Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Aircraft

Dr Reece Clothier with a prototype of a bio-inspired unmanned aircraft, under development ...

Most people who have cast their eyes skyward – or seen a nature documentary or two – will have seen lazily circling birds soaring to greater heights without flapping their wings. These soaring birds are catching a ride on rising air currents to save energy, and now researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, are aiming to develop bio-inspired UAVs capable of doing the same thing.  Read More

The MQ-4C Triton test aircraft makes its approach for landing March 13 at Palmdale, Califo...

The Triton UAV's initial flight test program, which kicked off with the unmanned aircraft's first flight last May, has been completed. Now cleared to fly at various altitudes, speeds and weights, the Triton is on track to be introduced into the US Navy fleet in 2017.  Read More

DARPA is working on revolutionizing rotorcraft technology

Helicopters and other rotorcraft are impressive bits of technology, but the only place where they match the performance of fixed-wing aircraft is in bad 1980s television. That may soon change with DARPA announcing the selection of four companies to compete in the next phase of its Vertical Take Off and Landing Experimental Plane (VTOL X-Plane) program. The four companies are tasked with developing unmanned demonstrator aircraft designed to increase the performance of VTOL rotor aircraft while reducing their complexity.  Read More

The Watchkeeper UAV has be given the go ahead for military flight tests (Photo: Richard Se...

Since first taking to the air in June 2009, trials of the UK's homegrown Watchkeeper tactical unmanned aerial vehicle have been conducted by industry partners including QinetiQ. The UK Ministry of Defence has now announced the aircraft has been awarded a Release To Service, clearing the way for flight training to begin with the Royal Artillery.  Read More

Facebook is reportedly looking to buy solar-powered drone company Titan Aerospace to help ...

Titan Aerospace's Solara, a solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicle designed to cruise at an altitude of 20 km (12.42 miles) for five years at a time, certainly got our attention back in August, and it appears to have not gone unnoticed by some of tech's bigger players either. Facebook is reportedly in talks to acquire the company with a view to using the drones as a means of providing internet access to the world's under-served regions.  Read More

DARPA's ARES consists of a VTOL flight module capable of carrying several different types ...

Helicopters are an invaluable military resource for transporting supplies, carrying out surveillance and reconnaissance, and evacuating casualties from rugged terrain. Unfortunately, they are also a finite resource. That's why DARPA is looking to share the load with the Aerial Reconfigurable Embedded System (ARES) concept, a compact, high-speed and highly-automated delivery system with vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capabilities.  Read More

The Parasol system uses passive radar sensors and mathematical algorithms to determine if ...

With aspirations to claim 80 percent of its power from renewable sources by the 2050, it follows that Germany is taking a proactive approach to its clean energy transformation. Wind farms, while set to play an important part in achieving this goal, often meet impassioned opposition from disgruntled neighbors piqued by their perpetually blinking beacons. In an effort to address this issue, researchers have developed a sensor system for wind turbines which detects nearby aircraft, switching on a beacon warning system only as they approach.  Read More

The AT Black Knight Transformer

When someone mentions flying cars it conjures up images of a sporty little number that takes to the air like something out of the Jetsons. But what about one that’s a cross between a 4x4, an octocopter, and a Blackhawk helicopter? That’s what Advanced Tactics of El Segundo, California is seeing with its ambitions to produce a roadable VTOL aircraft capable of unmanned autonomous operations as a more flexible way to recover casualties, move supplies, and support special forces.  Read More

Tornado aircraft have flown with 3D-printed functional components on board for the first t...

Aerospace is one of the industries set to benefit from the 3D printing revolution, with last year's test of 3D-printed rocket engine components by NASA being just one example of the shape of things to come. Now BAE Systems has revealed that 3D-printed functional components designed and produced by engineers at the Royal Air Force (RAF) Marham military airbase have flown for the first time in Tornado fighter jets taking off from BAE Systems' company airfield at Warton in Lancashire.  Read More

Gizmag looks back at the top five drone stories of 2013

Although aerial drones been around in one form or another since World War I, it hasn’t really been until the last decade that they’ve really taken off, so to speak. Where they were once restricted to a spot of battlefield reconnaissance, in addition to military applications, drones are now used for everything from agriculture to oil prospecting and by everyone from rescue workers to real estate agents. Although the technological advances and proliferation of drones has accelerated over the past decade, 2013 was the year that the technology really entered the public consciousness. So let’s have a look back at Gizmag’s pick of the top drone stories of 2013.  Read More

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