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口罩、呼吸机后的下一个风口,会是无人机吗?

口罩、呼吸机后的下一个风口,会是无人机吗?

Aaron Pressman 2020年07月16日
疫情期间,无人机加速得到采用。

在北达科他州大福克斯,网络消费者如果想从当地沃尔玛超市订购食品和药品,他们会惊讶地发现,新增了送货上门选项。除了通常的店内提货或卡车送货外,还将有一家无人机初创公司可以把货物直接空运到顾客后院。

由以色列无人机初创公司Flytrex运营的空中配送网络是美国为数不多获准进行跨市商业投递的服务之一。该公司于4月份获得了无人机主管机构联邦航空管理局的批准, 5月正式启动该项服务。

最近,美国联邦航空管理局一直在加快审批新冠疫情期间可能有帮助的服务。送货上门服务无需顾客和无人机操控者之间接触,符合审批要求。

Flytrex公司的首席执行官亚里夫•巴什说:“因为新冠疫情,美国联邦航空管理局在不降低安全标准的前提下,大大提高了工作速度。他们的审批速度真的快了很多。”

过去几年,随着联邦航空管理局批准更多的飞行申请,美国的商用无人机行业一直在缓慢发展中。获得审批的大多数是快递、建筑物和构筑物检查以及电影制作等服务。

自新冠疫情爆发以来,一些公司提出了直接利用无人机帮助控制病毒传播的建议,比如在室外体育场喷洒消毒剂,或者使用热成像扫描人群搜寻感染者等。但这些创意尚未获得太大的发展动力。

领先无人机制造商大疆公司(DJI)的战略合作伙伴总监扬•加斯帕里克说:“新冠疫情的爆发确实让所有人都猝不及防,但另一方面我们也看到无人机加速得到采用。”

大约有6万名开发人员正在与大疆合作开发无人机应用,包括管路检测、三维重建等各种应用。在新冠疫情期间,与关键基础设施和急救人员相关的应用特别热门。加斯帕里克说:“这些领域的应用开发不能停止。这才是无人机真正能够发挥作用的地方。”

大疆为其爆款Mavic 2企业版无人机增配了扬声器,这项功能在新冠疫情期间得到了更多应用。警方或其他政府机构已经在街道和海滩上空投放无人机,监测公众是否保持社交距离,如若没有,就使用这架价值1500美元设备上的扬声器要求人们保持距离。

然而,在“黑人的命也是命”抗议活动中,使用这种无人机甚至更为先进的军事侦察无人机产生了更大的争议,招致了公民自由组织的抗议。

但是在新冠疫情期间,企业增加使用无人机的做法,大多数得到的反应平平。

旧金山的一家无人机软件初创公司DroneDeploy在新冠疫情期间业务大幅增长。但是,该公司提供的一般应用跟以前没有什么差别。

例如,DroneDeploy有一款程序可以分析无人机拍摄的农田画面,并建议喷洒农药的时间。在过去的三个月里,农业飞行的数量增加了两倍。同样,该公司使用其能源应用程序飞行的数量是目前的2.5倍,太阳能电池板安装人员使用该应用程序来计算在客户的屋顶上安装太阳能电池板的位置。与此同时,建筑行业公司的飞行增加了70%。

DroneDeploy首席执行官迈克尔•温恩说:“无人机在保持社交距离方面做得很好,可以收集数据并分享给不在场的人。”

同样,Alphabet的Wing无人机送货部门也将服务扩展到了更多行业。新冠疫情爆发后,通过与弗吉尼亚州沃尔格林公司(Walgreens)合作,Wing接到的药品、卫生纸和杂货无人机运送服务订单激增。上个月,Wing增加了课本和图书馆书籍无人机送货服务。

北达科他州的Flytrex公司依赖于公司制造的无人机提供服务,他们的无人机能运送重达近7磅的包裹,最远飞行距离3.5英里。顾客必须使用Flytrex应用程序下定单,其中可选购的沃尔玛商品(从尿布、牙膏到汉堡包)多达200种。Flytrex在商店将商品装到无人机上,将其运送到顾客的后院,然后通过缆绳从大约80英尺的高度将商品送达。

