What does DJI's plane avoidance technology mean for the future of drones?
DJI, the world’s best-selling drone manufacturer has unveiled new models with plane avoidance technology which warns operators of risks posed by nearby planes and helicopters.
Colin Bull, Principal Consultant Manufacturing and Product Development at SQS, believes that while this is an important step, more must be done to stop drones becoming flying payload systems.
Bull offered the following expert comment:
“DJI’s announcement at Mobile World Congress that they will be equipping their drones with plane avoidance technology is a step in the right direction to restrict the use of drones in uncontrolled air space. Falling in to the wrong hands, there’s currently nothing to stop someone flying a payload laden drone into airspace. This is the first of many steps that need to be taken to protect against hostile drones.
“Despite the obvious benefits of drones, they must be embraced and feared in equal measures. They might look pretty innocent, but on closer inspection, what you find can be terrifying. Putting it bluntly, these devices are in fact a flying payload system with the ability to deliver anything (including incendiary devices or grenades) in to uncontrolled airspace in the way that only Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s) have been able to do in the past.
“Implementing regulation and the standardisation of radio frequencies on which drones can operate is vital. Ultimately, this makes it easier for security teams to use jamming devices to stop a suspect drone from entering the space. Ensuring there are strict regulations in place means that the use of drones can be better controlled. Alongside putting regulations in place should be security measures. As with any connected technology, drones are at risk of being hacked by cybercriminals, meaning software programming needs to be considered more seriously in the development phase.
“Implementing the expertise of quality assurance specialists can help to plug any potential loopholes otherwise exploited by unscrupulous hackers and limit security risks.
“It is time that strict and overarching regulations were put in place to help control drone use, and that system developers consider security and privacy in the lifecycle before a disaster happens.”
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IMF: Variants Can Still Hurt Manufacturing Recovery
After a year of on-and-off manufacturing in the US, UK, and the eurozone, demand for goods surged early last week. Factories set growth records in April and May, suppliers started to recover, and US crude hit its highest price point since pre-COVID. As vaccination efforts immunise much of the US and UK populations, manufacturers are now able to fully ramp up their supply chains. In fact, GDP growth could approach double-digits by 2022.
Now, the ISM productivity measure has surpassed the 50-point mark that separates industry expansion from contraction. Since U.S. president Biden passed his US$1.9tn stimulus package and the UK purchasing managers index (PMI) increased to 65.6, both sides of the Atlantic are facing a much-welcomed manufacturing recovery.
Lingering Concerns Over COVID
Even as Spain, France, Italy, and Germany race to catch up, and mining companies pushed the FTSE 100 index of list shares to a monthly high of 7,129, some say that UK and US markets still suffer from a lack of confidence in raw material supplies. Yes, the Dow Jones has made up its 19,173-point crash of March 2020, and MSCI’s global stock index is at an all-time high.
Yet manufacturers around the world realise that these wins will be short-lived until pandemic supply chain bottlenecks are solved. If we keep the status quo, consumers will pay the price. In April, inflation in Germany reached 2.4%, and across the EU’s 19 member countries, overall prices have increased at an unusual pace. Some ask: Is this true recovery?
IMF: Current Boom Could Falter
Even as Elon Musk tweeted about chip shortages forcing Tesla to raise its prices, UK mining demand skyrocketed; housing markets lifted; and the pound sterling gained value. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), however, cautioned that manufacturing recovery won’t last long if COVID mutates into forms our vaccinations can’t touch. Kristalina Georgieva, Washington’s IMF director, noted that fewer than 1% of African citizens have been vaccinated: “Worldwide access to vaccines offers the best hope for stopping the coronavirus pandemic, saving lives, and securing a broad-based economic recovery”.
Across the globe, manufacturing companies are keeping a watchful eye on new developments in the spread of COVID. Though US FDA officials don’t think we’ll have to “start at square one” with new vaccines, the March 2021 World Economic Outlook states that “high uncertainty” surrounds the projected 6% global growth. Continued manufacturing success will in large part depend on “the path of the pandemic, the effectiveness of policy support, and the evolution of financial conditions”.
Mathias Cormann, secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) concurred—without global immunisation, the estimated economic boom expected by 2025 could go kaput. “We need to...pursue an all-out effort to reach the entire world population”, Australia’s finance minister added. US$50bn to end COVID across the world, they imply, is a small investment to restart our economies.