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Autonomous

Drones

HEXO+ drone autonomously follows the action, for under $500

If you watch almost any video promoting a consumer drone, chances are you'll see the aircraft flying along above a moving motorbike rider, snowboarder or other fast-moving athlete. It makes for some impressive aerial footage of the person, but also requires a fair bit of piloting skill. Additionally, if you buy one of those drones, you'll end up shooting other people doing those things – what if you want footage of yourself? Well, that's where the HEXO+ hexacopter comes in. It autonomously flies above its user, shooting video of them as they do their thing. Read More

Robotics

Robot Linda to meet the public at London's Natural History Museum

Having a robot around the house might be nice, but not if it keeps stepping on the cat and tripping over the coffee table. This month, the public will get the chance to meet a robot at the Natural History Museum in London that may be a bit kinder to furniture and tabbies. The University of Lincoln’s Linda robot, which will mingle with visitors, is designed to learn about its surroundings and make it easier to work human environments.Read More

Space

Morpheus makes first night landing

Spacecraft lifting off at night are a beautiful sight, but equally impressive is when one lands in the dark under its own power. NASA’s robotic Morpheus prototype planetary lander did both of those in its first night-time free flight at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, which included an autonomous landing in an artificial lunar landscape.Read More

Science

Autonomous boats get disguised as crocodiles and used to study hippo poop

Although hippos may look slow and docile, they're actually very aggressive, killing more people every year than any other large African animal. So, it would follow that you wouldn't want to swim anywhere near them. That's why when researchers from Yale University and the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies wanted to study the effects of hippo dung on water quality in Kenya's Mara River, they sent in three autonomous air boats instead of people. To help those boats blend in, they were dressed up as crocodiles. Read More

Electronics

Quadrotor gets autonomous navigation capabilities with Google's Project Tango

We’ve seen a lot of eye- and brain-catching robotics fun from the GRASP lab at the University of Pennsylvania, including a swarm of nano quadrotors playing the James Bond theme and a quadcopter swooping raptor-like onto prey. Dr. Vijay Kumar now gives us proof of concept of the utility of Google’s Project Tango in aerial systems by outfitting a quadrotor with the device to provide autonomous navigational capabilities.Read More

Marine

Sea-Eye monitors the oceans even when tipped upside down

Bad weather can play havoc with unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) patrolling the seas, which is why scientists at the Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP) have come up with a USV prototype that works even when it tips over. Called Sea-Eye, the battery-powered vehicle features a design that enables it to work just as well upside down as right way up.Read More

Aircraft

Vector Hawk joins Lockheed's sUAS family

Lockheed Martin has expanded its small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS) family with the introduction of the Vector Hawk. Coming in a number of variants, Lockheed says the aircraft is suitable for a wide variety of different missions thanks to its ability to be rapidly reconfigured in the field.Read More

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