Connect with us

Drones

US Navy downs drone with a friggin laser [Video]

Published

on

us-navy-downs-drone-with-a-friggin-laser-[video]

It’s not quite Star Wars, but laser weapons are real. The US Navy just demonstrated that capability when it downed a drone in tests of a new ship-mounted laser in the Pacific Ocean.

On Friday the Navy announced the recent successful test of a new solid-state laser aboard the amphibious transport ship USS Portland. The 150-kilowatt-class Laser Weapon System Demonstrator (LWSD), made by Northrup Grumman, took the drone out in seconds. This was the first use of such a high-energy class solid-state laser, according to the Navy. “With this new advanced capability, we are redefining war at sea for the Navy,” a Navy official said in a press release.

#USSPortland (LPD 27) conducts Laser Weapon System Demonstrator Test in Pacific: https://t.co/zZJglgDIcf @USNavy @USNavyResearch #NavyLethality pic.twitter.com/K8xtcEWiRz

— U.S. Pacific Fleet (@USPacificFleet) May 22, 2020

The US military is pursuing lasers as a more effective and economical means to deal with new and numerous threats coming at its warships. Each shot of the LWSD costs just a few dollars, says Northrup Grumman. That’s a sharp contrast to the cost of deploying a missile to take out an increasing array of smaller attack threats such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and small armed boats. (The US military has also developed drone-specific defensive weapons, such as a small jet-powered interceptor.)

“By conducting advanced at sea tests against UAVs and small crafts, we will gain valuable information on the capabilities of the Solid State Laser Weapons System Demonstrator against potential threats,” said US Navy Capt. Karrey Sanders, the ship’s commanding officer, in the press release.

Other lasers in the military

The Navy aims to deploy lasers against other threats as well, including long range missiles, which could overwhelm the defenses of a carrier group in the heat of combat.

This is not the Navy’s first laser canon, but it’s a biggie. The USS Ponce, for instance, carries a 30-kilowatt class Laser Weapon System (LaWS).

Lasers aren’t limited to the Navy. The US Army is also developing a laser weapon, called the Indirect Fires Protection Capability-High Energy Laser (IFPC-HEL). It may reach up to 300 kilowatts in power and will be able to take out rockets, artillery, and mortars.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.


Subscribe to DroneDJ on YouTube for exclusive videos

You’re reading DroneDJ — experts who break news about DJI and the wider drone ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow DroneDJ on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Drones

Drones and AI can detect landmines

Published

on

drones-and-ai-can-detect-landmines

There are perhaps 100 million unexploded munitions such as landmines strewn about the countryside in conflict regions such as Afghanistan. Now a marriage of drones and AI offers new prospects to detect landmines and save lives.

Drones are already being used in landmine detection. Researchers at Binghamton University in New York have been using low-cost commercial drone models, retrofitted with infrared cameras, to highlight telltale signs on the ground that a mine has been planted. But it’s been up to humans to scan the photos and find those signs. That’s a very labor-intensive process, and it’s subject to the perils of human error. A person isn’t consistently working at the same level of accuracy all the time.

Now the researchers have added machine learning to the process. They used convolutional neural networks (CNNs) to train a model to recognize patterns associated with landmines. This is especially challenging with the scourge of Soviet PFM-1 “butterfly” mines, so named for their shape and small size. They are hard to find not only due to their size but also to a design that largely excludes metal. They carry a second nickname, the “toy mine,” due to a high casualty rate among small children who find these devices while playing.

Prospects to go farther

Despite all the challenges in detection, researchers report that the neural network has been able to recognize the faint signs of butterfly mines in drone footage. What’s more, researchers believe the technology can be transferred to the hunt for other unexploded ordinance, such as recognizing disturbed soil where improvised explosive devices (IEDs) have been planted. “CNN-based methods are easily generalizable to detect and map any objects with distinct sizes and shapes from any remotely sensed raster images,” wrote the researchers.

The fact that inexpensive consumer drones can do the job is a testament to how far drone technology has come, and a hint at how much farther its applications can go.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.


Subscribe to DroneDJ on YouTube for exclusive videos

You’re reading DroneDJ — experts who break news about DJI and the wider drone ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow DroneDJ on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

About the Author

Sean Captain’s favorite gear

Continue Reading

Drones

How to sell your old drone

Published

on

how-to-sell-your-old-drone

Drones, like other high-tech products, change often. With every new model, there’s some incentive to upgrade. And selling your current drone is a good way to gather up some scratch to buy that new model.
Just remember that selling can involve a fair amount of work. There are some steps you need to take before you are ready to sell your old drone.

If you are upgrading from one DJI drone to another, the easiest option for your old drone is to use the company’s Trade Up service. A lightly used Mavic Air will net you about $200 in store credits toward the purchase of a new Mavic Air 2, for instance. You could probably get more on a site like eBay. Just know that there will be more work in getting the product ready and dealing with buyers.

DJI Trade Up

If you go the Trade Up route, only the first step below applies. If you decide to sell your old drone, follow all seven to get it ready.

