Know How... 131 (Transcript)
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Today, de-Burke-afying your DJI drone, taking look at an Instamorph project that’s not horrible, and should your car be automated? Coming up on Know How!
Father Robert Ballecer: Welcome to Know How it is the Twit show where we build, bend, break and upgrade. I’m Father Robert Ballecer.
Bryan Burnett: And I’m Bryan Burnett.
Fr. Robert: And for the next 15 minutes or so we are going to show you some of the projects that we’ve been working on, geeking out to, so that you can take them home and be it weekend geek warrior.
Bryan: But before we get to that we have a cool story about solar power.
Fr. Robert: Specifically if you want to see the future of solar power take a trip over to paradise. Now, Bryan, you know that I love solar right? We’ve done solar projects on Know How, it is the whole idea of being able to convert sunlight directly into usable electricity. There is something very cool about that. Very sci-fi.
Bryan: Very sci-fi and very clean. Using the energy around us without destroying our environment.
Fr. Robert: You want to say it in a nice way but we are not destroying things. Now, construction of solar panels can be kind of toxic but we are working on that. When I was a kid the solar panels that I had to work with were normally tidy because the yields back then were horrible. You were lucky if you got something with 5% efficiency. Solar panels just worked great now. We have increase the yields and we have also increase the efficiency. The theoretical maximum efficiency of a solar panel is about 33% or 34%.
Bryan: So for the amount of sunlight that is hitting the energy that is able to absorb is 34% of it?
Fr. Robert: Yes. Or will convert directly into electricity. And that is not bad. But, we are finding that when we start to build these huge arrays of solar panels, which are great, there is one problem. There are some issues. The biggest issue, as it has been with most forms of alternate energy, is we need to generate power when there is a demand for power.
Bryan: Right. And that means whether it is cloudy or dark.
Fr. Robert: Or if the wind is not blowing if you have a wind farm.
Bryan: And you have to store that energy too.
Fr. Robert: The old additional means of generating power that we have on our grid, like coal or nuclear. That is not a problem because you just increase the reaction or you increase the amount of fuel that goes to the boiler and you can up the amount of power that you generate. But if you got a resource limited alternative energy source, like solar or wind, you cannot really do that. You do need to have something to store. Now, here is a big thing. If you don’t have a really good system to store power you can run into horrible issues. Specifically you kill the batteries on which your grid runs.
Bryan: Because they de-charge and then they increase and then they de-charge again and it is all according to how much sunlight you get.
Fr. Robert: We know this. We have been playing with big batteries. This is a brand-new with that I’d offer my quad copter, this is a five amp 14.8 full battery. It will keep my quad copter in the air for like 30 minutes. But, although this is great, we talked about this when we were talking about quad copter technologies. Batteries have a certain amount of discharges and they have a certain amount of power that they can push out or bring in at any given time. Remember how these work. You’ve got a dielectric and you’ve got some way of pushing power through an insulator into the chemistry. But every time you do that you damage that insulation. You do it enough times, and it just doesn’t work anymore.
Bryan: So once again, the limiting factor is battery technology.
Fr. Robert: Battery technology. And if you don’t have good batteries and battery tech, this is what happens. Our grid in the United States, but you can substitute your own power grid where you live, our grid runs at 110 Volts and 60 Hz. So 60 cps. If you have a solar farm and a cloud passes over the solar farm you could go from 100% production to 20% production and a matter of seconds. That is a huge dip. If that solar farm is the primary source of a grid at that particular time, what will happen is that you will actually start to decrease the Hz. You will drop down to like 40 Hz. You push 40 Hz of power through a grid and you will blowout appliances. Destroy things that are connected to the grid.
Bryan: Is that when you get the brownouts and things like that?
Fr. Robert: Right. A Brown out is actually better than having that happen because you will destroy large appliances. It is super bad. We use batteries to fill in that gap. Well, we need a way to do that on a larger scale than we are doing right now. And it is actually happening. We have some pictures here of the installation in Hawaii right now. Right now in Hawaii they have a grid that is providing between 50% to 80% of power through solar panel. In order to do that they have to have a fantastic battery plant that could fill in those gaps when they had the problem. Here is the problem that they ran into. They built this thing thinking that this was going to last somewhere along the lines of five years. So this battery plant was supposed to fill in the gap for five years. They are finding that after just over a year, the batteries are nearly useless. They have been used so many times and cycled so many times they are just gone. That is bad news. And it also means you can’t really have a grid if you don’t have a way to balance out the power. They have been looking at other alternatives. May be having turbine generators that can span up really fast so that you can tide them over but even then, you still need an interim source of power and that is going to be batteries.
