Drone deliveries

tailsitterA Queensland farm on the Darling Downs has become the unlikely testing ground of one of the most technologically advanced Google projects that could see autonomous drones deliver anything from chocolate to life-saving medicines. Google X, a division of the US-based technology company dedicated to making major technological advancements, tested Project Wing near Warwick earlier this month, the first time “non-Googlers” had been involved. Google X director Astro Teller said Project Wing’s goal was ultimately to build a system for delivering small and medium sized packages within minutes to anyone, using self-flying vehicles.
“There’s no reason we should all have a power drill in our garage when, at any one time, the world is using one hundredth of a per cent of its power drills,” he said from the company’s headquarters in California. “Also, there are situations like emergency response after a flood, or an earthquake, or a tornado, where bringing medicine or other supplies to people who are in need can be very valuable and time can be of the essence. “We’re looking at the whole spectrum of value that can be delivered using self-flying vehicles.”
I wonder if they could deliver a carton of grog – you know, when your on a roll and run out. The farmer in the trial asked for some cherry ripes to be delivered. C’mon mate – lift your game. Read more

I’m moving into drones

40b516376810eee714f4600ca3107099_largeGary, my mate in South Australia is a Radio Controll model plane nutter and I’ve long been interested myself.  I have small chopper that I  practice on but I found it too difficult.  Like…start up….lift off…crash into ground…start up….lift off…crash into ground…repeat several times…go to hobby shop and buy more blades then start up….lift off…crash into ground…repeat several more times. Monotonous…Frustrating. I felt I needed to have a real flying licence endorsed for Blackhawk to be able to fly but technology has stepped in, in the form of a pocket drone. Start up…fly!   Much better – I can now concentrate on photos and videos of my bush 4WD expeditions rather than the actual flying.  Take your hand off the stick and it hovers;  battery almost flat and it returns to base.  With a “Follow Me” mode it will be easy to film driving the old Rangie up steep inclines and across rivers.  Great videos to further bore  my kids and friends. It’s all about software. Advanced software and systems with autopilot and “follow me” mode
  • State of the art flight controls, algorithms and connectivity
  • APM compatible flight controller 6-axis accelerometers, 3 axis gyroscopes, barometric sensor (altitude)
  • Integrated onboard autopilot Flight planning with Google Maps
  • Fly by GPS waypoints
  • “Follow Me” mode (requires mobile device with GPS)
  • Altitude Hold
  • Return to home (RTH)
  • Headfree mode (orientation independent flying)
  • Load/Save and repeat/replay flight missions
  • Real-time flight data
  • Artificial Horizon
  • Altitude Heading indicator
  • GPS signal strength
  • PC, Mac and Linux compatible
  • Mission Planner or QGroundControl Compatible
  • Android compatible (tablet and phone)
  • iOS compatibility coming soon
Available in late April in the US I look forward to another great challenge – controlling drones. More here if you are interested

All about Saturn 5 engines

A morning read of  Catallaxy is good for the soul and, as in this case, just plain interesting.  A link to Instapundit reveals a great story on US engineering.

At the time, the F-1 was the largest and most powerful liquid-fueled engine ever constructed; even today, its design remains unmatched. The power generated by five of these engines was best conceptualized by author David Woods in his book How Apollo Flew to the Moon“[T]he power output of the Saturn first stage was 60 gigawatts. This happens to be very similar to the peak electricity demand of the United Kingdom.”

  That last sentence certainly got my attention.  The linked article talks of the great ability of engineers and tradesmen who produced the F-1 rocket engine 40 years ago and how young engineers are using modern technology to map the engine and maybe rebuild it. It’s a great read Full article  here

Interesting Mono wheeled bike

ryno Move through the world in a completely different way: RYNO Motors is in the middle of selecting a manufacturing partner for its production bike. As a result our production schedule is looking like late 2012 to be shipping. Target retail price for these bikes will be $4,500 US. Product will first be available in the USA with dealer networks being expanded into Europe mid to late 2013. South American distribution will be started late 2013. There is an interesting video here.  

New X3 Chopper

TRAVELLERS could soon be flying on a new high-speed “hover-plane” that combines aircraft wings with helicopter propellers. The revolutionary winged helicopter the X3 Hybrid Helicraft has just been unveiled by European company Eurocopter. The video is a bit long and “sales pitchy” but worth the look. More here