Opensource Dronecode Project Announced

The Dronecode Project, administered by the nonprofit Linux Foundation, aims to establish common technology for use across the industry. The concept behind Dronecode is to create an open hardware and software stack, where companies can plug in modules for enhanced performance whether it be sensors, piloting, mission planning or other functions. The Android ecosystem is their model.

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Chris Anderson, who started DIY Drones and later 3D Robotics, is behind Dronecode. It utilizes open source hardware and software and includes the APM/ArduPilot UAV software platform and associated code. Examples of Dronecode projects include APM/ArduPilot, Mission Planner, MAVLink and DroidPlanner.

Founding members include 3D Robotics, Baidu, Box, DroneDeploy, Intel, jDrones, Laser Navigation, Qualcomm, Skyward.io, Squadrone System and others.

PX4 ​is an independent, open-source, open-hardware project aiming at providing a high-end autopilot. The PX4 from 3D Robotics, for example, features advanced processor and sensor technology for controlling any autonomous vehicle.

ArduPilot (also ArduPilotMega – APM), was created in 2007 by the DIY Drones community, based on the Arduino open-source electronics prototyping platform.

H.265 encoding, available on Qualcomm’s 810 smartphone processor can reduce HD bandwidth by 50%. Portland’s Elemental Technologies can do the number crunching in the cloud, bring real-time video to all manner of displays.

OpenVX provides mobile developers with an industry standard API to deliver embedded computer vision and computational imaging chipsets that can keep UAVs on track.

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“Open source software and collaborative development are advancing technologies in the hottest, most cutting-edge areas. The Dronecode Project is a perfect example of this,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation.

“By becoming a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project, the Dronecode community will receive the support required of a massive project right at its moment of breakthrough. The result will be even greater innovation and a common platform for drone and robotics open source projects.”

See: Columbia River Drones

GM & Ford to Build Self-Driving Cars for Michigan Testbed

General Motors announced Sunday it plans to introduce Cadillac models in two years that incorporate hands-free driving and Wi-Fi-enabled vehicle-to-vehicle communications with similarly equipped vehicles, reports C/Net. GM brands, Chief Executive Mary Barra announced the initiative in a speech at the Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress in Detroit on Sunday.

In May, Google unveiled a two-seater prototype vehicle that uses built-in sensors and a software system to safely maneuver the vehicle rather than a steering wheel and accelerator and brake pedals.

Google has been leading the charge in developing self-driving technology over the past couple of years, but several automobile manufacturers have also gotten into various aspects of the autonomous driving game, including Audi, Mercedes Benz, Ford, Nissan, Delphi, Toyota, and Tesla.

GM’s “Super Cruise” semi-automated technology will automatically keep a vehicle in a specific, properly equipped freeway lane, making necessary steering and speed adjustments in bumper-to-bumper traffic or long highway trips. The feature, which was unveiled in 2012, is expected to debut in a high-end Cadillac in 2016 on a 2017 model, and will eventually trickle down to other GM brands. It would likely use the 5.9 GHz band for Dedicated Short-Range Communication (DSRC).

The Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I) system would act as a natural complement to the active traffic management projects that are up and running in European countries like England, Germany, Greece and The Netherlands, according to Barra.

For example, the M4 and M5 Smart Motorways near Bristol, England now include things like variable speed limits, dynamic routing and lane markings, and improved traveler information systems.

GM is joining the University of Michigan and the state of Michigan to develop vehicle-to-infrastructure driving corridors on 120 miles of metro Detroit roadways. State officials said Ford is also part of the effort. If a driver in a V2V-equipped car brakes suddenly in heavy fog, for example, every other V2V-enabled car around it will know, MDOT notes.

When the new corridor goes on line, 9,000 V2V-equipped cars are expected to be on the road as part of the program.

The University of Michigan’s Mobility Transformation Center (MTC), a major public-private R&D initiative that aims to revolutionize the movement of people and goods in society the university announced Friday. Plans call for implementing a working system in Ann Arbor by 2021.

