A couple of years ago, UK-based product designer Witek Mielniczek turned to Kickstarter to fund B – a combination radio-controlled car and quadcopter.
Its ability to both fly through the air and drive along the ground was
certainly intriguing, although its ability to traverse rough terrain
wasn't necessarily phenomenal. That's why he's now created B-Unstoppable, which swaps wheels for neoprene tank-like treads.
Micro-drones may be versatile in the air, but carry one in your pocket or bag and you run the risk of damaging its propellers. While carry cases are available for a number of models, some are catering to the micro-drone class with arms that fold away for safe storage. Two Swiss roboticists are the latest to take this approach, with a palm-sized quadcopter that spreads its wings and springs to life in less than a second.
Switzerland has joined an elite club with its first homegrown business jet taking to the air for the first time. With the call sign of HB-VXA, the twin-engine prototype Pilatus Aircraft PC-24 Super Versatile Jet made its maiden flight last week, traveling from Buochs Airport in a 55-minute journey across central Switzerland to Brünig.
When people suggest possible uses for electric multicopter drones, it
frequently seems like they're forgetting something – presently, most
such aircraft can only fly for a maximum of around 25 minutes per
battery charge. Horizon Energy Systems, however, is developing a quadcopter that should do a lot better. Known as the Hycopter, the fuel cell-powered drone is hoped to be capable of 4-hour flight times once completed.
Long-haul flights can a tedious and uncomfortable experience. If you're going to be stuck on plane for the best part of 12 hours or more, though, a touch of luxury may go some way to improving the experience. New VIP cabin designs from Mercedes-Benz Style and Lufthansa would offer just that.
Keeping track of crop health is an overwhelmingly tough ask for farmers, and things are only likely to get tougher with predictions of huge yield drop-offs in the coming decades. With a freshly-inked US$100,000 cheque tucked under its arm courtesy of MIT, startup RaptorMaps plans to get crop-mapping drones into the air this summer to better track their health and give farmers' harvests a boost.
It's one thing to 3D-print something as advanced as a jet engine, but it's another to fuel it up and push the start button. That's the step that GE Aviation took when it recently fired up a simple jet engine made entirely of 3D-printed parts in a test stand normally reserved for commercial jet power plants.
It's easy to be inspired when you see some of the aerial photography captured by drones. Perhaps inspired enough to get a camera drone of your own. But one of the hurdles in doing so (apart from the price) is learning to fly the thing, let alone capture nice shots with it. But there are a number of companies looking to break down these barriers by building drones that automate much of the piloting process. The latest to join the fray is Silicon Valley-based startup Lily, whose aircraft starts flying and snapping all by itself, all you need to do is toss it into the air.
When you're developing something as complex and ambitious as a flying
car, you've got to expect a few hiccups along the way – and
Slovakia-based AeroMobil certainly experienced one last Friday, when its
AeroMobil 3.0 prototype crash-landed.
Drone deliveries hey? What could be more convenient than having the milk for your cereal arrive fresh each morning, or that forgotten dinner ingredient plonked down on the doorstep just as you fire up the stove? Well, details now revealed in an Amazon patent application suggest that if its Prime Air drones do materialize, they mightn't just be limited to making house calls. The application outlines plans for drones that track a customer's GPS position, flagging the possibility of having items brought to you even when you're out and about.