Free tools are often the only way a project gets done -- You work a Government program at a contractor -- 10Million is approved for the project, then 7.5Million will go to the politicians who sponsored it's campaigns, for scholarships at 50K/yr for their children, nephews, nieces, and other relatives for 8 years at a small expensive private college, for staffers, etc. This will leave 2.5Million to design and produce 10 million worth of product. Invariable the manager is a Mechanical engineer, so the ME's get the very best CAD packages and analysis tools for ME, leaving the EE's and Techs to see what they can scrounge for free. Have had to use Free and Open Source Tools for Math analysis like Sage, statistics, like R, MatLAB -- like Octave, Board Layout like FreePCB, Free FPGA vendor tools, Free Spice Simulators like TINA or LTSPICE, Free Compilers like GNU/GDB, --- The same is true at large corporations and start-ups
Drones are, in essence, flying autonomous vehicles. Pros and cons surrounding drones today might well foreshadow the debate over the development of self-driving cars. In the context of a strongly regulated aviation industry, "self-flying" drones pose a fresh challenge. How safe is it to fly drones in different environments? Should drones be required for visual line of sight – as are piloted airplanes? Join EE Times' Junko Yoshida as she moderates a panel of drone experts.