Bryan: Oh geez. This seems like a difficult compromise to have to make. But if they need someone to volunteer to check it out I am more than willing.
Fr. Robert: Luckily, we actually solved this problem on Know How a while back.
Bryan: Did we?
Fr. Robert: Not really. We talked about the solution. Remember when we were talking about those batteries that had titanium dioxide in them?
Fr. Robert: Rust. Titanium rust inside the chemistry and they were able to rapidly charge a battery on the bus. So the battery that was being used on the bus was charged and 45 seconds. Get all the charge it would need for an hour of operation.
Bryan: We talked about how they could implement it in bus stops are intersections and then charge up the bus as it went along.
Fr. Robert: Exactly. And the cool thing about that is they figured out by adding titanium rust to the chemistry for lithium ion polymer battery you could get a very stable chemistry that can take a lot of current at any given time and push out a lot of any current at any given time. And instead of lasting 100 or 200 cycles, it would last 10,000 or 100,000 cycles. That is exactly the kind of battery technology that we need to smooth out those dips.
Bryan: So are they working on that?
Fr. Robert: It is the way things are going. They are looking at a couple of different operations. Because right now that is still experimental. They have to get the yields up. The interesting thing is when you look at alternate energy, that is the main problem right now. It is not the power that you can get from the alternate energy system, it is storage. And now it looks like we actually have some tech that looks promising and enough to be that storage.
Bryan: I always feel like we are living in, not the Stone Age about the early days of battery technology still. And we are still trying to get that next leap in storage and being able to hold onto the capacity. Because once we are able to nail down that problem, think if we could charge up our quads in just a few seconds and not have to worry about it. It always comes back to the quad copter doesn’t it?
Fr. Robert: It is a big battery for Hawaii so do you check the voltage by licking the contact? Did you ever do that when you were a kid? Check a 9 V battery?
Bryan: Yeah, I did. Although I do find it strange that it is on Hawaii but when I first read this story I imagined it was going to be volcano, thermal, energy. That would be a constant source of energy.
Fr. Robert: It would be constant and actually when you think about it, using the model flows and the heat coming off the big Island of Hawaii would be perfect because it is not a violent volcano. It is a very predictable volcano but, the problem there is that it is actually a sacred space.
Bryan: Oh. Well. Okay. Well let’s figure out the battery thing first.
Fr. Robert: I lived in Hawaii for a couple years and the locals would go crazy anytime they saw videos of people throwing soda cans in a lot of flow.
Bryan: Be respectful. And don't fly drones over it either then?
Fr. Robert: No. Can't do that. All right, now we are going to be getting into a little bit of a fix. It is not a quad copter project but a lot of people have contacted us about their Phantom’s. Phantom 1 and Phantom II. About a problem that unfortunately many have embarrassing accidents.
Bryan: Especially if it is the first one you ever tried and used. There is probably something you are going to run it into that you are going to have to fix.
Fr. Robert: And we are going to show you how to not just fix it, but to make it better. But before we do that let’s go ahead and take a moment to thank the first sponsor of Know How. And you know it’s got to be iFixit. Now, Bryan, both of us use iFixit almost exclusively for our quad copters.
Bryan: At my desk, at the ready, I have my iFixit toolkit and the magnetic pad. Because there is never a time that I’m not… what? Because every day I am taking something apart and putting it back together.
