drones

Hycopter drone uses hydrogen gas to fly for 4 hours

Hycopter drone uses hydrogen gas to fly for 4 hours

With the rising buzz around drones, some have started envisioning them to become bearers of good news. Or at least the packages you ordered. But while Amazon might have gotten a bit of green light for its delivery drone plans, there remains one technical problem. Drones can't really stay up in the air for long, with some of the best lasting only half an hour. Horizon Unmanned Systems, however, might have a solution in the works. Its Hycopter UAV can fly 2.5 to 4 hours, depending on payload, by using fuel cells instead of lithium batteries.

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This drone uses origami principles to become foldable

This drone uses origami principles to become foldable

Personal drones are all the rage now, even hitting mainstream media because of rather questionable antics. But not everyone might be interested in hulking quadrocopters the likes of which Amazon plans to use for deliveries. There are, of course, more than a dozen "mini" drones in the market, but these are pretty much just toys with very little strength for any sort of payload. So what to do if you want a slightly more capable UAV that can still fit on the palm of your hand? Try origami.

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SmartChutes are parachutes for your (falling) drone

SmartChutes are parachutes for your (falling) drone

Some drones return themselves safely to the ground when the battery is low, but others just start to die and sink quickly. On top of that, any number of catastrophes or troubles can surface that means your drone will be hurtling toward the potentially damaging earth at a fast rate. Such is a time for a parachute, in this case the SmartChutes, which is described as an "autonomous parachute recovery system" for quadcopters. When your drone falls, the parachute deploys.

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Drones banned from Tokyo’s public parks

Drones banned from Tokyo’s public parks

While the acceptance of privately owned drones is rapidly expanding here in the US, in some countries, such as Japan, they are only beginning to get consumers' attention. Unfortunately for budding drone enthusiasts in Tokyo, there is a new roadblock to enjoying their hobby. The Japanese capital's municipal government recently issued a ban on drones being used at all public parks. The prohibition on UAVs follows a recent political protest incident, where a drone was landed on the roof of the Japanese Prime Minister's residence.

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Wallet Drone fits in your pocket, charges in its controller

Wallet Drone fits in your pocket, charges in its controller

Personal drones have become a so common that they have started to come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. A new crowdfunding campaign wants to stretch that size range even further. The name Wallet Drone probably says it all. The drone itself actually isn't the size of your wallet. In fact, it is much smaller than that. The tiny quadrocopter fits inside a controller box and that controller is the one that is the size of your wallet, letting you carry fun and mayhem anywhere you go.

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Amazon patent details how drones will find you, talk to each other

Amazon patent details how drones will find you, talk to each other

Like all government agencies, the FAA moves slowly. Drones move quickly, and Amazon wants to strap packages to them for delivery. The well-documented issues pit the pragmatic FAA against the anxious Amazon brass; Amazon wants drones delivering packages yesterday, and the FAA is in no rush to decide how and when drones can be used for commercial use. Most recently, the FAA agreed to reconsider their ‘line of sight’ mandate for flying drones; great news for Amazon. Undeterred, or buoyed by the promise of FAA regulations going their way, Amazon is filing new patents for drone deliveries.

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PhoneDrone case puts propellers on your smartphone

PhoneDrone case puts propellers on your smartphone

Quadcopters can come in handy at times, but if you're not going to be using them too often, shelling out for a dedicated drone likely isn't in your budget. Enter the PhoneDrone, a compact phone case with propellers that unfold into a functional quadcopter. Rather than including its own hardware, however, the PhoneDrone has a slot in which the operator inserts their own smartphone, which will then serve as the brains of the UAV. Once finished with the drone, the phone be removed and the case can be folded back together.

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Onago camera drone auto-follows operator

Onago camera drone auto-follows operator

There is no shortage of quadcopters on the market at this point, and after a while they all start to look similar. The latest exception is Onago, which stands out from competing products via the inclusion of an auto-follow feature, which is sort of like autopilot for camera drones. With auto-follow, the drone will lock on to a subject and follow it around while recording, allowing independent users to record their own shenanigans without having to manually operate the drone.

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FAA reconsidering line of sight requirements on drone regulations

FAA reconsidering line of sight requirements on drone regulations

Good news for companies hoping to move ahead with their vision of deliveries by drone! The FAA has acknowledged that changes need to be made to the "line of sight" requirements, or the rule that states commercial drones must stay with the field of view of the operator during flight. This comes from Jim Williams, head of the FAA's office that oversees drones flying in US airspace, who made the statement at the Drones, Data X conference on Friday.

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