The US Army is looking to roll out tiny drones allowing soldiers on the front lines to have remote sensing capability. This would allow them to look around corners, into buildings and over hills without exposing themselves. The hope is to have these in the field by 2018.
Drones such as these are not new to the military. The British use the 0.5 oz (15 gram) Prox Dynamics’ Black Hornet minicopter in such a role already.
I came across this article (Gestures improve communication, even with robots) telling how British researchers have found that having robots gesture while they talk helps communication with humans. In this study the gestures were first made by a human, then duplicated by the robot.
I think it will be harder to have robots spontaneously gesture with their speech. Will this make robots more understandable, or make people more uncomfortable around them?
African Delivery Drones
There has been a lot of talk about using drones for deliveries here in the US. In July of this year drones will start dropping medical supplies to remote hospitals and clinics in western Rwanda.
These will be relatively small packages weighing up to only 3.5 pounds, but the drones can fly at up to 180 miles an hour. It is estimated that the aircraft will be able to make between 50 and 150 deliveries a day, so the actual amount of supplies able to be delivered is significant. With this drone delivery network, supplies can be ordered and delivered to locations up to 90 miles away within 30 minutes.
The drones to be used are being supplied by Zipline. This startup has a complete business plan around the delivery of medical supplies. The aircraft will fly to the delivery location then drop the supplies by parachute.