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Aerial

The Tsinghua University (Beijing) successfully completed the 2013 IARC Mission Six (Photo:...

For the past 23 years, the International Aerial Robotics Competition has challenged college teams with missions requiring complex autonomous robotic behaviors that are often beyond the capabilities of even the most sophisticated military robots. This year's competition, which was held in China and the United States over the past week, saw the team from Tsinghua University in Beijing successfully complete the current mission – an elaborate espionage operation known as Mission Six that was first proposed in 2010.  Read More

The LA100 is designed to carry a GoPro HERO3 for capturing aerial images

Micro UAVs have proven a boon for photographers looking to spread their wings into the aerial realm. Similarly, wearable actioncams, like the GoPro line, have enabled amateurs to capture professional quality images and video from angles hitherto the province of seasoned professionals with expensive equipment. France’s Lehmann Aviation is bringing these two technologies together with the LA100, a fully automatic UAV designed specifically to carry a GoPro HERO3 camera.  Read More

A TriDiCam camera, outfitted with the new 3D CMOS system

Hovering unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – most of which take the form of quadrocopters – are currently being developed for a wide range of applications. Some of these include the delivery of supplies to remote locations, urban reconnaissance, and military operations. Whether they’re flying solo or in organized swarms, however, they constantly need to be aware of potential collision hazards, both mobile and stationary. While various technologies are already being utilized for this purpose, Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems has developed a new 3D CMOS sensor, that promises particularly good performance.  Read More

Elbit has successfully tested an interesting new Forward Ground Control Station (FGCS) for...

Israeli defense technology company Elbit has successfully tested an interesting new Forward Ground Control Station (FGCS) for its Skylark I LE man-packable Unmanned Aerial System (UAS). The lightweight FCGS is 15 kg (33 lbs) lighter than the existing Skylark ground control system and is designed to enable dismounted soldiers to carry minimum gear for optimal operational efficiency, as the UAS can be launched by Dispatcher Units well to the rear, transferring control of the operation to the FGCS-equipped Forward Units when the UAS reaches their range.  Read More

The Swinglet CAM can take off, snap aerial photos along a chosen route and then land, wher...

With the help of the Swinglet CAM you can create your very own local aerial map a la Google Maps, or monitor wildlife distribution in a given area, or maybe just get a feel for what's going on in the neighborhood. The small, unmanned aerial vehicle can take off and land on its own and its integrated camera will snap high resolution images along a predetermined flightpath or as directed by remote control.  Read More

The SMAVNET robot

Swarms of flying robots might sound a bit ominous to those of us anxiously awaiting the inevitable robot uprising that will see humanity drop a notch on the scale of planetary dominance. But swarms of flying robots are just what a project at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland is working to create. However, instead of keeping an eye on prisoners in a robot-run internment camp, the Swarming Micro Air Vehicle Network (SMAVNET) Project aims to develop robot swarms that can be deployed in disaster areas to rapidly create communication networks for rescuers.  Read More

A smoke visualization still of the actual vortex wake behind our glider during a free-flig...

Most airplane landings are less than graceful. The aircraft slowly maneuvers into an approach pattern, begins a long descent, and then slams on the brakes as soon as it touches down, which barely seems to barely bring it to a rest a mile later. Birds, however, can switch from barreling forward at full speed to lightly touching down on a target as narrow as a telephone wire. MIT researchers have now given a foam glider this same ability using a new control system that could have important implications for robotic planes, greatly improving their maneuverability and potentially allowing them to recharge their batteries simply by alighting on power lines.  Read More

The Hexakopter microcopter has many inbuilt features that make it great fun to operate, an...

We've seen the value of using multiple rotors in unmanned microcopters like the CyberQuad, DraganFlyer X8 and more recently Parrot's AR.Drone. The HexaKopter is another case in point - the 1.2kg, six-rotor device has a flight-time of up to 36 minutes and can carry around 1kg along with a high-definition camera that delivers some amazing images. And it's also a lot of fun.  Read More

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