More and more companies are looking to drones as a way to provide speedy deliveries or improve maintenance inspections. And along with that increased interest comes increased worries of a mid-air malfunction that causes the drone to fall and injure someone on the ground.
That’s where NASA comes in. The U.S. space agency’s Langley Research Center has recently announced a new technology called Safe2Ditch that helps drones find the best place for an emergency landing in case of a malfunction.
With Safe2Ditch, the drones continuously run self-diagnostics to check themselves during flights. If a problem is detected, the system estimates how long the UAV can stay airborne and search a database for safe landing locations it could reach within that time. Sensors will point the drone to touch ground in an area with no animals or people.
The system would also be able to alter the way the drone is flying allowing it to stay in the air a little longer to reach that destination. Safe2Ditch would also let the drone know if a landing site isn’t safe during a certain time of day, such as school grounds during the school day. Researchers say the technology could “significantly reduce” the risk of drones flying over populated areas.
SO, WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Do you think Safe2Ditch technology will improve UAV safety? In what other applications could this technology be used? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Instant Internet of Things
Technology experts believe that the number of everyday gadgets and appliances connected to the internet will expand dramatically in coming years.
But what if a single sensor could connect an entire room to what’s called the Internet of Things?
Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University are working on ubiquitous sensing — a single, general purpose sensor that could be deployed to make an entire room “smart.”
They developed a plug-in sensor package that monitors multiple aspects of a room, from sound, light and vibrations to heat and electromagnetic noise.
The system incorporates nine sensors commonly found in current smart devices — with the exception of a camera, which was left out due to privacy concerns.
It then utilizes machine learning algorithms to essentially turn items in the room into smart devices.
Plugging it into a kitchen, for example, could allow the device to figure out when a faucet is running, when a microwave completes its cooking cycle or how many paper towels are left in a dispenser.
It could then send notifications to a smartphone or take other actions.
Carnegie Mellon researchers said the system would eliminate the need to purchase often expensive connected equipment — which wouldn't talk to other items anyway — and could link multiple rooms together to create a building-wide sensing environment.
SO, WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Could these sensor systems reduce the need for pre-connected consumer products? Could plug-in sensors help manufacturers more easily establish connected factories? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.