《财富》杂志已经请沃尔玛发表评论,该公司回应之后,我们将进行报道更新。

首席执行官巴什拒绝透露公司收入的相关细节。但他认为,他们提供的服务比汽车或卡车的按次送货收费便宜。他说,一名无人机操作员每小时可以运送15单,而送货司机每小时只能完成3单。此外,送货司机经过简单培训就能成为无人机操作员。巴什说:“我们不需要前787客机飞行员。经过两天的训练,司机就可以掌握无人机操作。”

有初创公司努力推销直接用于疫情防控的定制飞行机器,但在起步时就遇到了更大的困难。在康涅狄格州韦斯特波特,警方与无人机制造商Draganfly合作,通过在无人机上使用计算机视觉传感器和其他传感器来检测诸如咳嗽和发烧等新冠疫情症状,从而检测不遵守隔离规定的感染者。

但该计划在四月份一公布,就遭到了居民和民权组织的反对。康涅狄格美国公民自由联盟(ACLU)执行董事大卫•麦奎尔当时在一份声明中表示:“除了得到公共卫生专家支持并且仅限于公共卫生用途的监控措施以外,任何新的监控手段都应立即叫停。”

警方很快撤销了这项计划,Draganfly已经转向地面传感器制造,用于片场和其他商业场所的感染者检测。一位发言人告诉《财富》杂志,该公司将来可能会尝试类似的无人机监控项目。

此外,总部位于纽约州锡拉丘兹的无人机初创公司EagleHawk一直在测试其无人机的一项新功能,凭借该功能,无人机能够在室外或室内体育场上空,喷洒消毒物质杀死新冠病毒。尽管中国和印度部分地区早已开始大规模采用无人机喷洒进行消毒,但EagleHawk还没有公布任何美国客户购买这项服务。(财富中文网)

翻译:刘进龙

审校:汪皓

在北达科他州大福克斯,网络消费者如果想从当地沃尔玛超市订购食品和药品,他们会惊讶地发现,新增了送货上门选项。除了通常的店内提货或卡车送货外,还将有一家无人机初创公司可以把货物直接空运到顾客后院。

由以色列无人机初创公司Flytrex运营的空中配送网络是美国为数不多获准进行跨市商业投递的服务之一。该公司于4月份获得了无人机主管机构联邦航空管理局的批准, 5月正式启动该项服务。

最近,美国联邦航空管理局一直在加快审批新冠疫情期间可能有帮助的服务。送货上门服务无需顾客和无人机操控者之间接触,符合审批要求。

Flytrex公司的首席执行官亚里夫•巴什说:“因为新冠疫情,美国联邦航空管理局在不降低安全标准的前提下,大大提高了工作速度。他们的审批速度真的快了很多。”

过去几年,随着联邦航空管理局批准更多的飞行申请,美国的商用无人机行业一直在缓慢发展中。获得审批的大多数是快递、建筑物和构筑物检查以及电影制作等服务。

自新冠疫情爆发以来,一些公司提出了直接利用无人机帮助控制病毒传播的建议,比如在室外体育场喷洒消毒剂,或者使用热成像扫描人群搜寻感染者等。但这些创意尚未获得太大的发展动力。

领先无人机制造商大疆公司(DJI)的战略合作伙伴总监扬•加斯帕里克说:“新冠疫情的爆发确实让所有人都猝不及防,但另一方面我们也看到无人机加速得到采用。”

大约有6万名开发人员正在与大疆合作开发无人机应用,包括管路检测、三维重建等各种应用。在新冠疫情期间,与关键基础设施和急救人员相关的应用特别热门。加斯帕里克说:“这些领域的应用开发不能停止。这才是无人机真正能够发挥作用的地方。”

大疆为其爆款Mavic 2企业版无人机增配了扬声器,这项功能在新冠疫情期间得到了更多应用。警方或其他政府机构已经在街道和海滩上空投放无人机,监测公众是否保持社交距离,如若没有,就使用这架价值1500美元设备上的扬声器要求人们保持距离。

