Spreading eyeballs as widely as possible can make all the difference in the early stages of search and rescue operations. With the recent rise of drones, this has come to include getting eyes up into the sky to give some first responders an aerial perspective. The latest move to enhance search and rescue efforts comes from Lockheed Martin, which will team up with non-profit Project Lifesaver to help locate people with cognitive disorders that wander away from their home.
In modern airliners, much of the structural paneling used in the cabin and wings has a honeycomb-like structure. Although this helps keep the weight down while maintaining strength, it does a poor job at blocking noise within the aircraft. That's why researchers from North Carolina State University and MIT have developed a membrane that helps the panels to do so.
As consumer drones are becoming increasingly common, we seem to be seeing more of a certain "value-added" feature – quadcopters that are able to hover as needed, but which can also transition to faster and more efficient fixed-wing flight. Recent examples have included the Skyprowler
and the X PlusOne
. Now, there's also the Vertex.
Researchers at Siemens have created a new prototype electric motor specifically designed for aircraft that weighs in at just 50 kg (110 lb) and is claimed to produce about 260 kW (348 hp) at just 2,500 RPM. With a quoted power five times greater than any comparable powerplant, the new motor promises enough grunt to get aircraft with take-off weights of up to 1,800 kg (2 ton) off the ground.
We've only just begun to see the huge impact 3D-printing technology will have on manufacturing, and the aerospace industry is a prime example. Earlier this year we saw the first example of a 3D-printed jet engine
, now GE has announced the first 3D-printed part certified by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for a commercial jet engine. The fist-sized T25 housing for a compressor inlet temperature sensor was fabricated by GE Aviation and will be retrofitted to over 400 GE90-94B jet engines on Boeing 777 aircraft.
If you're in the business of making drones for photography, it takes a bit to stand out from the crowd these days. Drone-mounted cameras are only getting better
, and the vehicles themselves are only becoming more capable
of accommodating higher quality lenses and equipment. Freefly Systems is looking to add another element to the airborne filmmaking mix with a professional-grade UAV that can fly with a camera above its body.
Many people have likely watched aerial video shot by drones, and dreamed of getting such footage with a drone of their own. What they might not realize, however, is that controlling the little UAVs can be difficult, particularly if the user is trying to both fly the drone and
keep a subject centered in the frame. That's why a group of entrepreneurs are creating the pre-programmable Ares quadcopter.
3D Robotics, the company that grew out of the popular DIY drones website and the imagination of Wired Magazine Editor Chris Anderson, has announced a new consumer level quadcopter drone called the Solo. Touting its latest creation as "a breakthrough in intelligent flight," 3DR's new drone leans away from 3DR’s roots in hobbyist, DIY UAV flying in favor of a a slick, packaged, all-in-one consumer-oriented system that works right out of the box with a minimum of fuss.
We recently had a chance to spend some time with the most advanced all-in-one video drone on the market, DJI's Inspire 1
. It's a clear step forward from the Phantom 2 Vision+
we've been playing with lately, but what's it like to fly, and where does it sit against DJI's new Phantom 3
Last month it emerged that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had granted Amazon permission to begin testing a delivery drone prototype
for its Prime Air
service, a venture that aims to transport packages to Amazon customers in under 30 minutes. But there was a hitch, with the company since revealing the vehicle cleared for use had already become obsolete. Things are now back on track with the FAA giving Amazon the green light to put its current models to the test.