Enlarge / A drone from Alphabet’s Wing delivers a package to a customer. (credit: Wing) Earlier this month, Google’s sister company, Wing, began offering a drone delivery service in the Dallas suburbs of Frisco and Little Elm. Wing drones take off from “nests” in two Walgreens parking lots to deliver things like health products or ice cream to nearby customers. Wing describes it as “the first ever commercial drone delivery service in a major US metropolitan area.” One reason for that last caveat: Walmart has been running its…

Enlarge / Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov shared this photo of Starlink user terminals on March 18. (credit: Mykhailo Fedorov) SpaceX’s Starlink Internet is proving to be useful for Ukraine’s military as it fights the Russian invasion. In an article Friday titled, “Elon Musk’s Starlink helping Ukraine to win the drone war,” The Telegraph described how the satellite connection helps the Ukrainian army’s Aerorozvidka (Aerial Reconnaissance) unit do its work of “using surveillance and attack drones to target Russian tanks and positions.” The Telegraph wrote: Amid Internet and…

Enlarge / In this aerial photo of Greenidge Generation’s power plant outside Dresden, NY, Seneca Lake is visible in the background. The lake receives warm water from Greenidge’s operations. (credit: Greenidge Generation LLC) The fossil fuel power plant that a private equity firm revived to mine bitcoin is at it again. Not content to just pollute the atmosphere in pursuit of a volatile crypto asset with little real-world utility, this experiment in free marketeering is also dumping tens of millions of gallons of hot water into glacial Seneca…

Enlarge (credit: Kroger) Kroger, one of America’s biggest grocery chains, is beginning to test a drone-delivery service near Dayton, OH. Starting this week, Kroger will begin testing deliveries near the company’s store in Centerville, Ohio. “Customer deliveries are scheduled to begin later this spring, and a second pilot is scheduled to launch this summer at a Ralphs store in California,” according to Kroger’s announcement. The Federal Aviation Administration has permitted commercial use of drones for several years. But until recently, regulations required the drones to be within the…

Enlarge / Our $24 drone. You can see the missing propeller on the right. (credit: Timothy B. Lee / Ars Technica) Like thousands of other parents, I decided to get my kids a cheap drone for Christmas. I spent $24 for a plastic flying machine with rudimentary collision-avoidance capabilities View original article at Ars Technica

Enlarge (credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) After months of uncertainty, corporations and hobbyists alike finally have a set of drone guidelines from the Federal Aviation Administration. The final rules are a step back from some proposed restrictions, as they will allow flights over crowds and some nighttime operations. But all drones weighing over 0.25kg (0.55lb) will need to have a unique Remote ID, as will smaller drones that are flown over crowds View original article at Ars Technica

Enlarge / A DJI Inspire drone flying in Brandenburg, Germany. (credit: Patrick Pleul / Getty Images) The US Department of Commerce has added dozens of Chinese companies to its “entity list” of companies that may not purchase technology from US companies without a license from the feds. The new list includes DJI, the world’s largest drone manufacturer. It also includes SMIC, a major Chinese chipmaker that has done business with Qualcomm and other Western companies. This is one of the legal weapons the Trump administration used against smartphone-makers…

(video link) The renewed war between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagoro-Karabakh region has captured the attention of military strategists worldwide, including the United States, because of the degree to which drones have changed the battlefield. While the wide-open, rugged terrain of the region has played a role, Turkish- and Israeli-built remotely piloted vehicles are dominating the battlefield, causing strategists to think a lot about land-battle tactics—and about the value of tanks in the 21st century. Azerbaijan has been using a number of weapons systems from both Turkey…

(video link) This summer, the US Air Force awarded contracts to four companies to develop prototypes for the Skyborg Program, the Air Force’s effort to provide relatively inexpensive autonomous uncrewed combat aircraft to serve as robotic wingmen to human-piloted F-22 and F-35 fighters. Skyborg is one of three Vanguard initiatives—programs intended to stretch the Air Force’s capabilities with disruptive new technologies. The US military has been talking about so-called “loyal wingman” drones for close to a decade. The Navy had its own carrier-based drone effort, which after successes…

Enlarge / Photo taken on Aug. 28, 2020 shows the wreckage at the site where a wildfire swept through in Vacaville of Solano County in northern California. (credit: Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images) The US interior department’s decision not to buy more drones with Chinese parts has made it more difficult to fight wildfires, according to an internal departmental memo that lays bare one cost of the Trump administration’s crackdown on Chinese technology. The memo, which was written by the department’s Office of Aviation Services earlier this…