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Autonomous

The tailbot, a running, jumping mobile sensor that can maneuver in mid-air with its tail (...

Imagine mobile sensor networks that run around, jump and maneuver in the air to get the job done. That's what Jianguo Zhao is working towards; his design for such networks involves biologically-inspired sensors in the form of robots with little tails. These "tailbots" are expected to have applications in areas ranging from search and rescue to surveillance and environmental monitoring.  Read More

Latitude Engineering’s Hybrid Quadrotor UAV

If you need a drone aircraft that can hover in one spot or perform vertical take-offs and landings (VTOL), then a multi-rotor contraption such as a quadcopter is the way to go. Should you be looking for something that can cover long distances as quickly and efficiently as possible, however, then a more traditional propellor-driven fixed-wing airplane will serve you better. So, what if you want both? Well, that’s where Latitude Engineering’s Hybrid Quadrotor UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) comes in. Putting it simply, it’s a quadcopter/fixed-wing combo.  Read More

Vienna University of Technology’s 'smartphone quadcopter'

With one possible exception, autonomous quadcopters are not something that you would expect to be inexpensive. A relatively cheap model may indeed be on its way, however. Designed by the Vienna University of Technology’s Virtual Reality Team, the tiny aircraft utilizes the processor and camera of an off-the-shelf smartphone.  Read More

The Spiri quadrotor

You say quadcopter, I say quadrotor, let's just agree that under no circumstances is it quadrocopter. Whatever they're called, here's another one. It's called Spiri, it's designed to be rather more fun than your average drone, and is designed to be both programmable and capable of running downloaded apps. After 13 months of development Canadian quadcopticist Patrick Edwards-Daugherty has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help bring it to market.  Read More

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 tablet-programmed LA300, being hand-launched

Last November, we heard about Lehmann Aviation’s LA100, a small and fully autonomous UAV designed to capture aerial images with a user-supplied GoPro camera. Now the French company is offering two new models that go farther and stay in the air longer. As with the LA100, both of the new models are designed for use by people with little or no remote piloting experience.  Read More

Students at UC Berkeley have developed the STAR, a 3D-printed robot that flattens its legs...

Nature has been the source of inspiration for a variety of different forms of robotic locomotion. Yet another example is the STAR, a 3D-printed robot modeled after an insect's ability to squeeze into even the tiniest spaces. Developed by students at UC Berkeley's Biomimetic Millisystems Lab the STAR, which stands for Sprawl Tuned Autonomous Robot, is able to flatten its legs down to slip under a small gap and then raise them up again to climb over larger obstacles.  Read More

The complete Aeromapper X5 package

While we’re seeing an increasing amount of aerial mapping being performed by purpose-built drone aircraft, a lot of people are no doubt still leery of remotely-piloting what is essentially a little airplane. With such people in mind, Canada’s Aeromao has recently released its Aeromapper X5. The drone is launched by hand, flies and takes photos autonomously, then parachutes back down to the ground.  Read More

X-RHex-Light shows off its obstacle beating agility

Parkour is all about hurling yourself quickly and efficiently past whatever obstacles are in your path while maintaining as much momentum as possible. It's a challenge for humans, so how would robots fare? In an effort to push the boundaries of robotic agility, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania decided to find out by teaching their RHex robot some Parkour moves.  Read More

Artist's concept of ERO the demolition robot in action

When it comes to demolishing buildings, there are almost as many ways to take them apart as put them up. We knock them down, blow them to bits, and build machines to take them apart. But what about a robot that eats buildings? Omer Haciomeroglu of Sweden’s Umeå Institute of Design has come up with the concept ERO concrete de-construction robot, which uses high-pressure water jets to strip concrete from rebar and recycle it on the spot.  Read More

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