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The DelFly Explorer MAV in flight

We've seen autonomous MAVs (micro air vehicles) before, and we've seen flapping-wing MAVs before. According to a group of researchers from the Netherlands' Delft University of Technology, however, we've never seen an autonomous flapping-wing MAV – until now. Yesterday the four-man team announced its DelFly Explorer, which is described as "the first flapping wing Micro Air Vehicle that is able to fly with complete autonomy in unknown environments."  Read More

E-volo's Volocopter takes to the air for the first time last month

The maiden flight of e-volo's 18-rotor Volocopter electric aircraft prototype last month seems to have impressed quite a few people. The company is claiming a European crowdfunding record after raising €1.2 million in under four days.  Read More

SkyJack was made from a Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 like the one pictured here

Amazon's Prime Air announcement last week brought concerns about the use of commercial drones to the fore, but one programmer may have just muddied the waters even more. Notable hacker Samy Kamkar recently modified a Parrot AR.Drone 2 with his custom software, called SkyJack, allowing it to seek out the wireless signals of other UAVs and take control of them, even while in flight.  Read More

The new-and-improved PowerUp 3.0

Early this year we first heard about PowerUp 3.0, a kit that converts an ordinary paper airplane into a powered, smartphone-controlled flying aircraft. Inventor Shai Goitein has made some improvements to the product since then, and recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to finance its large-scale production. At the time of this posting, he's exceeded his funding goal by over 960 percent.  Read More

A quadcopter running the algorithm is able to remain in control, even after losing one pro...

Whether it's for Amazon-purchased goods, text books or defibrillators, unmanned multicopters are increasingly being considered for use as delivery vehicles. Given that this would involve their flying over heavily-populated areas, however, many people are rightly concerned about the aircraft malfunctioning and crashing down onto someone below. That's why researchers at ETH Zurich have created a control algorithm that allows any quadcopter to keep flying, even if it loses multiple motors or propellers.  Read More

According to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the drones will deliver packages to customers within 3...

As early as 2015, your Amazon purchases could be dropped at your door within 30 minutes courtesy of unmanned aerial drones. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos revealed plans for the delivery service dubbed Prime Air (an extension of Amazon Prime which guarantees two-day shipping) in a 60 Minutes interview on Sunday night.  Read More

The SmartPlane can be controlled by tilting the connected iOS device

Parrot's AR Drone quadcopter has been strutting its smartphone-controlled stuff for a few years now, but fixed wing remote controlled aircraft have been a little thinner on the ground – and in the air. TobyRich, a German company specializing in smartphone-controlled gadgets, has now launched its SmartPlane, which it calls "the first smartphone-controlled airplane in the world."  Read More

New York University's flying jellyfish (Photo: Leif Ristroph)

What could be better than a jellyfish-inspired machine that swims underwater? Well, how about one that flies in the air? A group of scientists from New York University have created just such a contraption, and it could have big implications for tiny flying robots.  Read More

Artists drawing of the Zee.Aero concept for a vertical take-off-and-landing (VTOL) flying ...

Zee.Aero, a small company located near the GooglePlex, home to Google, is working on a flying car concept that can take off and land vertically using a plethora of small electric motors turning four-bladed propellers. According to illustrations included with the patent filings, one version of the vehicle is narrow enough to fit into a standard shopping center parking space.  Read More

Artist's concept of the HammerHead UAV on a mission (Photo: Piaggio)

There was an unusual shape in the skies over Italy last week as the Piaggio Aero Company and Selex ES successfully completed the first flight of the aptly-named Hammerhead UAV on Thursday, November 14, near the Trapini Air Force Base. The aircraft was remotely controlled from the ground, with no crew on board, while two chase planes kept the UAV in sight during the flight.  Read More

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