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Sep 6, 2016

Drones, Droids and Robots

The Australian Federal Government’s ‘National Innovation and Science Agenda’ was hosting the school theme of  ‘Drones, Droids and Robots’ last month. The aim of this theme is to ‘embrace [in schools] … real-world application of autonomous technologies in areas including agriculture, mining, manufacturing, medicine and space and deep ocean exploration’.

A robot is pretty much any device that automatically performs physical tasks, sometime repetitively. The border between machines and robots can be quite fuzzy but we can say this; all robots are machines but not all machines are robots. Generally speaking robots include very high levels of computer control, many sensors and in [...]

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Sep 7, 2015

Business Ideas for Drone Startups

About two years ago I put together a list of problems/business ideas that I thought really needed solving. This was a really popular story and still receives a lot of Google traffic.

Lot’s of people looking for interesting problems to solve.

I see a lot of pitches either via email or in person, over 400 (370 through our pitch form in the last 3 months) in the last 6 months and despite this there are a stack of interesting problems I am not seeing in development.

Here are a few business ideas for Drone Startups if you are still trying to work out what you want to work on.

Air Traffic Control Systems for [...]
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Oct 12, 2014

Hardware is Hard – Hardware That Flies is Impossible – 7 Lessons from the UAV Outback Challenge Winners

After spending last week observing and supporting Team Condor (Colombia)  in the UAV Outback Challenge in Queensland Australia, it was clear to me that there was some common themes that emerged from the four successful teams.

As regular readers will recall, I spent the first 9 years of my working life working on Helicopters for the Royal Australian Navy on an operational squadron, so I know a fair bit about operating aircraft in the real world (admittedly a long time ago).

I met most of the teams over dinner before the Challenges and sat down with the successful teams and picked their brains after winning. Observing the less successful teams also gave me a view about [...]

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Sep 25, 2014

UAV Challenge Mission Complete Team SWFA Drops Water to Outback Joe

Moments after I pressed the publish key on the last post Outback Joe is in Deep Shit, word came through that these two young brothers Ben & Daniel Dyer have managed to get their aircraft into the search zone, find Outback Joe and successfully drop him a 500ml bottle of water within 25m.

This is the first time this mission has been successfully accomplished in the history of the competition.

The brothers from Melbourne put their success down to lack of bad luck and simplicity of design both in the airframe and the release mechanism.

But not the software and flight control boards, turns out Daniel is an embedded systems engineer and Ben runs an enterprise Email [...]

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