Amazon and Google want to shake up the skies, so their delivery drones can take off.
Welcome to NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field. We are in the shadow of historic Hangar One in the heart of Silicon Valley. Google’s just a little bit over there, Yahoo and LinkedIn are over there. This is the wrap and we start off with the top three things you need to know this week.
Windows 10 is out! A few diehards queued up at Microsoft stores, but most were downloading the new OS when on Wednesday. It’s available as a free upgrade to Windows 7 and 8.1 users. There’s a lot riding on this for Microsoft, which relies on Windows to keep users in its ecosystem. Head over to our sister site, PC World, for Windows 10 guides, reviews, videos and a lot more.
This is Aquila, Facebook’s Internet drone. It’s as wide as a 737 but weighs less than a car and its first test flight should be later this year. Fleets of the drones will deliver Internet via 4G LTE or WiFi from 90,000 feet and they’ll all be connected back to the Internet via laser. Facebook wants to bring connectivity to underserved regions.
And over the Samsung where the company is planning to cut the price of the S6 and S6 Edge in some countries to increase demand. Sales of the flagship smartphone haven’t been going as well as hoped and the company is losing ground to Apple. It says a new large-screen smartphone is coming — look for that announcement on August 13, when Samsung holds an event in New York.
In depth this week, drones. It’s the reason we are here at Moffett Field. Everyone wants to put them in the air delivering packages, taking photographs, inspecting bridges. In the futue, the skies of the future could be full of them and that brings safety concerns.
Amazon wants a slice of low-altitude airspace set aside for delivery drones. Google, also speaking here, said it wants computer control systems that will identify and approve every drone flight.
NASA is working on an air traffic management system with the FAA and this is all due to be worked out in the next few years. But it can’t come soon enough for the big guys, which are eager to start using drones commercially.
We’ve seen some interesting drone demos. This one was 3D printined on board the USS Essex. The Navy is investigating designing custom drones on land, emailing files to ships and printing them on demand.
From Moffett Field, I’m Martyn Williams, and that’s a wrap.