On a course that gives pause to some of the best golfers in the nation, the men’s golf team was not intimidated as they took home the team championship on Wednesday at the Southern Highlands Collegiate, hosted at the Southern Highlands Country Club in Nevada.The Southern Highlands C.C., nestled in the Las Vegas Valley, is renowned as being one of the nation’s toughest courses. It has played host to two PGA Tour events since it was established in 1999 and served as one of the toughest hurdles of the year for each of the schools that competed in the tournament.“I am so proud of our team,” head coach Chris Zambri said. “This golf course is the most challenging course we’ll play all year. Winning here says that we are a very good team.”Led by junior Rico Hoey and Sean Crocker, the No. 4 Trojans fought back after finishing one stroke out of the lead at the end of the first day of the competition. They took the lead on Day 2 and never looked back, finishing with a final score of +5, 4 strokes better than the No. 12 Florida Gators. USC was one of four top-10 teams to compete in the tournament, along with No. 6 Arizona State (who finished tied for fourth), No. 1 Illinois (T-8th), and No. 8 Alabama (T-13th).Crocker turned in the second-best individual score of the tournament by finishing at -3; his score was his fourth top-eight score this year and his second consecutive top-eight finish — he finished tied for fifth at last week’s Southwestern Jones Invitational. Crocker tied his personal best finish this season, as he also came in second at the season-opening Husky Invitational.Hoey finished in the top-10 for the sixth consecutive tournament, and his final round score of 72 was the Trojans’ best. He birdied two holes on the front nine in the final round, and his final tally is his seventh top-10 of the season. Freshman Justin Suh tied for 14th in the tournament with a score of +3; his finish was his second top-20 finish on the year. Senior Andrew Levitt, who won the individual championship at the Southwestern Jones Invitational, tied for 27th at the Southern Highlands Collegiate with a score of +7. Sophomore Jonah Texeira was USC’s final golfer of record, finishing tied for 47th with a final score of +10.The Trojans, who were already trending upward in the national rankings, expect to see a further boost after their second consecutive team victory, and their third overall in the spring season. The team now looks ahead to The Goodwin, which will take place in Palo Alto between March 24-26 at the Stanford Golf Course.
The LiPo batteries that are broadly used in the RC field have quite flat discharge curves: They rapidly drop from their peak voltage, deliver their rated voltage for the majority of their capacity, and then fall off very rapidly. (At least that’s how it seemed to me.) I suspect that with better data I could produce a better prediction of flight time. At the very least I could program audible feedback at various thresholds.The third thing you learn about the multi-rotor hobby is that its technology stack is derived from the long-extant RC hobby, not the mainstream stack of Internet technologies. Specifically, RC generally uses the band near 2.4Ghz for control and the band near 5.8Ghz for transmitting video. Those frequencies will sound familiar to WiFi users, which is actually a major problem, because traditional RC does not use WiFi for either control or video. The RC boards are rife with stories of people using on-board WiFi from their GoPro cameras only to discover that, at longer ranges, the WiFi signal overwhelms the control and GPS signals. I don’t like stories that involve the words “fly away.”WiFi has one advantage, which is that we all carry around smartphones and tablets. It has an enormous range disadvantage. While there’s an influx of lower-end consumer multi-rotors based on WiFi, as far as I can tell there’s not a viable WiFi-based UAV stack.Everyone wants a video feed (because of this), and obviously the on-board systems have other valuable data, such as the vehicle’s current location and orientation and battery consumption. Such telemetry may be piggybacked on the control frequency, but it is more generally composited into the video feed. Analog video transmitters are cheap, light and have no encoding lag. On the other hand, who needs another screen in their life (especially a screen with considerably worse-than-smartphone daylight visibility and resolution)? Even worse, there’s no easy way to break out the telemetry for custom processing. FOSS projects such as OpenPilot and Dronecode are focused on the on-board stabilization and flight-control software and on flight planning. The first thing you learn when you get into quadcopters and multi-rotors is that battery life is a huge deal. No, wait: The first thing you learn is that when talking to fellow hobbyists, instead of “drone,” you should say “quadcopter” or “multi-rotor” or “UAV” (unmanned aerial vehicle). The second thing you learn is that battery life is a huge deal.I fly a DJI Phantom, the most popular consumer multi-rotor. With stock batteries and my GoPro and video transmitter in place, I get a low-voltage reading at around nine minutes. Rapidly, the multi-rotor’s on-board software becomes less-responsive to vertical commands until, about a minute later, it executes a soft landing. This is commendable: It helps prevent the multi-rotor from falling out of the air, which is much more likely to cause injury and property damage. But I often fly over the ocean and have a clutch of batteries, each with its own slightly different discharge profile, and face splash anxiety every time I spin up the engines.(Related: DJI SDK provides tools for drone developers)