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Aircraft

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Shift handles the camera work for drone pilots

By - February 25, 2015 6 Pictures
Although camera-equipped drones have opened up all sorts of film-making possibilities, trying to simultaneously control the aircraft and the camera movements can definitely be challenging. That's why Perceptiv Labs developed Shift. It's a system that allows a DJI or 3D Robotics quadcopter's motorized camera to automatically keep a tagged subject centered in the frame, letting the user concentrate on flying. Read More
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Carbon nanotube-based anti-icing coating proves itself in wind tunnel testing

By - February 22, 2015 3 Pictures
There are numerous types of systems designed to prevent ice forming on aircraft surfaces during flight. Some reroute hot air produced by jet engines, others generate their own heat, others knock ice off through mechanical force, while others still release antifreeze chemicals onto the wing. Battelle has recently tested its carbon nanotube-base HeatCoat technology that it claims is lighter and less power hungry than such systems. It also has no moving parts and could easily be retrofitted to existing aircraft. Read More
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SkyProwler combines a quadcopter and a fixed-wing airplane in one device

By - February 18, 2015 3 Pictures
Arizona-based start-up Krossblade is developing a five-passenger "flying car"-type vehicle known as the SkyCruiser. Among other things, plans call for it to take off and land like a quadcopter, while transitioning to faster, more efficient fixed-wing flight while en route. Will you ever be able to buy one? Well, that's hard to say, but if Krossblade's current Kickstarter campaign is a success, you will soon be able to buy a functioning miniature prototype known as the SkyProwler. Read More
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FAA floats new rules for commercial drone use

By - February 15, 2015 1 Picture
In welcome news for businesses banking on the commercial potential of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has put forward a proposal for guidelines surrounding commercial drone use. The rules would clear the air for some applications of the technology, though would still leave certain big-name players, such as Amazon, in limbo. Read More

Drone-maker DJI announces support for Micro Four Thirds lens standard

Chinese drone-maker DJI has jumped aboard an interchangeable lens alliance, promising aerial photography enthusiasts greater flexibility when shooting from the sky. Pledging its support for the Micro Four Thirds System standard could see new DJI drones come equipped with a greater range of cameras and lens types, while also allowing pilots to slap on their own. Read More
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NoFlyZone.org keeps the airspace above your home drone-free

By - February 10, 2015 1 Picture
About the only thing growing quicker than the number of privately owned drones is the level of concern surrounding them. Questions of privacy and how these things can be regulated are pretty well-founded, but are so far yet to be met with any convincing answers. NoFlyZone.org may go some way to providing a solution, allowing users to enter their address to create drone-free zones in the airspace over their homes. Read More
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Crash-proof UAV takes out US$1 million Drones For Good Competition

By - February 9, 2015 2 Pictures
Some are calling it the World Cup for Drones, while the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has simply labeled it the Drones For Good award. Whichever way you spin it, offering up US$1 million in prize money is sure to bring out great ideas from all corners of the globe. The international competition seeks to emphasize the positive capabilities of drones and on Saturday, a team of Swiss technologists took out first prize with a vehicle that flies protected by a spinning cage, helping it to better travel through confined spaces. Read More
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GE mixes lasers and water to keep turbine blades cool during drilling

By - February 8, 2015 3 Pictures
Turbine blades for use in jet engines need to be made of a hard, unyielding exotic material made to exact specifications, which means the drilling of tiny cooling holes in the blades runs the risk of ruining them. To prevent this from happening, GE is combining the heat of the laser beam with the cooling of the water jet to drill holes without weakening the blades. Read More
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Micro-flyer drone could help a robot to fight fires on ships

By - February 5, 2015 3 Pictures
This week, the US Office of Naval Research released details regarding a demo of its Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot (SAFFiR) conducted last November. The robot, as its name implies, is designed to help human crews fight fires in the close confines of naval vessels. In order to get to those fires quicker, SAFFiR may ultimately receive some help itself from an autonomous drone, that was also part of the demonstration. Read More

Alibaba trials drone delivery service in China

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd beat Amazon to the punch this Wednesday, by beginning actual deliveries-by-drone. The three-day, three-city test of the system began in Beijing, with deliveries being made from a single merchant operating through Alibaba's Amazon-like Taobao Marketplace website. Read More

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