drone

New MAV membrane wings use electricity to change shape

New MAV membrane wings use electricity to change shape

Bat wings have inspired the creation of a new type of membrane wings for unmanned Micro Air Vehicles, more commonly called MAVs. Unlike other wings, these newly developed wings are able to change shape sans mechanical parts, doing so because of the wind forces experienced during flight. The lack of mechanical parts mean MAVs have lower maintenance demands and, thusly, lower operating costs.

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Dronebox autonomous recharging station lets UAVs operate for months

Dronebox autonomous recharging station lets UAVs operate for months

Small unmanned drones can be used for all sorts of purposes from providing video surveillance of an area to using their sensors to keep check on air quality and lots more. The challenge is that a human needs to be there to handle the refueling and recharging of these drones to keep them operating. That is changing with a new product called the Dronebox. Dronebox is an autonomous recharging station that allows UAVs to charge without intervention from a human.

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DARPA FLA program for autonomous drones flight tests begin

DARPA FLA program for autonomous drones flight tests begin

DARPA has announced that it has begun flight testing in its latest drone program called Fast Lightweight Autonomy (FLA) and the initial round of tests was a success. The goal of FLA is to create small autonomous aircraft with sensors that allow the drones to avoid obstacles while achieving a desired speed of 20 meters per seconds. The main goal of the program is to develop and test algorithms that reduce the processing power, communications and human intervention needed for UAVs to perform certain low-level tasks.

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DARPA FLA project drone zooms indoors at 45MPH

DARPA FLA project drone zooms indoors at 45MPH

DARPA’s Fast Lightweight Autonomy (FLA) program has resulted in a small drone that can zip through indoor corridors at just under 45MPH, doing so autonomously and without crashing. A specially crafted small drone was used, and it was equipped with a high-definition camera and a bunch of sensors onboard, enabling it to ‘see’ and avoid obstacles. The flight testing happened at the Otis Air National Guard Base in Cape Cod.

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New software enables drones to search forests for lost hikers

New software enables drones to search forests for lost hikers

Autonomous drones could be the future of finding lost hikers thanks to new software developed by researchers at a few universities. Drones equipped with this software are able to find and follow forest paths on their own, possibly finding someone who has become lost on the path. Once the lost hiker is found, the drone can alert rescuers and provide the location.

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Drones can autonomously follow forest paths with new software

Drones can autonomously follow forest paths with new software

There are hoards of people around the world who enjoy getting outdoors and hiking through paths in the forest and mountains. Sometimes when people unfamiliar with the terrain venture out accidents happen leading to injury or lost hikers. Typically finding these lost or injured hikers involves an expensive search with lots of people and often helicopters to search from the sky.

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PowerEgg drone folds up into an ‘extremely lightweight’ egg

PowerEgg drone folds up into an ‘extremely lightweight’ egg

Powervision Robot Inc has launched its first ever drone, the oddly shaped PowerEgg. Like its name suggests, the PowerEgg is shaped like an egg…and, you know, is powered. Or something like that. Unlike other consumer-level UAVs, the PowerEgg looks like a big egg with four armatures coming off it, each of them with rotors. Despite its weird shape, the PowerEgg can fly due to its “extremely lightweight” design, and when not in use, it simply folds up into a regular-looking (giant robot) egg.

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Parrot Sequoia camera turns drones into flying farmers

Parrot Sequoia camera turns drones into flying farmers

Parrot's drones may be more commonly associated with casual flight, but the company is looking to be taken seriously in UAVs by courting business pilots. The French firm has cooked up a multi-camera sensor that turns a drone into a farmer's best friend, doing smart agricultural surveys that can figure out the best spots for crops and gage the health of plants from hundreds of feet above them.

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Dutch Police use an eagle to down drones

Dutch Police use an eagle to down drones

Back in December, we talked about the Tokyo police and their new drone catching drone. The Japanese drone used a net to fly up and capture rogue drones. The Dutch police have upped the cool factor for catching rogue drones by training an eagle to capture drones from the sky.

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Iran buzzed a US aircraft carrier to test its spy drone

Iran buzzed a US aircraft carrier to test its spy drone

Iran claims to have flown a reconnaissance drone over a US aircraft carrier, part of a war-games op the American Navy has blasted as "unprofessional". The incident is believed to have taken place in early January, with the drone part of a combined effort to surveil not only the USS Harry S. Truman but a French aircraft carrier, Charles de Gaulle, which were both in international waters in the Persian Gulf at the time.

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Google’s Solara 50 drone crash caused by wing failure

Google’s Solara 50 drone crash caused by wing failure

In May 2015, one of Google’s Internet drones, a Titan Solara 50, crashed during a test flight in New Mexico. The drone was solar powered and didn’t last long in the air before crashing in the company’s Albuquerque test field. This drone was part of Google’s larger effort to deliver Internet from the stratosphere; investigators began probing the cause of the crash following the incident.

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Loon Copter can fly in the air, swim on or under water

Loon Copter can fly in the air, swim on or under water

For all the fun, or mayhem, that drones have to offer, they are, for all intents and purposes, creatures of the sky. They don't really take to land, much less water, which is the bane of any electronic contraption. However, there might be some instances where a remotely piloted machine will be needed to go the depths but also to fly high as well. At the moment, no commercial drone has that ability. But researchers from Oakland University's Embedded Systems Research Laboratory might be on to something with the Loon Copter: an unmanned aerial and aquatic drone or UAAV.

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