All posts by Jeff Salmon

Drone Fireworks Show

Will Drones Replace Fireworks?

Here’s a slice of life from the western edge of the Eastern Plains of Colorado. As I write this, the Fourth of July is tomorrow, and I’m shopping for our holiday “staycation.” BBQ pulled pork, buns, baked beans, corn on the cob, and “tater salad.” Check. Should I pick up some fireworks? The informational sign...

An illustration of Nasa's GL-10 VTOL.

NASA’s Awesome Long-endurance VTOL UAS

The wizards at NASA’s Langley Research Center took a look at the current state of UAS and found two big problems: The flight time and range of electric multicopters is too short, and many fixed-wing UAS require extensive ground support for launch and recovery. With these challenges in mind, the team came up with two...

Parrot Bee-Bop Thermal

Low-cost Tech for Aerial Archeology, Part Two

To round up this short series on low-cost approaches to aerial archeology surveying, we’ll look at an even lower-cost sensor technology that can be used in certain types of archeological projects. In the first part of this series we talked about how new, affordable multispectral sensors are being used with (relatively) inexpensive UAS to find...

AUVSI

Swords into Plowshares: AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2018

The last time I visited the AUVSI conference was about 10 years ago. I remember walking into the show and thinking, “Did I just accidentally walk onto a military base?” The exhibits were populated with Predators, Reapers, and at least one Global Hawk. Every other attendee was dressed in their best camo BDUs. Not judging,...

Parrot Bluegrass Pangaea

Low-cost Tech for Aerial Archeology, Part One

Last February we took a look at how airborne lidar is revolutionizing the science of archeology in Lidar and The Lost City of the Monkey God. Lidar is nothing less than a godsend for the search for lost cities and civilizations. But it comes at a price, one that cash-strapped archeologists can’t always afford. I’d...

Rocket Billionaires

Rocket Billionaires

Here’s a great example of serendipity. Not so long ago I took a break from my daily routine and flipped on the TV. The set was tuned to the science channel, and just as the screen flickered to life I beheld the sight of the first launch of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy as it lifted off....