Some of the world’s largest retailers and e-commerce companies are actively exploring the potential of drones to deliver goods across short to medium distances. Now, Israeli startup Sightec has successfully completed its first drone delivery without GPS.
Instead of location signals provided by satellites, the drone relies on a software solution combining computer vision with artificial intelligence technologies, called NaviSight, to autonomously get to its destination.
NaviSight is compatible with all camera-equipped off-the-shelf drones. With the help of advanced video processing, the software essentially transforms the camera into a smart sensor, allowing the drone to understand its surroundings and identify its location in real-time.
“We give drones the ability to get from point A to point B safely without the need for GPS signals,” said Roy Shmuel, the CEO of Sightec. “There is no available solution today for players globally,” he added.
The test was part of a pilot program operated by Israel’s Ministry of Transport (MOT), Ayalon Highways, the Civil Aviation Authority of Israel (CAAI), and the Israel Innovation Authority. The goal of the program is to test and demonstrate the viability of autonomous drones in managed airspace.
During the test, Sightec successfully navigated the drone on five pre-determined routes near the southern city of Yeruham. “The drone completed each route safely, from take-off to full landing, over desert and construction sites,” said Shmuel.
Not depending on GPS for navigation is important because GPS satellites can malfunction, and the signals transmitted by them can be disrupted by malicious hackers. Without an alternative navigation method, it would be safe to use drones for deliveries and other purposes in populated areas because they could lose signal and endanger people, buildings, and vehicles.
Shmuel also said that the test is an important step toward the legalization of drone delivery operations in Israel and other regions. However, more test flights still need to be conducted in other parts of the country before the technology is ready for prime time.
Spotify Is Experimenting With Artist NFT Collections
According to a recent survey, it seems that the currently tested NFT collections are just the first step toward a much broader implementation of NFTs into the platform.
NFT sales may have declined by 92 percent since September 2021, but that’s not stopping Spotify from experimenting with a new feature that lets artists display their non-fungible token (NFT) collections on the music streaming platform.
At the moment, only a small group of artists are taking part in the experiment, including Steve Aoki and The Wombats. What’s more, only select US users of the Spotify app for Android can see NFTs when they visit the profile pages of the aforementioned artists.
“Spotify is running a test in which it will help a small group of artists promote their existing third-party NFT offerings via their artist profiles,” said Spotify spokesperson. “We routinely conduct a number of tests in an effort to improve artist and fan experiences.”
It’s important to point out that not all Spotify experiments result in new features. It all depends on the feedback the music streaming platform receives from users.
According to a survey some Spotify users have recently received, it seems that the currently tested NFT collections are just the first step toward a much broader implementation of NFTs into the platform. More specifically, Spotify seems to be thinking about allowing its users to directly purchase NFT art to support their favorite artists.
Considering how polarizing NFTs have been since their inception in 2014, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many Spotify users have immediately expressed their dissatisfaction with the idea of NFTs becoming part of the Spotify music listening experience.
Other large tech companies are also experimenting with NFTs. Instagram, for example, started testing NFT integration last week, allowing NFT creators and collectors to display their tokens on the platform. Mark Zuckerberg himself believes that NFTs and digital collectibles in general will play an integral role in the metaverse, the new iteration of the internet.