Fr. Robert: We have to hide this one. This is the one we use for the ad reviews and we have to hid it because people keep taking them. When you think about repairing things, iFixit has to be the choice. We’ve got some video here that shows you some of the things that I have been doing with my iFixit kit. It is my regular go to pack when I have to reassemble a quad copter or fix something that I have broken. iFixit isn’t just about tools though. It is the place for all the parts and the know-how that you need to fix all your stuff. Macs, iPhones, iPads, Android Devices from broken screens to dead batteries and everything in between iFixit is the place to go. DIY repair saves you money, it is convenient, and more than that it teaches you how things work. Learning in the process is probably the best thing for all the world. And best of all, iFixit makes it easy with the highest quality parts and step-by-step repair guide to walk you through the repair. IFixit has dozens of displays and battery kits for all sorts of devices. Right now, Bryan has his hands on two of the boxes that we have been playing with here at the studio. This is a screen for an iPhone 5S that will show you these kids are self-contained, do-it-yourself packages. If you’ve got a broken screen you can actually ask not just for the tools but for the parts themselves. And, this step-by-step repair guide that makes it easy to get your device back up and running. Every iFixit kit comes with all the tools you need to fix it the right way. Pennelope drivers for proprietary screws, spongers and plastic opening tools for precision, suction cups for pulling displays off of frames, replacement adhesive for parts that need it. Like the iPhone 5S. It also has pro grade replacement parts, parts that are tested to give you peace of mind that the part you receive works. And they are guaranteed. And like a lot of other things you might buy off of eBay, if the part fails, iFixit will make things right. IFixit offers the best tools and repair parts and they also have the best step-by-step guides to show you exactly how to fix that device that you were working on. In fact they have a comprehensive repair guide for every single iPhone, iPad and Mac computer. Plus a growing list of android devices. And these repair guides are free. That is right, no purchase necessary. IFixit makes DIY repair fun, easy and affordable. So here is what we want you to do. Support Know How by going over to for all of the tools, parts and kits you will need to fix all your broken stuff. Enter the code know how it check out and you will save $10 off any purchase of $50 or more. That is . And use the code Know How. We thank iFixit for their support of Know How.
Bryan: For this next de-Burke-afying project we have, it would probably be handy to have an iFixit kit.
Fr. Robert: One of the most asked questions that we got on our quad copter forums is about the Phantom. We have opinions about the Phantom.
Bryan: Phantom is by far the most popular drone that I have seen. And it is definitely one of the ones that has gone mainstream with the video footage and things like that.
Fr. Robert: The Phantom and the Phantom II are really the ones that made drones, or quad copters, popular. That is because they were so easy to buy and so easy to fly. But it also means that they were incredibly easy to break.
Bryan: As is natural to do when you start playing with quad copters.
Fr. Robert: Do you want to explain what happened to this particular craft?
Bryan: I feel like I have explained that before. I don’t need to explain it again. It certainly wasn’t me just as soon being I could fly it straight out of the box. They are simple to fly, but the manual that came with this…
Fr. Robert: They are easy to get in the air but it takes a while to learn how to actually fly it.
Bryan: The problem I had was that I had to plug it into a laptop and then set the props for the proper rotation. So the advice I got from you one time was that it wasn’t flying correctly because I wasn’t giving it enough throttle. So I said okay, I’ll try it. And I sent it up about 300 feet in the air and it was still wobbling. Then it was flying over some trees and I panicked and it flipped in the air and I threw the throttle back on and it went straight in the ground, broke all the props and a bunch of other stuff on it. Then I gave it to Burke to try to fix it and it was unrecoverable at that point.
Fr. Robert: But what made it unrecoverable was a mistake that a lot of Phantom owners have made. And that is if you remove the prop guards which a lot of us do because they are big and bulky, and once you kind of learn how to fly you don't really need them anymore. The screw length is different. Because it goes through the prop guard into the motor, then what happens is they take the screw out and put it back in without the prop guard and it goes all the way into the motor and actually damages the coil. Once you damage the coil in the motor it is dead. Don’t even try to rewind it.
Bryan: Dang. That is exactly what happened.
Fr. Robert: So let’s take a look at some of the things that we need for this fix. We need motors because that is what we burned out.
Bryan:We’ve been playing with a lot of those.
Fr. Robert: Here are a couple that we had been playing with on the show. This one is actually an Emax 2213, you buy these on Amazon a lot. You can get a four pack for $60. So this is a perfect motor replacement. It even fits the same props, it is the same size, it is almost a perfect match for the motors that came with your DJI.
Bryan: In the look cool too.
Fr. Robert: And they look cool. This is something else. This is a house motor that we got from ready to fly quads. This one will run you about $10. Which is not bad. So you go down from $15-$10. And now, the repair is not all that expensive. It is not a great motor but it is a good enough motor. It is still better than the ones that came with the DJI in the first place.
