26/03/2016 Click


In a drone special the team race drones and then take them down with the help of an eagle. Plus learning how to program a BBC Microbit.

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This week: Superfast, super furious at Dubai's world drone pre-.


Hydrogen keeping them up, and Eagles taking them down. -- world drone of


prix. Drones, drones, drones, a thing of


constant fascination and innovation. So much so, that last year, the


government of the United Arab Emirates held a contest called


jointly good with a massive $1 million prize up for grabs -- drones


for good. Teams run the world were invited to compete to demonstrate


how their unmanned aerial vehicles could improve people's lives. We saw


everything from frog dissipation to window cleaning. -- fog. Not content


with feisty's event, to buy is aiming to once again be the centre


of drone innovation. We have been back to the UAE to meet the pilots


said to turn drone racing professional and establish


themselves as world champions. Pilots, starch or rotors. 32 of the


best drone pilots from across the globe have gathered here in Dubai


for the very first World Drone Prix. At stake, a huge prize pot of $1


million. With the first prize a $250,000 for the fastest team. For


pilots will fly at the same time, and it will be a knockout type of


tournament style. They will be racing custom quad copters around


this specially constructed circuit. The pallets must complete 12 laps of


the track, nicking at least one pitstop per race to swap batteries


-- making. We are in the crew area, backstage if you like, at the World


Drone Prix. We will meet some of the teams. This is the Dutch team. Hi,


guys. Last year we were just flying in a field and now we are here with


the 20 32 in the world. The competition has come in to help


these guys set up their rig. This is a drone racing team at work,


relaxing just before the races. Is this the pit crew technician doing


all of the hardware? Soldering, rewiring things. Those soldering


irons will be kept busy because the drones themselves are fitted with a


host of electronics including GPS tracking and forward facing cameras.


This is where the pilots sit. They will be wearing first person view


goggles showing them exactly what the drone itself can see. The palate


is assisted by a navigator, who tell them about anything on the track the


pilot will not be able to see. -- pilot. This is the team manager. I'm


on the team doing a very important thing. You plug it in and replace


the battery, and put it back in. If I screw up with this simple task,


this is the only job you have, you out of the race, disqualified. The


drones will be racing along the circuit. It is the first of its kind


constructed anywhere in the world. It is almost 600 metres long, it has


the capability to change shape. Some of the track's spines can


mechanically move. They won't do that you're in racing as that would


make a difficult track most impossible to complete. -- during


racing. You have advised the guys on what the track should be like, the


circuit itself. What sort of things did you tell them would be a good


idea to introduce to the track was like in the previous races we have


done, we have only done to the tracks. Now we wanted to introduce


elevation, jetted off the ground so it truly be an aerial sport. That


tower over there, they will have to go up and over, and it becomes more


like a rollercoaster. The lights on the drones make it much easier to


follow. The whole thing reminds me of the Tron movies Elizabeth. Before


the pilots are let loose, they have to compete in two days of qualifying


heats taking place indoors. -- Tron movies a little bit. One little


thing goes wrong, and incident, you are out. Success in those heats,


they graduate to the big show, the outdoor circuit, where their


practice results dictate their starting position. What you think is


showing through? I think it is the young kids. With car racing there is


a barrier to racing in terms of age, but that doesn't really exist


with this kind of racing? You can be ten or seven years old as long as


you have the skills and the control. You can also be in a


wheelchair and still compete. It doesn't matter. Qualifying is over


and the British favourite sales through. He is joined by the team to


watch out for, the Dutch, as well as the cool as ice Russians -- sales


through. As fast as these things are, keeping


them up in the air for any length of time is a problem. Pilots can get


through 40 batteries in a day. You generally only get 15 or 20 minutes


life out of each one. But a UK company is now working on a way of


increasing flight time from minutes to hours, and we have had an


exclusive look at the first fleet. I have been flying drones for a few


years now on ago Matt, and even managed to crash one. Behind the


scenes, we are always aware of how little time we have to get the


perfect shot before we run out of batteries -- years now on


programmer. Now they could be a solution to increase my time.


Intelligent energy in Loughborough have been experimenting with


hydrogen fuel technology. We have been giving exclusive access to


their flight tests. This is the first time we have been flying them


with a hydrogen fuel cell. It is a joint they have modified. The fuel


cell and fuel weighs about 1.6 g. It can flight for up to two hours on


one fuel cell, about six times longer than the average with a


normal battery. Refuelling with compressed hydrogen is faster too,


taking just a few minutes, compared with three charging a battery.


Intelligent energy have been testing hydrogen fuel cell technology here


since 2001, but are focused on drone flights for the last 18 months. Tell


us how this works. This is the fuel tank. This is where the hydrogen is.