然而,在“黑人的命也是命”抗议活动中,使用这种无人机甚至更为先进的军事侦察无人机产生了更大的争议,招致了公民自由组织的抗议。

但是在新冠疫情期间,企业增加使用无人机的做法,大多数得到的反应平平。

旧金山的一家无人机软件初创公司DroneDeploy在新冠疫情期间业务大幅增长。但是,该公司提供的一般应用跟以前没有什么差别。

例如,DroneDeploy有一款程序可以分析无人机拍摄的农田画面,并建议喷洒农药的时间。在过去的三个月里,农业飞行的数量增加了两倍。同样,该公司使用其能源应用程序飞行的数量是目前的2.5倍,太阳能电池板安装人员使用该应用程序来计算在客户的屋顶上安装太阳能电池板的位置。与此同时,建筑行业公司的飞行增加了70%。

DroneDeploy首席执行官迈克尔•温恩说:“无人机在保持社交距离方面做得很好,可以收集数据并分享给不在场的人。”

同样,Alphabet的Wing无人机送货部门也将服务扩展到了更多行业。新冠疫情爆发后,通过与弗吉尼亚州沃尔格林公司(Walgreens)合作,Wing接到的药品、卫生纸和杂货无人机运送服务订单激增。上个月,Wing增加了课本和图书馆书籍无人机送货服务。

北达科他州的Flytrex公司依赖于公司制造的无人机提供服务,他们的无人机能运送重达近7磅的包裹,最远飞行距离3.5英里。顾客必须使用Flytrex应用程序下定单,其中可选购的沃尔玛商品(从尿布、牙膏到汉堡包)多达200种。Flytrex在商店将商品装到无人机上,将其运送到顾客的后院,然后通过缆绳从大约80英尺的高度将商品送达。

《财富》杂志已经请沃尔玛发表评论,该公司回应之后,我们将进行报道更新。

首席执行官巴什拒绝透露公司收入的相关细节。但他认为,他们提供的服务比汽车或卡车的按次送货收费便宜。他说,一名无人机操作员每小时可以运送15单,而送货司机每小时只能完成3单。此外,送货司机经过简单培训就能成为无人机操作员。巴什说:“我们不需要前787客机飞行员。经过两天的训练,司机就可以掌握无人机操作。”

有初创公司努力推销直接用于疫情防控的定制飞行机器,但在起步时就遇到了更大的困难。在康涅狄格州韦斯特波特,警方与无人机制造商Draganfly合作,通过在无人机上使用计算机视觉传感器和其他传感器来检测诸如咳嗽和发烧等新冠疫情症状,从而检测不遵守隔离规定的感染者。

但该计划在四月份一公布,就遭到了居民和民权组织的反对。康涅狄格美国公民自由联盟(ACLU)执行董事大卫•麦奎尔当时在一份声明中表示:“除了得到公共卫生专家支持并且仅限于公共卫生用途的监控措施以外,任何新的监控手段都应立即叫停。”

警方很快撤销了这项计划,Draganfly已经转向地面传感器制造,用于片场和其他商业场所的感染者检测。一位发言人告诉《财富》杂志,该公司将来可能会尝试类似的无人机监控项目。

此外,总部位于纽约州锡拉丘兹的无人机初创公司EagleHawk一直在测试其无人机的一项新功能,凭借该功能,无人机能够在室外或室内体育场上空,喷洒消毒物质杀死新冠病毒。尽管中国和印度部分地区早已开始大规模采用无人机喷洒进行消毒,但EagleHawk还没有公布任何美国客户购买这项服务。(财富中文网)

翻译:刘进龙

审校:汪皓

Online shoppers who want to order food and medical items from the local Walmart in Grand Forks, N.D., have a surprising new home delivery option. In addition to the usual in-store pickup or delivery by truck, a drone startup is offering to fly items straight to a customer’s backyard.

The airborne delivery network, run by Israeli drone startup Flytrex, is one of just a handful in the U.S. permitted to make crosstown commercial deliveries. The service kicked off in May after the company received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration, which regulates drones, a month earlier.

Lately, the FAA has been speeding up its approvals for services that may help during the COVID-19 pandemic. And home delivery that doesn’t require contact between a customer and a driver fits the bill.

“Because of COVID-19, the FAA has not lowered the bar on safety, but they’ve been working a lot faster,” says Yariv Bash, CEO of Flytrex, which is also delivering treats from Dairy Queen. “They’re really pushing things ahead a lot faster.”