Bryan: That is what you’ve explained to me after you’ve taken the DJI apart is that it is not nearly as sophisticated as some of the other drones that we have been building for less.
Fr. Robert: And actually when we open this up you will see that we made a couple of alterations. This is not actually how a DJI drone looks when you first open it up. These speed controllers are original and everything else has been changed. But for good cause. Because we basically destroyed everything in crashing and taking it apart and destroying the motors.
Bryan: We are trying to bring it back to life.
Fr. Robert: We are trying to bring it back to life and over the next couple of weeks we are going to show you a few more of the alterations that we made to our Phantom so that maybe you can do it to yours. But, without further ado, Alex push that magic button.
Fr. Robert: The DJI Phantom and Phantom II are some of the most popular mass-produced quad coppers ever sold. But a common mistake that Phantom owners make is reassembling their quads after taking off the prop guards forgetting that the motor screws holding the prop guards are 2 mm longer than the standard motor screws. This causes these screws to touch the coils in the motors destroying them. Luckily replacement motors can be had for $10-$20 each and it is relatively easy not just to fix your phantom, but to modify it for ease of upgrading in the future. The fix starts by unplugging the battery and opening the phantom shell by removing all the screws on the other side of the craft. Be sure to mark where they came from so that you can replace them after the fix. Once the shell is open you will notice that each of them motors is connected to a circuit board on each arm by three wires. Those circuit boards, the electronic speed controllers are connected to a flight controller at the center of the Phantom. Don’t mess with any of the wiring. We are just here to replace the burned out motors. Speaking of the motors, we are replacing all four so it doesn’t matter where we start. But first, take a hard look at each motor and ESC to make sure that there isn’t any scorching on any ESC components. Hopefully you just killed the motors but if you see popped components or burned chips on the ESC you have to replace them as well. Choose one motor to begin with and remove the four screws holding the motor to the arm. With the motor free, use a pair of snips and cut the silicon wires at the base of the motor. We could just solder the replacements onto the ESC’s, but soldering onto the ESC can be difficult for soldering novices. And we are actually upgrading the wiring so that future motor swaps will be easy. With the dead motor removed, use a pair of insulation strippers to cut away for a millimeters or so of insulation from the end of each wire. Tin your wires by heating them with your soldering iron until they flow solder into the strands. Now we need to add female bullet connectors to the end of each wire. These are standard connectors that will allow you to quickly replace motors in the future if you need to repair or upgrade your craft. I used a pair of helping hands to keep the bullets before adding some solder and then inserting the pre-tinned wire into the solder filled bullet. Make sure not to move the wire until the solder has hardened to avoid cold solder joints. With the bullet connectors soldered we need to add heat shrink tubing to insulate each wire in order to prevent shorts. Add short links of tubing to each wire making sure to reach the end of each connector and then use a heat source to shrink the tubing. It is okay if the tubing extends past the connector, you can always trim the excess and I prefer to leave a little overlap to help make sure the leads are completely isolated from one another. Shorted lead means burned out ESC’s. Complete the same process for all four motors then mount your new motors on each arm making sure to use the right screws, connecting the motors three leads to any of the three ESC leads. Power up your quad and throttle it up to check the rotation of your motors. The front left motor should spin clockwise, the front right motor counterclockwise, the right rear motor should spin clockwise and the right left, counterclockwise. A piece of tape on the shaft can help you see which way the motor is turning. I use the spare KK flight controller available for about $20 in place of the default flight controller to make the process a little easier. But if you have the NAS utility installed on your computer you can trigger each motor individually to check rotation. If any of your motorists are spinning in the wrong direction simply swap any two of the three leads going between the motor and ESC. It doesn’t matter which. Once you verify that your motors are all spinning in the right direction, assuming that you didn’t replace any of the ESC is, you can now close it up, put on the props, power it on and give it a test flight.
Fr. Robert: We’ve got somebody in the chat room saying is this something that we should all be worried about? Not everyone out there owns a DJI drone but, yes. This is probably the most common way to damage your motor after crashing it. People put the wrong size screws and if you don’t look to make sure that they don’t go too far, if they are even touching those coils it will damage the motor. And I personally like having bullets, there are a lot of people who say they just solder it and it is more reliable. But I like the ability to be able to swap out components. Someone else in the chat room and asked if I am worried about turning this too much into a do-it-yourself drone. Absolutely not. We like being able to build things, we like being able to swap components in and out. In fact right now you will notice that we got rid of the original flight controller. We put a performance flight controller in here because the original DJI quad copter is designed to carry a camera. It is designed to be very stable. We want to play around so we swap the flight controller with one that can be made more aggressive.
