Drones

USAF’s new THOR weapon can instantly take down drone swarms

USAF’s new THOR weapon can instantly take down drone swarms

The United States Air Force has rapidly developed a new microwave weapon called THOR that can take down swarms of drones, officials have announced. The weapon was unveiled on June 20 by the Air Force Research Laboratory to local reporters who were given a demonstration of THOR in action. The weapon system cost $15 million and was developed in only 18 months.

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Uber Elevate wants to start delivering Big Macs via drones by summer

Uber Elevate wants to start delivering Big Macs via drones by summer

Uber's growing empire has been besieged numerous times and in numerous but that hasn't stopped the company from dreaming big and trying to be big. While it's self-driving plans are still undergoing scrutiny, a part of its company is setting its eyes on something less controversial and potentially more lucrative, too. Uber sets its sights on the the clouds with its Elevate aerial arm and its plans to deliver food on rooftops in just a few months.

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Amazon’s new Prime Air delivery drone features hybrid design

Amazon’s new Prime Air delivery drone features hybrid design

Amazon has a new version of its Prime Air delivery drone, and it just unveiled it at the company's re:MARS 2019 conference. The new model is described as featuring a 'hybrid design' with improved stability and efficiency, as well as better safety than the previous version. This model is capable of vertical takeoffs and landings like a helicopter, can fly like an airplane, and may one day bring packages directly to customers.

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World’s smallest autonomous racing drone is 4-inches in diameter

World’s smallest autonomous racing drone is 4-inches in diameter

Researchers at TU Delft have created what they call the world's smallest autonomous racing drone. The done is very small with a diameter of 10 cm, or slightly less than 4-inches. It weighs in at 72 grams and uses a single camera and little onboard processing to fly around a track autonomously.

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Facebook wants to patent a drone system featuring two kites

Facebook wants to patent a drone system featuring two kites

Facebook has filed a patent application with the USPTO that details a drone involving two kites. The system, which is simply called a 'dual-kite aerial vehicle,' would use the two kites to maintain a specific altitude while also generating electricity that enables longer duration flights. The application was published by the USPTO on May 30.

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Pentagon taps Parrot to develop spy aircraft prototype for US Army

Pentagon taps Parrot to develop spy aircraft prototype for US Army

Parrot, a French drone maker that has spent years in DJI's immense shadow, is one of half a dozen companies selected by the Pentagon to develop prototype aircraft suitable for military surveillance use. The work will take place under a government contract seeking the adaption of small consumer UAVs into drones that can be deployed for scouting missions on the battlefield.

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Future DJI consumer drones will have built-in tech to avoid airplanes

Future DJI consumer drones will have built-in tech to avoid airplanes

Select future DJI drones will feature built-in technology that helps them avoid potential collisions with airplanes and helicopters. The company announced its intention to offer this technology on Wednesday, stating that it will be available on all drones that weigh more than 250 grams released after January 1, 2020. Key to the new feature will be AirSense, a technology that picks up on the ADS-B signals from planes and helicopters in the nearby vicinity.

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NASA’s ambitious drone air traffic control trial faces its toughest challenges

NASA’s ambitious drone air traffic control trial faces its toughest challenges

NASA's automated air traffic control for drones project is headed into its final - and most challenging - year, and the future of UAV deliveries, automated flying taxis, and more could hinge on just how well the trials pan out. The Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management project (UTM) has been running since 2015, NASA's experiment in collaboration with the FAA and other agencies to explore how piloted and self-flying drones and other unmanned aircraft can cohabit in the skies.

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Alphabet’s Wing will soon deliver food with drones in Helsinki

Alphabet’s Wing will soon deliver food with drones in Helsinki

In an announcement on Friday, Alphabet's Wing revealed that it will start delivering items by drone in Helsinki later this summer. The deliveries will be made in the city's Vuosaari district to residents who place orders through Herkku Food Market and Cafe Monami. The company will deliver a number of food items, including meatballs, pastries, and snacks.

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USAF seeks autonomous aerial rescue vehicle for combat missions

USAF seeks autonomous aerial rescue vehicle for combat missions

The United States Air Force has published a call for a large autonomous aerial vehicle that will be able to rescue and transport up to four people in remote combat zones. Details about the plan were recently published on the government's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) website, where the USAF Research Laboratory specifies that the vehicle shouldn't have an 'onboard traditional pilot.'

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Hummingbird-inspired drone could one day help in a disaster

Hummingbird-inspired drone could one day help in a disaster

Researchers from Purdue University have been working on drones powered by AI that can mimic some of the abilities that hummingbirds possess. The team believes if they were able to engineer a drone with the abilities of a hummingbird, like the ability to hover and change direction quickly, the drones could be helpful in disaster situations. The drones were trained using machine learning algorithms to use techniques that the tiny bird uses naturally every day.

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Researchers develop fluid-based propulsion system for flying taxis

Researchers develop fluid-based propulsion system for flying taxis

Many cities are scrambling to develop mass transportation alternatives to personal cars driven on public roads. Congestion has made it difficult for many to get around in some of the biggest cities in the US, prompting the development of concepts that involve public transportation both below and above ground. When it comes to 'flying taxis,' however, current technology comes with big limitations.

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