Here’s My Proposal for self-driving cars in Portland. See Dailywireless stories on Vehicle-to-Vehicle Network Proposed for United States, Vehicle to Vehicle Communications: Moving Forward?, FCC Moves to Add 195 MHz to Unlicensed 5 GHz band, World Congress on Talking Cars, and 5.9 GHz Hits the Road, Inside Google’s Driverless Car, Driverless Cars Rolling Out in UK, Autonet Does Control and Diagnostic Apps, Verizon Forms Connected Car Venture, Automotive Telematics Goes 4G, Ford Lowers SYNC Costs, Google’s Driverless Car Explained, World Congress on Talking Cars, Connected Car Conference

Samsung Adds Nokia Maps to Phone and Watch

Nokia’s Here Maps are coming to Samsung Android and Tizen phones, report Engadget. Nokia’s maps work offline, so no celluar connection is required once regional maps are downloaded to the device. HERE for Android will let you download entire countries and regions, much like TomTom, or OpenStreetMap-powered alternatives such as Skobbler (now owned by Telenav).

Nokia (the part that wasn’t sold to Microsoft) today announced that it will bring Here Maps to Android for the first time, giving Samsung Galaxy smartphone owners advanced access to its own Google Maps alternative. The Korean smartphone maker has an existing deal to provide Nokia’s Here Maps to their Tizen wearables, such as the 3G-enabled Gear S smartwatch, which goes on sale in October.

By tapping on your location in HERE for Android, you can send a Glympse notice to friends to let them know you’re on your way. Glympse is a free and simple way to share your location in real time with people you trust.

On the Samsung Gear S, HERE is powering an application called Navigator, which offers turn-by-turn walk navigation and public transit routing. The app provides a complete stand-alone experience, including the ability to store map data locally on the device and use it offline for navigation, directions and search.

To get the most out of Navigator on a Samsung Gear S watch, you can also pair it with a the HERE app (beta) which works with the Samsung Galaxy family of devices. With the app you can plan and calculate routes for walking and public transit on your phone and then send them to your smartwatch. The app will be made available for download from the Samsung GALAXY Apps store when the Samsung Gear S hits stores.

If you go online you can use more advanced features, like live traffic and real-time transit schedules. You can also share the places you find with family and friends and save your favorite destinations into Collections that can be synced with other devices and here.com.

Samsung also announced today a partnership with NIKE, introducing the Nike+ Running App for Samsung Gear S watch/phone. The app utilizes the new Samsung Gear S’ built-in Bluetooth and 3G connectivity. With the pre-loaded Nike+ Running App on the Samsung Gear S, users can leave their phones at home.

A Nike+ app for Android was released earlier this summer, although there is no Android Wearable support yet.

Samsung Gear S: Smartwatch Untethered

Samsung is taking the wraps off the Gear S with can send and receive messages or make calls without an accompying smartphone. There’s a 3G modem inside. While it may not be especially fast, it doesn’t require a Bluetooth-connected phone or WiFi.

It features a 2-inch AMOLED screen plus a dual-core 1GHz CPU along with GPS, heart rate and motion sensors. It’s powered by a 300mAh battery that Samsung says can last up to two days. It runs Tizen instead of Android Wear, with pedestrian navigation available from from Nokia’s HERE and support for Facebook.

In the run up to IFA next week Samsung is also bringing the Gear Circle headset that pairs with a phone over Bluetooth, letting users hear notifications, use voice commands or listen to music through the earbuds.

Meanwhile, LG’s G Watch, one of the first Android Wear devices, has a round smartwatch successor, the G Watch R. It needs to be tethered to a smartphone (via Bluetooth) for any voice communications.

The G Watch R’s key feature is its display, says The Verge, with a 1.3-inch Plastic OLED panel that takes up 100 percent of the watch’s round face. LG promises that it’s viewable in sunlight and clear from any angle. The screen rests in a stainless steel frame, and comes with an interchangeable calf skin leather strap. This device looks perhaps more like a normal analog watch.

It’s powered by Android Wear, so it offers the same Google Now-based experience. You’ll get notifications, easy access to notes and calendar and directions. It’s powered by a 1.2GHz Snapdragon processor and 512MB of RAM, plus 4GB of internal storage. It has a heart-rate monitor, unlike the G Watch, plus a handful of health and fitness apps that should make the G Watch R a little more useful as a fitness tracker.

Motorola’s Moto 360, another round Android-powered smartwatch, will have a retail price of $249 and features a heart rate sensor and inductive charging system. The wearable will be introduced next week at IFA in Berlin.

Apple now plans to unveil a new wearable alongside the two next-generation iPhone on September 9, according to Re-Code. The new device will use of Apple’s HealthKit, a health and fitness platform, and Apple’s HomeKit, their new framework for controlling connected devices.