Bryan: The more I look at this, the more I think it is pretty much just a DJI shell that has a new quad copter inside of it.
Fr. Robert: We are using the original battery so that makes it okay. So there you go. By the way, I should probably mention we are coming to the end of February which means we are starting to get back into actual quad builds. We will be showing a lot more of the mods that we have made to the DJI Phantom and will also be showing you some of the mods that we have made to our 250 class quad copters as well as teaching you how to do brand-new builds, like this 450 class dead cat.
Bryan: Yeah. That things got some power.
Fr. Robert: Yes it does. Speaking of power, you know one of the things that I have admired the most? Bending. Air bending. I'd actually been a fan of the Avatar series. Watch the cartoons. They are much better. Then Korra, the sequel to it was a totally fantastic series. If you haven’t watched it buy it. Watch the first and the last season those are the best.
Bryan: Why are we talking about cartoons on Know How?
Fr. Robert: Because I wanted to give our audience an example of using Instamorph. Unlike us. We really, really suck at it.
Bryan: I can do my little guys pretty well.
Fr. Robert: I can do trays… but somebody who actually has artistic talent who can sculpt and can really bring out what Instamorph can do, which is why we brought in our very own Aman. Aman thank you very much for coming in to the show. Spoiler, Aman actually dies. He is a water bender who can actually blood bend and he is learned the secrets of taking away other benders bending.
Bryan: So he is like the Darth Vader of bending?
Fr. Robert: Absolutely. We do have a link in there that can show you some actual pics from the series and show you what Aman looks like. I think it is important to see that relentless skill that Patrick had in playing with the Instamorph to get this. That is what it looks like from the series. it is amazing the kind of detail that goes into making a mask like this. Patrick, hold that thing up. We want to see what you did here.
Patrick Delahanty: Well, I heated up the Instamorph. I got one of the smaller tabs and I heated up half of it. I made it into a flat sheet. And then I went to JoAnn fabric and got this mask, it is just cardboard. But I had all the Instamorph flattened out on a flat surface and let it dry. But it was still pliable. So while it was pliable I put it inside this cardboard mask and just spread it out and bought the shape of it. You can see the cardboard didn’t come out to the top so I had to do my own little bit for up here. But that gave me a nice smooth surface for the mask. And then I added on extra bits like the pointy nose and eyebrows. I covered it in spray paint, then I painted on all the details and I’ve got my Aman mask.
Bryan: That is awesome.
Fr. Robert: We really wanted to get someone who could do CausePlay and both you and your fiancé, soon to be wife, are absolutely fabulous at it. You’ve got an eye for detail and you’ve got that talent that you can actually turn an idea into something that is sculpted. Which is why Instamorph is supposed to do. Which I could never do.
Bryan: I’m really happy that Patrick did this project because you wouldn’t recommend just heating up the Instamorph and then trying to form it.
Fr. Robert: That brings up a good question. How did you get it to conform to your face?
Patrick: That is why I use this. This was big enough for my face. They sell smaller ones but it wouldn’t fit on my face. So I got this and just molded it inside that and then all the details I cut out with the Dremel. But I had to be careful because when I used the Dremel it heated it back up again and so I ended up getting a lot of little bubble sticking out, just little bits. But I could just pull those off and adjust it.
Fr. Robert: Patrick I’ve got to ask you this. I actually had that problem when I was sculpting some of my parts. I would make the template and then I would have to cut out the mounting holes. And so I would use the Dremel tool in order to get that out. And I did notice that it would soften. Then I started to think, well I can make a part and then soften it and that's that I could poke through with a copper tube. Did you try to do selective re-softening or reheating of the mask in order to get the textures?
Patrick: I did. There were some areas that weren’t quite perfect when I did this, like for example with the eyes. I actually softened it back up and win in an pushed out the eyes so that I could better tell where the edges were and where I needed to cut. And then up here at the top because this mask only goes up to the lower forehead, I had to do this custom on the top here. So I had to go and soften this up and then I had to soften the original part and combine them. So I was dipping it in the hot water to just re-soften part of it and then I would bring it out and kind of adjusted and smooth it.
