I think I might have missed one of my weekly recaps of drone and quadcopter news, but that's because I've been doing a bit of travelling lately.
Up first is the story of an apparently hacked drone crashing and injuring a triathlete in Australia. The story has made the rounds across a number of different publications, but I first read about it on Kotaku. What I liked is one of the first comments on that article:
Nope. This guy is a complete jackoff. Either he's flat-out lying, or he was grossly negligent and incompetent... In either case, fuck him.
First of all, let's start with the airframe. It's a $20 Chinese knockoff of a DJI Flamewheel hexacopter, that he no doubt purchased from Hobby King. (The fact that it's not DJI motors or anything else is a good tipoff.) And even a properly-configured $100 Chinese flight controller would've RTL'd (Return To Launch; climb to a safe altitude and fly back to the GPS coordinates of where it took off from.) upon loss of control. (Even a $60 one, really.)Nevermind the fact that any RX/TX setup you pay more than $50 for won't be interfered with that easily. Bottom line is, once again, either he's flat-out lying and it was operator error, or he was flying a dangerously unfit piece of equipment overhead of people.
The second interesting news item from the last few weeks about drones is a collision of technology trends, with the University of Sheffield announcing they've designed a drone that can be 3D printed and flown that same day. I can see situations where it's not feasible to bring large numbers of drones to a location, but where a 3D printer and materials are readily available.
Apparently Google is also getting in to the drone game. According to a link that Jason Guitard sent my way. I'm not really sure what to make of this news - in the scale of drone company acquisitions, it's probably pretty big. In the scale of Google, it's probably not a big investment on their part. According to the article, they plan on using it to potentially map the earth in more detail and/or to provide quicker internet speeds around the world.
Lastly, the Daily Dot wrote an article about some guy in California who took the first "Drone Selfie". I'd like to refute that claim, as this Instagram photo from last summer clearly demonstrates that I beat them to it with my Parrot AR.Drone 2.0. You can check out some more photos I took with that drone here.