Over the past few years, the commercial drone industry has been slowly expanding in the U.S. as the Federal Aviation Administration allows more flights. Most of those approvals have gone to services like deliveries, the inspection of buildings and structures, and moviemaking.

Since the pandemic started, some companies have talked about using drones to help fight the spread of the virus directly, like spraying disinfectants on outdoor stadiums or scanning crowds for infected people using thermal imaging. But those ideas have yet to gain much momentum.

“COVID of course caught everyone by surprise, but what we’ve seen is an acceleration of drone adoption trends,” says Jan Gasparic, director of strategic partnerships at leading drone maker DJI.

About 60,000 developers are working on drone applications with DJI, including pipeline inspection apps to 3D mapping. Applications related to critical infrastructure and first responders have been particularly hot during the pandemic. “That kind of stuff can’t go on pause," Gasparic says. “That’s where drones have really come into their own.”

One DJI drone feature that is getting more use during the pandemic is the speaker that the company added to its popular Mavic 2 Enterprise edition drone. Police or other government authorities have flown drones over streets and beaches to monitor how well—or poorly—people are social distancing and then use the speaker on the $1,500 device to ask them to move apart.

The use of such drones, and far more sophisticated military surveillance drones, at Black Lives Matter protests, has been far more controversial, however, drawing protests from civil liberties groups.

But most of the boost in use of drones during the pandemic has been far more prosaic.

DroneDeploy, a drone software startup in San Francisco, has seen a huge increase in business during the pandemic. However, it’s been for the same kinds of general applications it was offering before.

For example, DroneDeploy has a program that analyzes drone footage of farmers’ fields and helps make recommendations about when to apply pesticides. The number of agriculture flights has tripled over the past three months. Similarly, the company is seeing 2.5 times as many flights using its energy app, which solar panel installers use to calculate where to place panels on customers’ roofs. Meanwhile, flights by companies involved in the construction industry are up 70%.

“Drones are kind of the perfect socially distant worker,” says DroneDeploy CEO Michael Winn. “They can collect data and share it with people who aren’t present.”

Similarly, Alphabet’s Wing drone delivery division has expanded its services into more industries. After the pandemic hit, orders through an existing drone-delivery partnership with Walgreens in Virginia jumped for medicine, toilet paper, and groceries. Last month, Wing expanded to deliver school and library books by drone.

The Flytrex service in North Dakota relies on drones the company has created that are capable of carrying packages weighing up to nearly seven pounds for up to 3.5 miles. Customers must order using a Flytrex app, through which about 200 Walmart items—from diapers and toothpaste to hamburger buns—are available. Flytrex packs the drone at the store and then flies it to a customer’s backyard, where the order is lowered by cable from a height of about 80 feet.

Fortune asked Walmart for comment and will update this story if the company responds.

CEO Bash declines to provide details about his company’s revenue. But he argues that his service is cheaper than delivering by car or truck on a per delivery basis. A drone operator can make up to 15 deliveries an hour versus about three per hour using a car, he says. Moreover, delivery drivers can be easily retrained to become drone operators. “We don’t need an ex-787 pilot,” Bash says. “After two days of training, a driver can become an operator.”

Startups that have tried to pitch their custom flying machines for more direct virus fighting tasks have had a more difficult time taking off. In Westport, Conn., police worked with dronemaker Draganfly to spot infected people who failed to quarantine, by using computer vision and other sensors on drones to detect symptoms of COVID-19 like coughing and fevers.

But as soon as the plan was made public in April, residents and civil rights groups objected. “Any new surveillance measure that isn’t being advocated for by public health professionals and restricted solely for public health use should be promptly rejected,” David McGuire, executive director of the ACLU of Connecticut, said in a statement at the time.

The police promptly dropped the program, and Draganfly has pivoted to building ground-based sensors for detecting infected people for use on movie sets and other business locations. The company may try a similar drone surveillance program in the future, a spokesman tells Fortune.

Additionally, drone startup EagleHawk, based in Syracuse, N.Y., has been testing a new feature on its drones that enables the machines to fly over outdoor or indoor stadiums and spray disinfecting substances to kill COVID-19. Though large-scale drone spraying projects to combat the virus have been used in parts of China and India, EagleHawk has yet to announce any U.S. customers for its offering.

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