These two on top at the fuel cells, and we have a fan that takes a small


amount of heat, but also holds the airflow. You combine hydrogen with


oxygen from the air blowing through this fence, and it produces


electricity. While hydrogen is the most abundant element in the


universe, on Earth, it is mostly used in heavy industry, which is


where this company sees the drones being most useful. Straightaway in


the industrial industry, we're looking at agriculture, well and


gas, mapping forestry, and any other industry that needs drones for


inspection or otherwise -- wheel and gas. We will get into the consumer


space, but initially our target market is the commercial market. It


reduces costs considerably. The company expects to have the fuel


cells ready for commercial use in the next year but will have to wait


longer for a consumer version. It was bad news this week for the UK


gaming industry as Sony announced the closure of Revolution studio is.


It was perhaps best known for its work on the PlayStation title drive


club. It was also the week that Apple and the FBI was supposed to


meet in court for a hearing over the battle to unlock the phone of San


Bernardino gunmen. However the case took an unexpected turn when the FBI


announced it may have found a way to unlock the phone without the help of


Apple. It was not all legal battles for the tech giant, as they launched


a new phone, iPad and a series of watch straps. But the most


interesting thing about their press conference was a recycling robot


named Liam. There was also the week that Twitter turned ten, John


Hopkins showed off a drone they can live underwater for months, and an


artificially intelligent dear wondering around the world of grand


theft auto became an art installation, and then an Internet


sensation. But perhaps the most intriguing bit of tech this week


came from Stanford University, where the team have built software that


allows you to create real-time facial re-enactments, meaning you


can effectively map your worlds and expressions on to somebody else's


face. Getting them to say anything you want. -- your words.


Today, I've gone back to school. I'm learning to programme the new chip


on the block. The data is going from the computer into the Microbit. This


week, the BBC has finally unleashed the Microbit. Announced last July,


the tiny programmable computer is being given free to a million


schoolkids in the UK in the hope it will inspire a new generation of


programmers. As wild as your imagination. In just a few minutes,


it is possible to learn to create short programmes that anything into


a name badge, Robo racer, or a spacecraft! We're learning how to


turn the Microbit into a dice so when you shake it you get a random


number between one and six. Problem is, it is currently giving a number


between zero and six. But everyone is trying to solve that problem. Get


rid of that pesky zero. Type dice in there. The Microbit is not a fully


fledged computer, like a raspberry pipe. It is more like an


introduction to the idea of programming, a much more simple


affair -- pi. It has a Bluetooth connection and electronic connectors


that Atlantic control other devices. But even if it is not directly


competing with other budget computers, the Microbit has arrived


later than promised, which may make it difficult to incorporate into


lesson plans for the remainder of the school year. It is using


everything I've learnt at school except it is opening me to more


opportunities such as allowing me to use LED on the Microbit. Because it


is small, you can take it anywhere with you as well. Excellent. Thank


you for coming. Did you enjoy it? Yes! Well done, everyone. Toby does


prove as inspirational as the BBC Micro, and a whole microcomputer


revolution of the 1980s. That is why I got into this in the first place


-- let's hope it does. With reports of near misses with


aircraft, invasions of privacy and security breaches, drones aren't


always welcome flyers. This month alone, they have been two incidents


at major airports, one in one in LA. To avoid any danger to these, the


authorities need to find safe ways of bringing the drones out of the


sky. Short of shooting them down, where they could fall


unpredictably, innovative ideas are needed, and we start with this one.


Nature's low-tech solution that the Netherlands police force invited me


to see in action. Before seen that with my own eyes I


was concerned that the eagle was going to be delicate for the drone,


but actually it really took control of that thing. The eagle has learnt


to pick up the drone and, much like it would with any prey, bring it


down to the ground. And the company behind this project say it shouldn't


harm the eagles. While these birds aren't going to become a fast


response solution to any situation, the idea is that they will be


trained and based around high risk areas like airports or big events.


This man on a mission to bring down the unwonted drones has plenty of


other ideas as well. The company has come up with deposit billet --


possibility to block the signal that controls the drawing and another


company has come up with the idea to block or disturb the GPS code of the


drone that flies. And that's a concept that one firm in Ohio have


been focusing on. The drone defender uses radio frequency disruption,


which, if it works, should provide a portable long-range solution to


guide the drone out of the sky. But it is not that simple. Although 50


have been sold in the US, laws against interfering with radio


frequency mean that they can only be used by federal authorities. The


Netherlands' police force have also been looking at a device called the


Drone Catcher. Another drone which uses its on-board camera to help it


trigger a tiny net to safely parachuted its target down to the


ground. After an incident in Tokyo last year where a drone carrying


radioactive material was flown on to the Prime Minister by the roof, the


police have taken action. A drone squad will be on call to use a


rescue drone and net to set up to prevent such incidents. And, back in


the UK, this, the shoulder mounted skywalk, has been developed. It is a


launcher which fires a programmable cell containing a net and


parachute. Using lasers and gyroscopes to track the drone it


then predicts the flight path to deploy the net at the right time.


