22/10/2016 Click


22/10/2016

Gadgets, websites, games and computer industry news. Click travels to Rwanda to see how drones are being used to potentially save lives in rural areas.


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Transcript


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You could be forgiven for thinking that all this talk of drones

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has just been an excuse to make elaborate adverts

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Certainly, though, if you believe the hype, it won't be long before

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drones are doing a lot more than just dropping off

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Amazon's Prime Air, for example, promises to one day deliver

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packages to customers within 30 minutes or less.

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That's if they can make machines safe and convince the commons

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Despite the promise, so far, drones have pretty much been

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constrained to wacky research project, and wacky racecourses.

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It feels to me that we are still waiting to see them come

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out of the laboratories and into the wild to

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So, where do you think we are going to go for

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No. MIT, Boston?

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No. Dan Simmons is in Rwanda.

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This drone has beaten the biggest names in tech and retail to become

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the world's first to offer an ongoing commercial delivery

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I hung out with the guys in the run-up to the launch,

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and learned some of the secrets of how they did it.

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Don't let the West Coast looks fool you - these guys

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have engineered stuff for SpaceX, Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Google.

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They operate like the marines in freshers week.

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Yes, there will be mishaps, but they are focused.

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Second, don't use a chopper, quadcopter or anything else

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Fixed wing goes further, faster and is more robust.

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Right now we have a range of 150 kilometres, round-trip.

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It allows us to carry a bigger payload and it allows us to fly

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So we can fly in up to very high winds.

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To get it off the ground, an elastic rubber cord is wound up

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and then catapults the drone from zero to 80kph

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Once it's clear, two propellers click in, taking it up

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Now, the pilot is the on-board computer.

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It is following a very precise GPS called an RTK GTS.

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It gives us precision up to several centimetres, so every time a plane

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is going out for a mission, it gets a new set of SD cards

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with a new mission, and then additionally,

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these SD cards become a black box of the vehicle -

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things like airspeed, ground speed, temperature of internal components,

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So if we are off a metre or two in one direction,

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all things we can feed back into the engineering process.

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If you are off one metre or two in one direction,

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It is the preflight handle, the preflight handle impact buffer,

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Next trick, don't land the thing to drop off the package,

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When over its target, these barn doors open

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and four rubber bands ping the cargo out of the hold,

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which hopefully has one of these attached.

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as it went over, but something happened and it hasn't worked.

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Zip dips to make the drop, but will not do so if it

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It will try ten times before it aborts the mission and goes home.

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It comes down on what was not a brilliantly operational parachute,

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I guess, looks like it has come apart.

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They don't need to worry about the environmental impact

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This is the blood that will be used by surgeons,

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possibly to save somebody's life, and as you can see,

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I expect when we open it, it will be perfectly usable.

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You have a unique set of challenges in terms of blood

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and delivering other kinds of medical products,

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Rwanda is known as the land of a thousand hills,

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it can be a hard place to get around.

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We realised it was a place where we could move quickly and do

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something for the first time in the world, but also a place

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where the need was very high for something like Zip.

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While pizza delivery schemes may struggle to justify

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the cost of using drones, saving the lives of mothers

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after childbirth, or road accident victims, is something

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So you actually move the patient, sometimes, rather than actually get

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the blood to the patient, because it is quicker?

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Now, the doctor just needs to send a text.

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The government pays us for each and every flight

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we do but the really cool thing is that these flights are actually

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about equal or a little less expensive than the way

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they were currently doing these deliveries,

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It's always useful to get yourself a friendly government

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Rwanda has form - it had fibre broadband ten years ago,

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was first in Africa to 4G, and the biggest investor

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We cannot figure out all of the right answers before we start.

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At the same time, we look at what is at stake,

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Why have you made different rules for this project?

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I don't think we have made rules for this project,

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And what we are setting up for is really an environment

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which will allow many drones companies to come and

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operate on a commercial basis, even experiment.

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Zips fly below passenger plane airspace, and must

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report their position over the cell network,

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back to the nest and to air traffic control.

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And the final tip for drone delivery success, bring it home safely.

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Zipline plucks its drones from the sky, like they are landing

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The wire goes up, and the hook at the back of the zip catches...

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Together with local residents, I looked on, and could not help

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but admire what this team has achieved,

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The system relies on one team from the US, so expansion

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to an ever-increasing waiting list of African countries

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The drop needs an open but secure target area.

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We can have a plane ready to fly in less than five minutes.

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And given drones are more infamous for dropping munitions,

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seeing the military take an interest made me feel uneasy.

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Although the technology minister told me that is not the plan.

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What's happened here is a milestone, a commercially viable drone delivery

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service has been talked about for years, and now finally,

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this crack squad have made the drop.

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This ethereal visitor makes an appearance in Mark Pritchard's

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Director Michal Marczak tells us what technology technology he's been

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using to create this haunting, rather alien vision.

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What I liked about the track is that it was really melancholic.

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But the vocals of Thom Yorke, they kind of exude a kind of sadness

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but at the same time something positive comes out of them.

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What could aliens in the future do to simulate a face?

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We thought it would be cool to have this utility fog.

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With thousands of one or two atom particles which can assemble

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into any form or shape, with a swarm intelligence.

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So we kind of thought that we would do these little

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metallic, hundreds of thousands of metallic particles,

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We hacked a Kinect, that is what we used

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so we had to develop a technique to mellow it all out,

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it does not handle spikes, which are associated

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And then to turn that into a strong message,

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which we can then simulate with particle simulation.

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To get the right shot, it was a couple of days of work.

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I can't wait for that moment where you can have the camera,

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there, and augmented reality of what I am getting,

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and really playing the visual effects of reality, and so this

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particle selection is reflecting off the light at this moment,

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something in the background is matching it and then are adding

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That is it for your short version this week. The full-length version

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is on a player right now. You can follow us on Twitter throughout the

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week for loads of backstage photos and fun. Thank you for watching. We

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will see you soon.

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