Bryan: It looks cool. Did you find it difficult to paint at all?
Patrick: I used a coat of spray paint and that was good. It actually helped cover up some of the little holes. But then because I picked glossy paint the detail paint I had trouble getting it to stick here. It just wanted to come off. So I had to do multiple coats.
Fr. Robert: How many times did you have to redo this? Because one of the things I liked about Instamorph is that if you mess up you just put it back in the water and start over. Did you get it on your first try?
Patrick: No, no. On the first try I just tried sculpting it myself. That did not come out very well. It looked like my face was melting. And that is when I went and got this. And so I just threw that back in the water, heated it up and put it in here.
Bryan: You won an award for it didn’t you?
Patrick: Yeah, there was a group of us and we won best presentation runner-up.
Bryan: Nice. Do you have any future plans to use Instamorph?
Patrick: Absolutely. I'm not sure what yet but definitely will come back to it. For Grut I think I am going to use actual foam.
Fr. Robert: This is a good question. For people who do want to start using Instamorph for CausePlay, where is the cut off? Where do you think Instamorph falls as a useful material versus I will use foam or I will use clay?
Patrick: I think if you are doing something and you have a mold for it, it makes it a lot easier. This is just flimsy and it wouldn’t hold up but I could use this to make a nice solid mold. This isn’t going to change shape unless I leave it in the car on a hot day. If you have small things you could probably… like your little army figures you could get little good things out of it. But if you are trying to do something with a lot of detail it is harder.
Fr. Robert: How about this Patrick, can we make you a deal? If we keep you supplied with Instamorph would you start to show us the ways of the CausePlay masters?
Patrick: I would love to play with some of this.
Fr. Robert: Patrick Delahanty, that is Aman who works for twit could you please tell our audience where they can find you when you are not being evil?
Fr. Robert: Thank you Patrick. Now, we are going to go back to CES one last time to do a little something something with automated cars. I should mention by the way that Alex needs to get out of here really quick. So we are going to just keep talking. But, until we get to that we’ve got a CES bit for all the people who want to know about the latest and greatest in self driving cars. So once again, push that magic button.
Fr. Robert: If you have been watching our CES coverage you know that one of the biggest announcements came at the Audi keynote where they were able to drive one of their driverless vehicles straight up onto the stage. This car in front of me is actually the people that did the 500 mile trip driverless with a journalist behind the wheel from San Francisco to Las Vegas. I am standing next to Clause from Audi and he is going to explain how they did this technology wonder. Clause, thank you very much for talking to us. First, this is based on an A7 frame?
Clause: Yes, this is completely based on a serial A7 car as you can buy it today.
Fr. Robert: You took an existing frame that people can buy today and you decided to equip it with a driverless technology. Why did you do that rather than go the super futuristic prototype?
Clause: As long as you stay close to the serial architecture of a serial production car it might be easier to take over parts of the functions into a serial car, that is what we want to do in the next year.
Fr. Robert: We’ve got a really tech savvy audience and they are going to want to know the details of how you made this magic go. So of course you’ve got sensors, what does this do? How does this detect the environment around itself?
Clause: Yes, the sensors. First we use different technologies for sensors because each sensor has it’s specific advantages so we use radar, we use laser technology and we use of course video technology to get the kind of 260 degree idea of what is happening around the car at the moment and that is what is coming together in the trunk and in the computer there to build up perception of the surrounding around the car over and over again. So the car has a total view of what is happening around it. And can decide which one of us it has to take, whether it needs to accelerate or decelerate.
Fr. Robert: One of the big issues has been what happens when the GPS isn’t right? Or what happens when the coordinates don’t quite match up to the road conditions? How does Audi deal with that?
Clause: Yes, the car really reacts on what it is seeing directly in the surrounding of itself. For example the navigation map is a very important information in that driving, for example if you are approaching a town or something like that which would be a situation the car couldn’t handle yet, it will give takeover request to the driver in advance and say there is a situation that had which I am not allowed or I cannot handle, please take over the responsibility for the driving again.
Fr. Robert: We are going to give you more from CES but just remember the future of driving may not have a driver. It may take a wild for us to get driverless cars, but right now the future is here if you are looking for something that self-parks. I’m standing next to Ryder from VW who is going to explain how the e-golf does it all by itself. Ryder thank you very much for talking to us.