So, whether these solutions take off or not, the problem doesn't seem to


be going away. Bullseye! That was Lara. With me is Jonathan Nicholson


from the Civil Aviation Authority in the UK. Hi. Surely it can't be that


safe to fire a net at a drone and bring it down? Can it? There are a


number of solutions you could use to make short drones are used safely in


the UK. That could be one of them, it needs a lot of research to figure


out what we can or can't use. What if there's somebody underneath the


drone when it's coming down? Less safe than it up their. One thing we


look at is geo- fencing. Aircraft or drone reaches a certain point in the


sky where it shouldn't be, the drone stops. Another technical solution


you could have is a way of tracking drones in real time, so you are


aware of where they are, you could potentially track them back to it


user and certainly that could be an alerting system for if a drone was


coming to close to an airport or a piece of airspace they aren't


allowed into. Explain at the moment what happens if a drone is spotted


near an airport. We've seen airports actually shut, as in close their


operation centre, if they think there are drones around. In other


cases the pilot could report the drones to air traffic control and


they could alert police. It sounds like a bit of a fax to track down


this drone pilots, contact authorities and by the time the


drone has disappeared. -- faff. The police have a lot of things at their


disposal. There are always police patrolling the airfield and there


are helicopters in the UK that can be sent to look at issues. So it


could be a quick reaction and certainly we don't want drone users


to think that they can get away with using them illegally, got they


can't. People have been prosecuted and ultimately, if they are caught


using them close to an airfield and within a mile to a -- an airport,


you could be imprisoned. Thanks. Back to Dubai where things are


hotting up in the question of victory at the World Drone Prix.


Sundown. The World Drone Prix semifinals are about to begin.


Last-minute tweaks have been made and fighting talk rings out across


the circuit. Speed is my game, so I think we will do pretty well. We've


got it covered. I didn't come here for second. We've got this! Pilots,


navigators and pit crews take their positions. This is it. Is going


down. The World Drone Prix kicks off in earnest. And bear off! -- they're


off. Time for me to get in on the action


as well. When I pop these goggles I will see what the pilots can see now


as they race in the finals of the World Drone Prix. Pop the goggles on


and I get a pilot's I zoom off the track. This is standard definition,


not HD. In HD there would be too much latency and the pilots have to


see exactly what's happening at the moment it is happening. We've just


had a crash! That is what they call game over.


Not just the pastime of amateur hobbyists, it's a serious game with


a serious amount of dedication and preparation. Everything from the


materials, the processes used and is considered. The technology in the


drones is actually very leading edge. The materials they use for


example are the best magnets money can buy. You just pump throttle and


the thing goes from zero to 100 kilometres per hour in about one


second. Each motor is controlled by a small microprocessor, which is an


art form in itself come to get that algorithm right. For the customising


the drones allows them to pull some serious moves. We put it like this,


it stays like this. You can reverse, do everything you want. Flips,


flight, almost you don't have limits. And in this tournament there


are a lot more serious rules. You need to get air gates. Normally you


fly to and you get a penalty but now if you don't get through the air


gates you will be disqualified. If you hit somebody you are


disqualified. Very tough. Traditionally, the close-knit


community sport. We find things like this, the Thompson family, from


Australia. They are made up of a grandfather, dad and son. I am Sam,


this is my son and my father. I bent this prop, which made the whole


thing shake like crazy. That's fine. This is way better than I was


expecting and it has been really long and draining and to be honest


I'm quite glad it is over for us. While it has certainly been


physically demanding, it's also been surprisingly very emotional. The co-


organiser says the rapid rise of the sport has been overwhelming. About


two years ago when we started the World Drone Prix we were dreaming


our wildest dreams. You imagine this track. The first time my friend was


flying and gave me the goggles I cried. This is it. The final. The


tension in the air is palpable. Confidence has diminished. Game


faces are on. Time for maximum focus. How do you feel going into


this race? Absolutely terrified. Pressure? It is fine. And bear off!


-- they're off! Come on! I was watching him and the


video was perfectly clean. When you lose you will blame something other


than yourself. Well, there's a lot on the line, that's for sure. So,


the final race has been run but there is a little bit of confusion


as to who has actually won. Ladies and gentlemen, the track race award


is going to... Tornado, from the UK! And it is a sweet victory for this


15-year-old British pilots, as he scoops the whopping $250,000 first


prize which he will share with the rest of his team. How does it feel


to be the winner? Amazing and I couldn't have done it without my


team, who are amazing. The dream come true! So honoured!


And during the World Drone Prix and other first was announced in Dubai,


the world federation of future sports, which aims to take


sportsmanship to a new digital level. Robot Wars, driverless car


races and ping-pong bot battles are amongst the contest areas


considered. It seems this World Drone Prix is just the beginning of


many sci-fi sports destined for desert you all is. Anyway, that is


all we've got time for. -- desert duals. Follow us on Twitter


throughout the week. Thanks for watching and see you soon.


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