building software and systems to help drone operators fly only where it’s safe and legal to do so. The task will prove completely different from that of managing airliners as we do today, says AirMap CEO and cofounder Ben Marcus who is also serving as the co-chair for… Read More

Exyn unveils AI to help drones fly autonomously, even indoors or off the grid

February 21, 2017 - 12:22pm
Exyn Technologies AI software allows drones to fly without pilots where GPS and Wifi isn't available. A startup called Exyn Technologies Inc. today revealed AI software that enables drones to fly autonomously, even in dark, obstacle-filled environments or beyond the reaches of GPS. Read More

UPS tests show delivery drones still need work

February 21, 2017 - 7:30am
ups-florida-footage-02_42_08_07-still113 The logistics juggernaut specifically launched an octocopter, or multi-rotor drone, from the top of a delivery van. The drone delivered a package directly to a home, then returned to the van which had now moved down the road to a new location. The van pulled the drone down with robotic arms, to dock on its roof. The drone used in Monday’s test was made by Ohio-based Workhorse Group Inc. Read More

Ornithologists are using drones to eavesdrop on songbirds

February 18, 2017 - 11:08am
listening When conservationists put drones to work in field research, they typically function as flying eyes that gather imagery of the habitat and wildlife below. Now, ornithologists from Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania are using drones as flying ears to monitor songbirds in the Appalachian Mountains. Results of their drone study were published in the peer-reviewed journal The Auk:… Read More

Microsoft open sources a simulator for training drones, self-driving cars and more

February 15, 2017 - 11:15am
Microsoft AIRO group on January 24, 2017.(Photography by Scott Eklund/Red Box Pictures) Microsoft has made available a beta version of an advanced virtual world for training autonomous drones, as well as other gadgets that move on their own. The software, which is available on GitHub, recreates conditions like shadows, reflections and other potentially confusing real-world conditions in a highly detailed, highly realistic virtual environment – without the risk of the… Read More

Attack of the drones

February 14, 2017 - 11:00am
drone-rain A drone recently crashed into a Boeing 737 as it approached a landing strip in Mozambique. The damage to the aircraft was extensive. Over the last year, drone crashes have been reported at a nuclear facility, the Empire State Building and one crashed through a window into an office building. For some, the war of the machines has begun — and you don’t need deep pockets to play. Read More

Uncorking innovation with Treasury Wine Estates in Napa

February 10, 2017 - 11:30am
Treasury Wine Estates vineyards. The ancient craft of wine making conjures romantic notions of hand picked vines, and bare feet crushing grapes. However, wine production today is a thoroughly high-tech affair. Degree programs in viticulture and oenology, from Cornell University to UC Davis, reflect advances in the industry. Professors and courses there now focus on topics like “environmental control, and modified… Read More

Don’t expect uplift in delivery drones for years, says Gartner

February 9, 2017 - 2:25am
prime-air_03 While delivery drones might be an excellent PR vehicle for Amazon’s Prime membership brand, they will not be an excellent vehicle for very much else — at least not in the short term. Read More

Energy giant AES partners with Measure to improve worker safety with drones

February 7, 2017 - 8:32am
Measure flies drones to inspect solar panels in a field below. Major power producer AES Corp. is ramping up the use of drones with an eye toward shielding workers from industry hazards. Rather than buy all their own unmanned aerial systems, they’ve engaged D.C.-based drone services provider Measure to get access to a more extensive fleet. Measure recently raised $15 million in venture funding. According to its Vice President and Chief… Read More

DARPA shows off its SideArm system catching drones mid-flight

February 6, 2017 - 11:16am
ternsidearm_619_316 Military-style fixed-wing drones are easy to launch, but difficult to land; DARPA aims to change that with SideArm, a portable drone-grabbing system that snatches the fast-moving craft right out of the air. Read More