Ryder: Yes, thank you very much for being here and enjoying our presentation. What we are presenting here is the trained parking which is a concept and we build it in that car to show what is possible. And we want to see what the reaction is of the customer because we have many potential customers here at CES. Their reactions are very good on that system already. So, what we have done is using sensors which we already have in the car as a front facing camera behind the mirror and the electronic sensors here in the car. So we are using the technique which we already have in the car and bringing you closer and make this a smart solution for the customer.
Fr. Robert: That is really important because unlike some of the other prototypes that we have seen here at the show, you were saying that this technology is already in the car. You just have to enable it. And if customers are looking at this and saying this is a feature that I like, I like collision avoidance, I like the fact that it can aggravate itself into a parking spot. That makes it an easy sell for you. The question I have for you is what did you have to do to enable it? So to make this work properly, what goes into the process of making a driverless feature?
Ryder: Well this is not so easy I have to say for sure. We have to do it in the design and all the process but on the other hand we have to make sure we fulfill all the function of safety which is a hard thing we have to fulfill. This is a very hard thing to fulfill to give safety to the customer.
Fr. Robert: I'm Father Robert Ballecer and we are going to go back to CES but first let’s see how this works.
Fr. Robert: We have no driver here, this is the e-golf that is available now in the United States. A driverless system will be available next year. But I am not going to touch a thing. Now in front of us there are inductive plate so this knows where it’s charging station is. Remember this is an all electric car. What it will do is remember were those inductive plates are and when you tell it to park itself it will automatically go over the plate, it detects that it is now charging and it will stop. So if you are ever worried about making sure that your electronic vehicle has enough juice, this will do it for you. It is a lot like a Rumba that will automatically go to its charging station when it needs a top off. Now, here is the nice thing. It will take care of itself, it is all locked up but when I need the car back all I have to do is press a little button on my fob and again, the car will do it itself. That is actually moving. It’s got the rear camera. This actually drives better than my mom. It drives a whole lot better than Jeff Needles. And don’t even get me started about Burke. Now you have it ladies and gentlemen. Now remember, this technology is actually built into the e-golf, so if you buy an e-golf it was basically the software they had to modify. The sensors are here, the camera is here, this power steering is already built into the car so VW is doing a great thing in showing you the future in tech they already have.
Fr. Robert: What I love about this technology is everything they showed off in that e-golf currently ships with the e-golf. It was just software. So they had to add a computer that was fast enough to be able to interpret the data that it was getting from its existing sensors in order to be able to do that.
Bryan: That is pretty cool.
Fr. Robert: That is the future of driving. However, there is one little wrinkle.
Bryan: Yeah, there was that one BMW story that got released pretty recently.
Fr. Robert: That was just this last week. Because BMW reported that they had 2.2 million BMWs, Rolls-Royce service and many cars that were vulnerable to a hack, they've got those infotainment systems, the connective drive is what they call it. It uses mobile data connections to give drivers the ability to lock their cars remotely but BMW figured out that they hadn't really thought that anyone would ever attack the system.
Bryan: Right. Because he would do that?
enterprising folks figured out they could use their mobile device to break into
any one of those connected drive cars in under a minute.
Bryan: So basically that video game watchdogs were they walk around with their cell phone…
Fr. Robert: That’s it. BMW is pushing an update and by the airing of the show it should be out, every car should be patched. But the question becomes that automation is very cool but, all of these systems get tied together. And the issue becomes you got engineers who are designing something that they don’t really designed to be connected to the Internet.
Bryan: The smarter the car, the smarter they are going to have to be about the software.
Fr. Robert: That’s right. It gets ultra complicated. We see that all the time on the enterprise site when I’m doing my show, This Week In Enterprise Tech. We talk about these devices from the 80s that do things like monitor gas tanks and water pipes but they were created before the Internet even existed so now that they are putting them on Internet the security is most of the time not existent. We just covered a story where there were 2500 automatic tank gauges in the United States that were connected to the Internet but had no password whatsoever. If you knew the IP address, you could connect and then you could mess with the fuel gauges at a gas station or completely disable the pumping network.
Bryan: These are some scary growing pains for the Internet of things.
Fr. Robert: The Internet of things that probably shouldn’t be on the Internet.