1) Cancel your FAA registration

If you have a very small drone, like the DJI Mavic Mini, you can skip this step. But any drone weighing over 0.55 pounds must be registered with the FAA. Assuming you did that back when you got the drone, now is the time to undo it. It’s super easy. Just log in to FAADroneZone to visit your flyer dashboard. There you’ll see a card with your registration information. Simply press Cancel at the bottom of the card, and your registration is terminated. The drone is no longer associated with you.

Deregister Drone

If you followed all the rules, you will have also affixed your registration number to the outside of your drone somehow. Be sure to remove that as well, in the regular process of cleaning up your drone.

2) Format your SD card

Your photos and videos are your property. Keep them that way and protect your privacy by making sure to format the SD card, if you plan on including it with your drone. (And it’s a good idea to include a card. Buyer’s value complete packages.) For good measure, follow these steps: Format the card, then record a few new images, then format a second time.

3) Record cumulative flight data

If you’re up front with your buyer from the beginning, the sale is more likely to go smoothly. Part of that is being honest about how much the drone has flown. From your flight app, such as DJI Fly or DJI Go Fly, navigate to the screen that shows usage details like total number of flight hours and miles. Provide this info in the ad for the drone and your conversation with the buyer.

4) Gather up your accessories and packaging

Accessories generally aren’t interchangeable among drone models. So if you have bought any extra components like spare batteries, include them with the drone to make a more appealing bundle. If you saved the original packaging for the drone and its accessories, gather that up as well.

5) Clean up your drone and accessories

Looks mean a lot. If your drone has picked up dirt, give it a wipe down with a damp microfiber cloth. If some stains don’t come out with just water, try a little bit of isopropyl alcohol. For hard-to-reach nooks and crevices of the drone, use a can of compressed air to spray out the dust and dirt. This is also the time to remove any stickers you may have attached to the drone, including your registration number. The more your drone looks like it did when it first came out of the box, the more appealing it will be for a buyer.

6) Take photos

Aside from DJI Trade Up, every means of selling your drone will require that you make a good showing. Lay the drone and its accessories out on a table that’s well-lit, but not overly bright so as to avoid glare. Err on the side of taking more photos. Capture the drone from various angles, unfolded and folded up. Photograph accessories like camera filters on their own. Also arrange the drone and accessories neatly for group photos. To get a good idea for the shots you want, look online to see how vendors sell new versions of your drone or similar models.

7) Pick a marketplace

eBay is the most popular venue for selling just about anything used. It has robust listings for drones, meaning that buyers and sellers see it as a valuable marketplace. Just check the fine print on seller’s fees and reckon on shipping costs to get a clear idea of how much you could net. Then there are the usual caveats. There’s no guarantee that your product will sell. Plus, you are dealing with unknown parties that may end up giving you a hard time, such as claiming the product isn’t in the condition that you specified and trying to get their money back.

There are also drone-specific marketplaces, some of which may let you list your gear for free. Here you will likely find more sophisticated buyers who understand drones and what they are worth. Some of the popular sites are Flyhum, Dronesflip, or DroneTrader. (DroneDJ has not evaluated these sites.)

If you don’t have luck selling your drone on any of these venues, there’s always DJI Trade Up.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.


Subscribe to DroneDJ on YouTube for exclusive videos

You’re reading DroneDJ — experts who break news about DJI and the wider drone ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow DroneDJ on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Continue Reading

Drones

Police drone finds missing California woman

Published

on

police-drone-finds-missing-california-woman

There’s been a lot of animosity towards police use of drones during the coronavirus pandemic. Citizens and civil rights groups fear that authorities have gone too far by observing people throughout public spaces to see if they are following social distancing rules.

And that may be a valid point. Furthermore, the debate takes away from the beneficial, even life-saving, work that police drones can do when targeted to a specific case. Such a case happened on May 25 when a police drone found a missing woman in the city of Orange in Southern California.

According to the Orange Police Department’s Facebook post an “elderly woman” went out in the morning for a walk with her dog. Three hours later, she had still not returned, and her family called the police for help.

Police began a search that included one of the department’s drones. By flying along the road that they believed the woman had set out on, the drone pilot was able to spot the woman lying in the brush far off the side of the road, with the dog at her side. Searching only on foot, police might easily have missed her, but the aerial footage made it easy to spot the woman. The local fire department took the woman to the hospital. And police report that both she and the dog are in good health.

Happy to report her and her dog are recovering well. pic.twitter.com/0n3JCAHY1j

— Orange Police Department (California) (@CityOfOrangePD) May 25, 2020

Finding a balance

Stories like these pop up every week around the world and illustrate the key role that drones are playing in public safety. They are reminders that, while police may sometimes be overzealous in their use of drones, grounding police drone forces would remove an important public safety tool.

What are your thoughts on police drones? Can they be used in a way that helps the public and respects personal privacy? What restrictions would you impose on police drones?

Photo: Orange Police Department

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.


Subscribe to DroneDJ on YouTube for exclusive videos

You’re reading DroneDJ — experts who break news about DJI and the wider drone ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow DroneDJ on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Continue Reading

Trending

English
Spanish English