Amazon Echo spot ‘primes’ Super Bowl audience for drone delivery in the US

February 5, 2017 - 9:03pm
amazon-prime-air_private-trial_ground-high-res Although Amazon ran a Super Bowl ad for Echo, its delivery drones stole the show. The e-commerce titan’s Super Bowl spot featured a woman and a man sitting on a couch with a bowl of Doritos between them. The man is seen licking the Doritos’ orange cheese residue from his fingertips and returning them to the bowl for another helping. At this point, the woman throws a little… Read More

Forget flying cars — passenger drones are the future

January 28, 2017 - 6:00pm
remote controlling passenger plane In the July 1924 issue of Popular Science, “Ace of Aces” fighter pilot E.V. Rickenbacker told readers to expect “Flying Autos in 20 Years.” Rickenbacker’s flying car would have retractable 12.5-foot wings, a sea-worthy hull and wheels to cruise America’s growing network of highways. Ninety-three years later, personal cars remain land-bound. Read More

Blackboard cofounder Michael Chasen takes CEO reins at PrecisionHawk

January 25, 2017 - 6:59am
PrecisionHawk helps drones navigate only where it is safe and legal to fly. Commercial drone tech venture PrecisionHawk has a new CEO—again. Red Hat Inc. cofounder Bob Young, who has served as PrecisionHawk’s CEO since July 2015, is handing over the reins to another veteran of enterprise software, Michael Chasen, a cofounder and former CEO of education tech giant Blackboard Inc. Verizon Ventures, an investment arm of TechCrunch’s parent company… Read More

Iris Automation raises $1.5 million to help drones sense and avoid obstacles

January 18, 2017 - 7:38am
Founding employees of Iris Automation Inc. Iris Automation Inc. has raised $1.5 million to bring “sense and avoid” technology, and truly self-flying capabilities, to drones used for industrial tasks. Even for human pilots, identifying obstacles and deciding precisely how to maneuver a fast-flying aircraft around them poses a serious challenge. Iris’ technology analyzes and draws insights from videos captured by… Read More

US regulators hammer down on unauthorized drone use

January 17, 2017 - 12:32pm
battle-drones The Federal Aviation Administration and SkyPan International in Chicago have settled a civil suit that was closely watched by the nascent commercial drone industry. The government agency said the privately held company flew its drones over New York City and Chicago from 2012 to 2014, violating its rules which barred drone operators from flying over densely populated areas without… Read More

Measure raises $15 million to fly drones as a service for other companies

January 17, 2017 - 7:03am
dji_0159-1 Measure may not be building the ultimate flying camera, or drones that drop burritos at your door. But the Washington D.C.-based startup has raised $15 million in Series B funding to fly drones as a service for other businesses that want to do things like conduct inspections, capture videos, or gather other insights from on high. Measure CEO and cofounder Brandon Torres Declet said,… Read More

Crunch Report | Lily Robotics Shuts Down

January 12, 2017 - 8:00pm
Lily Robotics shuts down, Techdirt is in a legal battle fighting for its life, Apple is poised to create original content, Starship Technologies gets a new $17.2 million round and Twitter to live stream Trump inauguration. All this on Crunch Report. Read More

San Francisco District Attorney files lawsuit against drone maker Lily for false advertising

January 12, 2017 - 6:25pm
lily_hand_d After raking in tens of millions in preorders and venture capital, the drone maker — if it can really be called that — Lily is shutting down. But its problems won’t end there: San Francisco’s District Attorney filed a lawsuit today accusing the company of false advertising and unfair business practices. Read More

Researchers teach a flying robot to perch like a bird

January 11, 2017 - 11:11am
uav-article-jpg If you’ve ever flown an RC plane or even a quadcopter you’ll know the exciting experience of trying to land the thing and ending up in a pond or a tree. That’s fine when you pay a few hundred for your drone but what if your drone costs $1 million and needs to fly around spying on bad guys? How do you keep it from crashing into a larch? Researchers at the University of Bristol… Read More