Sweep sensor adds affordable autonomy and laser mapping to drones and robots

If you're a car manufacturer, you likely have a sizable budget to openly experiment with sensor technology and vehicular autonomy. Companies such as Ford, Kia, and others have been busy designing and testing fleets on city streets and roadways. But a new startup is looking to create a consumer-affordable scanning LiDAR, ideal for makers, enthusiasts, and students. The Scanse Sweep is designed to provide 360 degree sensing capabilities to drones, robots, and more.Read More


Underwater robot can make its own snap decisions

Two marine scientists have shown that autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) can be programmed to make independent decisions and trigger new missions in real time based on data coming from multiple sensors. They believe this could reveal much about the life of squid and other marine creatures.Read More


DARPA readies unmanned ACTUV sub hunter for sea trials

The day of the robot warship may be a lot closer than many people think with DARPA announcing that it will christen its Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) on April 9 at the Swan Island shipyard in Portland, Oregon. Also known as the Seahunter, the 139 ft (42 m) long vessel is designed to track potentially hostile submarines for months at a time without a crew.Read More


Goodbye ground control: Nanosatellites achieve first autonomous orbital maneuver

One of the advantages of bread loaf-sized nanosatellites is their potential to act as a swarm that can equal the power of a single larger satellite, but with more flexibility and at lower cost. Deep Space Industries has taken a major step in that direction in a successful test involving two autonomous Canadian satellites, which carried out the first orbital maneuver without human supervision.Read More


Unmanned helicopter and ground vehicle team up to explore dangerous terrain

Autonomous aircraft and autonomous ground vehicles can eliminate much of the danger for military personnel working in hazardous areas. But what if they could combine their capabilities to even further remove soldiers from harm's way? Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) together with Sikorsky Aircraft have deployed an autonomous helicopter and all-terrain robot to demonstrate what might be possible when advanced, unmanned vehicles join forces.Read More


FAROS drone climbs the walls to find fires

Fires in high-rises can be particularly deadly. This is partially because of the buildings' "chimney" effect, along with the fact that it's just plain difficult for firefighters to reach the flames. With that in mind, researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have created the flying, wall-climbing, fire-resistant FAROS quadcopter. It's designed to ascertain the source of a fire as soon as possible, along with the locations of people trapped within the building. Read More


AirMule VTOL flies untethered for the first time

Helicopters may be able to take off and land from places that fixed-wing airplanes can't, but those whirling exposed rotor blades still keep them out of tight spaces. That's why Israel's Tactical Robotics Ltd created the AirMule. It's an unmanned VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) aircraft, which features lift rotors that are safely enclosed inside its body. Although we first heard about it two years ago, the prototype just recently made its first untethered test flight.Read More


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