Here’s what caught our readers’ attention in a pitch from Bill Patalon’s Private Briefing:
“Early investors could reap as much as $115,900 beginning April 21
“In the barren, hostile plains of the New Mexico desert, not far from the Mexican border, they’re building a city like no other.
“A city with high rises, avenues, parks, a big-box store, churches, gas stations for a population of 35,000 at a ground-up cost exceeding $1 billion…
“Made to look like so many other cities in America, except for one thing:
“People – there are none. It’s a ghost town, and it always will be.”
That’s a reference to the Center for Innovation Testing and Evaluation (CITE), which is indeed a “ghost town” being planned by private investors in New Mexico, designed for testing lots of hot-topic stuff like smart city technology, drones, and self-driving cars in an environment where people won’t get in the way or be hurt by accident. It probably will end up costing a billion dollars, they say, though I don’t know what the status is right now — you can see an interesting story about it from Wired here, and the actual CITE website is here but doesn’t have much recent information. The most recent notes I’ve seen are that the actual site was finally chosen in 2014 after a couple years of delay, but I haven’t seen any indication that they’ve actually broken ground or gotten beyond the initial planning phase.
But that’s just the attention-grabber part of the ad — with Patalon using the proximity to White Sands and the ghost town that was built on that missile range to test the impact of the atom bomb on structures and people to imply that this “ghost town” signifies something of equal importance. The pitch really has nothing to do with this “ghost town” specifically, but Bill Patalon is pitching some sort of investment in drones by arguing that a billion-dollar investment in building this “ghost city” indicates that the opportunity for the technologies this city is designed to test will be huge.
The “investor briefing” they promise to provide you is called, “A.I. Drones: How to Pocket $115,900 from the Next Frontier In Flight.”
And the ad goes into most of the big arguments about drones that we’ve been seeing for years — that they will boom in popularity as the technology improves and drops in cost, and as the FAA regulations adjust to clarify rules for drones, because the obvious and easy uses are so abundant… police surveillance, agricultural monitoring, package delivery, you name it.
And, of course, the big and obvious market where costs don’t matter as much is defense, where drones really started — first as remote-controlled targets almost 100 years ago and later as unmanned spy planes on a relatively small scale in lots of US and Israeli engagements, from the Vietnam War to the Yom Kippur War and the first Gulf War, though the first big modern drone program that most folks will recognize is probably the General Atomics Predator that started flying in the early 1990s and was soon weaponized with the addition of missiles.
Patalon argues that we’re at an important inflection point:
“We’ve come to what I call the ‘smartphone moment’ in drones. When BOOM!
“Suddenly the A.I. technology is so capable that drones are being used in a thousand new ways. Even their detractors will be blown away by what these next-gen drones are capable of…
“And how valuable they’ll be.
“Amazing new design and engineering make these new A.I Drones easy to handle, quiet, easily chargeable, super-affordable, operable 24/7/365….
“And here’s the real game-changer: These A.I. Drones are autonomous, which means they can do a number of things you want without you telling them to.”
Patalon indicates that the new FAA regulations for drones, which went into effect last August, allow for a “Section 107.200 Certificate of Waiver” that will allow companies to apply for waivers to fly drones beyond “line of sight”, which he said is a game-changer. I have no idea what the impact of those regulations will be, how tight the FAA will be with waivers, or whether we’ll soon see thousands of “smart” drones flying around without nearby human pilots.
And, of course, Patalon indicates that these “107 waivers” will lead to a cash windfall, and that, you guessed it, there’s “one tiny company” at the heart of it all. So what are our clues about that company? Here’s more from the ad:
“I’ve uncovered one tiny company sitting the center of it all.
“While almost no one in America knows its name right now, I can pretty much guarantee it will be a household name by this time next year.
“It’s already a publicly traded company….Are you getting our free Daily Update
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