Friday, March 25, 2016

Drones (well, unmanned aerial vehicles) Are Gaining Ground

A recent report highlights the increase in momentum for commercial adoption of unmanned aerial vehicles:

Drone manufacturers and software providers are quickly developing technologies like geo-fencing and collision avoidance that will make flying drones safer. The accelerating pace of drone adoption is also pushing governments to create new regulations that balance safety and innovation. The FAA is set to release new regulations this spring could help boost adoption. Safer technology and better regulation will open up new applications for drones in the commercial sector, including drone delivery programs like Amazon’s Prime Air and Google’s Project Wing initiatives.

Of course, you still need a pilot's license to operate commercial drones. This is smart, but the size o said aircraft need to be taken into consideration. And, much like the GoogleCar, we need a framework for artificial intelligence-controlled aerial vehicles.

Gary Ritter, director of the Center for Advanced Transportation Technologies at Volpe, The National Transportation Systems Center: "Google's recent self-driving car is programmed to be courteous and cautious...." Based on artificial intelligence software, some Google vehicles have driven over 200,000 miles on public roads, using high-accuracy map data, video, LIDAR, radar, and wheel sensors.

Ritter cited many reasons to move towards increasing automation, including improved safety, reduced congestion, energy savings, and innovative mobility options such as advanced rapid transit, on-demand vehicle sharing, and providing mobility to currently ineligible drivers. One of the biggest consumer-oriented reasons is driver convenience.

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