Bryan: Right. And I am kind of a driving enthusiast, I like to drive and so I am okay with them but I do also like the idea of being able to hop in the car and just say take me to the city and be commuting for 50 minutes and so I can hang out with my iPad. But, now it is a little scary too.
Fr. Robert: Now, Bryan, we announce this before that Alex does need to go so we should be nice and end the episode. But instead, Alex lets go ahead and do that parting shot.
Bryan: You know what's really a surprise is that we never get to the parting shot.
Fr. Robert: We never do but on this one episode. We were given permission to play this video. This was recovered from a DJI phantom, of course it’s always a DJI phantom that will crash at the base of this building. Now anyone who has seen these videos or videos like this, knows exactly what happened. The DJI Phantom lost signal and it does what is called return to home. So it is returning to a GPS coordinate that unfortunately those GPS coordinates happened to be on the other side of this building. So here is the great part. It recovers, and then it lost signal again.
Bryan: It is going to go home again. Awwww….
Fr. Robert: This Happened on Super Bowl Sunday. So sad. The man who recovered this drone, he actually returned it to the owner.
Bryan: That was nice of him.
Fr. Robert: Which was really nice.
Bryan: Did they guy have his address labeled on it?
Fr. Robert: No he put it on YouTube and he said, does this belong to anybody? And the guy came forward. Everyone in the comment said you should have turned this into the police. Are you kidding me?
Bryan: Can you imagine being in the building having a sip of your coffee? It is coming back for us everybody get down.
Fr. Robert: But, the really horrible part about all of that is that was downtown Honolulu. That was Waikiki, that was right next to the beaches. Which means it is an incredibly populated area.
Bryan: That could have easily landed on somebody.
Fr. Robert: That debris could've landed on somebody. That is just… don’t do that. We were talking about pilots doing stupid things, that is a stupid thing don’t do it. The thing is the DJI Phantom did what it is programmed to do. If it loses signal it returns home, which is why you never fly it in an area that has uneven terrain like down town.
Bryan: The other one I remember seeing before that was the one where the guy was flying it in a canyon and it hit this beautiful landscape and then it starts going home right into the killer rocks.
Fr. Robert: A cool feature, but this is why I actually agree with the FAA. And that is your drone should always be in line of sight. If you fly beyond line of sight you are just asking for things like that to happen. Because if you can’t see it then you can’t react to something that is happening.
Bryan: That was a silly video and I’m glad nobody got hurt.
Fr. Robert: I am too. Now folks we know this was a lot of material, especially a fix for the DJI phantom and for the tips that Patrick had for his Aman mask. We are going to make sure that we get all those in the show notes. Which, Bryan, where can they find those?
Bryan: They can find them at twit.tv/KH and all our prior episodes are stored in loving order on the twit website. You can also find links for subscribing so you can download the HD video if you prefer or whichever strikes your fancy.
Fr. Robert: Whatever version you need for your device of choice you can get it from our show notes page. Also don’t forget that we have a Google plus group with over 8000 users. It is a fantastic community for a makers and DIYers. We’ve got people who have been doing it for years and people who are brand-new to the game. Get interested in quad copters, networking, building your computer or whatever it might be there going to be people in there who are like-minded. Jump in. That is especially a good place to go when you want us to show off your work because we pull a lot of our ideas straight from our G-plus community.
Bryan: Yeah. I definitely see a lot of quad copter people who got them during the holidays and now there are questions on how to fix things.
Fr. Robert: Exactly. My favorite ones are, so I got that wide copter you told me to buy an how do I get out of a tree? Also if you don’t like G-plus you can also find us on Twitter. That is also a good place to give us ideas, suggests guests for the show or just check out what we do. He loves to ride and I love to fly my quad copter. You can find me @PadreSJ.
Bryan: And I’m @cranky_hippo.
Fr. Robert: Until next time, I’m Father Robert Ballecer.
Bryan: And we won’t waste any more time…
Fr. Robert: Alex really needs to go.
Bryan: You can follow that empty chair @anelf3.
Fr. Robert: See this is what happens, this is what happens when your show goes too long. I’m Father Robert Ballecer without anelf3.
Bryan: And I’m Bryan Burnett without anelf3.
Fr. Robert: And now that you know how…
Bryan: Go do it! Go do stuff. Alex left, so the audience needs to go.