State Fair Apps

The Minnesota State Fair has seen data usage on Verizon’s wireless network increase 156 percent compared to the first four days of the 2013 state fair. The State Fair runs through Labor Day and is expected to draw 1.8 million people.

The Minnesota State Fair created a mobile website and a mobile app to help navigate the massive event. In addition, most of the vendors are promoting their booths via social media.

In anticipation of the increased usage, Verizon Wireless boosted its data capacity more than 300 percent by increasing its mobile cell sites from four in 2013 to six and adding more 4G LTE data capacity with the addition of its XLTE network which utilizes Verizon’s AWS spectrum.

State Fair apps for Android and IOS are an obvious application. Crowdsourcing Labor Day Adventures in state and national parks is helped with Crowdflower mapping. Visualized on Mode Analytics, the map lets you sort by activity and links to official websites, Wikipedia, TripAdvisor and Yelp pages.

Fifty years ago, at the 1964 World’s Fair, plans for industrial farming on the seafloor and a machine for cutting down the rain forest to build roads were exhibited.

A world’s fair today would be different, says Paul Saffo, on NPR. Now the new and innovative is just a mouse click away.

Digital Life in 2025, from Pew Research, predicted state control, reduced public trust, and increased commercialisation of every aspect of web culture. Saffo says today’s fair would be about questions. Instead of showcasing ways to build roads through the rain forest, the fair would ask: How do we save the forest? How can we preserve the oceans? Are we, as a species, capable of understanding how our minds work?

One way to get people to go to a world’s fair today, Saffo says, would be to crowdsource it. Make it like a real-world version of Wikipedia. Today’s fair might be a lot like Burning Man.

Expo 2010, in Shanghai China was a major World Expo, the first since 1992, with over 73 million people attending – a world record. China Mobile exhibited LTE-Advanced at the fair for the first time.

Computational photography chips like the Movidius Myriad 2 may enable Streetview video with fast, efficient OpenVX computer vision algorithms for body and gesture tracking, object and scene reconstruction, and augmented reality. Sounds of Street View lets you create 3D sound experiences in a street view environment.

A virtualized World’s Fair may be an idea whose time has come. Stargates might provide free gateways though a Twitch stream. Local VR headsets could provide full immersion.

Spacemaker VR was an (unsuccessful) Kickstarter project for Oculus Rift walk-throughs. 3D modeling programs like 3dS Max, Blender, LightWave, Sketchup, Revit, Autocad and many others can create and export 3D models.

Unity is a cross-platform game creation system used to develop video games for web sites, desktops, consoles, and mobile devices. Unity3D and similar products such as the Unreal Engine and CryEngine helped democratize game development, making the kinds of tools used by the world’s largest game companies available to developers at little or no cost.

There are lots of free tools for Android App Design. Google’s Material Design provides a framework for responsive (crossplatform) design.

Google Cardboard is here today. Essentially, it’s a cardboard housing for a smartphone. You get a $10 lens kit, about $7 in off-the-shelf magnets, $3 worth of velcro, a rubber band, and an easily programmable $1.50 Near-Field Communication sticker tag for launching the companion mobile app. It lets you cruise through a landscape or city street in Google Earth, watch YouTube videos in a virtual theater or Chrome Experiments, visiting the Great Barrier Reef in a helicopter, or riding a roller coaster.

Screw the World’s Fair. Let’s travel along the Champs-Élysées tonight!

Free Hyperlapse App from Instagram

Instagram today announced Hyperlapse, one of the company’s first apps outside of Instagram itself. Using an algorithm, the app makes it easy to use your phone to create smooth tracking shots and time-lapse videos.

The app is available free for the iPhone. Instagram hopes to develop an Android version soon, but Instagram says that will require changes to the camera and gyroscope APIs on Android phones.

The product team shared their story with WIRED. Instead of using power-hungry algorithms to model the camera’s movement, smartphone’s gyroscopes measure it directly. By using those measurements in a simple algorithm it maps one frame to the next, giving the illusion that the camera is being held steady.

Microsoft also announced their hyper-lapse research recently. According to Microsoft, simple frame sub-sampling coupled with existing video stabilization methods does not work for time-lapse videos, because erratic camera shake is amplified by the speed-up.

Their algorithm first reconstructs the 3D input camera path as well as dense, per-frame proxy geometries. They optimize a novel camera path for the output video (shown in red) that is smooth and passes near the input cameras while ensuring that the virtual camera looks in directions that can be rendered well from the input. Microsoft is currently making their Hyperlapse algorithm available as a Windows app.