Has anyone been following the remarkable pace of development in the UAV/drone sector?
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  1. #1
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    Default Has anyone been following the remarkable pace of development in the UAV/drone sector?

    It seems just yesterday I was watching various remote control helicopters being slaved to GPS for simple homing functions.
    Now we have a rapidly advancing sector of practical drones of various stripes and fully functional stabilization/collision avoidance from proximity sensors.
    The rate of growth is remarkable.
    I am always late to the party but it appears to my mind that we have seen a relatively profound paradigm shift in what has constituted advanced engineering of products.
    Gone is the nineteenth century thinking of mechanical complexity to accomplish tasks.
    In its stead we are finding process and sensing being the dominant factor in advancing utility.

    A new engine going to make waves in the auto industry?
    Those days are gone it seems.
    Today processing, sensing and energy storage are king.
    I do get it- "smart" can openers are not much and planes still needs wings.
    It appears though that augmentation is the horizon for many classes of product development.

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    Its crazy.. Things are supposed to (or they say they do) double every so many years.. But it
    seems exponential.. Maybe cuz I'm getting old.... To a kid it may seem slow, but to me its
    f'n amazing..

    I got my first computer on January 21st 1983 when I was 8 years old(I got a weird thing
    with remembering dates).. it WASN'T cheap.. now the phone in my pocket, the one I don't
    care if I drop it on the floor and cost $40 2 years ago has 750,000 times more memory than my first
    computer. If my first computer was Vic20 it would be almost 2 and half million times..

    The "drone" thing is kind of cool.. My better half got me one for X-mas.. It doesn't have the GPS thing,
    for another $50 it would have.. The sensors and the gyros.. Super stable, I fly it in the shop when I'm
    bored, I can even fly it down the hallways... I can "First Person" it through my phone. Auto Lands because
    it knows where the ground is..

    Its kind of fun, and the technology is MIND BLOWING!!!! And its CHEAP!!! but honestly its not all that much
    fun.. No skill.. I had a lot more fun with the RC planes with no Gyros or proximity sensors.. Though
    even that has gotten crazy... Just the battery technology... In the 70's you couldn't possibly even think
    about having an RC plane run on batteries, it was just TOO heavy, now the majority of planes are flown on
    batteries, and its CHEAP!!!

    I was going to say 10 years ago, but my better half's Jeep is now 10 years old, and you CAN TALK TO IT... and
    it'll talk back, and actually do what you tell it to.. But 20 or 30 years ago that was pure Star Trek..

    My folks got their first Cell phone in 88 or 89, my Dad was on the road A LOT... It was a "just in case" thing..
    and he never used it.. It ended up in my truck.. I was the only kid in high school with a cell phone.. it
    weighed about 40 pounds. I used it 3 times total.. *****

    Pulled it out a few years ago to show a buddy of mines kids... They damn near died laughing...

    **** one of those times was when I got stuck in the mud in the woods in my Jeep at midnight...
    "Hey Dad, can you come and pull me out??"... I'm not quite sure how I didn't get my ass kicked for
    that one..

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trboatworks View Post
    . . . Gone is the nineteenth century thinking of mechanical complexity to accomplish tasks.
    In its stead we are finding process and sensing being the dominant factor in advancing utility. . . .
    Certainly true that electronic complexity (e.g. chips to sense and compute) is a lot cheaper than mechanical complexity.

    Another thing we're seeing is that armies, literally or figuratively, of small and cheap things may well displace their massive and highly engineered counterparts.

    We've long seen clusters of cheap personal computers outperform what used to be $$$ super computers.

    Right now it wouldn't surprise me if a squadron of one thousand $1000 explosive drones could overwhelm a $13 billion aircraft carrier (cost of one we're building now). If so, that's a 1300:1 advantage in terms of cost effectiveness. Want to guess what nation is leading in low cost drone development? Our own Air Force still seems to have a Top Gun mentality at budget time, at a time when autonomous flying things are likely better for many tasks. One also wonders how well Homeland Security is thinking through what it will mean for every Tom, Dick, and Hameed to have flying bombs able to drop down smokestacks, etc. etc.?

    Real estate agents in our area are using drones for interior and exterior photo shoots. Pretty easy to make a home look like it's practically next to the ocean when a drone pops up from a yard, takes a look at a home from its best view, and then scoots out to the nearest beach. Inside, the drone flies from room to room with a super wide angle lens, making tiny homes look expansive.

    On an optimistic front, it may be that the best surgeons of the future are armies of nano-bots.

    Meanwhile, more and more people are being annoyed by drones poking into their backyards. Gonna be an interesting next few decades . . .

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    I'll just leave you this link here...
    Genius! Boys build bathtub-drone (4k) - YouTube

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trboatworks View Post
    .........
    A new engine going to make waves in the auto industry?
    Those days are gone it seems.

    ..............
    Cummins, Achates Team to Build Advanced Tech Military Diesel Engines

    Steve

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    oh, and coming soon, this one
    miniature drones - YouTube

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    Quote Originally Posted by tomjelly View Post
    I'll just leave you this link here...
    Genius! Boys build bathtub-drone (4k) - YouTube
    You can thank Igor Bensen for this.....

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    Then there is this:

    Ehang 184: People are being carried around on self-flying drones


    Curious the business model- routing control is provided by corporate..

    “Hal, open the pod bay doors”.....

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    They already have remote control locomotives for switchyard use. A self driving train should be fairly easy to do since there is no steering involved. But, they would need people to couple and uncouple the air hoses.
    Bill D

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    You know the old saying-
    Software works, eventually.
    Hardware fails, eventually.

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    Thanks for the youtube links. I just lost 30 min on a conspiracy video link.

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    What blows my mind more than the exponential rate at which technology expands (it IS incredible what $50 can buy you now), is the rate at which kids get bored of it.

    I try and not be so "get off my lawn", and "back in my day" about it, but they don't make it easy.

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    I think the reason technology seems to be expanding geometrically is ..... because it does. Since pretty much every step in development relies on previous developments the tendency is to multiply. One step generate two or three more, and so on. Virtually the same thing happened with mechanical technology in previous times such as the Victorian era. Each new development creates possibilities for several more that couldn't have proceeded without the initial breakthrough. This pattern has occurred at various times throughout the history of mankind. Each "wave" of development continues until something slows or halts it such as war, natural catastrophes, or even changing tastes and desires. I suspect the current one will eventually slow as either demand or financing slows. Just look at how many people today are still using desktop PCs from several years ago. For most people there is an apex where existing technology is "good enough" and spending more for the latest "toy" becomes harder to justify.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scottl View Post
    Just look at how many people today are still using desktop PCs from several years ago. For most people there is an apex where existing technology is "good enough" and spending more for the latest "toy" becomes harder to justify.
    (Waving hand in air) Absolutely true...but if somebody stood up and said that in the boardroom of one of our favorite manufacturing software companies he'd probably get fired.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeteM View Post
    Meanwhile, more and more people are being annoyed by drones poking into their backyards. Gonna be an interesting next few decades . . .
    Someone needs to get working on a relatively short-range directed EMP gun......

    PDW

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    China demonstrated a one person taxi with a small compartment and four blades. No pilot, just one passenger.

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    I love mechanical complexity and there is just as much useful complexity in the smart chips and innovation of these drones. What has been hush hush is unmanned fighters and bombers and I dare say ships and submarines including mechanized artillery and machine gun positions to protect a fire base or used in anti aircraft . Imagination of the usage of remote controlled drones Has progressed very rapidly. The laser when first discovered the scientist were not sure what the tech could do for us for a couple deckades or more. Drones are incredible.


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