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A new algorithm developed at MIT enables delivery drones to better preserve their health i...

The prospect of delivery drones brings with it a few notable issues. Beyond visions of colliding rotor blades and unsolicited package drops lies another problem: the huge amount of computational power needed to take into account real world uncertainties, such as strong winds, limited battery life and navigational errors, in order to provide a reliable delivery service. This has been the focus of new study from MIT, with a team of researchers devising a new algorithm said to massively reduce the level of computation required, enabling the drone to monitor its "health" in real time.  Read More

The BAE smart skin would turn the entire hull of an aircraft into a sensor array

In some cases, a pilot discovering damage to an airplane involves noticing a frightening thump on the hull. That may indicate that something is wrong, but not what or where. On the other hand, when human beings are injured, the network of nerves in the skin tell us almost exactly where and what is wrong. Stealing a march on nature, BAE Systems’ Advanced Technology Centre is working on a "smart skin" that covers the fuselage of an aircraft with thousands of microsensors to send back a wide variety of detailed information in real time.  Read More

Wingfoot One takes to the skies

Last July, we first heard about Goodyear’s plans to replace its current fleet of blimps with newer, more advanced models. The first of those airships, which was unnamed at the time, made its maiden flight this March. Now called Wingfoot One, it officially began active service last Friday.  Read More

UAVs could someday be used to prevent bridge collapses, such as this one in Minneapolis  (...

When bridges are inspected for cracks and other defects that could lead to their collapse, engineers must either hang beneath those bridges on lines, or view them from elevated platforms. Whichever approach is used, a lot of setup is involved, and defects may get missed. In the future, however, unmanned aircraft may be able to more quickly and thoroughly check out bridges, working with wireless sensors built into the structures.  Read More

From left to right: the second prototype Hoverbike, the drone (in flight), and the origina...

Last month we covered the launch of an interesting Kickstarter project that aimed to jump-start sales of a drone version of a fully-functional hover bike. The quadcopter drone acts as a proof of concept for the full-sized manned vehicle, with proceeds from the crowdfunding effort intended to fuel the continued development of the final vehicle. Gizmag visited the Malloy Aeronautics workshop in the UK to take a closer look at the Hoverbike project.  Read More

X-47B is readied for launch along side an F/A-18 Hornet (Photo: Mass Communications Specia...

Anyone who’s seen an aircraft carrier in full operation knows that everything needs to be carried out with absolute precision by a small army of sailors as one plane lands and is hurried aside to make room for the next. To show that its X-47B Unmanned Combat Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) can work in this hectic environment alongside manned ones, the US Navy sent it to carry out landing and deck maneuvers aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) in concert with an F/A-18 fighter.  Read More

The VertiKUL drone in hovering mode

When something is sent to you by airmail, it travels in a fast and relatively fuel-efficient fixed-wing aircraft, not a fuel-guzzling helicopter. Nonetheless, when we hear about the possibility of drones being used to deliver items within cities, multirotor-style aircraft are almost always what's proposed – while they're good at maneuvering in urban spaces, they're essentially just little unmanned helicopters. With that in mind, a group of three engineering students from Belgium's KU Leuven (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) have created a prototype delivery drone known as VertiKUL, which combines the best features of both types of aircraft.  Read More

AHRLAC is being touted as Africa’s first home-grown military aircraft

Claimed to be Africa’s first home-grown military aircraft, the Advanced High-Performance Reconnaissance Light Aircraft (AHRLAC), is designed to integrate a range of military and civilian support technologies in one multi-role package. Aimed at performing duties similar to both attack helicopters and reconnaissance planes, the AHRLAC is designed to carry surveillance equipment, weapons, radar and electronic warfare systems.  Read More

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